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"l'envolée" by voultou

Introduction and Background
Hello, I'm 31 years old and I live in France. I started to be interested in aquariums three years ago. A short time after my first steps in this hobby, planted tanks have become my main subject of interest (although i like very much the other aspects of the aquarium hobby). I'm involved in the French aquascaping community as a member of the CAPA team, an annual French aquascaping contest.

Here is my latest layout :



I started this one in February 2008 and finished it in June.

Setup
For the setup, i had just torn down the old setup and the substrate was very dirty, so I didn't take any picture of it.
In the next pictures, you can see the evolution of the layout.

After one month (the Heteranthera zosterifolia is hidden behind the lava rock) :



2 months after setup :



3 months after setup: It's taking shape but some of the plants need to grow in a little more.



After the last trimming : I only had to wait two or three weeks after that.



The result :



Specifications
The tank dimensions : 120 x 50 x 40cm = 240 liters
Lighting : 2x38w tropical delux daylight (6000K), dennerle's reflectors
Filtration : internal filter Rio standard Pump Juwel 100L/H pump brewing nano Koralia 900L/H
CO2 supply : Dennerle's comfort line + flipper
Substrate : soil nutrient + quartz size 2-3 mm gravel
Fertilization : home-made solutions from dry ferts (NPK and trace elements)
NO3 : 18ppm/week
K : 5ppm/week
PO4 if needed
Water parameters : pH 7, KH 7, GH 10

Flora and Fauna
Flora : Cryptocoryne balansae var crispatulata, Eusteralis sp, Limnobium laevigatum, Echinodorus tennelus, Eleocharis parvula, Hemianthus calitrichoides "cuba", Heteranthera zosterifolia, Micranthemenum, umbrosum, Hemianthus micranthemoides, Hydrocotyle leucocephala, Cryptocoryne wendtii "green"



Fauna : Laetacara dorsigera, Paracheirodon axelrodi, Otocinclus affinis, Crossocheilus siamensis, Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki, Carnegiella strigata, Caridina multidentata, Neritina sp, Melanoides tuberculata, Clithon diadema

Maintenance
No water changes, trimming every 3 weeks

Some more pictures :





Challenges
One of the things I wanted to create in this tank was a double « W-shape » designed by the foreground from rear to front and by the stem plants from ground to top.
The lighting of this tank can be considered a little weak (76 Watts for 240 liters). To optimize that, I used « high output » T8 tubes, reflectors and the front tube was a 4000K that I have changed for a 6000K just in order to take the picture. In the same way, I had to often clean the glass in order to maximize the light reflection effect.
The Micranthemum umbrosum was a difficult plant because it pulled itself out from the ground three times. Each time, the layout was messed up and I had to replant it.
Concerning the absence of water changes, it's something that some aquascapers are successfully trying in France, using activated coal or clay to adsorb the dissolved organic compounds.

Final Thoughts
The hardscape has vanished under the plants and was only useful to create dark areas.
Afterwards, I found a big flaw in this layout. I should have done the central hill without the Micranthemum umbrosum, replaced by more Heteranthera zosterifolia.
I won 7th place in the CAPA contest (french aquascaping contest) with this layout in the medium-size tank category.
I also wish to thank my French friends from the Paysage Aquatique group who have helped me a lot with finishing the tank and, in particular, for the condition of the final picture.
 

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Re: January 2009 Tank of the Month

Love the tank. It looks so soft and peaceful there. I could be laying on the lawn and looking up at the sky for cloud shapes! :D
 

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Re: January 2009 Tank of the Month

You have created a beautiful living painting. I enjoy every detail that you have so thoughtfully placed in the aqua-scape
 
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