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Članci Početna » Intervjui na engleskom » Interview with Norbert Sabat
Interview with Norbert Sabat

First of all, tell us something about yourself, where do you come from, what do you do?

I'm civil engineer - I calculate building structure with FEM (Finite Element Method) and made it “possible to build”. I also work a lot in CAD programs. I'm not married yet and don't have kids.

When did you take up aquascaping more seriously?

Honestly, I never really treated the planted aquarium hobby very seriously but there was something that always pulled me towards it. I had my first aquarium in my childhood that my father took care of. Later on I took a break from fishkeeping for 12-13 years up until 2002 when my sister received a goldfish in a fish bowl from her friends on her 18th birthday. For some reason, I started to take care of that fish by changing the water every 2-3 months, feeding it, etc. It wasn't a large responsibility but for many aquarists (although nobody will admit to it) it all started with just a goldfish or a Siamese fighting fish in a small cup.

In the summer of 2003 something pushed me to buy the poor goldfish a regular rectangular aquarium. Unfortunately, the goldfish was not too happy in its new home so it was soon moved back to the fish bowl but new fish went into the aquarium (Neons, Rams and Corydoras). It was a classic beginner tank as it was overstocked, under filtered, low light, and very poorly planted. At that point I was not even thinking of a planted fish tank, to tell you the truth. I never even knew that planted aquariums even existed!

Everything changed in the Fall of 2003 when I got hooked up to the internet and started to learn about this hobby. One day I surfed to a site that had pictures of planted tanks (Amano style and Dutch style) and it left a deep impact on me. At that point, I thought that in order to create a fish tank of that magnitude you needed an unbelievable amount of determination and knowledge (plus I thought that people that created these tanks were from another world).

My passion grew larger and in January 2004 I started a 100x40x45 cm tank. Over the next few months my fascination with Japanese planted tanks grew very rapidly. As a result, in April 2004 I changed my fish tank over to a planted tank (I installed more lights, Co2, started to fertilize etc). This is how it basically started for me.

How did your first scapes look like?

The first major aquarium was 100x40x45. There was a big gravel, one root, coconut husks and a few plants. Nothing special but then I did not know that there is such a thing like planted aquarium.

What motivates you in this hobby?

Not a lot of stuff motivates me. Aquascaping is just one of several of my hobby so it has to compete with photography, running, cycling.

Spring is coming so there will be better things to do. I don't thinking much about aquascaping and about my home tank - this is only nice part of my room and sometimes I enjoy the hobby.

Recently, with a group of friends we created a magazine about aquascaping - "Liquid". I hope this magazin will be avaliable in english very soon.

How much time do you spend on aquascaping?

Is about 1 hour per week, the majority of the time I spend on the water change in the aquarium and nursery operations associated with it (cleaning glass, trimming etc.)

Do you first make sketches or do it from your head?

I never make sketches of my layouts. I have in mind some vague vision of the future but I do not make arrangements with this philosophy and never any of my work was even close to half of what I came up with in my head.

What size aquariums do you mostly use and why?

For several years I used 90x45x45 because it is a universal size where you can do any kind of arrangement, and it was the largest aquarium that I could fit in the room. I currently have a home tank 120x60x50cm. It was also the largest aquarium that I could fit in the room. I like aquariums with windscreen aspect ratio between 1:2 and 1:3 and wide that you can get great depth. I do not like tall tanks. I would love to have an aquarium 180x60x60 but I can not afford on such a large tank. In addition, such a large tank requires a huge amount of material (large rocks and roots).

How much attention do you pay to filters? What is your general opinion on filtration?

Filtration is important to keep the water clean. I don't pay much attention to biological filtration in external filters. It must be remembered that after all many bacteria live in the soil in tank. With 50ltr of soil we have great biological system. Currently, in my 360ltr tank I use two filters eheim 2028 and I think that it is sufficient filtration.

Lately, people here use restricted (lower) flow in aquariums more often. What is your opinion on this?

