The ScapeFu Podcast







June 2016
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Today's question comes from Heather:

When do you trim leaves that are showing deficiency symptoms?

What is the proper way to trim plants?


If you'd like to leave a question for Art to answer on the Ask Art Podcast, please visit the Ask Art page for instructions.

Direct download: AskArt020.mp3
Category:Hobbies -- posted at: 7:00am CEST

Re-released of the long lost ScapeFu episode 2 with an interview with Ghazanfar Ghori.

Direct download: Scapefu002.mp3
Category:Hobbies -- posted at: 12:55pm CEST

This is the first episode of the ScapeFu Podcast. I'm re-releasing it as it has been lost to some of you since we migrated to our current host.

Direct download: Scapefu001.mp3
Category:Hobbies -- posted at: 12:44pm CEST

A nano tank can be alluring to a beginner. It's low cost entry point, the promise of easier maintenance, and it's ability to fit almost anywhere make the nano tank almost a no-brainer for beginners. After all, aren't we always taught to start small? It makes sense, right?

However, the reality is, nano tanks are not always easy. They bring some challenges. With less water volume, things happen quicker. Also, such a small footprint makes it difficult to aquascape.

Finally, finding the right plants, fish, hardscape and equipment for it can be difficult. In this episode, we share our thoughts on the pros and cons of nano tanks for aquascaping and give you tips and techniques that you can use if you choose to go the nano route.

Why would someone want to do a nano tank aquascape?

  1. It is cheaper given the smaller equipment needed and some equipment may not be needed at all
  2. People are less intimidated with a smaller tank when they are beginning.
  3. Your significant other may not approve a large tank when you're starting out. You need time to convince them that a bigger tank really is necessary.
  4. There is a myth that nano tanks take less work than larger tanks.

Challenges of a nano tank aquascape

Look at any aquascaping contest to see what work was the best in show and you will see that nano tanks are never represented.

  1. It is very difficult to properly aquascape a nano tank given it small dimensions.
  2. Given the small amount of water, things can go wrong very quickly.
  3. Maintenance is necessary on a more frequent basis.
  4. Finding plants, fish and equipment to fit the smaller size can be challenging.

Tips and techniques for aquascaping a nano tank.

Choosing the right plants

  • Mosses
  • Anubias nana petite
  • dwarf hairgrass Eleocharis acicularis
  • Cyrptocoryne parva
  • Hemianthus callitrichoides (HC)
  • Pogostemon helferi
  • Staurogyne sp. "repent"'
  • Bucephalandra spec
  • Marsilea hirsuta
  • Marsilea crenata
  • Eleocharis mini/pussila
  • Eriocaulons

Choosing the right hardscape

  • Choose hardscape dominant or plant dominant not both (ryuboku)
  • Don't forget detail work is still important in a nano

Perspective and depth

  • Are you after a detailed view of a small space or looking to make the nano seem bigger?
  • All elements must complement each other in terms of size, texture, color, etc.
  • Depending on the size, the rule of thirds may not make the work look better.
  • Keep it simple as complicated aquascapes tend to make the aquascape seem smaller

Fish choices for the nano Tank

  • ember tetra
  • Dwarf pencilfish
  • Scarlet badis (Dario dario)
  • celestial pearl danio
  • White could mountain minnow
  • Killifish
  • Solitary betta?
  • Blue neon (p.simulans)
  • Rasbora espei
  • Corydoras pygmaeus
  • Galaxy rasbora
  • Borara spec

Equipment for the nano Tank

  • Commercial
  • Roll your own
Carbon dioxide

Examples of good nano tank aquascapes

Diego Sandoval - nano tank aquascaper

Diego Sandoval is the master of the micro aquascaping. His works are amazingly small and amazingly beautiful.

The featured image at the top of this post is of one of Diego's magnificent miniature aquascapes. The work is entitled "Towards Destiny" as is a wonderful example of how proper scale can make a nano tank seem much larger than what it really is.

Please go visit Diego's site and marvel at his artistry. Tell him you heard about him in the ScapeFu Podcast.   Some of the links mentioned in the episode:

Bonus question from George Farmer

George Farmer‪ - "What's the best way to minimise equipment on show in a nano tank? Some aquariums are so small that any equipment at all looks very distracting. ‪Keep up the great work, guys!"   Thanks, George! Jurijs replied to George at the end of the episode but you're going to have to listen to it to find our what he said!


The best way to hear the ScapeFu Podcast and support the show is to download the ScapeFu App. As a bonus, you'll get the weekly Ask Art Podcast for free. Thank you for supporting our work!

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Direct download: ScapeFu052.mp3
Category:Hobbies -- posted at: 7:00am CEST

Algae Prevention & Elimination - How We Do It | ScapeFu051

In episode 51, Jurijs, JJ and Art share with you how they prevent and eliminate algae. If you've ever struggled with algae, you need to have a listen. And, it's Jurijs' birthday!

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • Can you win the battle over algae?
  • Sterilizing techniques including "cooking"
  • Best way to prevent algae
  • Maintenance crew examples
  • How we eliminate algae

Links mentioned in this episode:


  • Support the show and show your appreciation by downloading the ScapeFu App. It's the best way to listen to the show, get it before anyone else and also get the app-only Ask Art Podcast. iOS ScapeFu App | Android ScapeFu App
  • We want to hear from you! Reach us at


Direct download: ScapeFu051.mp3
Category:Hobbies -- posted at: 7:00am CEST

In the 18th episode of the Ask Art Podcast, Gabriel asks about slowing down an aquascape to a nice idle. Also, a sneak peak at the 31 Days to Build a Better Aquascape Challenge 2016.

