I've been messing around with the scape of my tank and I still cant get the tank to look "good"
The plant I'm currently working with are:
A large amazon sword, some green and bronze wendtii crypts, 2 different kind of anubias and some rotala indica. I also have some ludwigia palustris that I wanted to put in and some water wisteria that I can tank from another tank.
I bought a couple of pieces of driftwood to replace the fake ones that I have but I think they may be too small to look right, and I found a few good sized rocks outside that I want to use.
Im running 36 watts of t5 light
PFS substrate with root tabs
And I dose excel every other day (switching to DIY CO2 over the weekend)
Look at the lower picture, the full tank shot.
Mentally make tic-tac-toe lines across the tank to divide the tank not into 3 (real tic-tac-toe) but into 5 sections.
Your major elements should be in the sections that represent 2/5 and 3/5 of the tank. Not centered, not too far to the outside. Right now the stumps are too far to the outside, and too symmetrical, too balanced. The plant that is almost in the center is not too bad, but it is just enough off center to be irritating, not interesting. I mentally keep trying to center it. Move it more off center.
The other plants are too symmetrical. Same species mirror imaged left and right. Do not do this. Instead, put the same species near each other, a small group of one type over here and a small group of the other type over there.
The height of those stumps is very good, but too symmetrical. I would look for one that is tall (like you have) and one that is more horizontal, perhaps longer than it is tall, or perhaps just lay one of those over.
Fish species: Too many different species that all like the same area of the tank.
Select one mid tank school, perhaps 2 schools in this large a tank, but make them different shaped fish, like the Bleeding Hearts or Phantoms (lower mid-tank, disc shaped fish) and Gold Barbs (torpedo shaped fish). Actually the gold barb would not be my choice for a schooling torpedo shaped fish. In this large a tank perhaps Red Line Barbs would work well.
Then select a larger specimen (Gourami is fine, or some Rainbows)
Then some lower fish (a school of Cories, or half a dozen small Loaches like Zebras...)
As it is, I think I am seeing at least 4 species, none of them in a group large enough to show true schooling behavior. A 'Noah's Arc' tank. ("I'll take 2 of these, and 2 of those...")
7 serpae tetras(Getting rehomed as soon as I can catch them all)
8 Gold barbs
12 Rummy nose tetras
8 Julii corys
1 platy (Getting moved to a different tank)
1 Pearl Gourami
Im probably going to end up ordering a decent sized piece of driftwood to replace the fake ones and move the large sword to one end of the tank, but im still trying to picture things in my head.
That is a better group of fish than show in the photos.
OK, here is a way to make some ideas.
Print out the largest picture you can of the materials you have, but make sure they are all to the same scale. Cut out all the driftwood, rocks and plants.
Then cut out or draw an outline of the tank. Draw the lines (lightly) that divide the tank into 5 sections.
Place the largest items in the sections next to the middle, and group the middle sized things around the main items. Make sure the main items and the secondary things are different enough to be distinct, like one log lying down and the other stump standing up.
Try to arrange the things this way:
You know how you set kids on a teeter-totter? The heaviest child is a bit closer to the middle, and the lighter children might be grouped on the other side, a bit farther away from the middle.
Think about your hardscape elements like that.
The largest, chunkiest, fattest or tallest log or rock will be the heaviest.
Smaller, long-thin, or more branch-like pieces will give the impression of light weight.
Here is what often works for me:
Divide the materials into
and into fat and narrow
Then alternate in placing them:
Put the largest/fattest to the right,
Then 2 of the medium that look different on the left, but pretty close to each other. Perhaps one standing up the other lying down,
Then back to the right with medium sized stuff, one or two,
Last scatter the small stuff more or less as part of the groups, but it is OK if the small stuff starts to unite the groups.
Then place the plants. Larger leafed plants like swords need room. They cannot be crowded into the back corners. They are more mid-tank plants so they can spread out. Do not center them, though.
I like plants that are closely related to the rocks or driftwood. Stems and blades like Val or Sag look especially nice growing up through the hardscape materials.
This is what Ive done so far, suggestions?
add a bit more plants. Perhaps water sprite in the center. a carpet of riccia or hairgrass will look good in the foreground. Some midground plants such as nuphar japonica or echinodorus osiris and some lotus in the background behind the anubias(behind the angels)
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