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Oqsy 11-13-2005 05:19 AM

Oqsy's 55 gallon journal...*Updated 06/22/07*
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I've decided to tear down my 29 and 20, combine the flora and fauna as well as the best gear from the tanks to turn my 55 gallon tank into a high light, co2, fertilized tank. I've decided to experiment a bit here, and see if I can get a great looking 55 by using *your* input in pretty much all aspects of aquascaping (of course I reserve the right to say, "nope, don't like that idea", but I'll do my best to follow the consensus of the board.

The first step is hardscape.
I have about 12 pieces of driftwood, of which I've chosen the best 5 for the tank. Now what I need is for those who have a keen eye for hardscapes to either suggest, or better yet, illustrate, their thoughts on the ideal use of the driftwood as the framework for the rest of the tank. I have photoshopped a very basic outline of the wood on a blank background that is already the dimensions of a 55 gallon tank. The wood with green on it has either anubias or moss. After looking at the picture, that should make more sense. So, let's see or read *your* suggestions. I've got a couple of ideas already, but I'm eager for *your* ideas.


toofazt 11-15-2005 05:35 AM

I'm doing the same with my 55G (taking the good stuff from my 1st planted tank to make a better one) :)

The wood lay-out looks cool, but I wouldn't do it all evenly through out the tank. Have it kinda pushed to one side so you can have an open space in the tank for some fish :fish: Just an idea...

eds 11-15-2005 02:18 PM

Might be easier to comment if you could include some photos of the wood as well, just to give an idea of the 3D look.

I see the 2 "money" pieces as the 2d and 3d in from the left. And I see the choice between using the 2 pieces together as a single focal point - probably approx 1/3 of the way in from one side or the other, or placing them on opposite ends of the tank. The remaining 3 could be used well to complement the focal point(s). Make sure you check out how each piece looks from every angle, as well as the possibility of piling more than one piece together.

Another concern is whether you intend your tank to have a "flow" from one side to the other. 55s are long and narrow, and if you have plants like vals, and/or a strong current, that can cause the scape to have a sense of a left-to-right or right-to-left appearance.

Sorry if I provided more questions than answers!

Oqsy 11-15-2005 04:53 PM

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I've placed the wood pretty much as pictured above (not because it looks good, but because i didn't want any of it to dry out and float). my camera(s) are awful for tank pics, but here's a wide shot of the whole tank right now.

eds 11-15-2005 05:18 PM

By any chance, is the photo the reverse of the drawing?
Because in the drawing, the tallest piece is to the left of the centermost branchy piece, while in your tank, there appears to be a tall vertical piece to the right of the branchy piece in the center.

The center piece looks like a really nice piece of wood.
Can't really make out the tall piece on the right - or any of the 3 smaller pieces.
But I guess my initial personal inclination would be to showcase the two larger pieces, and either ditch the 3 smaller ones, or use them in a supporting role - either to create caves or to anchor plants.
I would look for ways to have those 2 larger pieces work together, or relate to each other - rather than just appearing to be stuck into the substrate next to each other. Maybe try the tall one behind the branchy one - might suggest depth, but also might appear cramped in your 55g.

The question I'll ask now is, what role(s) do you want the wood to play in your tank?
Do you want the wood itself to be exposed as a visible element of your scape?
Do you want it primarily to be something to attach plants to?
If so, will the wood itself be largely invisible, other than creating different "levels" above the substrate?
Do you want it to create caves for your fauna?
All are legit ways to use wood - and I undoubtedly missed a couple.
But your answers to these questions influence where you place them in your tank.

Oqsy 11-15-2005 11:41 PM

to answer your placement question...

I reversed #'s 2 and 3. the big branchy one is to the lft of the taller one. the smaller pieces are hidden around and behind the others, except the anubias covered one which is in the left midground just like above.

to answer the purpose question... all of the above, perhaps.

I have plecos and cichlids that enjoy caves.
I have ferns, anubias, and mosses that look great on wood.
I have a fondness for the look of bare wood in a tank.

so there we are... no more info than before this post.

thanks a million for your posts so far, eds. I have about 8 anubias nana plants, 2 types of moss, and some small sprigs of narrow leaf java fern that I'd *like* to work into the setup, but at the same time, I fear that I'm probably trying to do too much in one tank. the most attractive aquascape I've had so far was the one with 3 species of plants (crypts, moss, and chain sword), whereas my 55 as it stands right now has about 9-10. I'm going to shuffle things around a bit and see how it looks. Expect more pics at the end of the week.


eds 11-16-2005 01:14 AM

Glad my responses are helping you think through this.
Eager to hear what others have to say.
One of the greatest things about this hobby is that once you have the hardware you can try something and - if you don't like how it turns out - you have another day of playing in the water as you tear it down and try something new.

