Aquapetz: George, you are one of the well known names in the world of aquascaping. Please tell us, how and when you entered in this hobby.
George Farmer: In 2003 I bought my first aquarium, a Juwel Rio 125. A friend had a beautiful Malawi cichlid aquarium and my wife wanted to have something similar. I wanted to try a planted tank but failed terribly for the first year. I bought non-aquatic plants, didn't use proper fertilisers or CO2, too much light, lots of algae etc. But with perseverance an research, especially on the Internet, I found out how to grow plants properly. Then I discovered Amano's work and fell in love with aquascaping!
Aquapetz: Please tell us about your family background and profession.
George Farmer: I have an amazing wife and two beautiful daughters, Emily and Florence. We live in a lovely little village in the east of England where we are surrounded by green fields and woodland. It is a wonderful place to live. I work in the Royal Air Force as a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer in a technical trade as an Armourer. I am currently writing this interview whilst on a 6 month tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Aquapetz: I would like to know the view of your family members towards your hobby. What is your daily routine with aquariums?
George Farmer: My family all like a nice aquascape and a well-maintained tank but don't appreciate the amount of time I sometimes put into achieving this! I like my aquariums to be immaculately maintained all of the time so will usually spend 10 minutes for more every day on them, then over an hour or two per week, depending on the set-up. My daily routine is to add liquid fertilsers, feed fish, check fish health, check filter, check CO2, top up any evaporation (with RO water), prune plants (if required).
Aquapetz: Which one is your favorite aquascaping style and why?
George Farmer: Nature Aquarium. I love the feeling of peace and tranquility a good Nature Aquarium aquascape gives me. I realise they may not be an accurate representation of underwater life but I cannot deny their beauty and effect.
Aquapetz: Where do you get inspiration to develop a new aquascape?
George Farmer: Usually from other aquascapes. I don't copy entire designs but will use ideas. Sometimes I will have my own original ideas, but the hobby is so big now it's hard to come up with something new unless you want to go crazy! I have used scenes from nature before i.e. my Project Scree Iwagumi that was inspired by Welsh Mountains.
Aquapetz: How many running aquariums do you have at present? If possible, provide a short description with photographs.
George Farmer: I am not running any aquariums at the moment due to my tour of duty.
Aquapetz: Most of the aquascapers talks about the rule of “Golden Ratio”. What is your opinion about this rule? How do you try to implement in your aquascapes?
George Farmer: It is an effective guideline, especially for beginners but does not need to be forced. I position my focal points where I think looks best to me. Sometimes that is in accordance with the Golden Ratio or Rule of Thirds, sometimes not. If it looks good to me, then I'm happy!
Aquapetz: You also setups Biotope aquariums. What do you consider at the time of setting up a biotope aquarium? Which one is your most favorite biotope aquarium established by you? Please elaborate step by step.
George Farmer: Firstly I choose the fish I wish to keep, then design around the fish. Ideal water chemistry is a must, then choose the decor, substrate, plants (if any), tank size, potential tank mates etc. I like to use fishbase.org to select appropriately. My favourite biotope aquascape was an English Lake. It also won the 2009 AGA Biotope category contest. Here's a link - http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/c ... p?sid=3032