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-   -   Frank's Planted Tank How-To Mini Novel - The Mini S Returns! New Layout (http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=168992)

Francis Xavier 03-13-2012 07:29 PM

Frank's Planted Tank How-To Mini Novel - The Mini S Returns! New Layout
 
This Journal is dedicated to Khoa Pham. The first person I ever taught Nature Aquarium to - and the first real customer I ever had. May the teachings in this Journal bring the same joy to others as it did to him.

Cryptkeeper54 converted the first half of the thread into an eBook available for download here, the eBook contains the final photo of the Mini M layout which the first half of the thread covers - which has not yet been published anywhere else, so be sure to check out he gorgeous HD photograph!

Follow Me On:

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Communicating with me outside Social Platforms:

Email: fxiv@me.com
TEL: 832-459-5172

Table of Contents:

Opening ACT 1 - New Layout Mayhem!

1. Introduction - Page 1

2. Getting Started - Step 1 - Page 2, Post 19

3. Setting the Substrate - Step 2 - Page 2, Post 25

4. Penac Pearling - Page 5, Post 64

5. Laying out a hardscape - Stone Arrangement: Step 3 - Page 5, Post 73

6. Basic Maintenance - Page 5, Post 74

7. Philosophy - Enjoying the Process - Page 6, Post 83

8. Planting and Planning for a Mixed Carpet: Step 4 - Page 7, Post 91

9. First Month Filter Setup & Day 5 maintenance: Step 5 - Page 8, Post 111

10. Aquarium Data - Equipment Used - Page 10, Post 143

11. How Co2 is distributed by water with a diffuser - Page 11, Post 160

12. Trimming Carpet Plants - Page 13, Post 191

13. End of Week 1 - Page 13, Post 195

14. Modifying the Layout - Removing an unnecessary element - Page 16, Post 231

15. Trimming Riccia - Page 18, Post 269

16. Size: Large vs. Small Aquaria, thoughts - Page 19, Post 280

17. A word on the International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest - Page 19, Post 284

18. End of Week 2 - Page 20, Post 286

19. Introduction to A New Way of Thinking: Why what you may have learned could be wrong - Page 21, Post 312

20. A New Way of Thinking: There is No Such Thing as Multiple Methods - Page 22, Post 325

21. A New Way of Thinking: Invalidating the Theory of "High Tech" - Page 22, Post 328

22. The NO B.S. Introduction to "The Method" - Page 23, Post 334

23. NO B.S. Method - The Most Important Post I've Ever Written - Page 23, Post 345

24. Removing Diatom Algae and Week 3 Tank Update - Page 24, Post 359

25. End of Week 3 - Week 1, 2, 3 Comparison Overview - Page 25, Post 371

26. The Method - Principle One: Malthusian Organisms - Page 25, Post 374

27. THE CHALLENGE! - Page 26, Post 382

28. ADA's 20th Anniversary (Takashi Amano Story) & Making a Small Layout Adjustment - Page 29, Post 431

29. The Method - Principle Two: The Law of Minimums - Page 31, Post 456

30. The Method - Principle Three: The Cyclical Nature of the Aquarium - Page 32, Post 471

31. Week 4/5 Celebration Video Coverage! The Beauty of Riccia Fluitans! - Page 33, Post 486

32. The final published shot of the aquarium before contest entry - Page 35, Post 514

BEGIN INTERMISSION! Fun Stuff in Between Works!

33. Trimming Riccia Video - Page 36, Post 538

34. Removing BBA manually - Page 39, Post 571

35. Aquatic Poetry?! And 720p video of the Layout - Page 39, Post 579

36. Frank Wazeter on Blog Talk Radio! Aquascaping Discussion. - Page 40, Post 588

ACT TWO: Enter LED Lighting Technology and a brand new layout!

