July 2008 Tank of the Month
by Jason Baliban
by Jason Baliban
Introduction and Background
I have been working with planted aquariums for about 3 years now. I have had aquariums my entire life. I would go through periods of having and not having aquariums set up around me. I got into planted aquariums by accident. I bought some plants from the LFS and they didn't do to well. I did some research on the internet to see how to do a better job. I quickly found Amano's work and that was the beginning. These days I try to do 2-3 layouts a year and I spend a bunch of time keeping www.projectaquarium.com up to date.
About the Layout
This tank ended up very different then I envisioned. There is a pretty cool hardscape under all those plants and I envisioned it be much more a part of the final look. Unfortunately, other priorities got in the way of taking care of the layout, so at the point where most of my layouts hit their maturity, this thing was already completely unkempt. I let it go for a whole other year, trimming every few months. At that point it was really about trying to control nature rather then tame it. In its final month, I did a good trim and waited a few weeks and took the photo. It's a very natural layout. Its age and history led it to that end. I think it turned out very peaceful and I was happy that I took the picture and shared it. I was very close to not taking any pictures and just tearing it down and starting over.
Capacity: 50 Gallons
Lighting: 2x55 Power Compact (6700k) on a timer for 9 hours a day
CO2: Pressurized C02 with diffuser
Nutrients: Maintain 1ppm of NO3, .1ppm of PO4, 1ppm of K, and dose 2ml micros daily
Substrate: ADA Aquasoil Amazonia and Power Sand
Flora: Taxiphyllum alternans, Anubias barteri var. nana 'Petite', Anubias Coffeefolia, Ludwigia brevipes, Cryptocoryne wendtii 'bronze', Cryptocoryne wendtii 'green', Rotala rotundifolia 'Green' Narrow, Lindernia anagallis, Echinodorus tenellus
Fauna: Hyphessobrycon griemi, Aplocheilichthys normani, Otocinclus, Caridina japonica
I dose the tank daily and do 30% water changes weekly.
I used some nice rock and driftwood as part of the hardscape. Again, by the time the picture was taken these parts were all but erased. I did my best to trim the stem plants and thin the moss when I had a chance.
At first it was hard to let this layout escape my vision. At the 6 month mark, I thought it was a total loss. As time passed I noticed a certain charm as nature continued to do its thing. In the end it was challenging to not undo what nature had done every few months when it was time to trim.
Thank you to APC for choosing this layout as TOTM. Thank you to all the mods for their work, making this the best planted forum on the web! Also, I want to say thank you to everyone who has ever posted on a forum or went to a club meeting and answered the same question over and over until I understood it. I hope that I inspired others the way I was, and continue to be, inspired by the other artists around me.