'5 Minutes With....'

As we near the end of our first series of exciting #5minuteswith interviews with some inspiring members of the fish-keeping community, we welcome Mark Goodwin AKA @geordiescaper to answer our quick-fire questions and share some of his aquatic journey with us!

Hi Mark, thanks for talking with us today, we can't wait to hear what you have to say so lets get started! To begin I must ask my favourite question, when and why did you get into the hobby?

Hi Matthew, thank you for getting in touch to do this blog, I'm flattered! I used to love to help my Dad out when I was a kid, with his Japanese style ponds with Koi Carp. I used to care for the fish and also enjoyed helping with the cleaning and maintenance of the filters etc. When I got my own place I only had a small yard so was unable to have a pond, instead I bought myself an aquarium (around 120 litres) which I had a few poor plants in, and a community of tetra, cories and rasboras. I failed miserably with the plants but did well with the fish and water quality etc. Over the years I kept different fish but always fancied a planted tank so I started some research, and came across Takashi Amano's work, this was around 2007. I was attracted to the Zen aspect because of my love for Japanese style gardens and was mainly drawn to the rock scapes (iwagumi). I later came across the forum UK Aquatic Plant Society (UKAPS) and signed up to learn more.

Wow, you have been in the hobby for quite some time then! It's great to hear that you first got interested because of your Dad! Seeing as you're so experienced what would you say is your favourite piece of equipment or product and why?

Mmmmm bit of a tough one because there's so much good equipment out there! I'm going to go with my two favourite filters:

-Favourite canister filter is the #OASE Biomaster Thermo series because the pre filter is so easy to clean and maintain, love the built in heater and it's made of very high quality materials.

-Favourite Hang on the Back (HOB) filter is the #Seachem Tidal Series because again a breeze to clean and maintain, I find it virtually silent because of the internal pump which is made by a well known Italian pump manufacturer called Sicce.

Superb recommendations, thank you! What or who has motivated and inspired you to continue participating in this hobby?

My main motivation is the therapeutic side of the hobby. I'm not ashamed to say (although I used to be) that I suffer from Clinical Depression, Anxiety and Insomnia. Alongside our amazing NHS and medication etc, this hobby and my Youtube channel give me something to really focus on, keep me occupied and help me relax. I have also met some amazing like minded folk in this hobby, and they have been super supportive which motivates me even more.

The two most influential people for me are likely most peoples in this hobby. The late great Takashi Amano; the Nature Aquarium style he created will always be my favourite style. I still binge watch the ADA YouTube channel and flick through his inspirational books daily. Second is George Farmer; because of his hard work and passion he has put UK aquascaping on the map, he really pushes the hobby and shows huge support for Aquascaping Specialist Stores around the country. I recently had the opportunity of meeting him at my local store; Horizon Aquatics. We had an awesome day, he's a great guy.

It's brilliant to hear that this hobby is helping you with your mental health and wellbeing, it is such a benefit to so many people and the community is so inspiring. It's also amazing that you met George Farmer, I'm so jealous!

How many tanks do you have and what’s your favourite one? Do you plan on getting any more, if so what kind of scape would it be?

At the minute I have 3 tanks running, 1 to scape and 2 more coming soon. My favourite scape at the minute is my #Juwel Rio 240 low energy setup. My favourite tank is my Evolution Aqua Aquascaper 600 which will be scaped very soon. This one will be ADA inspired, true Nature Aquarium Style with CO2 injection.

Sounds like it will be beautiful, I can't wait to see it! Out of all the fish you’ve kept over the years what is your favourite and why?

I'm a bit of a tetra geek, I love most of them but if I had to pick a favourite it would have to be the white fin Bentosi Tetra (Hyphessobrycon bentosi). Wanted them for years but only just got a school. I have them in my Juwel Rio 240.

They are a beautiful fish and so striking! Finally, your YouTube channel is becoming a big hit! What’s your plans for it for the future and what should people look out for?

I'm over the moon with how the channel is going. I'm so lucky to have support from an amazing store with awesome owners James and Nicole at Horizon Aquatics. I've recently been made the UK's first #Seachem Brand Ambassador which is amazing and there will be some great work ahead with those. As mentioned before I am working on my gallery which will eventually have around 6 scapes in there and provide plenty content for the channel. Eventually, I would like to travel and visit other stores and aquascapers around the world. That's what my channel is aimed at: 'sharing my adventures in aquascaping'.

Congratulations on becoming a brand ambassador and we look forward to seeing your new gallery! I love the 'adventures in aquascaping' concept, it sounds so interesting!

Thank you so much Mark, for speaking with us today and giving us an insight into your world, we wish you all the best for the future!

If you would like to see more of Mark and all his amazing adventures follow him on Instagram @geordiescaper and subscribe to his YouTube channel Geordie Scaper.

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