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Članci Početna » Intervjui na engleskom » Interview with Diego Sandoval
Interview with Diego Sandoval

First of all, we would like to thank you for this interview Diego.

Please tell us a bit about yourself, a brief biography, other hobbies maybe?

I was born in Spain in a small town in the province of Murcia called Barqueros. In 1965 , when I was 5 years, my parents emigrated to France. Luckily for me, we went to area with canals and lakes. There I became interested in fish and other aquatic animals and my interest in the aquarium was born. The only problem was that my father didn’t allowed me to have fish at home otherwise I would surely buy aquarium. I managed to keep them in glass jars on the sly. At 1992, I got my first aquarium, because before my job (international truck driver) did not allow it.

One of my favourite hobbies (besides reading and music) is drawing, since I always liked to draw cartoons (caricatures). One of my last work is of Jordi Pelegrí.

How did you got involved in aquascaping?

I think more or less just like everyone else. Started with aquarium fish keeping and ended up keeping plants. For me, photos of Takashi Amano aquariums were decisive moment. I’ve always used to see Dutch scapes and was very surprised to se naturalness of Amano aquariums. Then I decided to try it myself. As usual, the first attempts were not anything special.

How many aquariums do you have right now? Does it take a lot of time to take care of them?

At present, due to this terrible crisis we are experiencing, I’m keeping just aquarium of 300 liters. Before I had 4 or 5 tanks at once. Keeping jut one is not very complicated, it doesn’t take much time for care.

Have you ever participated in aquascaping competitions?

I've only participated in the AAC 2010.

So "Mehirugi", 6 liters, 4th place in the category of Mini Aquariums

"Beyond", 300 liters, was 13th in Big Aquariums category

You're well known all around aquascaping community (and on our site also), for making great nano and pico tanks. What got you interested in them?

This question I have answered many times. It all came from a photo that I saw on the internet, R. Suzuki’s pico tank in a bird feeder. I quite liked that and started doing tests, which increasingly seemed to improve.

R. Suzuki:

This is the first pico of mine:

and these are the most recent...

The smallest Lerna Sigh:

Where do you find inspiration for setups? In nature, other scapes maybe?

Above all of nature, but anything can inspire me, a movie, even the sets for animated movies. It’s true that you can take the idea of other scapes , even a novice, and adapt it to your style .

Let's continue with a couple of technical question.

What substrate do you prefer for your setups, and why?

I have never enjoyed a large budget for my aquariums and I have always used cheaper substrates like Aqualit,. This substrate is always covered with a layer of natural sand from the river Loire (France). I've also tried some homemade manufacturing substrates with vermicompost. Among other things I tried also JBL Manado and Akadama .

About water: do you use r/o or tap water? What are the water parameters in your aquariums? Is it hard or soft water?

The tap water here comes with a hardness 36 of gh , 16 of kh, and 8 of pH (ideal for Tanganika fish), so to keep the majority of fish and plants I mix tap water with osmosis water to achieve a softer parameters. Goal is 6,8 to 7 pH, and hardness about 3 to 5.

And lighting, what kind of lights you use? How do you decide how much light to use?

In the aquarium of 300 litres, I use 4*55W T5 lamps. For 300 litres planted tank it is fair bit of light, but in reality this tank is not fully filled with water. The actual volume is around 200-230 litres. I’m usually guided by 1 watt per litre when choosing lighting.


Filtration? How do you choose filters?

In medium and large tanks I have always used Eheim canister filters. In nanos I’m using AquaClear filters. I sometimes use two filters, one with mechanical filtration and other with biological filtration. In 300l Lemuria I’m using EHEIM PROFESIONAL II 2028 with UV lamp in the outlet pipe.

What about water column ferts? Do you have any favourite brand or you use DIY ferts? Do you add them right from beggining?

I usually use complete fertilizers. In this last tank I didn’t start to fertilize until third month. I I had added only CO2 and KNO3 in water osmosis. The reason was that there were little plants and fear of algae. At the moment I have no problems with algae in this tank, and plants grow slowly and healthy.

How do you choose livestock? Do you have any favourite fish? When are the algae eaters intoduced in your aquariums?

Widely shoal fish are used in landscaping, but I like many other. My Favorites? Pseudomuggil, Iriatherinas or small perch type Badis "Dario "Elassomas etc. I've always liked the cichlids (Apistogramma, Discus) and also the fish of Lake Tanganyika. Also I was lucky enough to keep 6 Altums Orinoco, one of the most beautiful freshwater fish. I love the Killifish also.

As you can see my tastes are different from most Aquascaping fans. I've always had algae eating fish: in this last tank I opted for two Loricaria parva. I like also the Farlowela acus.

A few questions about photography…

What gear do you use for photography?
My gear is nothing special, simple compact SONY Cyber-shot DSC-HX1.

What is the procedure for a photo shoot? How much time does it take to do a photo?

I am not a photographer and my sessions are very simple. I’m not using any photographer tools, only simple panels or cards for the background and the aquarium lights.

  Fandango 300l

The first thing is to clean aquarium glass, than choose the background colour, filter tubes out etc. Latest tank is very difficult to light from behind because it’s very close to the wall, but I try to put something to give lighting from behind, closing the lamp to the wall. Once I've finished with that, I set up lights, tripod and than take many photos from which I choose the best.

Do you use Photoshop a lot?

I’m using PhotoDeluxe to correct brightness, contrast, to crop the photo, correct some little flaws, framing the photo and signature. Just enough to make it presentable. I also use PhotoDeluxe to draw with the Wacom.

At the end…

Your latest „Anti crisis tank“ is fabulous. Where did you find hardscape for it? Tell us a bit about it, please…

Thank you. A few months ago, I decided to remove all my aquariums and take a vacation, I had only about 300 litres and disassembled for storage in the attic. After cleaning, I wanted to re-create something in it, but problem was I only had a bit of moss and few more plants and no budget. Had also some stone OHKO, Loire sand, roots and branches of rosemary (which I use in almost all my tanks).

I’ve used stones to retain the wall. The rest is a bit of volcanic gravel and sand of the Loire, and below is the Aqualit. Once I've finished the hardscape, used more gravel to cover some areas. I think everything turned out natural.

Message for our members?

Greetings to everyone. I hope that you like what you’ve just read and I invite you to visit my aquascapeing blogs:

Thank you for interviewing me.

Author: Leonard Popovic
Objavio lp u 21.10.2011 14:28
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