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Aquascaping Discuss aquascaping designs and techniques as well as get critiques on your aquascaping pictures. Find out how to use aquatic plants, reefs, and wood to design a planted aquarium.

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Old 05-18-2011, 11:57 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Aquascaping in Low-Tech

I'll start my 6 cents worth on one that did NOT work.

This is a 20 gallon NPT and was my first ever attempt at planted tanks. I attempted El Natural with a deep substrate, about 4 inches on average. It worked for a while and then everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, died overnight. Here are two pics, then my take on what likely went wrong.

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The pea soup obviously was not the happy point, but it started to clear nicely. Plants were slow however. Looking back, I am pretty certain that the bottom line was that I lacked the initial root mass in this tank to start with using such a deep substrate and high lighting. I lacked any floaters to compensate for nutrient/light imbalance as well (thus the pea soup) and the plants were all short, so there was a large amount of open water while using a tremendously rich substrate (fertilized yard soil). Without getting too deep into chemistry and ecology, the result was death and unhappiness, but also a learning experience that lead to my next few tanks, two of which I 'll post in this thread.
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Old 05-18-2011, 12:06 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Aquascaping in Low-Tech

This one was my second ever attempt at p[lanted tanks, and is also an example of Natural "method" using the El Natural to the fullest, with extremely limited water movement most of the time, and zero dosing of anything chemically, relying on the feedings to to the job. It took several months of green water and wondering why I ever set it up to begin with, but patience pad off once the system settled in, for after that this became a nearly zero-maintence, algae-free joy.

A moderate-to-heavy fish load with many other critters (worms, snails, whatever) helped each other to make it work. The tank started off weak, but came on strong once the plants got going. The substrate at 2 inch avg. depth proved almost too little for the nutrient hog lotus and swords, but kept them from out-competing the stem plants, which made the tank feel a bit more "scaped" to me. Overall my favorite tank as I had lots of options to play with, though I had to learn the hard way not to get carried away in moving plants around, and what lighting was too much vs not enough using T-5 HO.

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Old 05-18-2011, 12:14 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Aquascaping in Low-Tech

This is my picotope that davemonkey referred to earlier. It's "style" is nothing, as I simply set it up to look at from the desk and like the particular species that are planted, but again, the "method" is El Natural.

1.5" substrate average, 9 watts of old 50/50 lighting, flora is Crypt. willisii x lucens 'bronze' and Staurogyne 'Porto Vehlo' with a touch of Anubias 'nana' and some Fissidens in the shaded areas.

This tank is failrly old. What made it work out to be a zero-maintence tank (aside from adding water monthly at the water change) was starting with lots of floaters and critters and slowly thinning them out until the tank was well established. But in the end I have noticed that every low-maintenence tank has something in common; they are well established, or aged. And for that matter every well seasoned tank I've seen seems to be relatively low maintenence, so perhaps as Niko has stated earlier, this is the whole point.

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I will eventually "tech-up" this tank, but for now I like the simplicity of not dealing with it. The substrate feeds the plants mostly, as it is spiked with slow-release fertz at a low rate.
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Old 05-18-2011, 12:15 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Aquascaping in Low-Tech

Mudboots, I notice that your second tank is in a window, and could get a lot of natural light. My very first Walstad experiments were natural light shrimp bowls, and I have one 10 gallon set up that gets sunlight. BTW, your tank is gorgeous!

I find this to be a mixed blessing. Natural light is free, and can be very intense to allow the growth of high-light plants. But you can't control it very well, and this can make it difficult to keep everything balanced. I have come to prefer 100% artificial light.

What are everyone's thoughts on this?
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Old 05-18-2011, 12:20 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Aquascaping in Low-Tech

In aquariums I have come to prefer 100% artificial light, but on my semi-emmersed tank (sort of a paludarium I guess; the 55 I took from Dave) I prefer some indirect sunlight. But I'm in a shaded spot and the window is facing NNE, so not too much of an issue like others may have.
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Old 05-21-2011, 09:44 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Aquascaping in Low-Tech

Nice tanks. I love the Picotope!!

i dont think it needs a rescape... looks great as it is; maybe just add some shrimp or fish and hardscape/driftwood, or some taller plants on the back (like e. vivipara). But i dont know what it is a Biotope of, so maybe it'll stop being a biotope.

Right now i have 3 low tech tanks. I have one 35G to post later today (waiting for a friend to bring her camera) cause i dont wanna post cel phone pics.

Also the 200G is almost ready as i've rescaped it recently. Have a little problem with MTS bringing up soil from underneath the sand... right now its cloudy because of that. I'm on a snail hunting mission right now; so it may have to wait a week or so for it to look ok.

Have a 25G as well, it still doesnt have the definitive fish... i'm thinking about it still. So i will update this thread as the tanks get to a look.

The best thing about the tanks posted on this thread is that they do have a composition. Its still somewhat rudimentary compared to the best guys... but its a start; also Mudboots' 125G has great colors and overall health, very little to envy the top tanks regarding that.

Keep em coming.
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Old 05-21-2011, 10:21 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Aquascaping in Low-Tech

Here's my 10 gal, low tech. Not too much of a scape to it, but its packed full of life, and for me thats where the fun is.

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Old 05-22-2011, 01:05 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Aquascaping in Low-Tech

Here's some quick pics of one of my tanks
36 Gal - 36" x 12" x 20"H

Pretty much no maintenance... only change DIY CO2 every 2 weeks... top evap... no water changes in over 5 months (not even after large trims). No Excel.. no dosing.....

I have only recentely added the Cabomba and Crypt parva, the rest has been there for a couple of months. It is still not fully grown to what i want, and i have just done a major trim last week... but i will post some better produced pics when the tank gets closer to what i have in mind. As well as pics of my other tanks....

These are simple pics, no post-editing, no tank-prep, just simple point and click.

Cheers!

PS - I hate the background, but i just havent gotten around to changing it...
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:38 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Aquascaping in Low-Tech

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dielectric View Post
one of my low tech scapes. i personally think low tech can be whatever you want it to be scape wise. it doesnt have to be a dirty mess.






Wow, really beautifull tank!!
Brilliant work
"Saludos" from Chile
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Old 05-27-2011, 07:22 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Aquascaping in Low-Tech

You guys have some really great low tech tanks!!
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