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Članci Početna » Intervjui na engleskom » Interview with Viktor Lantos
Interview with Viktor Lantos

At the very beginning, lots of greetings from the editors board and members of the first Croatian aquascape site and forum! Could you please start by introducing yourself?

First of all, thank you for interviewing me. It is a real pleasure to help with this and a honor to join to the prestigious interview series you have on this site.

My name is Viktor Lantos, an entrepreneur running Green Aqua LLC in Hungary, an aquascaping gallery and shop close to the capital of our country. From the internet many people knows me as an active aquascaper too, not a business owner, as this is my hobby too.

When did you first start being interested in aquascape?

Good question. Probably 5 years before. I kept aquarium for over 10 years, but I never felt that I need to do something with it to make it better. So it was mainly a fish tank with some plants. I spent my time in the advertising industry at that time as an art director and when I first seen tanks from Mr. Amano the artistic side of aquascaping caught me immediately. I wanted to try myself in this area too and pimp my aquarium at home. My business partner at Green Aqua had a blog about aquascaping around this time and this was the beginning of our story in aquascaping.

What did the beginning looked like? Have you read a lot and learned before the beginning?

The beginning was not easy. Only a few information was available at that time, but none of the tools and equipment. So I had to order everything from UK, Germany and Asia to start on it. I have to tell you, this was very pricey.

My first planted tank was more of a jungle, like many other guys. Started to learn about plants and its biology behind it. Scaping was not in focus around that time. Took a factory tank from Eheim and added in some things to start with. Also learned at that time how bad are some of the available equipment and lost quite a lot of money because of that.

So we sit down with 2 other guys from the Hungarian scene and started a discussion about having a local shop which has everything for this beautiful hobby and offer that to everyone.

You are also ADA distributor. How did you start the cooperation?

When we started our new venture this was not a question we wanted to sell ADA products too. Around that time the economy was very bad, and most of the premium brands was not available in our country. So we started to do a cooperation at that time with the ADA european distributor. Since that time ADA switched their strategy and every distributor is in connection with ADA Japan, like we do too, and we have a very good relationship with them.

But back to the original question, this was not easy at all to offer products and solutions which no one knows and understand. We spend most of our time to build up the local scene of aquascapers, a local community board, wrote many blogs and articles around these days, translated ADA publications too, to educate people.

Also started the first Aquascaping Contest to showcase the tanks from the local aquascapers.

We believe that Takashi Amano is a great role model to you too, so have you met him? What kind of person is he?

ADA model is great, if someone feels differently , he doesn't understand hobby at all. ADA is not just selling products and seeking for new clients from all over the world, but spend a hell lot of energy to educate people and marketing planted aquariums, aquascaping itself. Educate not only from the biology side and fish health, like most of the company did in the past, but also how to live the artist by yourself. At the end, it is up to you if you go with their products or with someone else’s, but I really appreciate any company that is making such an effort to keep up the interest in this hobby and continuously reinvent itself. ADA is not only Mr Amano, it is definitely a company to follow.

Unfortunately, I’ve not met with Mr. Amano yet. We were just so busy with all kinds of activity what we’re doing to make this thing work, that we did not had too much time to travel. Also last Christmas I got a baby so that’s limited my time even more. I had hoped I will meet with him at ADA Party this year, but we’ve been busy with exhibitions just before the party so I have to skip it again.

I am missing it, and hoping we can meet shortly.

Let's get back to you. Can you shortly explain your aquascaping philosophy?

Aquascaping for me is a creative fun. I spent a decade in creative position and I am kind of a guy who missed creative challenges after a time. Aquascaping is just for this. You can express yourself, your vision, your love to the nature. Aquascaping will teach you many things before you realize it. From plants, from biology, from nature. So a pretty nice learning curve til you get to a point to race with the bests. The best thing is that meanwhile you’re on this way, that you met with many people from all around the world and got so many friend. It’s a big family.

Where do you take your motifs from?

Usually from nature, but I also inspired by many aquascapers. I love that when people try something else, but stays on the nature side. Luckily the hobby itself collect many creative people from the world, so this is a never ending inspirational source for everyone.

Do you have algae problems at the beginning and how do you deal with them?

Honestly I still have them sometimes…but you know, algae is your friend. It reminds you that you’re not doing well your job and teach you new things many times. For me algae is more of an indicator that something is not working correctly, so you need more attention.

I think as you progress with scaping you will understand that some algae comes usually at cycling period, others based on your unbalanced setups or the missing maintenance work. And will learn how you can deal with all of them.

I usually do everything on my side to avoid algae attack. Try to prevent it with more maintenance and over filtration, also using Easy Carbo, Phyton Git and others when it’s needed.

How much light do you use in setups?

That’s one of the reason why I met with algae frequently. As I am a high light guy. Usually around 1W/L on all of my setups. Does not matter if it is an HQI, T5 or LED. We’re using all of them on our tanks.

