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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, long time listener, first time caller... Been here for a while but never posted any pics of my tank. This is my first attempt at a planted tank and I am actually going to tear this down soon for a new scape. This one did not have much of a hardscape, the DW in the left corner was added in about 4 months ago. The tank is about a year and a half old. The specs:

Tank: 80 US gallon
Lights: 4 x 54 T5 HO
Filtration: Pengiun 350, Rena XP3 just added, I have a second XP3 that will be switching out the HOB
CO2: pressurized, 3 BPS through a DIY reactor fed off the canister filter
Substrate: Peat moss and sand with clay (kitty litter balls) added in later, capped with black gravel.

Fish:
Cardinal, Black Skirt, Rummy Nose Tetra
German Blue Rams
Aus. and Dwarf Rainbows
False SAE
Otocinclus
Amano and Ghost Shrimp
Tiger Barb (1 remains as a lone survivor from the once strong pack that all got sick, I miss these guys)
Varying snails

Plants
American Vals
Java and Fissiden Moss
Anubius Coffeefolia
Aquatic Fern
Unknown Crypt
Hygro Difformis and Polysperma
Java and Windelov Fern
Microsword
Rotala Macrandra
Rotala Rotundifolia

Also varying types of algae I'm always attempting to keep at bay.

The idea was really to try to learn how to grow plants. I've had success with some and with some, not so much. Here's some recent pics.

Full Tank


Left Side




Right Side


Some Fish Pics




 

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That's a great looking scape. Thanks for posting.

I'm kinda liking the not-so-much-hardscape-look. I've got a huge "chunk" of driftwood and I've been toying with the idea of taking it out and only putting plants in it's place. My problem is that I have a narrow tank, so it would take some tinkering to get it to look good.

Anyway, you've got a lot of talent and I can't wait to see what you do with the 'new look'.

-Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It's a pot... with holes in it. I've got java moss growing on it and the vals have sproated inside it and are growing plants up from the center. It's part of the 'decoration' phase that is slowly getting changed out. When i break this tank down I have a nice big piece of DW that will be the centerpiece... it's about 3 feet long and is sort of a root structure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well a reset seem to be in order. I've been planning this for some time. With this go round I want to build a better hardscape from the beginning and with that in mind I found some rocks and wood in the fall of last year. I seem to be having compaction problems with the substrate in the tank as it is now... roots are dying and I'm going to start losing plants if this isn't done soon! Here's the plan for the hardscape. Let me know what you think! The tape shows the height of the tank, the outside of the red scissors show the edge of the tank. And thanks for looking!





 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Texgal: I'm thinking that the plants in front of the DW will stay low. I'll plant some vals and wisteria behind it. It is a fairly tall piece. The tape in behind stands 18 inches. (The tank is 22, 18 is minus the black rim and the subst.) I need to find some of that low grow hygro... in Canada! I'll probably do moss on the rocks, I currently have java and fissiden. Only a little fissiden, for some reason it's not growing too fast. I'll plant some java ferns on the DW as well, I want it to stay visible, it's a neat peice, full of holes.

FishandTurtleJunkie: No updates yet! Tomorrow the tank teardown begins.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I started this tank with 3 vals... and now here they are, with some wisteria on top





the rest are in here



and the fishes overnight



So far one casuality.. A false SAE bailed out

Here's the tank before water... and the discovery that the DW still floats. Doh! That's why they call it DW, my wife said as she walked by. I only had a bin large enough to sink half of it so now it's tied down with rocks and fishing line until the rest sinks.







And I started this at noon.. the tank was completely stripped and moved to the other side of the room. I've had a complete Ibuprofen and I'm off to bed. Planting starts tommorow!
 

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love the wood! The round stones dont' look bad, they sorta complement the holes in the wood. Over all the scape looks fine. One thing is there is no distinguishable elevation change in the substrate. If there's something you can do about that, you'll probably see a dramatic result.
 

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if you like it go for it! The difference between rounded stones, and sharper stones can be put in what (if anything) you're trying to achieve...

Do you want the tank to look like the underside of a river? Round rocks for the win.

Do you want it to resemble (if a bit obtusely) a mountain range, or meadow? Sharper edges are required.

Amano uses the jagged, purpose-based stone because he's looking to emulate scenes found elsewhere in nature. I like the rounded look of the stones in this setup.

The difference will be when you fill it up with plants! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the comments. Chadly... I may have to add some more gravel in the get more of a slope. My wife mentioned that as well. There is a bit of a slope, the gravel is about 1 inch deep in the front and closer to 3 in the back. I might leave it as is though too because both sides are visible as well and the slight slope is easy to gradually taper to those edges as well.

I am going for more of a river look here, that was the idea with the round rocks. They were picked to work with that chuck of wood. They have black flecks in them that look good when wet against the black gravel.

The planting is now done, the water is in, the fish are back in and everything is looking ok so far. I'm debating waiting for this wood to sink (it's still floating) before taking new pics. I have it tied to rocks in the tank that won't be staying and it's sort of floating in the center of the water.

Now the question remains.. what will I do with a wack of extra jungle vals and the 'cousin it' mass of java fern? I'd send them out to anyone in Canada, but it's way cold up here right now. Maybe the LFS will sell em for me.
 

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Great looking setup, can't wait to see updates:D.

I have been considering adding some Vals to my tank though. Where are you in Canada? Here in Montreal it's pretty cold also. I'm out this whole week (Back Friday night) but maybe you could save a few, and I'll speak to you on Saturday or something like that?

Thanks, maybe send me a PM if your alright with this:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
csaxe21: Sorry to say... they are gone! But the way they grow... get back to me in a bit I'll probably have some more, maybe more into the spring when it's a bit warmer. Maybe you would have something to trade? I need some kind of foreground plants. And I'm looking for Blxya Japonica as well.

Texgal: Sorry, no pics yet... that wood won't sink, can't ya just not stand the suspense? I might have to bolt the wood to slate or something. And I like my wife too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Re: Fish Dork's 80 new scape pics Jan 23 09

Ok! New pics. The DW was not sinking, although when I took it out it was quite a bit heavier than it used to be, so it must be slowly soaking up water. I removed it and used some stainless bolts to attached a few peices of slate. Now it's down! I did a water change right before I took these so there is some stuff floating around compared to normal.













 

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Looking nice. I still think the contrast with the rocks is too stark. Black gravel to white rocks. Can you soften it up with plantings along side the edges of the rocks? What are you gonna do for a foreground? Glosso, marsilea, nana petitie, hairgrass, E. tennellus micro, maybe? I know the rocks will get some algae coloration on them and that will help, but some softening with plants would be great.
 
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