37. The Arrival of Nature Aquarium's First Ever LED light: AQUASKY!Page 45, Post 664

38. AQUASKY's Premiere - Solar Mini M retired, AQUASKY on a fresh canvas - Page 45, Post 670

39. The Tear Down of "San Marcos River Summer," and the Creation of the New Layout - Page 46, Post 683

40. Maintenance Regime on the Mini M! - Page 47, Post 692

41. Grow out of the Mini M - Days 1-7 Comparisons between Old and New - Page 47, Post 704

42. The 60-P Developing with it's semi-permanent Cameo Appearance! - Page 47, Post 705

43. What has beautiful inlay designs and optimal functionality? ADA Anniversary Premium Goods! - Page 48, Post 712

44. Getting rid of that bothersome algae on the glass - the easy way. - Page 48, Post 715

45. Pencilfish Hunting in Riccia & the 60-P props back up again! - Page 49, Post 726

46. Autumnal Hues with the Beautiful Rotala Colorata - Page 49, Post 733

47. Sad News - The passing of my first student. Rest in Peace my friend. - Page 50, Post 736

48. When stem plants become brilliant and add dynamism to the layout -60-P - Page 50, Post 746

49. Time Elapse and Algae Killing in three days in the 60-P - Page 51, Post 751

50. Taking down Khoa Pham's aquarium & Mini M update - Page 51, Post 753

51. It's all in the Details - adjustments on the Mini M with Unzan Stone - Page 52, Post 767

52. Coming up next - the beautiful Microrasbora Kubotai! - Page 52, Post 776

53. Microrasbora Kubotai, subtle coloration adds an incredible dynamic to the layout. - Page 53, Post 782

54. Nano Fish Acclimation Guide! How to get 100% survival rates with ease! - Page 53, Post 789

55. Bringing the Layout to life with Fish - going from "cool" to "lost in the aquarium." - Page 54, Post 797

56. Mystic Photograph of the Kubotai + eBook Remastering of Act 1 - Page 55, Post 819

57. Ranking #127 in the IAPLC (international aquatic plant layout contest) and personal critique by Mr. Amano - an epic end to a great layout. - Page 58, Post 865

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8323/8...405dcb8a_b.jpg
ACT I Finale Shot - #127 IAPLC 2012

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7253/7...5e3004bc_b.jpg
ACT II Finale



"How do I create a beautiful mixed carpet in my planted tank?"

If you've ever wondered how to create a mixed carpet for your planted aquarium or amazed at how Amano does it, through the course of this thread you will learn how to grow just that.

Sometimes, the task can seem impossible or overwhelming. So before I really begin to share these secrets, allow me to bring you along my history and development with planted tanks. You will see how you can create a fantastic layout, even if you are starting from humble origins.

Sit back, relax and read every word carefully, because it all starts with a vision:

My Background History:

At this point, I've thoroughly mastered growing single carpets as can be illustrated here:

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7206/6...926b4a4f_z.jpg


Of course, this would also include your foreground and background stuff (for example, HC and hair grass), as you can see a relatively old example here:

http://i390.photobucket.com/albums/o...kground022.jpg

That one kind of brings me back. Dollface might hate that photograph.

An older (yet more recent example) of an aquarium I never quite did take a finished photograph of:

http://i390.photobucket.com/albums/o.../miniswk32.jpg

That one taught me quite a few lessons about riccia: you see those bald stones? that was from a few pieces of riccia that were "spoiled" when they arrived, Lesson: always use the greenest and freshest riccia!

Something Important to Know: I will always recommend that you master growing one species of plant at a time, for example: an iwagumi that's all hair grass or hc, or microsword etc.

Why? because this will give you the greatest skill in manipulating, shaping the plants growth, while knowing at what speed it grows and what it's nutrient requirements are. Think of it like breaking down a math problem into easy, simple to digest and understand components in order to solve a very complex problem (in this case, the mixed carpet).

Along the way there have also been some mishaps and failures:

How about this blast from the past (2008? 2009? I think):

http://i390.photobucket.com/albums/o...acation001.jpg

This was my first ever attempt at a mixed carpet. It went surprisingly well, but I never did try to that extent again. See a close up from Glosso and HC growing together:

http://i390.photobucket.com/albums/o...acation002.jpg

Oh, and of course, there was the first iwagumi:

http://i390.photobucket.com/albums/o...er/adas004.jpg

I didn't even remember that somehow I had managed to get Riccia to intertwine with HC in that layout (e.g. it was a Random A$$ Accident) :

http://i390.photobucket.com/albums/o...er/aday006.jpg

Oh boy! Look at that algae! Honestly I think that accidental mixing has been my best attempt yet...3-4 years ago...

