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July 2008 Tank of the Month: Jason Baliban

15774 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  SKSuser
July 2008 Tank of the Month
Without Boundries
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 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
Dimensions: 90x45x45cm
pH: 6.8
KH: 3
GH: 5

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

Tank Maintanence

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

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Jason, congrats. I've always liked the wild wooly natural look of your tank! :D
Very nice. Clean, healthy plants are beautifully laid out. Thanks for sharing with us.
I agree Jason, your scapes are always very thoughtful and well trimmed. This has been a long time coming. :D
awesome aquascape. very natural, exceptionally clean.
Thank you to APC for featuring this layout. The amount of time these guys spend to make this forum work is unbelievable. Thank you to Aaron for working with me to get this up here.

Thank you to everyone for their comments and support.

Now if i could just get used to my face sitting up there at the top of the page:)


hehe. Don't worry JB, everyone goes right past that to the 'scape.
Congratulations Jason. I still like the one in my office better. :rofl:
hehe. Don't worry JB, everyone goes right past that to the 'scape.
Actually I spent quite a while looking at his sweet office setup. :cool:

Is your TOTM tank in that office by any chance, or do you have one in there?
Actually I spent quite a while looking at his sweet office setup. :cool:

Is your TOTM tank in that office by any chance, or do you have one in there?
The tank is right about where my wife was standing to take the picture. I started a new layout before i took the picture or i would have included it in the shot.

Also, this tank, is on the opposite wall of where you see the guitars.....

Oh, and yeah, i have tons of goodies in my office:)

I remember that one! Its nice. I think I like that one even more than the TOTM, but I hadn't connected the two tanks to the one username. Cool.

So are you in the music industry, or does your employer have a soft spot for FX pedals :D?
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