The movement of water is needed for the distribution of CO2 in the reservoir. I do not like when flow is too strong but it can't be too small(when see no movement in tank).

Which type of filter material do you use?

I am using the standard fillings offered in eheim filters like ehfimech, sponge and substrate pro. I do not like to combine. Any indifferent (neutral) material is good.

Which soil do you use?

Right now mostly Aquatic Nature Prosoil, in past i use ADA Amazonia and in future I will try Elos soils.

Do you use diy fertilisers or the commercial ones? When do you start fertilising?

Usually I use a DIY macro and commercial micro fertilizer. Potassium fertilization usually start from the start and after 2weeks I add macro nutrients and micro. Start from 1/3 recomended dosage.

Which hardscape do you use and why?

I like both: stones and roots but mostly I used stones in my layouts. I value the most Manten stones because have a unique structure and in Poland it's hard to get something similar appearance. In my opinion it's worth paying a lot of money even for the good stuff. Such material is purchased for the years and can be repeatedly used in several versions. For example: same big Manten stone i used in 3-4 of my layouts.

Which plant is constant in your scapes and why?

I think it's moss and Rotala Moss is ideal for creating detail and shading some things. Rotala... just like it. Was the main theme of my work in 2004 and it stuck. I like it and it's easy to form.

How much light do you use (t5, hm, led)?

In my tanks I use T5. HM is cool but it must be suspended high above the tank and this is problem because sitting on the couch at the aquarium light glare. This bothered me so much so in the new tank I used fluorescent lamps. With fluorescent I choose a temperature about 6000-7000K. LED technology is still new and not fully convince me. Of course there is a lot of progress in the LED but I prefer to wait a year until it can be more develops.

You are known as a genius photographer. Which equipmnet do you use?

Heh. I like to shoot and walking in the mountains. I'm using Canon EOS 7D and EOS 5DmkII with a few lenses, but most of them do not use in the aquarium photography. It will be hard to take photo of tank with 300mm prime lens. My main lens to the aquarium is 24-70/2.8L and 17-40/4L. I use flash 400Ws with softbox.

Could you describe how you take photos of tanks? Which tehniques do you use?

This is not a philosophy. First of all, prepare a little aquarium - the day before the session I clean glass inside, the sand, I do cosmetic trimming and water change. Before the session, clean the glass from the outside. I use the camera on a tripod with the remote switch and radio triggering system that provides wireless communication between camera and flash. On the lamp mount the softbox with bovens system. I'm trying to set the frame in camera to be visible entire aquarium and about 5 cm on each side. I put a plate on the tank that covers the flash and softbox which reduces unwanted reflections. Once I took out glass pipes in the photo time but now I do not want to. Typically I take photos with f7.1 or f8, ISO200-320, 1/125s.

Do you work on photos later on? What do you adjust and how much?

Yes, usually I correct picture. I always photograph in RAW format and later work on it - I correct exposure, recovery, highlights, lights, darks, shadows, color temperature, color saturation, sharpness and image geometry (leveling, errors perspective like distortion).

Your videos are fascinating. What do you use for filming and which programme do you use for post-production?

Thank you. I use the same equipment as for photography: canon 5DmkII + 24-70/2.8L. Everything I offer later in edius. I use tripod and some moving stuff but i don't want say what it is. I keep it in secret.

In the end…

What could you advise to those taking up this unique hobby?

Think about what you want to do in the aquarium. If you already know it, try to do it. Do not worry about failure, because failure of learning. Think about it a few times before you choose aquarium equipment. Be patient.

Which aquascaper is your number one and why?

Takashi Amano. There are many great aquscapers and everyone has something interesting to present so I do not want anyone to stand.

One word assocciations: nature, life, water, camera, son, aquascape?

nature - mountains

life - love

water - huge

camera - lens

son - successor

aquascape - painting

Your message to hraquascape members?

Success. Do not think so much about the contests but more about nature. Enjoy hobby.


Author: Dario Horvat

Objavio lp u 26.04.2013 13:42
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