As the title says, I've been away from freshwater for 6 years and it seems like you guys have been busy. I'm starting up a new tank and want to try my hand at some basic aquascaping. Bare with me, I'm no artist. I know threads are usually more exciting when there's a complete story from start to finish, but for now I must disappoint. At least you guys can keep up with it this way though. Comments are welcome of course.
Eco complete substrate
SunSun canister filter
Hydor inline heater (took a gamble here, but I feel like it's working well)
Lighting to be provided by planted+ 24/7 once it's shipped.
So admittedly I'm no artist, I've got no eye for design. Some may cringe at my attempt. Opinions are welcome, as long as we all understand they're just an opinion. Anyway, pictures!
A little cloudy after first setup, I spent a day hiking through the woods to find that rock. I really liked it's geometric shapes, but am on the verge of saying it's too darn big. The very tip of it pokes above the water, though no more than 1/4" when the tank is full.
After staring at it for a few days, I felt that proportionally the driftwood I had in there just didn't give any sense of scale, so I changed the wood and the layout.
Think that's a little better. At this point my thoughts are the cliche "moss trees", and a thick carpet of dwarf baby tears or similar small carpeting plant. I'm looking through other plants for a bit of diversity, but trying to keep in mind the effect of proportion. My goal is to keep a sense of height to the layout.
Livestock wise, I grabbed a small school of 10 neon tetras (I've got a soft spot for walmart fish. The poor things are crammed in under a black light with some glo-danios. Even if a few pass, at least they weren't immediately picked apart by starving danios. I will be adding probably 6 or so otto cats, some pygmy corys, and a pair or two of german blue rams, or appistogrammas. I originally wanted to try some cherry red shrimps, but they could very well end up being food for the dwarf cichlids.
Water flow in the tank is relatively slow. The outlet comes out behind the rock and faces directly forward. The intake is visible on the right hand side, and nicely enough this canister setup came with a surface skimmer (duck weed be-gone!). I know the filter setup is a cheap brand, but in reading the reviews it's gotten and knowing a proper tank does need filter maintenance as much as water maintenance, I feel good about it so far. I also spliced in a Hydor 300w inline heater in the return hose, as I wanted to keep as much out of the tank as possible. So far so good on that. I am a little concerned about it though, as it was only a 3/5 star on amazon and many reviews complained about a short life span. As a safety net, my apartment doesn't get much below 70°F this time of year, so not too many worries about a debilitating crash.
Well, other than that, if there's others in the southern MA area who've got plants for sale, or anyone who's got plant suggestions, feel free to speak up. My light is scheduled to arrive on the 19th, so I'd like to begin planting then.