And finally, there was my very, very first planted tank:

http://i390.photobucket.com/albums/o...lgaewar012.jpg

Man, how embarrassing is that?

There have been some other successes and failures over the course, but honestly? The failures teach you the most. The successes just give you some extra confidence.

Which brings me to some other examples:

http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4152/5...67a6f9c9_z.jpg

I probably should have spent some time polishing that one up a bit. Now that I look back on it, the sparser growth actually creates a nice effect for what I was trying to achieve.

http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4152/5...26a374e9_z.jpg

This was the very first layout I had worked on at Aquarium Design Group: and also the first time I had done -anything- with driftwood. I wish I had taken a full shot of this tank then.



With that said, what's the next objective? Mastering the Mixed Carpet.

Before I delve more into How-To and the fun of keeping the journal going, let me preface:

There will be mistakes. There will be frustration. And my intent is to teach you how to master these principles so that you can learn quicker than me. This is why I've had a lot of fun going over some of my past layouts, success, failures, embarrassments and all.

So, without further ado, here is the newest layout I've set up at home:

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7049/6...286a4ab7_z.jpg

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7182/6...8399165e_z.jpg

I promise not to bore you with equipment details: I'll only share them when necessary and when it's valuable and worth your time to know.

Before we go on further, I have a homework assignment for you:

Important Exercise:Visualize your ultimate layout you want for your aquarium. Now, picture yourself successfully planting each individual plant, and then watch the plants grow. Imagine problems coming up and solving the problem. Watch as the aquascape evolves from freshly planted to completed, and imagine how you feel when you've accomplished the task.

Now sit back, subscribe and continue to watch for updates to take the next step, and the next exercise. Make sure you catch me on my next major update where I'll teach you the fundamentals behind setting the substrate, and if you're lucky, the arrangement of the stones!

P.S. if you've found these techniques valuable, help share the information with new comers by linking back here in your own journals when you use my techniques!

Member Highlights! Check out these people and their awesome work:

Here are some of my students who are also members of TPT (message me if you aren't listed and should be, or if you are listed and feel you shouldn't or don't want to be!) :

These people all share a passion for planted aquariums and have had great success moving forward! Cheer them on as they work their way towards being masters of the planted tank universe.

Khoa N. Pham -

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y15...m/IMG_2980.jpg

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=122232

fplata -

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pH...itle=120hc.jpg

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pH...title=60pc.jpg


http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=181063



freph -

http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k2...1/IMG_1427.jpg

http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k2...1/IMG_1248.jpg

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=181281

mluk27 -

http://i1116.photobucket.com/albums/...7/db71e35a.jpg

http://i1116.photobucket.com/albums/...7/39bb78fd.jpg

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ghlight=mluk27

Dave Allen -

http://img822.imageshack.us/img822/8328/dscf0453d.jpg

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=184547

Dollface -

http://i.imgur.com/Tn3MC.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/hQ9zv.jpg

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=170180

pejerrey -

http://img.tapatalk.com/4c66c3a2-2494-8ee3.jpg

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-3...2520061912.jpg

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=169143

ozydego -

http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g2...o/IMG_3100.jpg

http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g2...o/IMG_3116.jpg

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=181009

dantra - http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=161640

frrok -

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8291/7...3369d0f5_z.jpg

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=160093

flyinghellfish -

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pi...pictureid=9700

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/member.php?u=49336

orchidman -

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7270/7...2f8d4f12_b.jpg

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=188790

Brian MC - http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/member.php?u=51675

2wheelsx2 -

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...d/DSCF0033.jpg

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/member.php?u=6864

Jeff5614 -

http://i491.photobucket.com/albums/r...o/IMG_0533.jpg

http://i491.photobucket.com/albums/r...o/IMG_0460.jpg

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=107781

Lludu - http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/member.php?u=52328

Zeldar -

http://i853.photobucket.com/albums/a...IMG_0681-1.jpg

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=186330

FisheriesOmen 03-13-2012 08:08 PM

Not sure what the purpose of the first 95% of the thread was(was pretty confusing) but they looked good and can't wait to see your tank planted. I would suggest getting rid of the first part of the post and just get straight to the point. Good luck on your mixed carpet.

