You get the point. My last big tank was my 130 gallon. 60”x18”x26”
I was inspired by the 2010 IAPLC 4th place winner (beautiful tank), but ultimately this one failed – big time. Not enough plant matter, ill-conceived lighting scheme, trouble with CO2 from the start, changed my fert regime and destroyed it, maintenance became a huge hassle with the depth and it generally went poorly. Around December, I nearly decided to call it quits - totally.
I took a break. I rethought that decision. Why did I go that route? Why did I “go big?” Admittedly, the discus lured me in. Gorgeous fish. Fun to raise. Temps not friendly to the kind of layouts I like, though, so I was stuck with plants I wasn’t passionate about, in a tank I was constantly rescaping because it never felt the way I wanted it to. So, I asked myself: What DO I want? What kind of scape do I want to have in my life – as a long-term layout? After all, isn’t it worth it to do it EXACTLY the way I want to?
I started searching again. Viewing images, videos, IAPLC contest winners, random hobbyist tanks. I decided to sell the 130. I sold the 90. I sold the discus. I rebooted my aesthetic. I cleansed my palate of all the distracting crap that had been bogging me down and decided to start fresh. What did I want? What did I keep returning to, but only consistently half-a$$ed?
Iwagumi. I still got that sad, peaceful, longing feeling every time I saw one that was well done. I got very excited when I saw interesting rocks. I have an addiction to beautiful stone, I think. My wife couldn’t count the number of times I’ve interrupted her concentration with and excited “Hey, honey – check out this rock!” I had to tie myself down to keep from buying every gorgeous rock that passed my sight. I trolled the S&S like it was Internet p*rn, searching for rocks that satisfied my perverse need.
But what would I do with them when I got them? Well, it was clear: I needed to take my earnings from selling off the big mess and invest in the system I should have bought in the first place. So, I asked myself:
"What do I think is the perfect tank?"