Well its been so long, I bet you all thought I had given up on this one LOL. Actually the last two months have been spent filling, finding leaks, draining and trying to get them stopped. Finally go the last one sealed off last week and ran the tank for a full 24 hours with no leaks. Here it is after I drained it for what I hope will be the final time, so I could add the hardscape portion of the aquascape. My wet/dry shop vac proved to be a huge asset on this project!
Saturday I was finally able to spend some serious time putting things together. In the initial build stage, I created two pockets in the aquatic portion of the rockwork to provide pockets for aragonite sand.
The right hand pocket near the barrier wall;
And the left hand pocket in the left rear corner;
I used hydrophyte's Ion brick substrate as my base throughout the rest of the aquatic area, sloping it up from the front to the back and from left to right to create a deeper pool in the front left corner. I placed two large pieces of lava rock that contain Rabbits Foot ferns, a piece of driftwood and several larger pieces of larger black river rock into the Ion Brick substrate, and then planted a Ruella plant that I also aquired from Hydrophyte that has outgrown the smaller tank I was keeping it in.
I then covered the remaining ion brick with polished river rock to create a stream bottom look. Here's a shot just after it started to clear-up;
I decided the polished river rock was too uniform in color and size, so I had to make a quick trip to the local hardware store to pick up some additional polished rock of different sized and markings. Removed all the original polished river rock and then added the new and finished with a scattering of the original. Here's a picture of the new look when the water started clearing up;