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Interview with Pasquale Buonpane

Interview with Pasquale Buonpane
by Óscar Pereiro

This is an Italian aquascaper well known in his country and the rest of the world …

Es el «occidental» mejor clasificado en el The International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest obteniendo la posición 22º… Sin duda un puesto que lo coloca entre los grandes del paisajismo mundial…
Participó también este año en el Acuavida Aquascaping Contest (AAC) quedando segundo de su categoría…

Sin lugar a dudas tuve la suerte de entrevistar a un maestro del paisajismo acuático…


Dear Mr. Pasquale, thank for dedicating us part of your time

Can you please explain us a little bit how is your daily life? I’m 40 years old and I’m the owner of a small garden center. I’ve always been interested in every kind of plants: I’m a succulents and carnivorous plants collector,so plants are both my hobby and my job. I like music (I’m a guitar player) and cycling.

I would like to know how and when you got into this world of aquariums. My first aquarium goes back to my childhood,although my tanks have always been full of plants I started with aquascaping in 2006 only.
That year I discovered the web and especially the Italian aquascaping forum that has radically changed my concept of the aquarium.


How many aquariums do you keep actually? How much time a day you dedicate to maintain aquariums? At the time I’m taking care of 5 tanks. Only one of them is in my house, the other four are in my workplace, so I spend most of my day with my tanks. I never calculated how much time a day, but I think it’s certainly a lot of time. I think I’m very lucky because I have the opportunity to take care of the tanks almost everytime they need my attention.

Where do you get the inspiration from when creating your aquariums? I simply try to be a good observer of nature: every leaf, every grain of a rock can teach us the secrets of the beauty of nature. I deeply love the mountains and during my walks I usually take pictures: often these pics are my best source of inspiration.


Do you follow any norm of standard proportion when you create you hardscape? I certainly follow the general rules, such as the golden section or the rule of thirds, but I think I can say I especially follow my instinct and my aesthetic sense.

Now, if you don’t mind, a few technical questions:

Which kind of substrate do you use? I use a lot of different materials, it depends on what I want to get. In large tanks I mainly use akadama.

Do you consider filtration as an important part? Filtration is certainly fundamental, especially in early stages of a tank, but I think equally important is a good movement of water: in my larger tanks I always add an additional pump to move water.

What else do you consider a must when setting up an aquarium? I believe that «time» is the keyword: the most important thing is to do things calmly, I believe that the haste is not a good quality for an aquascaper.

What kind of fishes and plants are your favourite for your creations? Lately I prefer to use only green plants with small leaves: it is difficult for me to use colorful plants, I find them unnatural.I generally prefer to use small, not too flashy fishes like small tetras.

Can you please briefly explain how you setup an aquarium from zero? I usually spend a lot of time to complete the hardscape, sometimes more than a week: I like to treat all the details and try many versions until I get the feeling that everything is in it’s right place. After filling the tank, I put all the plants in ,turn on all the technical equipment and immediately start fertilizing. I usually set a full photoperiod (about 10 hours a day) since the first moment.

What kind of fertilizer do you use? I used a lot of products in the past. Actually I use to prepare fertilizers by myself : that allows me to dose every element separately and very accurately.


Regarding you aquascaping vision:

In your opinion, in which country you see a bigger interest in the aquascaping? No need to say that the true aquascaping home, the place where it all started is Japan. However in recent years, other Asian countries like Vietnam and China are producing excellent works.

How is aquascaping in Italy? In Italy this wonderful hobby is constantly growing. In 2009 we were one of the European countries with more participants in the IAPLC contest, only Poland had more.We have a generation of excellent young aquascapers and I believe that soon we will hear about them.

Can you tell us a couple of aquascaper you like the most? I really like some works by Masashi Ono and Fumio Shiga .

Apart of aquariums, do you have any other hobby? As I said,I’ve always been interested in plants,I collect carnivorous and succulents plants. I love the mountains and nature in all its aspects.

I’m going to give you a list of word and you comment what comes to your mind:

Takashi Amano
The man where it all get started. I had the honor to hold his hand this year. My greatest desire is to be able one day to look at nature with his eyes, with the same sensibility.

Diana Walstad
An interesting method but not compatible with aquascaping.

A great way to spread Aquascaping.

Very important. I should improve my technique.

Forums without this forum I would never have achieved the results I got.

My first success, the second place in 2007: thanks to that contest I knew I was going in the right direction.

A passing phase of each aquarium.

An opportunity to confront yourself with the best aquascapers of the world.

An attempt to imitate the simplicity and beauty of nature.

Hemianthus Callitrichoides
The smallest of all.

That’s all Mr. Pasquale.

Thanks again and best regards

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