'5 Minutes With....'

Welcome to the first in an exciting series of interviews with some inspiring members of the fish-keeping community. Here, we ask some quick-fire questions to gain insight into their backgrounds, their preferences and their creations. Read on and find out more, in ‘5 Minutes With…….Martin Hultberg’!

Hi Martin, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions today and being the first in our new series of interviews! We can’t wait to hear more about you, so let’s begin…..

Firstly, how long have you been interested in the hobby and how old were you when you got your first fish tank?

Hi, Matthew, thanks for inviting me! I started planning my first aquascape in September 2018, and it was ready in late December the same year. Before that, I only had an aquarium when I was 20, but it was empty with 6 Piranhas and I had no clue what I was doing! For me, starting my aquascaping journey was to get a hobby, and to have balance between my work and private life. I couldn’t imagine how much it would give me and I’m really happy I got into the hobby.

Brilliant, it is an amazing hobby! Now that you’re more knowledgeable, what is your favourite fish and aquatic plant?

Since I’m quite new to the hobby I can’t really say I have a favourite fish or plant since I’m still exploring and learning a lot. But if I had to choose, I really like the Eleocharis and Java ferns. When it comes to fish, it depends on the style of the scape. In my first scape, I was really into Hemigrammus Rhodostomus (Rummy Nose Tetra) since I love the minimalistic look of that species and I loved how it accented the green plants. In my current scape, I have created a river-like scape and found that Celestial Pearl Danios fit really well since they remind me a lot of river trout. For me, it’s about reflecting nature rather than creating fairy tale-like scapes. That’s just what I like.

That’s really interesting, I love that you think it’s important to reflect nature! What advice would you give to someone who is new to the hobby? Or what is the best piece of advice that you have ever received?

I would probably say that reading, learning and planning before setting up an aquarium is key. Also find a mentor (I have one I met on Instagram). Having a theme for your scape is really important as well, it helps you be creative within that frame. The best advice I ever got was probably to use RO water. It changed my game completely. You get total control over the water parameters. But as a whole I’ve learned that every detail matters. The quality of the substrate, the filter, co2 with right amount of light and plants, balanced with fish. If you leave one thing out, the balance of the tank will suffer. Last but not least, learn about the cycling process. It’s kind of where it all starts.

Wow, that’s a lot of brilliant advice! You’ve clearly learnt so much over the last 2 years, so who or what has inspired you?

Other scapers in the community and of course the grand master himself, Mr Amano!

Of course! I'm sure lots of people would say the same! We can see you have recently been working on a new setup… what is next for the scape?

My next setup is to revive my 120x50x50 tank. Since I already have a few tanks, I want something very easy to maintain. It will be with dragon wood, seiyru stone, Java ferns and different kinds of anubias. It’s a bit big to add RO water but I’m confident I can handle the balance.

Sounds exciting, I look forward to seeing it! Finally, completely off topic, I see from your Instagram that you have a really cute dog, what is his name?

My dogs name is 来福 (LaiFu). You might wonder why he has a Chinese name. Well, I’m a Swede living in China since 2012 and 6 years ago I adopted him. He was living on the streets and used to visit my friends’ home. He brought him to the office, and I fell in love on the spot. The name means ‘Luck’ or ‘The arrival of happiness’. In Chinese culture, when adopting a stray dog, it’s considered that it will bring you luck.

That’s amazing, I hope he brings you lots of luck! Thanks for answering our questions and we wish you all the best!

To see more of Martin’s work follow him on Instagram at @aquaescapeartist

Stay tuned for our next interview coming soon!

All images © @aquaescapeartist

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