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MrJG 05-11-2010 09:42 PM

'close encounters' JG's 40B
So yea I haven't quite been able to come up with a catchy name yet. :)

The easy stuff:

Tank - standard 40 breeder, reclaimed jacked up tank actually used for breeding
Filtration - rena XP3
Heater - Hydor inline
CO2 - pressurized/rhinox 2000
Lighting - 2x96W PC but moving to T5HO or MH very soon
Ferts - dry @ ~ EI levels + seachem iron + seachem flourish

Those who followed my previous 40 breeder thread or may have joined the farewell raok contest know that I spent ~ 14 hours tearing the old scape down and building this one back up. It was certainly hard work but there is something cleansing about stripping a tank down to the glass and starting from scratch. Especially for someone like myself with such limited scape experience. Its a chance to improve. There is always another chance to improve.
I didn't really go into this re-scape with any hard set ideas on anything, didn't fiddle with stone on the coffee table to come up with ideas or have some vision of the end game. I just wanted to dig in and do whatever hit me in the moment. Of course I had thought about it endlessly since I got a few really nice packages of seiryu stone from boink. This is one of the reasons I decided to let go. No plans. No rule of thirds (at least consciously). No iwagumi rules. No grandiose vision of something that I'd probably fail at creating anyway.

As I stand there staring at the barren tank I look down to my feet.
The first thing that hits my brain. I'm going to need more substrate than this... or bigger rocks. Don't know why but I started building a base of granite up around the middle of the tank. If I didn't have more substrate I had to make up for it somehow right? I played jigsaw for a while... or was it tetris? Not sure but I feverishly tried to fit the pieces together to make small cups that would help maintain this slope that I didn't even know I was building yet. It was like that scene from Close Encounters minus the throwing shrubberies through the window part.

I wish I had taken an image of the moment that the base was done and I had a few of the actual seiryu stones teetering atop. I'm sure it didn't look nearly as awesome as I was thinking it did.

Insert an hour and a half of moving stones around, adding and removing substrate, and agonizing over balance and depth perception. Just general angst. At one point I came very close to calling my wife in and asking her if it was balanced enough but I caught myself... she'd call me crazy for sure.
I still think its a little heavy on the right side but it is what it is.... the substrate is wet now. No more moving.
After planting and filling back up I got a mild bacterial bloom which could be expected. As of today its *almost* back to crystal clear but still a tiny bit of haze. Fits the overcast weather outside at least. Later this evening after nightfall I'll take some initial planted shots and post them up.

Would love to hear some feedback on the scape preview. Bad good indifferent its all constructive. Like I said above there is always a next time to improve. Thanks for looking!

dj2005 05-11-2010 09:48 PM

I love it. I think the "heaviness" only adds to its beauty.

AoxomoxoA 05-11-2010 10:07 PM


Originally Posted by MrJG (Post 1066802)
So yea I haven't quite been able to come up with a catchy name yet. :)

It was like that scene from Close Encounters minus the throwing shrubberies through the window part.:alien:

I LOLed then it hit me... That's what I'd go with anyways. (or "Devil's Tower", isn't that what the mountain is called? I kinda like "Insert Name Here" too...)

Awesome rock & story. A great start, now what's that you were saying about plants?:red_mouth

MrJG 05-12-2010 03:06 AM


About the plants... well when I said I didn't have a plan for the scape these weren't included. I wanted to keep it super simple and limit the main plantings to 3-4 types. Obviously I already had quite a bit of Staurogyne 'repens' from the old tank that is carried over. I also decided to keep our old good friend Blyxa Japonica and a soon to be nice little stand of Crypt 'green gecko'. I probably stuck at least 7-8 daughter nodes back there that were just on the verge of throwing leaves. To top if off in the center I used some Rotala 'goais' that I've had floating in the ferns of the old scape for some time... so much time in fact that I'd almost forgotten they were there until I pulled the mass out during the tear down. Only thing else going on in there are some smatterings of mini-pellia and fissidens tied to small chunks of seiryu.

As I was saying before its still recovering just a bit from a bacterial bloom so the pics are a tad hazy. If I waited another 24-36 hours it would probably be totally gone but I snapped some pics anyway.

I've already gotten a few great suggestions on the hardscape (thanks!) but for the moment I'm just going to let things ride until the tank can settle back in a bit. The massive upheaval of sifting/drying the soil, lightly bleaching the tank, and a solid filter cleaning with pad replacements surely has it in for at least a mini-cycle.

So on to the pics... they may take a bit or a refresh to load. Considering changing hosts soon. :-/
obligatory fts
3/4 shot
the slope
Rotala Mexicana
And before anyone asks I'm paying homage to one of my favorite scapers on the forums by formatting my posts in this thread in a similar way. I've always enjoyed UG's journals and it just makes the thread seem cleaner, albeit a bit harder to manage a quick post. :)

CL 05-12-2010 03:07 AM

Wow. Dominating.

