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Interview of George Farmer.

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:36 am

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 to select appropriately. My favourite biotope aquascape was an English Lake. It also won the 2009 AGA Biotope category contest. Here's a link - ... p?sid=3032


Re: Interview of George Farmer.

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:44 am
Aquapetz: Please tell us about your achievements, awards in the hobby.

George Farmer: Since 2006 I have been a regular contributor to Practical FIshkeeping Magazine. I co-founded the UK Aquatic Plant Society ( in 2007 that now has almost 8000 members and 12 sponsors. I judged the AGA 2008 Aquascaping contest with Takashi Amano and others.

Aquapetz: Now we are moving towards planted setup. What do you consider at the time of setting up planted aquariums? Please explain step by step.
George Farmer:
1. Decide your budget and spare time for maintenance. This will determine aquarium size and set-up (lighting, CO2, fertilisers etc.)

2. Plan your aquascape design. Sketch it.

3. Select your hardscape (decor). Take time to choose the best pieces and position them in a dry tank.

4. Select your plants. Ensure they are appropriate for your set up.

5. Install a good substrate and position your hardscape for the final time.

6. Fill with water up to the top of the substrate.

7. Prepare your plants and plant with with aquascaping tweezes.

8. Fill with water and start filter, CO2, lighting, fertilisers etc.

9. 2x 50% water changes per day for first 2 weeks.

10. 1x 50% water change per week after 2 weeks.

11. Add fertilisers every day and ensure CO2 is excellent.

12. Add fish after 3 weeks. Ensure CO2 is not too high.

Aquapetz: Aquarists use different decorative materials such as rocks, woods, gravels etc to setup planted aquariums. In your opinion, which one is most important material to bring nature in the aquarium?

George Farmer: It depends on your design and how you wish to interpret nature. Iwagumi will use only rocks to good effect. Driftwood layouts can be great with stone, and driftwood only can be great. There is not one more important than the other, as they are all important in their own way. It's how they interact with the plants and the design as a whole that's most important.

Aquapetz: Which one is your most favorite planted aquarium developed by you? Please provide a growth journal of that tank.

George Farmer: Project Scree ( ... 201952680/)
Here is the growth journal











Re: Interview of George Farmer.

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:50 am
Aquapetz: Which are your most favorite Fish, Plant, Fertilizer, Substrate, Equipments, Aquascapers?

George Farmer:
a. Fish - Altum angelfish (P. altum)
b. Plant - Cryptocoryne spp.
c. Substrate - Plain quartz sand (Unipac)
d. Fertilizers - Tropica
e. Equipments - ADA, TMC, Hagen, Dennerle
f. Favourite Aquascapers - Takashi Amano, Cliff Hui... so many brilliant Europeans now too. My favourite UK 'scapers have to be James Starr-Marshall or Stu Worrall at the moment.

Aquapetz: Please provide some tips for newbies in the hobby who want to follow you.

George Farmer: Join a good forum. is one of the best in the world. Read a good magazine/website. Practical Fishkeeping has some great planted tank and aquascaping articles. Listen to those you respect in the hobby.

Aquapetz: Any new insight that you might have gained that you did not get from anywhere but from your own experiences that you can share with others?

George Farmer: Experiment with different ideas, different equipment and different techniques. Don't just blindly follow others. Learn patience and learn that algae will eventually go away if you look after the plants properly and keep a well-maintained tank. Keep a clean filter!

Aquapetz: Any new methods that you might have devised of growing plants and keeping fish more easily in the conditions you encountered personally?

George Farmer: Dose fertilisers every day, little and often, even if the instructions on the bottle say otherwise. Change lots of water after any maintenance. Clean the filter every week. Buy the best gear you can afford. It is a wise investment and will save in the long-term.

Aquapetz: We would like to know about Uk Aquatic Plant Society.

George Farmer: Founded in 2007 by a group of 4 friends. Tom Barr let us use his forum to host our sub-forum. Now we have our own site ( and very active forum that is frequented by world-class aquascapers and plant growers, as well as total beginners. We have travelled all over Europe to various events. Our mission is to promote the planted aquarium and aquascaping hobby to the UK and beyond.

Aquapetz: Any message for members you might have?

George Farmer: Keep it fresh, keep it real! Thank you for interviewing me. I wish you all a rewarding path with your aquariums and hope you can inspire others to get involved. Let's get planted tanks in every home possible!

Please follow me on Twitter - @TheAquascaper
Photos -
Facebook -


Re: Interview of George Farmer.

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:24 am
by prajjwal
Thanks to George and Aquapetz for the interaction. It feels great to know him closely. Never knew that he is in force. We hope to see some his new creation very soon.



Re: Interview of George Farmer.

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:34 am
by himansh
nice and informative share.

Re: Interview of George Farmer.

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:35 am
by Abhishek
Lovely Interview there :)

I am not into aquascaping but respect his work a lot :) And also the way he manages his call of duty and other responsibilities so well deserves just Respect!!!

Re: Interview of George Farmer.

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:37 am
by parthapratim22
Beautiful interaction. Lovely explanation.

Thanks Mr George.

Re: Interview of George Farmer.

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:45 am
by Arjun Tandon
wow! learnt a lot from your post scorpio. Thanks

Re: Interview of George Farmer.

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:00 pm
by zico_aqua
getting an interview from George is like wow! thanks one my utmost respected scaper from my side!

Re: Interview of George Farmer.

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:58 pm
by maaz
WOw great info..thanks for sharing your knowledge and experiences Mr. George