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August 2008 Tank of the Month
by Dave Williams

Introduction and Background

My introduction to planted tanks, and to keeping aquariums, was my daughter's kindergarten biotope project - guppies, pond snails, anacharis, and duckweed. We brought one of the biotopes home. The guppies did what guppies do, and we soon ended up with a couple of tanks.

Fast forward three years, and planted tanks have become my hobby and a relaxation tool. I found the local club GWAPA to learn from and grow with, and have expanded my horizons from a 10g with guppies and anacharis to several tanks and many species of fish and plants, including this 180g set up in January '08.

About the Layout

As I learned more about planted tanks, I found myself trying to find the style of aquascaping that was for me. I liked parts of Dutch styles, I liked parts of Nature styles, and I've grown more than my fair share of out-and-out jungle tanks.

This scape is an attempt to blend some of those styles into one. The hardscape was set in a definite nature style fashion, with care to placement, ratios, and space. Plant selections were done with two things in mind - simple maintenance, and getting some of the Dutch style leaf and color transitions. Is there such a thing as a Natural Dutch tank? I guess that is what I was trying to do.


180g Reef Ready tank.

Eheim 2260, Mag 9.5 running an inline loop for CO2.

2 6x39w TEK lighting, uses 8x39w Geisemann bulbs 9 hours a day.

Mineralized Soil Substrate capped with 3M Colorquartz.

Plants include:
Crypt. - Balansae, Spiralis, Willissii, Parva, Wendtii 'Green Gecko', and Beckettii
Anubias - Barteri, Barteri Nana, Nana petite, Lanceolata, Nana "Yellow Heart"
Hygrophilas - Corymbosa Angustifolia, sp. Bold, sp. "Low Grow"
Pogostemon Stellata
Polygonum sp. "Port Vehlo"
Needle leaf Java fern, Java Fern "trident"
Pogostemon Helferi
Echinodorus - Angustifolia "Vesuvius" and Midifleur

Stocked with:
Cherry and Amano Shrimp, Otocinclus, Dwarf Neon Rainbows, Rummynose Tetras, Pygmy Cories, and German Rams.

Tank maintenance:

The tank is plumbed to my house. The tank does ~5 gallon daily automatic water changes. Fertilization is at a bare minimum, .1-.2 ppm potassium dosed every few days. Every couple of weeks I'll do additional water changes via python for a vacuum and cleaning.


Mainly, pestering the more experienced aquascapers within GWAPA for tons of help! It has worked so far. ;)

It is trimmed biweekly at the most, usually weekly. The hardscape was set using the Golden Ratio - we set this tank up at a club meeting, and used the opportunity of a larger tank to demonstrate what the golden ratio was and how to use it setting a hardscape.

Final Thoughts:

First and foremost, thanks for making my 180 Tank of the Month!

This tank is, more than anything, a tribute to what joining a club and learning from others is all about. The support and information I've gotten from my club locally, as well as from online forums dedicated to this hobby, are invaluable to me. They have made this hobby so much fun for me, inspired me, and made the learning curve so much shorter.

If this tank and article inspire anyone to do anything, it is my hope they are inspired to get involved in their local club, get involved in online forums, and soak in all of that knowledge that is out there for the taking!
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