MrJG 05-12-2010 03:25 AM

Thanks CL! I think I ninja'd you with my planted post. haha.

msnikkistar 05-12-2010 01:40 PM

:eek: Your tank looks nice! :biggrin:

speedie408 05-12-2010 02:38 PM


I kid :D I love it bro! I envy your stones. If you don't mind, how much did you pick them all up for? SICK scape btw. Subscribed.

hbosman 05-12-2010 02:59 PM

Very Nice! How is diffusing the co2 into the intake of the XP3 working for you? I use a Boyu Atomizer on the Output of my XP2 which works well but, thinking about trying it on the input.

MrJG 05-12-2010 03:30 PM

Thanks Nikki/Nick haha!

The stones came from boink in the swap n shop. If I recall we did a little trading action in there somewhere so I really can't remember what I ended up out of pocket since its been a while. Probably somewhere around 150-180 worth with shipping. I still have quite a bit left over that didn't fit in for whatever reason. Coloration a tad off, slightly different texture, or just plain couldn't cram it in there.

Some of the smaller stones around the base will eventually be obscured by plantings but the main reason they are there is to create a plug on some of the points on the slope that I thought would be likely to slide. As I was building things up I tried to be mindful of substrate settling and the inevitability of having to pull stems to replant, both things that can destroy a nice slope with ease. Only time will tell if I managed to shore things up enough.

While we are on the subject of stones... I know its a lot to pay. For so long I've wanted to pony up and buy nice stones but couldn't bring myself to pay $3.99/lb + shipping for rocks sight unseen. It wasn't until boink posted up his packages that I really considered it and got excited about it. For once I could actually see what I was buying and that helped with the sting quite a bit. It also didn't hurt that the timing coincided with a pretty good plant sale I had just done. Nothing like telling your wife "Hey I just spent $200 on rocks". Then you get this look :angryfire... follow that up with "well 100% of it was covered from my last plant sale and the face turns to :cool:.

msnikkistar 05-12-2010 03:33 PM


Originally Posted by MrJG (Post 1067198)
Nothing like telling your wife "Hey I just spent $200 on rocks". Then you get this look :angryfire...

Remove wife and put husband in, and you have my dilemma on a daily basis. lol

He just found out how much I spent on "stinking little blue shrimp" the other day. lol

AlexXx 05-12-2010 03:35 PM

Wow i love it! thats a MEAN slope you got there!

speedie408 05-12-2010 03:43 PM

hahaha I get that same exact reaction from my wife when I buy and swap things on here. The feeling is priceless. :D Very nice pickup regardless of how expensive it was because in reality, it was just a trade. Love those stones.

So what lights are in store for ya? Any brand in particular you looking at? If money aint a thang, I'd say go for MH. Can't go wrong with t5ho's though. Just make sure you get a 3x39 or 4x39 with 2 switches. 2x39 if you don't mind slower growth and less reds.

MrJG 05-12-2010 06:22 PM

I'm kinda in limbo with lighting right now. The only thing for sure is I want the power compacts gone as soon as possible. My tanks that have T5HO or MH lighting just seem to have better more controlled growth at a lower wattage level.

Right now in my mind I'm toying with a few ideas that I've been having. I already have a 150W fishneedit fixture (electronic ballast, 8k bulb) running over my 29 gallon riparium. I'm considering bringing that tank down entirely or possibly switching it out with a 20 long. Either way I see myself as having a "spare" 150W MH right now. Easiest thing to do would just be to order a companion and hang them over the breeder. Too much light? Meh I'd like to hope with the height adjustment I could find a sweet spot. Besides the shimmer makes the ladies swoon.
I'm sure 2x70W would be a little better suited. It seems funny being cheap one post below forking out lots of loot for rocks. :P

If nothing else I know fishneedit is expecting delivery of their new model T5HO fixtures soon. I can always keep my fingers crossed on that. Who knows, I'm constantly crawling craigslist/ebay/etc for deals on Tek fixtures. I'm to the point now that I really just want to hang the fixtures on all my tanks. Makes maintenance faster, looks better, and the height adjustment is a huge selling point.

chris.rivera3 05-12-2010 11:34 PM

loving the new scape!!! I was following your "retired" thread and I had a few questions about Staurogyne (tropica #049G)... I know Tom used it for his 180 gallon tank as a foreground but i was under the impression that Staurogyne grows upward...does it grow upward for you as well??? or do you have a method of keeping it low to the ground??? I have a 40 breeder as well and I'm trying to decide on a foreground plant

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