Author Archives: Aquarium Gardens

About Aquarium Gardens

Aquarium Gardens specialise in aquatic plants for planted aquariums. We stock the highest quality potted aquarium plants sourced from the best European producers. Orders are dispatched same day up until 3pm. You will also find a range of aquarium lighting, aquarium plant food, CO2 equipment for aquariums, manzanita wood and aquascaping tools. Please pay us a visit, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in contact, we will advise you with all your planted aquarium needs.

New Bucephalandra Plants

Have you heard of the plant that’s taking the aquascaping world by storm!? Bucephalnadra is a cracking aquatic plant now available widely in the trade. Previously this plant was hard to find, only through private sellers and independent growers. Now the likes of Dennerle, Tropica and Aquaflora are producing these beautiful plants on a much larger scale. This is great news for all aquascapers (we all love new plants!). It also means the price is far more affordable because they are more cultivated on a larger scale, thus lowering the price. We are now stocking Bucephalandra from just £5.99. You would have been paying in excess of £10 per plant before!

Bucephalandra are lovely plants, a bit like a mixture of Anubias and Cryptcoryne. They should be treated like Anubias though, by attaching to wood or rock. They are slow growers but over time can produce spectacular colours. They are ideal for low tech set-ups due to their lower demands and slow growing nature. Smaller varieties such as Brownie and Mini Needle Leaf are ideal in nano aquaria.

Take a look at our range below:

Bucephalandra spec. Brownie

bucephalandra-brownie_1

Bucephalandra Wavy leaf on Small Wood

bucephalandra-wavy-leaf-on-root

BUCEPHALANDRA SPEC. ´MINI NEEDLE LEAF´

30071_bucephalandra_spec-_mini_needle_leaf

Bucephalandra ‘Wavy Green’ bucephalandra-wavy-green

Bucephalandra sp. ‘Broad Wavy’ 

Bucephalandra sp. 'Broad Wavy' Tissue Culture - Dennerle

Spring Update – What’s New at Aquarium Gardens

Aquarium Gardens Spring Update

Scapers Tank

A lot has happened this Spring at Aquarium Gardens, we’re here to bring you up to date…

We’ve been working hard this spring, bringing in new products and plants in order to develop our range and service. We have also been working on our new aquascaping shop based in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. AND we have even held our first Aquascaping workshop with world famous aquascaper George Farmer! Read on for more info…

What’s new this Spring

Knife Stone per KG    Maple Leaf Rock per KG

Hardscape Materials 

We now carry a wide range of hardscape materials available to order online and collect in store. We have also installed a hardscape sandpit in store, meaning you can arrange your hardscape layout before you even make a purchase!

Aquascaping Workshop with George Farmer

Back in March we held our first Aquascaping Workshop in our brand new aquascaping shop. We were delighted to have George Farmer on board to deliver a wonderful introductory aquascaping presentation followed by an aquascaing demo. We had a full house to watch George in action. For pictures of the day and the finished aquascape, head over to our Facebook page. Stay tuned for future aquascaping events!

Come visit us…

We are extremely excited to bring our business to the shop floor. Based in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, our new retail shop offers customers the chance to visit us and view our range of plants, hardscape and aquascaping supplies. We also have on display a number of planted aquariums to inspire you (including a George Farmer aquascape). We’re on hand for help and advice. Head over to our contact page if you’re planning a visit.

Our Facebook page is also packed with pictures of our shop and plants, a great way to stay up-to-date with what’s happening.

Coming soon…

Look out this summer for more aquascaping supplies at Aquarium Gardens. We will be introducing a new range of aquascaping tools and some high quality glassware, including lily pipes, skimmer inlets, and nano glassware.  

Lastly we are super excited to announce we will soon be stocking a variety of freshwater shrimp at great prices, watch this space!

ORANGE-SAKURA.jpeg

New Products and Special Offers

Anubias Nana | Buy Online from Aquarium Gardens

Anubias Nana
Now £3.75 

Perfect beginner plant for attaching to wood or rock.

Lagenandra meeboldii 'Red'

Lagenandra Meeboldii ‘Red’

A great alternative to Crytocoryne plants. Broad colourful leaves and easy to care for.

Hygrophila 'Siamensis 53B'

Hygrophila Siamensis ’53B’

Forms an incredible amount of side shoots. The perfect fast growing supporting plant.

ReeFlowers AquaPlants All Inclusive 500ml

New plant food

Reeflowers all inclusive plant food is great value and contains all the nutrients your plants need.

Love Cryptocoryne? Then you’ll LOVE this…

When it comes to the most popular and easy to care for plants for aquariums, Cryptocoryne has to be number one. We have some excellent news for all Crytocoryne fans… this month we have a superb alternative plant that looks, and grows very similar to to most common Crytocoryne, but this plant has more colours! AND what’s more it’s 25% off until the end of May. Keep reading for more info….

