First off I want to apologize to anyone who doesn't like pictures in the journal thread. I think that in order to convey exactly what you are doing/what is happening in your tank during updates you need to provide pictures to show the true beauty/disaster. I just wanted to get that out there.
So... I couldn't help myself I pulled every single plant out of my 125... I was sitting there staring at it (like we all do, don't pretend like you don't) and thought to myself that I actually wanted to scape it. I am right now what you would just call a plant collector and not an aquascaper. In my defense there is so much that you can do with a 125 gallon tank that trying to scape it appropriately with a large diversity and keeping beauty in mind is hard because you get lost in it easily. So, I tore it all out and set out to attempt scaping it. Here is my overall with pictures along the entire process.
I wanted to cover this thin piece of driftwood because the growth I have gotten on it was amazing, I'll do some pics on that first.
I had received this piece of driftwood and was thinking about mossing it up before someone gave me a LOT of java fern and I mean a lot... There was lace and standard so I decided to cover this piece in java fern instead of moss just to see where it would go. Notice TPT up on the browser, GO US, and pay no attention to the laundry because we have 4 children and we were on strike that particular weekend.
Here is the bucket o' fern before I split it out to see what I was working with:
Once I laid it all out I realized that I had enough to cover the wood and that is when I decided to go the fern way.
Now I have minimal experience with java fern plants. All I really know is that they can grow under almost any light/fert conditions and you don't bury the rhizome if you want the plant to live. When I got through with my driftwood I was feeling like I had made a mistake. My 'should be beautiful wood' was sparsley planted and just looked like I had all in all made a mistake. Would you put that in your tank? Note the spray bottle, it took me a long time to make a piece of wood look THAT bad so I had to keep the plants moist while I worked with them.
NOW, this string of pictures were taken about 4 to 5 months ago. I never really paid any attention to this piece of driftwood because everything else kind of grew up over it and it slowly but surely became unseen. I mean you somewhat have a hard time spotting it:
I had literally forgotten it was in there but when I started pulling my tank apart plant by plant I was in for such a surprise. When I seen this thing I almost fell over. The java fern has completely consumed all available real estate on the wood and filled out just great.
Here is this piece in my tank now:
The back I have pushed into a corner covering equipment:
Now, on to the murder of my tank. Reference the picture above for the amount of biomass I had developed with great growth and lets observe the tear down.
When I started tearing plants out my wife noticed the massive root structure of this 3" cryptocoryne lucen and she just had to have a picture of it to show her friends (what she really does is call me the aquatic farmer in front of her friends so they get a laugh out of it hehe.)
And, of course monkey see, monkey do so our third had to have her picture taken with it also.
About 4 hours into it. It took some time to remove all of the background giant vals without destroying the root structures completely. As I pulled the vals I cut off approx. 30' to 50' of growth. Those vals are truely invasive. I'm a pretty good planted tank guy but there is no way that I provide exactly what these plants need. I can get about 3" of growth out of certain vals each day. The odd thing is when I bought them I bought 5... 5 plants have turned into about 70+ over 6ish months. Truely amazing.
The tank re-scape took me from roughly 4 in the afternoon until about 3 in the morning. Prior to starting I assumed that I was going to be there for a while so I set up a table about 5' from my tank to hold everything. I was looking all professional.
When i got through pulling all of the plants out I had filled this container about a third of the way up. Honestly, I had expected more...
Alright, lets fill it up.
I removed all of the dwarf HG that I had because even though it was slowly filling the foreground out it just looked horrible to me. I had bought a single pot of dwarf sag when I started this tank a long time ago and to my amazement it had propagated fairly well and gave me enough to start a minimal carpet up front. I chose a crinum calamistratum as my center piece plant because I love the leaf crinkles. I have it surrounded by 3 M. lace in a half circle.
I had new plants come in the day of the rescaping which worked out as planned so I was amazed. I put the new Ludwigia Peruenis, alternanthera reineckii, and pogostemon stellatus throughout the tank for color and I can't wait until my high light starts to turn some bright colors on.
It looks barren right now but trust me those vals are in the back just itching to grow and then once my new color comes in this tank will be georgous.
Before I end this post I would just like to give a shout out to all of you who use the swap and shop in either a seller or buyer capacity. I have bought plants from liveaquaria, aquariumplants, assorted ebay vendors, and users of this forum and each and every time I have gotten flora or fauna from someone on this site it has completely surpassed any retail site in quality and quanity and that includes my LFS. I only hope that those of you that have purchased plants from me experience the same quality that I do from you. Before I quit this insanely long post I'm going to show two examples right quick.
I ordered flamemoss from liveaquaria and also received a portion from rlswaney73 here. Aside from letting the pictures do the talking I'd just like to say that the portion that I received from rlswaney73 was easily 4 times the amount that I got from liveaquaria and I ordered TWO portions from them!
rlswaney73's beautiful moss that I had just placed on some mopani. Notice the bright beautiful green color and posture of the flame moss.
supposed flamemoss from liveaquaria. I am not even sure this is flame moss. I'm going to have to wait until it starts growing before I properly identify it. Also, notice the slight yellowing and the picture doesn't show the dead brown portions of the moss that probably will not bounce back. I hid them in the back of the driftwood. And, this piece that I covered is about a third of the size of the piece that I used with swaney's moss.
I have also recently purchased some long finned albino BN plecos from beviking and I could not be happier with my purchase. I received 4 fish from beviking for the cost that two would cost me locally and this fish arrived in MUCH better shape.
So to all of you that share/sell with us here in the community I would like to thank you for making TPT an indispensable resource of not only knowledge but also flora and fauna that can't be rivaled by chain stores or LFS.
More updates later,