Links mentioned in the episode:

Thank you for being a loyal listener and supporter of the ScapeFu and Ask Art Podcasts. We hope you are getting value and entertainment from them.

Other ways to support our efforts:

Direct download: AskArt018.mp3
Category:Hobbies -- posted at: 3:40pm CEST

Celebrating our 50th episode! We talk about re-scaping your aquarium. Jurijs, JJ and Art share how they re-scape with pro tips for you.

Re-scaping Your Aquarium

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Re-scaping is versus tweaking
  • How to prepare to re-scape correctly and avoid problems/mistakes
  • How you take apart an aquarium properly so that you can re-scape
  • How best to implement your re-scape
  • Tweaking for when you don't want a full reset

Links mentioned in the episode:

How about you? Have you done a re-scape before? Contemplating one? Tell us about it in the comments!


The best way to support the show is by buying the ScapeFu app. As a free gift, you will get access to all of the Ask Art Podcasts - my weekly show where I answer one of your questions. You can download the app by going to your app store: iOS ScapeFu App | Android ScapeFu App

We want to hear from you! Send us an email:

Direct download: ScapeFu050.mp3
Category:Hobbies -- posted at: 7:00am CEST

In episode 17 of the Ask Art Podcast, Art answers James' question on how to deal with BBA in some of his tanks.

If you want to send Art a question to be answered in the Ask Art Podcast, just go to

Direct download: AskArt017.mp3
Category:Hobbies -- posted at: 7:00am CEST

In 2015, the third edition of the European Aquatic Plants Layout Contest (EAPLC) was held for the whole of Europe. In this episode, Jurijs and Art share with you a behind the scenes look at at the EAPLC from their perspectives as event organizer/judge (Jurijs) and independent judge (Art).

In ScapeFu episode #49, you will learn:

  • The history of the EAPLC
  • The 2015 judges (what a group!)
  • How do judges go about scoring the works
  • What's in store for the 2016 EAPLC

Show Notes

We discussed 5 Reasons to Join an Aquascaping Contest in the past.

The 2015 Judges Panel:

  • ADA Japan (in deputy for Takashi Amano)
  • Oliver Knott (Germany)
  • Viktor Lantos (greenaqua Hungary)
  • Ralf Gerlach (Tropica,Denmark)
  • Dave Chow (China)
  • Luca Galarraga (Brazil)
  • Jurijs Jutjajevs (Germany) - Jurijs!
  • Art Pennom (USA) - me!
  • George Farmer (UK)
  • Adam Paszczela (Poland)

The 2015 Organization Team:

  • Boris Hildebrandt
  • Jörg Buhlmann
  • Jurijs Jutjajevs

The 2015 Sponsors:

This year Wabikusa category received almost twice amount of entries. This leaves no doubt Wabikusa is trending!

Platz 1 – Frederic Fuss (Germany)

Platz 2 – Andre Franken (Germany)

Platz 3 – Peter Slacka (Slovakia)

Platz 4 – Albert Escrihuela (Spain)

Platz 5 – Pedro Rosa (Portugal)

Platz 6 – Roberto Bielli (Italy)

Platz 7 – Enrico Fortuna (Italy)

Platz 8 – Wilco Piest (Netherlands)

Platz 9 – Sascha Hoyer (Germany)

Platz 10 – Miguel Angel Garcia (Spain)

“Less is more” is how to describe the Nano category. Presented works look huge and are more difficult to accomplish compared to regular sized aquariums.

Platz 1 – Frederic Fuss (Germany)

Platz 2 – Vladimir Tomek (Czech Republic)

Platz 3 – Alexander Maletin (Russian Federation)

Platz 4 – Mikolaj Weterle (Poland)

Platz 5 – Andre Franken (Germany)

Platz 6 – Daniel Nagy (Hungary)

Platz 7 – David Barandiaran (France)

Platz 8 – Swee Lim Cheah (France)

Platz 9 – Lajos Nincsics (Hungary)

Platz 10 – Tamas Janos Danicska (Hungary)

Finally the top 10 of the most desired category. Making a head to head race, the winner is Gregoire Wolinski! Three times in a row winning EAPLC is such a great achievement, for this reason we decided to nominate Gregoire Wolinski as a honor member of the judges board 2016.
Platz 1 – Gregoire Wolinski (France)

Platz 2 – Ulrich Poupin (France)

Platz 3 – Annika Reinke und Marcel Runde (Germany)

Platz 4 – Julien Voultoury (France)

Platz 5 – Michael Reinke (France)

Platz 6 – Olivier Thebaud (France)

Platz 7 – Serkan Cetinkol (Turkey)

Platz 8 – Amparo Piera (Spain)

Platz 9 – Grigoriy Polishchuk (Ukraine)

Platz 10 – Vladimir Trcka (Czech Republic)

For pictures from the EAPLC, please go to the main ScapeFu049 show notes page.

Direct download: ScapeFu049.mp3
Category:Hobbies -- posted at: 7:00am CEST

Professional aquascaper, George Farmer, joins Art to talk about the UK Aquascaping Experience taking place the 5th day of March, 2016. If you will be in the UK in March, I would highly recommend that you make an effort to attend. It's free.

There will be 4 events:

Have a listen and let us know if you go.

Direct download: UK_Aquascaping_Experience.mp3
Category:Hobbies -- posted at: 4:46pm CEST