Lagenandra meeboldii ‘Red’ is extremely similar to many Cryptocoryne. It’s like a broad leafed variety. It is also capable of displaying wonderful colours, ranging from pink new leaves, to dark violets, browns and greens in older more established leaves. The leaves can grow 4-8cm wide and 6-12cm long, so this plant becomes relatively wide once mature. It make’s the perfect focal placement plant. When surrounded by various smaller Crytocoryne, this would look very impressive!

What I love most, though, is anyone can grow this plant. Whether you’re a beginner or more advanced, this plant can be grown in a wide variety of conditions and tank set-ups.

To bring out the best in Lagenandra meeboldii ‘Red’, grow with high lighting, a nutritious substrate and CO2 injection. You will be rewarded with a spectacular array of colours, all on the same leaf normally.

Why not try this plant out now? This month we are offering a 25% discount, just because we love this plant so much! Click here to shop for this plant now.

Lagenandra meeboldii 'Red'

Aquarium Gardens plants in PFK

Featured this month in Practical Fishkeeping Magazine is an article on how to buy plants, and Aquarium Gardens are proud to have our plants taking center stage in the pictures.
It’s a great summery of what to look out for and essential tips when choosing plants. Pictures featured in this article are taken in our shop. So for anyone wanting to know what our plants look like before you buy them, go out and buy the latest issue of PFK for close up shots of our plant holding tanks as well as some great tips on plants from the author.

PFK How to buy plants

Hardscape Materials

In aquascaping, choosing the right hardscape is vital. Hardscape refers to the materials added to build the structure of your aquascape such as rocks, pebbles, gravel and wood. This part of the aquascaping process is often rushed or overlooked, but in our opinion is one of the most important things to get right in order to achieve a pleasing aquascape. Once the hardscape is placed in the aquascape it cannot be changed very easily, so take your time in choosing the right hardscape and everything else will be much easier.

We are working on building our hardscape selection, with more and more materials being added each month. We realise a good selection of hardscape can really help aquascapers achieve the desired look and provide inspiration to try new things and scaping with different materials.

So far our rock selections consist of…
Dragon Stone – A finely detailed rock with many crevices
Mini Landscape Rock – Mini Landscape Rock is used by many aquascapers and is one of the most desirable and widely used rocks in aquascaping.
Knife Stone – Unique form and fine textures
Lava Rock – Rough texture, perfect for planting mosses as it sticks easily.
Leopard Stone – Fabulous stone in a very special black and white optic
Fossilised Wood Stone -Multicolour fossilized wood. Colours from white over red and brown to black in the middle. Wooden structure can often be seen according to the annual rings.
Stonewood -S tonewood is a wonderful stone that instantly brings colour to an aquarium.
Maple Leaf Rock – Red/brown with think white veins. Web like apearance.
Picture Stone – Picture stone is a lovely pale yellow stone with veins that range for white to dark brown.

In our Aquascaping wood supplies we have…
Manzanita Wood – Manzanita wood is a very attractive wood with many twisted branches that adds beauty and character to your planted aquarium.
Standard Driftwood – Budget driftwood which is heavy and sinks easily.
Redmoor Wood – Redmoor wood is one of the most popular woods in planted aquariums. It’s brancy nature and interesting shapes make it very attractive in the aquarium.
Curio Wood
Talawa Wood
RiverWood
Sumatra Wood

We also carry a range of gravels and pebbles. See our hardscape section for a full list.

Here’s a superb example of what can be achieve with Manzanita Wood…

Manzanita Aquascape

We also love using Dragon Stone for Iwagumi aquascaping…

There are some truly stunning pieces of Manzanita Wood Available, this is just one of our many pieces with many branches…
iwagumi dragon stone manzanita-wood-large-968-p

 

Anubias Barteri Compact

Anubias Barteri ‘Compact’ – Now available at Aquarium Gardens

One of the most fascinating things about this hobby is the list of aquatic plants available nowadays is almost never ending. It is extraordinary the variety of plants out there, however it is still not that easy to get your hands on all of them from one place. That’s why we are constantly looking to increase our range, slowly bringing you more and more plants… which is great news for auqascapers as more plants mean more aquascaping possibilities!

This week we have added another new plant to our range. It’s always exciting when we get a new plant. I personally love waiting for new arrivals, wondering what they will look like and how I can use them in future aquascapes.

Let me introduce to you a wonderful take of one of our most popular plants ‘Anubias Barteri var nana’….This one is called Anubias Barteri ‘Compact’ 

As the name suggests, this variety grows more compact, and does not grow as tall as regular Anubias Barteri. Thus making ideal in smaller aquariums, where smaller Anubias varieties suit the scale in smaller tanks. This wonderful plant is produced by Aquaflora, one of our superb producers whom we source our plants from. Aquaflora produce some fantastic plants, and are always amazing quality and extremely healthy.

