Thanks for the responses guys. I've spent the past week planning my tank. I've drawn up a really bad planogram in paint, which isn't even symmetrical, but it should give you guys (and anyone else that wants to throw in their 2c... I would appreciate it) a rough idea of what I’m going for here.
Now, let me explain this mess. Tank Parameters:
850mm long, 580mm high and 440mm deep.
165L/44US G Fish Species:
15x glass bloodfin tetras
2x bolivian rams
1x angelfish Plant Species:
Amazon Sword (Bleheri)
(Brown section): El Natural substrate: The brown coloured section represents the El Natural substrate portion of my tank, as outlined here
. The bottom portion will be an inch of unfertilized natural top soil. Ontop of this there will be an inch of dark brown gravel (it won't be a uniform colour but it will probably be darker than what's contrasted in my picture).
(Black section): Black silica sand: The black section represents black silica sand, which is preferable over gravel for dwarf cichlids. It will comprise the foreground.
The substrate will gradually slope from the back of the tank down to the front. Plants
(Corner Green): Thin Vallisneria
: The green patches in the corners represent heavily planted sections of thin vallisneria.
(Black Curved Lines): Driftwood: The black curved lines towards and overlapping the green corners represents pyramids of drifwood.
Note: While the corners will be heavily planted with thin vallisneria, there will also be bunches of vallisneria in-between and around the driftwood.
(Single Curved Green Line Outwards to the corners): Dwarf Hair Grass
: The Single green line that is bowed outwards from the corner represents the dwarf hair grass that will be planted in front of and around the pyramids of driftwood, comprising the midground/foreground.
(Centrepiece Dark Green Square): Echinodorus Bleheri
: This plant will form the centerpiece of the tank as it grows quite large and looks amazing. There is not much more to say about it. While it is slightly off center in drawing, make no mistake about it, it will be in the dead center of my tank.
(Lemna minor): My single floating plant is not present in this planogram. No, I am not crazy. I'm going to be putting duckweed into my tank! Firstly, because it isn't an enormous tank or pond, I’ll be able to quite easily pull out the portions of duckweed that are blocking light from my floor plants on a weekly basis. Secondly, I'd much rather have duckweed running rampant in my tank than algae. Thirdly, aquaone tanks have lights already pre-installed. This plant will subdue the lighting for the benefit of my biotope.
THE UNKNOWN: SEPERATION OF SUBSTRATES: I do have one concern. When I create a tank I think long term. There are three different kinds of substrates in this tank. I'm not too worried about the gravel and soil mixing because they will be easy enough to separate if I ever choose to dissemble this tank in the future (and they're unlikely to mix). I am however worried about the sand mixing with the gravel and soil. I had a bad experience in my current tank where the sand that was ontop of my gravel sunk through the cracks to the very bottom. I want the sand to remain separate from the gravel and soil. I was thinking I could cut black mesh to maintain a division between the substrates. Is there any normal procedure for maintaining this divison?
Any other thoughts? Was this even remotely clear?
Thanks for your time.