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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm setting up an NPT tank and will be using CO2 with it. I'm using Texas holey rock for the hardscape (because I like it, and it's free, lol). I'll be picking up the tank later this week, on PetSupplies Plus's aqueon sale.

So to get ready, I went through several different layouts of rock for the hardscape last night, and ended up with a couple of layouts that I really like, but I thought I'd bounce them off of the community to get some other opinions. The cardboard background shows the size of the back the tank (the blue tape represents the top of the tank, and in the overhead shots, the front of the tank is just past the blue tape). Also, the cement tile that part of the hardscape is on will likely be replaced with some ceramic tile siliconed together or something like that.

Would you take a look at these pictures and give me your opinions? Here's the album:

Dow's 40 Breeder Album

My favorite is the last picture and the video. Sorry, but I didn't take an overhead shot of that one.

Thanks again for your thoughts.
dow
 

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I also prefer the last one.

Just to be sure you know... Tx holey rock will harden your water some over time.
I'm using it and it has not caused me any major issues, but there are some SA fish species that may have problems with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I also prefer the last one.

Just to be sure you know... Tx holey rock will harden your water some over time.
I'm using it and it has not caused me any major issues, but there are some SA fish species that may have problems with it.
Thanks Squawkbert. Yeah, I had heard about the water increasing in hardness from the rocks. TBH, I doubt that anything could harden my local water much. You can pretty much bounce a quarter off of a glass of it, lol. My current aquarium is doing well with it (probably three years old).

The rocks need to be cleaned a little better before I put them in the tank, and I've been toying with trying to whiten them a little with either a pressure washer or maybe some peroxide. On the other hand, they're not bad as they are, with some differences in color.
 

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I like parts of both. The first one draws your eye into the tank because the stone masses are angled toward the back and center. In the second, there is more asymmetry between the two stone masses, with the one on the left smaller. If it were my tank, I would go with the angle in the first, and the asymmetry in the second. In fact I would try to increase the asymmetry by placing the stones on the left closer together so that whole mass of stone looks smaller than the right side.

Some practical considerations: be certain that youi have enought room behind the stones to get your favorite algae scraper in there. No matter how clean you get the holey rock at first, it will always grow a very dark patina of algae on some parts of each stone. The only way to get this off the rock is to take it out and bleach it. Cichlid keepers often do this, but they usually don't have soil substrate and plants. My suggestion is to embrace the really interesting pattern of light and dark that develops on the stones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I like parts of both. The first one draws your eye into the tank because the stone masses are angled toward the back and center. In the second, there is more asymmetry between the two stone masses, with the one on the left smaller. If it were my tank, I would go with the angle in the first, and the asymmetry in the second. In fact I would try to increase the asymmetry by placing the stones on the left closer together so that whole mass of stone looks smaller than the right side.

Some practical considerations: be certain that youi have enought room behind the stones to get your favorite algae scraper in there. No matter how clean you get the holey rock at first, it will always grow a very dark patina of algae on some parts of each stone. The only way to get this off the rock is to take it out and bleach it. Cichlid keepers often do this, but they usually don't have soil substrate and plants. My suggestion is to embrace the really interesting pattern of light and dark that develops on the stones.
Thanks Michael. You mention the second layout several times, but there are actually three, or maybe two and a half. Let's call them layouts 1, 2, and 2-A. The difference between 2 and 2-A is that the mass on the left has been separated into two distinct masses (ain't continental drift fun?). So 2-A is the last picture and the video. Are you referring to layout 2 or 2A?

Thanks as well for the advice on algae and discoloring of the rocks in the aquarium water. I'm really looking for more of a "weathered" look, so some darkening of the stones will be just fine with me.

On the spacing and walls of the tank, thanks for the reminder of that. While I try to think of everything, I usually miss at least one obvious thing. :)
 
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