Takashi Amano

Dave think it was you who said you would be interested in knowing exactly what
the sand based fertilizer used by Takashi Amano is.  Well FYI, I asked and here
are the answers I got from his firm. The > are mine, the paragraph following
are their answers.

>Are the tanks in the pictures designed for long or short term setup?

They are designed for long term setup. The Nature Aquarium usually takes at
least a month before it is ready for photography and Mr.Amano is very
meticulous about the growth and exact position of plants, driftwood and rocks
of the aquascape. The plants are planted after anaerobic bacteria is colonized
in the outside cannister filter.
These aquariums are virtually a natural ecosystem within an aquarium with only
the help of a filter and CO2 to keep them going. The lifespan of sich a tank is

>Are they trimmed often, and if so generally how frequently.  Is this a daily,
 weekly, or what schedule?

The frequency of trimming generally depends on the desired layout. When first
setup, wilting leaves are frequently trimmed, until all the aqua plants have
completely adapted to the new environment.

>Noticed the KH reading on many of the tanks was 2 degrees.  This is considered
 by many US hobbyist to be low and most try to obtain at least 3 degrees KH.
 Now on the other hand, my tank is at 2 degrees.  Some have said with 2 degrees
 or less there is the potential for wide pH swings.  Comments?

Because the control of KH levels require chemical additives, we do not bother
with it. As for pH, depending on the amount of CO2, and rate of
photosysnthesis, the pH values do tend to swing from 6.8 to 7.2, however we
have found little evidence that this greatly affects the health of our plants.

>On the substrata what is OISO sand and akadama ceramics?  And on those tanks
 that use sea sand, is this an inert sand or a limestone sand? I assume an
 inert sand especially as the book points out problems with coral and seashells.
 Do you use any substrata additives?  We and the Europeans routinely use
 laterite, or peat, or even dirt as additives for a variety of reasons.  Does
 your substrata consist only of the various sands or ceramics?  Or is fertilizer
 sand similar to laterite, and if not what is it?

Oiso Sand is a gravel of sea pebbles (3-5mm). Akadama is baked red soil usually
in the mountains of Japan. We use a peat and pumice based fertilizer called
Power Sand.

>Next I guess is fertilizer.  Some of the tanks say none, others have a CC
 measurement.  What is the fertilizer used and what is its mineral content?

Our plant nutrient formulas are various. The Green Brighty Series is a nutrient
formula primarily of metal elements such as Potassium and Phosphorous, Iron,
Magnesium etc. Brighty K is a chlorine neutralizing agent with a Potassium

>Noticed in comparison to what we use your lights are much less wattage per
 gallon.  Now I know wattage is simply a measure of current use and does not
 give any real ideal of output in lumens, nor a measure of the lux values in
 the tank.  But for example, on my 120 gallon tank I use 440 watts and am
 about to add more.  Even on tanks roughly three times the size of mine you
 show wattage amounts of 300 watts or less.  Are the lights you use more
 efficient then the fluorescent lights used in the U.S.?

Our line of lighting tubes consists of 15W, 20W, 30W, and 40W tubes. We have a
lighting system that houses 4 20W tubes, which we use for our standard 60cm
Our tubes are high in Green with an output of 1250lm, for the 20W tube.