The Planted Tank Forum

The Planted Tank Forum (
-   Tank Journals (
-   -   54G Planted Tank Project (With Pictures) (

2Shi 01-02-2013 05:06 PM

54G Planted Tank Project (With Pictures)
Hi All!

My wife's brother recently bought his first fish tank. He filled it with gravel, 1 plastic plant, and 1 goldfish. After seeing his tank, I realized how beautiful fish are and decided to get one of my own.

I started doing research on fish tanks and I saw a ton of planted aquascapes that were absolutely brilliant. I decided to go with a fully-loaded setup instead of using 1 fake plant and 1 fish.

Most Recent Snapshot (1/12/2013):

Here's a list of what I've gotten so far:
-54 Gallon Bow-Front Corner Tank + Cabinet Stand
-Wet-Dry Sump
-150W Heater
-Pressurized CO2 System
-Potting Soil Topped with Eco Complete Substrate
-Small Air Stones
-TONS OF ROCKS (few of which I actually used -- I'm interested in Iwagumi
style tanks)
-2x24W T5HO Lighting Strip

I plan on stocking my tank with the following plants:
- Dwarf Hairgrass
- Java Moss
- Micro Swords
- Jungle Vals

Fish stock still undecided.

I'm at work right now so I can't post a picture at this very moment but I hope to get some pictures rolling by tomorrow! I'm expecting my order of plants to arrive on Friday so I look forward to getting all of that together as well :)

Please help me get my tank up and running :) This is my first and I'm sure to make mistakes along the way! I'm counting on you guys to help me out here! :D

Edit: Oh and also... *jaw crashes through basement*

GMYukonon24s 01-02-2013 06:34 PM

Welcome to the forum. This is a great forum to help answer any planted related or aquarium related questions that you have.

2Shi 01-02-2013 09:55 PM

Alright I got some pictures of my hardscape going! Let me know what you think! Plants are coming in on Friday.

Model 1-A

Model 1-B

Model 1-C

tomfromstlouis 01-03-2013 12:39 AM

I like your plant selection and think that they could look great with those rocks.

I confess I am not fully enamored with your rock placement though, especially the big one. Play around with that guy some more; try on its side so the rounded face echoes the front of the tank, try it on the small end, the long edge down, put another on top of it, anything that occurs to you. But right now it looks like it got plopped in there and landed weird.

If you like the scapes you linked to, notice that their rocks form a composition of some kind. Yours could be one tallish jumble like a mountain, or arranged large to small like a hillside, or any number of things.

Hardscape is important. Consider playing around with various combinations on a piece of cardboard the size and shape of the tank bottom (easier to move around). When you find a look you like, leave it there overnight and look again the next day.

2Shi 01-03-2013 02:36 AM

I see what you're saying. At a second glance the big rock really is placed awkwardly. I was too obsessed with trying to create a triangle that I didn't notice the obvious.

I've actually taken a liking to the aquascapes that have a lot of open space up top with a beautiful carpet and shorter plants in the mix. No huge plant formations hindering the negative space.

I'll do some modifications tomorrow evening and post results here. Please check back and take a look! Also, all additional comments would be greatly appreciated!

Dave-H 01-03-2013 02:40 AM

I have that same tank! Those of us who own a 54g corner bowfront all seem to commiserate on how hard it is to get even lighting and good flow around the thing. Everyone seems to find a way, but it's a bit tougher with this shape for whatever reason. Be sure to keep the flow in mind, and keep an eye on that back corner!

Nice rocks!

2Shi 01-03-2013 02:51 AM

I actually purchased a tank with a built in overflow not knowing what it was. The back of this particular tank is actually rounded inwards rather than a corner. This leaves me with even less depth to play with :-(

2Shi 01-03-2013 12:25 PM

Alright here we are! I couldn't resist waiting until this evening so I woke up early today to make some changes before work. Take a look!

Model 2-A

Model 2-B

Model 2-C

I went for a more platform-oriented style this time. I'm thinking dwarf sag for the substrate carpet and a carpet of java moss on top of all the rocks. What do you all think?

Also, my tank gets extremely cloudy the longer I leave it running. Compare yesterday's pictures and todays. I'm told it is due to the nitrogen cycle (even though I haven't added any ammonia yet).

2Shi 01-03-2013 02:43 PM

Please advise! I will have some time to make further modifications during my lunch break in 1-2 hours if needed! I want to find a good layout before my plants arrive tomorrow so I'm going to try to put out as many hardscapes as possible until I get some positive responses.

justinq 01-03-2013 03:20 PM

I had a 54 gallon corner tank for a while, and it was a pain to landscape. I learned that with a corner tank, you kind of have to throw the usual rules of aquascaping out the window. For example, even though it's usually recommended not to have the main focal point in the center, in a corner tank it often looks best that way. Embrace the triangular shape. So, I would suggest putting the big rock more towards the middle - maybe not exactly in the middle, make it look like it's just naturall there. I would also suggest using it in a more upright position. I think it'll look better and take up less substrate space. Have you tried it so that it's sticking dramatically upward, more straight up than your first placement? Then position the other rocks around it so that they look like they're part of the same bunch of rocks that just naturally eroded off the big one. That's what I'd try anyway.

2Shi 01-03-2013 03:43 PM

The way that I had my original arrangement is the highest that the large rock can get. I tried playing around with other positions but it's just too off-balanced and I'd be afraid of it tipping over and doing some serious damage.

I actually dabbled around with some center-focused arrangements before coming up with my second design. However, my only gripe with having the large rock in the middle is that it no longer conceals all the tubes, airstones, heater, co2 diffuser, etc. that I've hidden behind it.

Also, there's a perspective issue because people will be viewing from the center and from the side equally based on it's placement in the room. I actually consider that wall along the side to be the back of the aquarium which is why I put my rocks along the "back".

I'm going to play around with a few more center-oriented designs during my lunch break but I probably won't post any pictures of them unless I can find a positioning that agrees with me personally.

2Shi 01-03-2013 05:16 PM

I tried about 3-4 different center-weighted styles during my lunch break. I actually found one that I liked so I'll show photos of that. However, the other arrangements that I managed to come up with weren't photo-worthy.

Also, I've decided that I will leave the large rock flat. I like the amount of swimming area above the rocks and leaving the large rock flat will allow me to have a nice bed of java moss up-top which I think would look great.

Model 3-A

Model 3-B

Model 3-C

Kado 01-03-2013 05:41 PM

Looks great! Like that arrangement the best. The tank will cycle even if you don't add ammonia, so that cloudy water may just be a bacteria bloom.

tomfromstlouis 01-03-2013 08:01 PM

I think 3C looks workable. Try shifting the rock into the substrate a bit so the lower edges are hidden. This makes the rock look like it is emmerging from the substrate and not just set on top of it.

Dave-H 01-03-2013 08:08 PM

One lesson I learned by learning how to setup my tank:

Don't agonize too much, just take your best shot because in a few weeks you'll probably be moving it all around! To my eye, the big rock looked better on the side IF it is to be balanced with a bunch of plants. Also:

- don't forget that you will probably want some tall bg plants, so leave some space back there!

- mind your flow- those little crevices can become messy!

All times are GMT. The time now is 02:34 PM.

Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.