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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
80 gal Pantanal

I took down my 30 gal tank (http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/showthread.php?t=4290) to try something on a larger scale. I just finished adding some of the branches this morning and thought I would share some pics (excuse the cords and electrical socket behind the tank). The plan and philosophy is the same as the previous tank, only bigger (based on a drainage canal in the Pantanal region of South America). Let me know what you think.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah. I actually prefer lowered water levels and having some sort of hardscape stick out above the surface. I like that it provides an opportunity to see how different species of fish interact with the surface, etc. Also, when plants get to the top they can begin to grow emergent, and you can see some of that as well. Overall, I think it gives a more complete picture of nature, rather than the usual "from below" perspective. I may fill it up, though--we'll see how things go.
 

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I like the fact you are into creating very accurate biotopes. If only you could recreate a Sumatran biotope! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Actually, Raul, Malaysia and the surrounding areas in SE Asia are some of my favorites. I was trying to tweek a few things in the tank this afternoon and all the wood floated up in this tank--very frustrating. Also, the tank is so big that I don't have any lids that completely cover it. Add to that the fact that it's in an unheated basement room and I'm having a hard time keeping the water temp at a decent level. So...this tank may meet an early end.

Maybe I'll look into doing some sort of SE Asian stream in the near future.
 

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I really like what you did in your smaller tank. Good luck on this one. Replicating something in a larger scale can be tough, but in no way impossible. Are you going to try and keep the cloudy water? I'd seriously consider it as it is a very surreal look.

You might want to lower the water level to about 2/3. This will achieve
(1) more space for emergent growth
(2) help keep branches from floating up
(3) water line closer to the Golden section for a more aesthetic composition

The use of a pendant or some sort of "hard" light can create some really dramatic effects with light dapple and beams. this would look stunning with your cloudy water.

Keep up the good work!
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thanks for the tips, Aaron. I actually usually keep the water level around 2/3...but decided to go a bit higher this time for some reason. I am trying to provide a bit more water volume until the plants really start to kick in to provide a buffer with the minimal filtration I'm using on the tank. Then I'll probably lower the level a bit so the plants don't have to reach so far up to hit the surface.

As for the cloudy water, there's no way to really keep it that way unless I keep moving stuff around and kicking up silt.

I like your suggestion on the "hard" light. Coming from reefkeeping, I really like the glitter lines that halides provide. Maybe I'll try adding a little halogen bulb to the mix for that affect or something.

I ended up working with some of the hardscape this afternoon and came up with something that I like a little better--the angle of some of the branches before just didn't flow very well in the first design. Here is how it stands now:

 

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skylsdale said:
Thanks for the tips, Aaron. I actually usually keep the water level around 2/3...but decided to go a bit higher this time for some reason. I am trying to provide a bit more water volume until the plants really start to kick in to provide a buffer with the minimal filtration I'm using on the tank. Then I'll probably lower the level a bit so the plants don't have to reach so far up to hit the surface.

As for the cloudy water, there's no way to really keep it that way unless I keep moving stuff around and kicking up silt.

I like your suggestion on the "hard" light. Coming from reefkeeping, I really like the glitter lines that halides provide. Maybe I'll try adding a little halogen bulb to the mix for that affect or something.

I ended up working with some of the hardscape this afternoon and came up with something that I like a little better--the angle of some of the branches before just didn't flow very well in the first design. Here is how it stands now:

I really like the way your tank is coming along. Looks very natural so far. Please keep posting updates! =)
 
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