Suggestions on aquascaping, first planted tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-14-2013, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Suggestions on aquascaping, first planted tank

Hi all,

Long time lurker on the forum gathering as much info as I could before I started this project. Been adding piece by piece for a couple of months and thought I would share my progress. Also, would most definitely enjoy some constructive criticism or suggestions on aquascaping.


Tank - Marineland 29 gallon (30" long, 12" deep, 18" high). Got it at Petsmart in their starter kit for super cheap (I think they had the price for me I guess)

Lighting - Coralife dual T5NO 2x18 watts

It came with one 6700k and one 10000k bulb, thought about switching to both 6700k, any thoughts on this? Also, looking at Hoppy's PAR charts looks like I'm in the range for low light on this tank (light sits directly on top of tank which is about 16" above substrate in most places). Please correct me if I'm wrong on this.

Substrate - Black EcoComplete. Thinking about layering some dark brown (river) sand over it in the middle portion of the tank around the driftwood for the inhabitants that like to sift through finer grained substrates (corys and dwarf cichlids). Thoughts on topping Eco with sand? Kinda worried that eventually it will all just work its way down and mix with the Eco.

Filtration - 2x Marineland HOB filters (one Penguin 150 and one Penguin 200). Media is ceramic rings and filter floss.

CO2 - none. Thoughts on introducing Excel into the dosing regimen?

Fertilizers - Dry macros and liquid traces. KNO3 1/8 tsp 2x week, KH2PO4 1/32 tsp 2x week, Flourish 1/2 capful 2x week. Does this look OK?

Hardscape - 3 large pieces of driftwood all kinda put together to look like a root ball. Got some of the white/opaque fuzzy stuff goin on with it, hoping it clears up soon.

Ludwigia (not sure what species, guessing that it's repens)
Dwarf sag
Rotala (I think rotundifolia)

Soon to come - sword, java fern, wisteria, maybe some moss on the driftwood

Frogbit and pennywort have grown immensely in just the 2 weeks they've been in. Moneywort stems rotted towards the bottom so I had to cut off the healthy tops and replant them, so most stems are only 3-4" tall. Dwarf sag is not doing much at all, maybe I should give them some root tabs? Couple of the ludwigia stems have really grown well, others no so much. Cabomba and rotala are the newest additions to the tank, only been in a day or two at this point, but I'm hoping they will eventually help cover up the heater and filter intakes.

20x neon tetra
4x julii cory
5x otocinclus

Soon to come - pair of dwarf cichlids (either GBRs or Apistos. Really want some apistos, just hard to find. Opinions on species? cacatuoides or borelli?

Also thinking some marbled hatchets (maybe 5 or 6) to give some life to the upper level. Would stocking be too high with these guys in there?

Ok, lots of questions strewn about in this post. Would like any feedback some of you can provide. On to the pictures (forgive the quality, as all I have for now is a phone camera)...


Right side

Left side

Any thoughts on placement for the plants I've got coming in the next couple days (sword, wisteria, java fern)? I'm thinking sword between the moneywort and rotala, wisteria goes to the right of the rotala to help cover up the filter intake, and obviously the java fern will be attached to the driftwood.

Thanks for checking it out, and for any advice/comments/opinions.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 03:41 AM
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Driftwood and frogbits!

Have you considered inclinata, Rotala wallichii or purple cabomba?

Last edited by AirstoND; 04-15-2013 at 03:48 AM. Reason: zpelling
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2013, 04:57 AM
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the dw looks good
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-16-2013, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AirstoND View Post
Driftwood and frogbits!

Have you considered inclinata, Rotala wallichii or purple cabomba?

Yeah I've seen those, just had the impression they may be a little more difficult to get going? This is my first planted tank, so I'm just trying to get the easiest stuff I can find that will have a decent chance of doing well.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-18-2013, 03:21 AM
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The answer to if the sand will sink through the eco complete is yes. I made the mistake of capping my Flourite with sand and it slowly sank into the flourite and now i'm struggling to separate it.

As for suggestions on aquascaping i would put some Jungle Val or Corkscrew Val along the back wall to make a nice background plant. I would let it grow big and drape over the top of the tank a little bit to make a nice greenish glow to the tank.

OH! Almost forgot! A banana plant or water lily would be a nice hiding spot for fish that like top cover (Like gouramis)
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-18-2013, 07:41 AM
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Definitely get some vals for the background. I'm not sure but with all my low tech tanks i don't dose many ferts. Your plants aren't growing as fast as they would in a high tech setup and probably aren't using all those ferts. i have a 29 gallon with no CO2 and med light and only dose flourish once a week with water change also have a few Red clay root tabs under my swords and crypts and everything is growing quite well. In my experience Sags seems to be a slow grower in low tech setups. You might also try adding some Crypts or Moss they also grow well under low lights. Most stem plants don't do very well under low light conditions either they grow tall and lose all there lower leaves if they survive at all.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-19-2013, 02:51 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions. It is definitely a work in progress.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-19-2013, 03:54 AM
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I capped my Eco with sand and have had success so far. A bit of mixing, although I have not done a major rescape. If I had mixing issues I would just do a little re-cap with sand. I Love the feel of your tank, keep it up!

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