Warlock 03-13-2012 08:22 PM

where do you get all the cool stone!!

salmon 03-13-2012 08:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FisheriesOmen (Post 1771473)
Not sure what the purpose of the first 95% of the thread was(was pretty confusing) but they looked good and can't wait to see your tank planted. I would suggest getting rid of the first part of the post and just get straight to the point. Good luck on your mixed carpet.

I think the idea was to purposely illustrate the trails of prior carpet/mixed carpet success to give us all incite on what this journal will be about. Not trying to put words in the OP's mouth or anything, but I think it's a very good post.

*****

Frank, very interested in watching this. Not any easy thing to do by any means, I pulled out half my hair trying to trim my mixed carpet recently. I find the mixed styles to appear much more natural, like something that would actually be found in the wild opposed to a placed and "kept" feel.

Watching this for sure! Keep us posted :smile:

Dave Allen 03-13-2012 08:25 PM

Frank, very interesting to see how your aquascaping skills have developed.

It's a good reminder for those who try to emulate the beautiful tanks of Mr. Amano and others that everyone had to start somewhere and learn along the way. When I think about this hobby, more and more it strikes me that I'm less drawn to an final destination of a "finished" tank than to the journey of trying to get there.

Can't wait to follow along and learn some new things!

manikmunky 03-13-2012 08:47 PM

Very encouraging thread, thanks for posting it and the pictures of the early tanks, "failures" and works in progress. It's easy for those of us still starting out to get disheartened when we see some of the amazing looking aquascapes and lush planted tanks out there. Now I have to remember I'm aiming to get that good, eventually, but not overnight :)

jcgd 03-13-2012 10:02 PM

Ah yeah. I've been running my mind over this issue for the last year or so, trying to figure out how I would incorporate a variety of foreground plant into a layout. It's awesome that I can watch to see what happens with your experiences. Do you have a plan of attack in mind? Did you have a style that you are striving for, such as crisp barriers or plants overlaying each other, or are you just wingin' it?

I'm pumped for this.

Francis Xavier 03-13-2012 10:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FisheriesOmen (Post 1771473)
Not sure what the purpose of the first 95% of the thread was(was pretty confusing) but they looked good and can't wait to see your tank planted. I would suggest getting rid of the first part of the post and just get straight to the point. Good luck on your mixed carpet.

Thanks for the valuable feedback. I've rewritten a bit of it to make it a little more clear. Make sure to read over the initial post again for gems.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Warlock
where do you get all the cool stone!!

Honestly, Warlock, most of the stones that I've used I've collected over the years through swap n shop or a few various ADA shipments (I've yet to utilize any of the Ryuo stone, as I like to select pieces for people which I would feel comfortable using myself and this is the most popular type).

To be completely honest with you though: many of these stones are rather "dull" upon first glance (especially in the Mini M I will take us through on this journey), however the trick is knowing how to arrange them and use them. Which I will be covering.

Quote:

Originally Posted by salmon
Frank, very interested in watching this. Not any easy thing to do by any means, I pulled out half my hair trying to trim my mixed carpet recently. I find the mixed styles to appear much more natural, like something that would actually be found in the wild opposed to a placed and "kept" feel.

Watching this for sure! Keep us posted http://pt-vbseo.plantedtankllc.netdn...lies/smile.gif

Salmon, you will definitely want to take a pen and paper out and take notes and do the "homework," assignments i'll leave at the end of each major update. These are valuable secrets to success with the planted tank, which you will not find posted or written anywhere else.

Quote:

Originally Posted by aegis32
Frank, very interesting to see how your aquascaping skills have developed.