Like all Anubias, you should be tying this down to a piece of rock or wood (use fishing line or cotton). The roots will rot if buried in substrate. By attaching Anubias to wood or rocks, you are also making your planted aquarium look and feel more mature, as if the plant has been growing and grafting itself onto the wood for years.

Light fertilization will do for Anubias Barteri Compact, it is a slow grower so does not uptake nutrients very quickly. It will grow in low to high light tanks, and actually much prefers growing under the shade of other plants. This helps reduce algae growth on the slow growing leaves, which can often attract algae formations if left out in direct bright lighting.

If your a fan of Anubias, or just someone starting out in the hobby, this is a great plant to have. It is very hard to go wrong with it, and will serve you well for many years to come! You will find this plant on our website here.

Aquarium Test Kits You Can Trust – by ELOS

Like me, have you been disappointed with aquarium water test kits in the past? It can be very frustrating when you have spent good money on a test kit that deliver inconsistent and varying results. Some of the biggest complaints with test kits is they are hard to read, results vary, and performing the test is difficult.

ELOS has remedied these common problems. ELOS Water Analysis kits are test kits you can rely on. ELOS test kits are manufactured and tested to standards that are unparalleled in this industry. They use the highest quality reagents that are non toxic, and deliver accurate results every time.

The following test kits are recommend by Aquarium Gardens:

Here’s what makes ELOS test kits different:

Calibrated droppers: ELOS bottles are designed to provide a consistent drop size, which is a key element in testing – regardless of who is squeezing the bottle the drop remains consistent. Many less expensive brands will rely on the cheapest possible bottles, syringes and tips that can easily skew the test results.

While all chemicals should be considered dangerous and handled accordingly, ELOS uses the highest quality reagents that are non-toxic. All ELOS boxes, instructions and reagents are clearly labelled along with childproof packaging – that amazingly is not found in some of our competitors who base their kits largely on toxic chemicals!
Of course, it is more costly to use such a high grade of reagents, use proper packaging and labels, but we feel it is necessary. In some kits you will even notice a raised label for people who are vision impaired.

Validation of each Reagent batch: using NIST (National Institute of Standard and Technology) certified samples. While some may claim to use, ‘lab quality components’ in their kits, ELOS validates each batch of reagents using these NIST certified samples.

Careful batch management: all chemical test kits are susceptible to damage from extreme temperatures.  ELOS carefully ships and stores our test kits before they ship to the retailer or final customer. This is a vital step that often is neglected.

Written and illustrated instructions along with professionally calibrated colour charts (when needed) make it easy for beginners through to experts, to use the kit correctly. Expiration dates, batch and lot numbers in every kit and every reagent, allow us to carefully track – and when needed – assist customers with questions about their kit.

Nitrate ELOS test kit

 

For these reasons, we would not recommend any other aquarium test kit, ELOS is the way to go for accurate and precise results. For the full range (now 10% off until 30th November 2015) click here.

Get your plants faster for less….

New Courier Service Ensures NEXT DAY  Plant Delivery for Less!

 

We understand that today’s world is a busy one. And we understand that not everyone has the time to hang around waiting for their package to arrive that they ordered online… that could arrive at any point. Well, if you need a fast service that keeps you updated, then make sure you select our new express delivery service at the checkout.

We now use UK Mail to send express parcels, and it doesn’t cost the earth! An extra £3.00 (£2.00 for smaller packages) will guarantee next day delivery from day of dispatch. This means you know for sure that your order will arrive the next day, and what time it will arrive! UK mail will send you a text or e-mail on the morning of your delivery day, with an hour delivery window. This means you get a rough time of when your parcel is due to arrive. You can even go online and check how many more stops the driver has until he reaches you. Not bad!

If you’re spending over £50, you can upgrade to express delivery for just £2.99 (Free Standard delivery if express delivery is not selected). We think it’s well worth the extra £2.99 to ensure your order of this value gets to you fast.

This service is highly recommended for plant deliveries. Your plants will be in the postal networks no longer than 24 hours. This will ensure your plants arrive in optimum condition, and just as they left our warehouse….fresh, vibrant and bursting with life.

Suddenly decided that you can’t be at home to take your delivery!? No problem…go online using your tracking number and you can tell the driver where or who to leave your parcel with. If you have a neighbour who is happy to accept a parcel on your behalf then the driver is only more than happy to do so. You can even re-arrange your delivery if it suddenly become inconvenient.

What’s more, UK Mail offer a Saturday delivery service. So if you would prefer to receive everything fresh and ready for your aquarium on Saturday, then this is the best way to go! Select Saturday delivery at the checkout and we will ensure your plants get dispatched on Friday, and delivered on Saturday.

