The ScapeFu Podcast (hobbies)







June 2018
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  • Reflecting on 2015 and Looking Forward to 2016

In episode 48 of the ScapeFu Podcast, Art and Jurijs reflect on 2015 and tell you what they have planned for 2016. They have big goals for this year!

Links mentioned in the episode


Direct download: ScapeFu048.mp3
Category:Hobbies -- posted at: 7:00am CEST

Black Brush Algae (BBA) - How to kill it

This is a first in a series on understanding algae that commonly plague our aquariums. We kick off the series with the infamous Black Brush Algae a/k/a BBA.


Get to know Black Brush Algae (BBA)

Black brush algae (BBA) is one of the toughest algae to get rid of in the aquarium. It’s tenacious and can overtake and suffocate your plants in a matter of a couple of weeks if not controlled.

It belongs to the Phylum Rhodophyta (Greek meaning, red plant) that includes 5,000 to 6,000 species of mostly multicellular, marine algae. There are 164 freshwater species mostly in the genus Lemanea and Audouinella.

Black brush algae (BBA) is stiff bristle-like branched or unbranched similar to a coarse horsehair. You can recognize it in tight tufts on hardscape and will line the edges of your plant leaves. It’s also known ask black beard algae because it resembles coarse beard hair.

It’s blue-green to olive to dark grey in color when young. It’s typically found in fast-moving streams where it’s ability to anchor itself comes in handy. Unfortunately, that same ability makes it extremely difficult to remove.

How does black brush algae (BBA) get into your aquarium

Easy. It hitchhiked in via plants or even in the guts of fish or inverts. Once the spores are in, they can reproduce quickly under the right conditions.

Does CO2 deficiency or inconsistency lead to black brush algae (BBA)?

Yes, but this isn’t specific to BBA. Inconsistent or deficient CO2 will cause an imbalance in the golden equilibrium that will cause any algae to grow, not just BBA. So, although this is widely thought to be a cause of BBA outbreaks, it’s not totally correct.

Does vitamin B12 cause black brush algae (BBA)?

Well, that’s an interesting question. There’s a great thread on this at the UKAPS, entitled What exactly causes BBA? Part 2 - Bacterial imbalance.

Here’s the summarized version: High organics in the aquarium cause heterotrophic bacteria to grow exponentially and outcompete the common nitrifying bacteria that we’re used to. Heterotrophic bacteria will result in an increase in vitamin B12 as a byproduct and a decrease in O2 further limiting nitrifying bacteria.

Black brush algae (BBA) uses B12 to grow and the decreased nitrification causes an excess of ammonium that algae use to grow.

Problems with this theory:

  • You don’t know if the species of black brush algae (BBA) that is in your aquarium, requires vitamin B12 to grow.
  • Decreased nitrification/increase of ammonium should be taken up by plants, if you are sticking to the golden equilibrium
  • An increase in heterotrophic bacteria will result in an increase of CO2 that should improve plant growth
  • Focusing on B12 is a bit misleading because black brush algae (BBA), like any other algae species, requires a number of different nutrients not just B12. One study even found that caffeine cause a significant increase in algal growth

How to eliminate Black Brush Algae (BBA)

It is my opinion that, just like any algae, an imbalance in the golden equilibrium is what causes algae outbreaks. So, first and foremost, it is critical to rebalance the golden equilibrium.

Known methods to control black brush algae (BBA)

  • Maintain golden equilibrium - most important
  • Maintenance Crew - Siamese Algae Eater and black mollies
  • Hydrogen peroxide (H202) standard store bought 3%
  • Seachem Excel (gluteraldahyde)
  • Quarantine fish and dip your plants - Dip the affected plants or decor in the 1:20 bleach solution for about 10-15 mins and then thoroughly rinse in running water.
  • Don’t buy plants from unknown sources or big box stores


Direct download: ScapeFu047.mp3
Category:Hobbies -- posted at: 7:00am CEST

Dosing Vinegar in Your Aquarium

Yes, I mean real vinegar. Literally.

Here's what you'll learn:

  • Why vinegar may be a good thing to add?
  • What does it do to cyanobacteria/blue-green algae?
  • Art's accidental experiment while on vacation
  • How to add vinegar to your aquarium

ScapeFu post on this episode.

Links mentioned:

If you're not listening to this podcast on the ScapeFu app, why not? It would help us out tremendously AND you get the app-only Ask Art Podcast.

Go get it:

iOS version

Android version

Direct download: ScapeFu046.mp3
Category:Hobbies -- posted at: 6:00am CEST

Aqvainnova is finally here!

In episode 45 of the ScapeFu Podcast, JJ talks with Esther Mous of Aqvainnova, a new company created to bring quality aquarium plants to the USA.

What you'll learn:

  • Why did Aqua Flora and Anubias create Aqvainnova?
  • What is so special about their Linea Zero Aquarium Plants?
  • When and where they will be launching?

ScapeFu Supplemental Post on Aqvainnova and ScapeFu #45

Links mentioned:



Direct download: ScapeFu045.mp3
Category:Hobbies -- posted at: 11:48pm CEST

"I would love to set up one of those beautiful planted aquariums but I don't have the money right now."

