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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here''s a couple pics of my 75 gallon after 4 months. I'm happy with the growth I'm getting and haven't had any algae issues in quite a while. I had mentioned in another thread that my stargrass isn't growing as well as I'd like. The back left of the tank (behind the big rock) was intended to be filled with it, but I'm having trouble keeping it in good shape once it gets that tall.

Now, I'm mostly concerned with getting a more appealing aquascape established. I'm considering removing a few species and getting more dense growth of the stuff I keep. Right now, I think it just looks too "busy" - I'd love to hear some suggestions on what you think would make the tank look more "whole". :)
 

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It looks like it's really coming along and looks great. I'd suggest removing that rubin sword, the one in the middle of the tank, if it's a rubin. It will get emormous and take over everything. I had one that was about 30" long all around and when I finally pulled it, the roots had spread to every side and corner of the tank. What a mess that was...never again! Also, what type of rotala is that on the right side?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Darrell. The sword is a green melon as far as I know, but it does look a bit like a rubin. I agree, I think it's going to be too much and it's starting to distract from neighboring plants.

The Rotala is plain old indica as far as I know.
 

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Looks nice... I would suggest using just one kind of plant as a foreground, looks like you have two, Glosso & Dwarf Sag.; but that is just my opinion.
 

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Classic example of a healthy, vibrant planted aquarium. Since you've asked for criticism which perhaps may be a little controversial, I feel that I must oblige:

1) Take out the Echinodorus, it will get too big and is too centrally placed anyways.

3) Uproot more of that Sagittaria subulata (?), the dwarf sag, and let the glossotigma grow in all the way across. I would use the dwarf sag interspersed among the glosso as accents. It looks far more natural.

3) How much lighting do you have on this tank? Looking at your stargrass and Hemianthus micranthemoides, I wonder if they are getting enough light to grow horizontally?

4) Do you like Dutch-style layouts with stringent plant groupings or Nature Aquarium style/Amano style layouts with rockwork and driftwood worked into the aquascape? Choose a path to explore, so we can help you out and try to give thoughts based on your tastes...

Best,

Carlos
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks Carlos - your input is much appreciated. :)

The lighting should be plenty - about 350 watts, but I had only been running it about 8 hours a day. I've sinced increased it an hour and probably will bring it up to 11 or 12 over the next few weeks. The hemianthus is definitely stunted - not much bright new growth on it. That may be a problem with the stargrass as well.

I guess I gravitate more toward the natural aquarium look, but since I only have time to keep one plant tank right now, I find myself wanting to put too much in the mix.

Although the sword is turning into a beauty, I do think it's taking away from the whole. Parting will be sweet sorrow... ;)

Funny story about the sag...when I bought it, I called the guy and told him he sold me dwarf sag instead of the tenellus I had ordered. He assured me it was tenellus and that the emersed form looked just like sag. I no longer have any doubt that I was correct....it's growing too tall to be a good foreground plant anyway and I've never been able to train it down.

I may get my hands in the tank this weekend and post a little update after a bit. Thanks for all the input - even you, Jdinh04. ;)
 

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Before you move tooo many plants I want to caution you. I have found that large revisions are best spread out over several weeks of gardening. I make a plan that changes no more than 30% of my plant mass each revision in order to maintain my tank's dynamic ballance.

When I look at your tank, the first thing I notice is the 'wall' effect. Your planting is such that your foreground and background are placed in two distinct bands across the length of the tank. As Carlos suggested you would do well to break up the grass plants into several smaller clumps. To reduce the 'wall' effect you want some clumps more forward than others. The placment of that rock in the corner seems too far back and off to one side. You might consider using it as a more central ornament. After moving the rock you might consider placing the wood in a position that enhances the rock's impact. Often Amano will point peices of wood radiating outward while you have chosen to point your wood towards the center of the tank. Consider how these two options change the feeling of your hardscape.

I think its too soon to rip out that lovely sword, without removing it you can push it over to the left a bit. To do this, just reach in below the roots and push the plant in the desired direction about 3-5 inches; I suggest toward the corner where the rock is now. You can use this same method to move your parva sword forward a bit. Your red plant (amania?) can then move right to a position behind and right of the sword but left of the val.

My suggestions cover revisions that change the long term floor plan of your tank. Placement of the remaining stem plants can be worked out after you get a feeling for your long term elements. As your tank sits in this photo I notice strong rooted plants and very weak stem plants; is your substrate florabase? I suspect that you could improve your stem plants by paying closer attention to your water column supplementation; are you using home brew co2?

hope this helps,
Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks Jeff. Yes, I realize how unwise it is to do a complete tank overhaul in one step. I will probably gradually remove the Sag and let the Glosso spread over. You've got me thinking about moving that big sword, but it's not as easy as dragging it over because there is a bunch of Crypt right where I think I would move it if I keep it. I don't like to move Crypts, but we'll see.

I guess I'm kind of confused about the strong rooted plants vs. weak stem plants thing, since there are only 2 real rooted plants in the tank!

While I like the Amano look and gravitate that way, I don't know if I want to swallow every single bit of that philosophy (driftwood pointing out for example). Really, if I wanted to recreate something like he does, I'd just copy a 'scape right out of one of his books. ;) Personally, I think folks get a little too caught up in all that. There's something to be said for originality (that still pleases the eye). When I see a textbook "Natural Aquarium" I say "gee, that looks just like an Amano tank", but gain little appreciation for the aquarist behind it. While they may be very skilled at their craft, they really just copied a tried and true formula - variations of which seem to be "the only way" to plant a tank these days. When I read his critiques of the entries in this year's AGA contest, I have to say I was a little turned off. It seemed like each piece of criticism he had suggested a change to make the tank look like something he'd do. Yeah, he wrote the book and I have an immense amount of respect for how he revolutionized the hobby, but come on...we all can't (or don't want to) be him. Truthfully, some things he says go right over my Western-grown head anyway! :D

Thanks for taking the time to respond.
 

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Graham said:
You've got me thinking about moving that big sword, but it's not as easy as dragging it over because there is a bunch of Crypt right where I think I would move it if I keep it. I don't like to move Crypts, but we'll see.
Crypts are the plants that I learned to slide around for aquascaping purposes. I assume that swords will slide around just as well. My experience is that I almost always miscalculate by a few inches with initial plantings. As my arrangment then matures I find a need to move crypts back, to the side, or closer together. These 2 -5 inch shifts don't seem to bother the plants much and stir up my subsrate much less than replanting.

Graham said:
I guess I'm kind of confused about the strong rooted plants vs. weak stem plants thing, since there are only 2 real rooted plants in the tank!
Your rooted plants: crypt (2 sp), swords (3 sp) and val.
weak stem plants: MM, Stargrass, templeplant, RR and glosso
dominant plant: moneywort

To my eye, this indicates low co2 and limited water column macros over an enriched substrate with infrequent water changes.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well, I did a little rearranging tonight and I think it's an improvement.
I moved the sword over to where the crypt was between the 2 big rocks and the crypt went where the sword was. They were both pretty well rooted and it was kind of rough moving, but I think they'll be fine. I also thinned some of the sag out, totallly removed about 4 sq in worth and planted some sprigs of glosso there. I put a couple pieces of the sag on the right side by the glosso and it really adds a nice touch. I'm going with the suggestions of having Glosso be the dominant foreground.

I'm also going to try to get on a weekly 25 gallon water change schedule.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions...I think I have a direction in mind now. I'll post an update sometime soon.
 
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