 

A breakdown of our deliver services below:

Service Delivery Time Cost Spend over £50 Sameday Dispatch Tracking Provider
Standard UK 1-3 days £3.99 up to 2KG

£5.99 over 2KG

FREE Order before 3pm No Royal Mail 1st Class
Express UK Mainland 1 day after dispatch £5.99 up to 1KG

£6.99 over 1KG

 £2.99 Order before 2pm Yes UK Mail
Saturday Delivery UK Receive on Saturday Calculated at checkout Calculated at checkout Order before 2pm Fri Yes Royal Mail / UK Mail

 

Full delivery details: http://www.aquariumgardens.co.uk/delivery-14-w.asp

 

We think this is an unbeatable service that doesn’t cost the earth. There’s absolutely no reason why your plants should not arrive as they left us. So for fast, convenient delivery, choose express delivery…your plants deserve it! 🙂

Two new plants…

 

Today we have added two wonderful new species of aquatic plant to our range. These plants have been added to our range purely because recently we have had many requests for these plants by our customers. Well, if the customer would like to see these plants at Aquarium Gardens then we certainly do our best to get hold of them.

Remember, if there is something you would like to see at Aquarium Gardens, get in touch as we will do our best to source it for you. Our nurseries grow many many types of plants so it is highly likely we get hold of most plants you require. If we get enough requests for a particularly plant then we will stock it permanently.

We think both these plants have a lot to offer, so here they are:

 

Echinodorus magdalensis

Echinodorus magdalensis

Limnophila aromatica

limnophila aromatica

When to turn on your aquarium CO2…

CO2 is the single most important factor when growing plants in an aquarium (aside from light), and often the hardest to master. If you’ve never used CO2 before, one of the first things you might ask is when do I turn the CO2 on and off?

First of all, to be able to automatically turn your CO2 on and off requires a solenoid on your regulator. The solenoid allows you to determine exactly when your CO2 comes on and when your CO2 goes off. All you need to do is plug in your solenoid to a standard plug timer and set the timer when you want the on/off times. All our regulators come with a solenoid (I don’t see any reason why anyone would buy one without?). When to set the on/off timer is a common question we get!….

Setting the CO2 on/off times is easy, choosing when the best on/off times requires a bit more thought and experimentation! One’s thing for sure, the CO2 MUST come on before your lights do. This allows the CO2 levels inside your aquarium to build up to the required levels for your plants to grow. The accepted level of CO2 which is enough for plants to grow well and safe levels for fish is 30 parts per millions. The level of CO2 in your aquarium can be measured using a CO2 Drop Checker, a simple device which changes colour depending on the concentration of CO2 in your aquarium water. A green indication means you have the correct concentration of CO2.

So you’ve set your CO2 to come on before your lights come on, great! Next thing to do is to determine HOW LONG you need to turn it on before your lights in order to achieve the required levels of CO2 concentration for your plants (30 parts per million, GREEN indication on your drop checker). Depending on your tank set up, your CO2 ON time can vary quite a lot. The size of aquarium, type of diffuser, amount of surface agitation and your pattern of circulation can all effect the time you need to turn your CO2 on in order to achieve a green drop checker. The amount of time could vary from 1 hour up to 5 or more hours!

I would suggest doing a test whilst your lights are off and before you add fish. Try starting with 1 bubble per second and see if your drop checker has changed colour after an hour. If not, what about after 2 hours? 3 hours?  Try increasing your bubble count. Larger tanks will need more bubbles per second (measure using a bubble counter). Have you reached a green colour on your drop checker now? Excellent! If it has taken 3 hours for your drop checker to turn green by injecting 2 bubbles per second then set your CO2 timer to come on 3 hours before your light do.

Having the correct amount of CO2 when your lights come on is crucial for your plants. The beginning of your light period is the most important, you want your plants to start well. If not, they will be constantly trying to catch up with themselves for the remainder of the light period.

When you finally add fish, be sure to keep an eye on them during the first 1-2 days. CO2 toxicity kills, but only if we go above a certain level. A yellow drop checker could mean your fish suffering, keep an eye on this and adjust if necessary!

As for turning your CO2 off…try turning it off 30mins – 1 hours before your lights go off. Plants will use any remaining CO2 and after this the levels will start to drop. Plants do not use CO2 when they are not photosynthesising. So save yourself some CO2 and prevent gassing your fish by turning it off just before your lights.

You can find everything you need to get started with CO2 (minus the bottle) on our website by searching for CO2 Kits or by clicking here. Our CO2 kits contain a quality regulator, solenoid, diffuser, bubble counter and some CO2 tubing. Don’t forgot your drop checker kit too!