Based on the past years’ experience seems like 7hr lighting period is sufficient with this much light, so we stick with that.

On our forum there was a interesting film where you were trimmed cuba. How do you maintain it and how much time does it take to become like that?

Ah yeah, that was once in a lifetime. Just kidding, but definitely the plant bring it’s best form in that tank. There were many factors which caused the success and most of them we’re using nowadays too on our other tanks. Not just Cuba is loving these conditions.

We used Aqua Soil Amazonia with Powder on top of that. HC is a CO2 lover so on that tank which was a 240L one we used an external reactor to inject CO2. The full setup was open so there was not any shady area and we used an extreme powerful ATI 4x54W over the aquarium.

What else was the success? Cold and soft water. We put an effort to have all of our tanks around 21-24 Celsius and using only RO water for water changes. Just adding back some minerals if that’s required. Cold water makes a miracle with many plants. For Cuba we used more frequent water changes too. Like 2x50% a week.

The setup was gorgeous, and HC become a real masterpiece in there, however there’s a lifetime for all these short root carpet plants before they lift off. We had it for like 8 months before the carpet started to float.

Maintain that tank was challenging. Trimming takes usually 2-3 hours including netting the leaf. The plant itself looks better when you do not trim it, so we tried to limit the trimming frequency to have a better appearance for our visitors.

Which liquid fertilisers do you use?

I am a big fan of ADA fertilizer line. As I usually use their system including soils etc.

It’s not that aggressive fertilizing method like EI type of fertilizers which we’re using too. So you will have more time between maintenances and plants will have a bit more redish hue because of the lower nitrate level.

I also use this as have many CRS shrimps and there the nitrate levels are critical to be lower.

But in our gallery we do use Tropica and Easy Life Profito too.

Your island scapes were amazing. Tell us little more about them.

Thank you. Island kind of compositions is not preferred on contests, maybe because it is harder to do well or too central type of thing (not meet the golden ratios). However comes very handy when you try to grow smaller plants around the corners. In central compositions you will have plenty lights around the corners so you can have any kind of plants there.

I do not think island type of scape works well in every tank. For me this looks better in a landscape versions like 120cm or 180cm size tanks.

If you do well your job, you will not feel that it is a ball shape or it is too symmetric.

Which of your setups is the best, according to you?

I would say always the latest, but there are some exceptions.

I love the Fly Above the Giant Cliff which become 80th at IAPLC 2011 because of the lovely HC carpet

I do loved my previous scape Asian Spirit which is now in the top 100 at IAPLC 2012 will see the final ranking on Saturday… wish me luck. (Placed 67.)

But the 2 latest running setups are also close to my heart. After I dismantled Asian Spirit I rescaped that a bit to low maintenance minimal style tank.

And the new forest scape which we have in our gallery – picture is taken after the setup.

How many tanks do you maintain now and how much time does it take?

At home only one a 240L tank. In our gallery we do maintain them together with my partners. But around 7 tanks on total.

How does your aquascaping photo session looks like? What gear are you using?

In the past years I upgraded my equipments so the current setup is a Canon 5D MII with 3 premium lenses including a 100mm macro a 17-40 which I am using mostly for tank shooting and a 50mm one. Also have a Bowens studio kit with 500W lights.

How a photo session looks like? I think gear is important just as the final quality, but sometimes more important to have your scape ready. So timing is a key especially if you have multiple plants with different growth rate.

For aquarium photos – full tank shot – I frequently use professional background with 1 or 2 bowens on top of the tank lighting. Or an additional light units with 4 T5 tubes which highlight the background. Depend on which looks the best. Seachem Purigen makes miracle on water clearness.

Usually do more maintenance before photo shooting, 2-3 water change that week. No water change before the photo session day. And only trimming a little before the final photos so try to do more trimmings a few weeks before the final photos.

How would you rate the Hungarian aquascape scene?

It’s growing nicely. I guess our investment and dedication works nicely. Also not just the number of scapers growing but the talended ones also. Which is also important to have key persons who inspire others.

The community board and the aquascaping contest also helps to boost the hobby, but there’s a larger group of people who do not spend time on forums and still active.

We’re getting better at least in the past few years Hungary become a spot on the aquascaping world map for sure. We’re sending aquariums to international contests and some of the tanks got recognized also in the scene. That gallery we built is kind of a meeting point for these people. Where they can meet each other, speak personally and gain inspiration. I can’t tell you enough how important is to have a place where you can relax and can see working examples, share knowledge.

In the end, we would like to thank you for the time you divided for us. Do you have message for our members?

Thanks for your too for interviewing me. If I can tell something at the end I would say that express yourself, do what is comfortable to you and not what is for the rest. Try many different things and share your experiences with others. This way you will learn much more than you would be alone. One of the best thing in aquascaping is the community behind it. And since we’re all different there are so many things to learn. Enjoy this journey and do not take it too seriously.

Thank you very much!

Author: Dario Horvat

Objavio lp u 09.11.2012 14:52
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