It's a good reminder for those who try to emulate the beautiful tanks of Mr. Amano and others that everyone had to start somewhere and learn along the way. When I think about this hobby, more and more it strikes me that I'm less drawn to an final destination of a "finished" tank than to the journey of trying to get there.

Can't wait to follow along and learn some new things!

Aegis, we all start humbly! I think you will learn, as others who I am sure are feeling the same sentiment as you posted, that we all face the same challenges and roadblocks. Even Mr. Amano did.

Quote:

Originally Posted by manikmunky
Very encouraging thread, thanks for posting it and the pictures of the early tanks, "failures" and works in progress. It's easy for those of us still starting out to get disheartened when we see some of the amazing looking aquascapes and lush planted tanks out there. Now I have to remember I'm aiming to get that good, eventually, but not overnight http://pt-vbseo.plantedtankllc.netdn...icon_smile.gif

Make sure to do the homework assignment at the end of the first post! You will find your way to success here.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jcgd
Ah yeah. I've been running my mind over this issue for the last year or so, trying to figure out how I would incorporate a variety of foreground plant into a layout. It's awesome that I can watch to see what happens with your experiences. Do you have a plan of attack in mind? Did you have a style that you are striving for, such as crisp barriers or plants overlaying each other, or are you just wingin' it?

I'm pumped for this.

jcgd, you will definitely want to be following and taking notes, I'll give you a teaser on the plan in the next post. As we go through the learning process, make sure to ask questions and save yourself headache! Most people who ask questions when learning about the planted tank and are open to being taught, master these concepts very quickly.

P.S. if you've found these techniques valuable, help share the information with new comers by linking back here in your own journals when you use my techniques!

Francis Xavier 03-13-2012 11:05 PM

Before going further with post updates, I want to give a little insight into how you can learn how to unlock Amano Magic in your own planted aquariums.

Each new major post will have an easy to follow format designed to teach step by step (and if you already know the basic steps, it will be good review to master them!) so you can begin to fully master the techniques that will lead to you fulfilling your vision.

At the end of every post, there will be a simple and fun homework assignment that you can do to really improve your planted tank skills quickly. Most people who participate in these simple exercises find ways to instantly improve their layouts, whether they are completely new to the hobby or have been in it for years.

Continue to read every word carefully and you will know the secrets of the professionals without having to go through the hassle of learning the hard way.

Until next time, here is the planting formula for this aquarium:

**i**th** c******h******
******s*i**a e*******d*s
r**c** ***it**s
m**r* **o*d
e****od***s t***l**s
e****h***s ***c***ri*
w****w ***s

To get your mind situated right, here is the universal starting point for all of us:

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7206/6...26539850_z.jpg

The only difference here on out is skills and knowledge, which you will learn here.

Best Regards,

Frank Wazeter

P.S. Have you done the first homework assignment? If not go back and do it now in the first post!

P.P.S. If you're just starting a new planted tank or thinking of redoing your layout, this is the perfect time to join in and follow along from start to finish!

P.P.P.S. Have you subscribed to and shared this thread yet? If you haven't, what are you waiting for!

P.P.P.P.S. if you've found these techniques valuable, help share the information with new comers by linking back here in your own journals when you use my techniques!

Dollface 03-13-2012 11:17 PM

I like how your threads keep getting increasingly ridiculous over the span of your TPT career Frank.

rezco 03-13-2012 11:30 PM

Subscribed

Rockhoe14er 03-13-2012 11:47 PM

Great thread. What happens if you're visualization is more about just being able to grow difficult plants and trying to learn how to really watch them and see what they need? I keep trying to visualize and I find what gives me the best sense of accomplishment is being able to grow new species of plants. Maybe once that's mastered and I learn how to read my plants I'll be ready to design my dream aquascape.

Kai808 03-14-2012 01:08 AM

Subscribed!!

orchidman 03-14-2012 01:45 AM

this looks like it will be a great thread! subscribing for sure!

AhVy 03-14-2012 12:43 PM

Subbbbscribedd!! More more!!


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