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Discussion Starter #1
:rolleyes:

Hi Folks,

Just joined as a newbie to plant keeping and would really appreciate some tips, pointers, advice etc.
I have been keeping tropical freshwater fish since 1994 so no problems here. I have an established tank, not sure how many gallons though. Size = 5ft long bow fronted, 2ft high, 2ft deep.

Two matured external powerfilters running, two JBL CO2 bottles, 2 x 54watt T5 lights, 1 x 30watt T8 and 1 x 40watt T8.

Currently have a substrate of river sand and HK water plant activated soil beads.

Some plants are already in the aquarium: 1 x Echinodorus 'Aquartica', several Anubias barteri plants, Ceratopteris thalictroides and Nymphaea lotus.

with Aponogeton crispus, Ceratophyllum demersum 'Foxtail', Hemianthus callitrichoides "Cuba", Lilaeopsis mauritiana, Riccia fluitans and Vesicularia dubyana arriving tomorrow hopefully.

What I am trying to create is something along the lines of a Nature Aquarium AKA Amano style. Creating a balance between space and plants that is found on dry land in nature.

Anyone have any planting ideas?

I am all ears!
 

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Hi, welcome to APC. :D

In my opinion the nature aquarium style is best achieved by first focusing on creating a really solid hardscape plan. A well thought out hardscape can make up for a lot of "mistakes" in plant choice and groupings.

Were you planning to use stones, driftwood or a combinatino of the two?
 

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Hi,

I have lots of rocks etc, but have just bought three fairly large dark grey rocks that look like mountains/cliffs. I also have three pieces of bogwood soaking ready for use.

In addition to these pieces, I have two xtra large resin roots that appear more realistic than the real thing. I have browsed the AGA contest site and have got a feeling for what works and what does not. However, I come from a biotope background where my previous aquariums where created to mimic an actual river or stream. Amano style is totally opposite to this.
 

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Hi, welcome to APC. :D

In my opinion the nature aquarium style is best achieved by first focusing on creating a really solid hardscape plan. A well thought out hardscape can make up for a lot of "mistakes" in plant choice and groupings.
he totally right hard scape is the most important element of a scape as a whole.if i were you when i got the rest of the plants on your list is to tear the tank down and start from the ground up.i know it sounds like a huge pain but is generally worth the extra effort.Hemianthus callitrichoides or HC has a great tendency to map the small hills and depressions in your substrate so you can use that to your advantage.and make some illusion of depth using the small hills of substrate.if i did my math right there youve got about a 150 US gallon tank.
Welcome To APC.:D
 

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Hi,

I have lots of rocks etc, but have just bought three fairly large dark grey rocks that look like mountains/cliffs. I also have three pieces of bogwood soaking ready for use.

In addition to these pieces, I have two xtra large resin roots that appear more realistic than the real thing. I have browsed the AGA contest site and have got a feeling for what works and what does not. However, I come from a biotope background where my previous aquariums where created to mimic an actual river or stream. Amano style is totally opposite to this.
Personally, I really like the river or stream look and I think it's underutilized. However, I do see the appeal of the nature aquarium style and can undestand wanting to try something different.

Do you have a digital camera handy? Starting from scratch is the way to go. Or at least tape out a flat surface somewhere the size of your tank's footprint and take several pictures of the hardscape rearranged in different fashions. This helps you to remember how you had them when they go in the tank and to stand back and get some perspective on how each arrangement looks. One rule to follow is to always use an odd number of rocks and / or wood.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the advice.

Is it best to start out by copying a layout? Or is this frowned upon in plant keeping circles?
 

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I don't see anything wrong with copying another person's layout. Immitation is a form of flattery right? :D
 

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There's nothing wrong with copying a layout you like and it's a very common method of learning what "works". It gives you a place to start and you can move from there as you grow more familiar with your plants and how they react to your parameters.

Your tank has a nice sized planting area, I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with it. :)
 

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It's 10pm here in London and I tried to go to sleep but my mind was on the aquarium... this is so sad!:retard:

The AGA International Aquascaping Contest website is a great help, and often the entries have a drawn layout or planting plan. I guess this is probably the best place to start, with pencil and paper.

The biggest problem is working on an established aquarium; ideally I suppose that I should drain off the water into containers (eek!) and work from the ground up. Although the filters are a 'pig' to dismantle in entirety so I might empty 2 thirds, remove all objects, catch as many fish as possible and then start to work in shallow water.

At this point I really wish that I was working with a Nano sized aquarium. :(


The Hemianthus callitrichoides, java moss and Aponogeton crispus arrived today and the Ceratophyllum demersum 'Foxtail' will be here tomorrow. I have already attached the java moss to the three small pieces of bogwood. At the ends so that it should develop into a tree-like appearance.

I know this sounds really feeble - but I am apprehensive of making a mistake and ending up with a layout that looks awful.
:pray:
 

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dont worry about making a mistake.some of my better scapes have been mistakes :-Djust remember that YOU have to enjoy the tank, thats why your building it right?!?!?!?!drawing out your layout will help you alot.and dont worry to much about cycle after you redo it, ive found if you use enough plants a cycle is undetectable by test kits as the plants eat up all the Nitrogen by products long before they can effect your fish.assuming of course your not grossly overstocked and in a tak that size it would be alot of fish
 
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