Do you know someone who's said that? Perhaps, it's been your excuse?

In ScapeFu Podcast #44, Jurijs and Art commit to a new challenge. They will go from zero to a full aquascape for about $100. In the episode, they explain how they plan on doing it.

It won't be easy and thinking outside the box will critical. Can they do it? What do you think?

Here is Art's list of materials:

Total: $137.96 ($37.96 over at the moment)

Here is Jurijs' list of materials:

  • ADA mini M 36x22x26cm (float glas) 36,90€
  • Cheap 20x20x25cm cube 12,59€
  • ADA Amazonia 3 liter bag 15,90€
  • Philips Tornado 23watt 6500k 1500 lumen 9,87€
  • Ikea Lersta or Tertial 14,99€
  • Eden 501 Filter 300 l/h 26,18€
  • Invitro cub HC 8,5cm 6,95€
  • Nano pump Sera FD150 11,99€
  • Dennerle Bio Co2 kit 8,95€
  • Tropica plant growth 125 ml 6,95€

Total: 151.27€ (51.27€ over at the moment)

What do you think of the lists? Tell us in the comments below!

Why don't you join us?

Got an extra C-note to spare? Why don't you join us in this challenge?? We'd love to have company!

Tell us what your list would be and send us pictures as you build it. Let's build the $100 aquascape together.


ScapeFu App - if you don't have it already, we would VERY MUCH appreciate it if you would help us out by downloading the ScapeFu App. Here's what you get:

  1. Easy download and listening to the ScapeFu Podcast
  2. The app-only Ask Art Podcast
  3. Access to every ScapeFu Podcast episode
  4. Great positive karma for help us defray the cost of bringing you ScapeFu
  5. A warm fuzzy feeling because you're awesome

The iOS version of the ScapeFu App.

The Android version of the ScapeFu App.

ScapeFu Tribe Community - we now have a small forum to discuss ScapeFu Podcast episodes. Go check it out!

Affiliate disclaimer- some of the links above are Amazon referral links. ScapeFu will receive a small affiliate referral fee if you purchase via that link. It doesn't increase the amount you pay and it helps us defray the cost of ScapeFu. We thank you for your help.

Direct download: ScapeFu044.mp3
Category:Hobbies -- posted at: 12:09pm CEST

Light Basics for Planted Aquariums Part 1 | ScapeFu043

In this episode of the ScapeFu Podcast, Art introduces the concept of light for the planted aquarium. It's intended for beginners and presents complicated concepts in an easy to understand format.

More advanced concepts will be explained in following podcasts.

Please read the shownotes in conjunction with this podcast episode.

Related ScapeFu Podcast episodes:

Lighting for the planted aquarium


  • The ScapeFu App is now available for iOS and Android. Please help defray the costs of ScapeFu by downloading the app today!
  • Please join the ScapeFu Tribe Community Forum. We are discussing this podcast episode and more. Looking forward to speaking with you there!
Direct download: ScapeFu043.mp3
Category:Hobbies -- posted at: 10:24pm CEST

Moss Graffiti: A Foolproof? Moss Starting Method | ScapeFu042

In this episode, Art walks you step-by-step through this method of starting moss for your aquascape. Want that old, moss covered forest look? This is how to get it.

The ScapeFu App:

Items mentioned in this episodes:

Direct download: ScapeFu042.mp3
Category:Hobbies -- posted at: 11:47pm CEST

We Are Back

Hi! We hope you had a great summer!

JJ, Jurijs and I are back to our regular ScapeFu recording schedule.

This is a short episode. We go over what we've been up to and Jurijs shares some of what he's going through moving his aquariums to a different city. Read more about it on Jurijs' Facebook page.


  • ScapeFu Community Forums - you told us you wanted a place to gather and discuss ScapeFu Podcast episodes and grow as a community. The ScapeFu Community Forums is where we will do exactly that. Go sign up and join the growing community!
  • ScapeFu App - we now have an App for the ScapeFu Podcast! Not only are you helping us pay for producing and hosting the ScapeFu Podcast, but you get to hear every single episode of the ScapeFu Podcast and the "App-only" Ask Art Podcast. Please consider downloading it to your iOS iPhone, iPad or iPod. The Android version is coming soon!

Thank you so much for listening and supporting the ScapeFu Podcast. As always, you can reach us at

Best personal regards,

Art Pennom

Direct download: ScapeFu041.mp3
Category:Hobbies -- posted at: 3:00pm CEST

Update and Housekeeping

Art explains the reason for the recent lack of episodes. He goes on to make some announcements:

  • Ask Art Podcasts wll now be released via the ScapeFu App
  • We will be doing a tribute show remembering Takashi Amano. If he influenced you, please tell us how. We will read your email on the air during the tribute show.
  • In order to keep future podcasts serving you, please let us know what you like about your aquarium and what you're not happy with. Please send us an email and let us know.



Direct download: ScapeFu040.mp3
Category:Hobbies -- posted at: 12:16am CEST

Modding Your Aquarium Cabinet

Jurijs and Art discuss how you can, and should, modify your cabinet to make it as beautiful as your aquarium.


Detailed Show Notes

Direct download: ScapeFu039a.mp3
Category:Hobbies -- posted at: 5:30am CEST