I'm not sure about the specifics of placement, proportion, etc. But I think that some who knows more than me might suggest that your current placement is inconsistent with the "golden ratio." As I look at it, the current focal point is somewhere between the 2 largest pieces of wood, about 1/3 of the way in from the R side. This is emphasized by the fact that you have the 2 pieces angling away from each other.

Unless you are trying to do something daring like have the focal point be negative space - like a valley, it strikes me as a little confusing to have the 2 really nice looking pieces positioned in a way that my eye doesn't know what to concentrate on. If you want that "valley" to be the focal point, you might want to stick some bright red plant in the back right between the 2 pieces. Just a thought.

One easy thing to try might be to turn both pieces around 180, so they flow towards each other and draw the eye to the point between them - if that makes any sense. Another thought is to turn one or the other 180, so they both tend to flow in the same direction.

You can accomplish all of your goals. The easy way is to use the smaller pieces to grow plants on, and pile them around the bigger pieces to create your caves. Then leave the most interesting parts of the bigger pieces bare - tho you can selectively attach a few smaller plants higher up to emphasize that dimension.

Final thought, until someone else chimes in - think about emphasizing the wood from rear to front. If you plant the back parts and have bare parts coming out towards the front glass, it can give the impression of depth.

Heck, if I go on like this I might almost convince myself that I know something about what I'm talking about! Suffice it to say I most definitely can talk the talk better than I walk the walk! ;)

Oqsy 12-02-2005 12:14 AM

pics as of today:


full tank:

hardscape is pretty much unchanged, but I have lots of new plants, and all is algae free this far (knocking on wood desk).


toofazt 12-02-2005 01:15 AM

Looking good :proud: I like the placement of reds, can't wait till it fills in. Keep us updated.

Oqsy 12-02-2005 04:35 AM

will do. the alternanthera (left red plant)is courtesy of none other than toofazt, and the glandulosa (far right red plant) is courtesy of oceanaqua on apc's forum. now I'm starting to develop collectoritis, as I'm too attached to some of the the green plants even though they were placed in there as temporary plant mass until I acquired the red plants I was after. I'm nowhere near enough plant mass to start pulling stuff anyway, so i'll just see what happens in a few weeks. right now the plant list consists of:

ludwigia glandulosa
ludwigia brevipes
ludwigia palustris
ludwigia repens
ludwigia inclinata
lysimachia nummularia
micranthemum micranthemoides
e. tenellus
alternanthera (can't remember which sp, from toofazt, VERY reddish pink)
anubias nana
java fern
xmas moss
najas grass
bronze crypt wendtii
bacopa monnieri
hydrocotyle verticillata

and an unkown plant in the right foreground between the bacopa and the glandulosa. any help id'ing that dude is quite welcome.


Oqsy 12-05-2005 03:45 AM

oops, forgot to mention hyrdocotyle verticillata (floating right now since there's nowhere to plant it ;) )

i guess i could list the fauna while I'm here...

keyhole cichlids
african butterfly cichlids (a. thomasi)
glow light tetras
pearl gouramis
lone cory
bristlenose pleco
clown plecos
golden wonder killie
lone wild male guppy
lone cherry barb

the tank is stocked pretty heavily right now, but definitely not dangerously so... lots of odds and ends fish leftover from combining a 20H and 29G that won't be replaced as they disappear. kribs have fry and guard them VERY aggressively, leaving wounds on the SAE and keyholes most often. they chase the others, but never hurt them.


Oqsy 01-21-2006 03:15 AM

Update: 1-20-06
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things have grown in well... it's time to expand the moss wall, but i'm too lazy to pull the mesh out and make more. driftwood is moved a bit again, and ludwigias are taking off... everything else is doing well, too.


cprroy73 01-21-2006 01:45 PM

I like it so far, I can imagine the entire back wall with the moss. Is it java moss? Your plants look very healthy too.:thumbsup:

Oqsy 01-21-2006 03:26 PM


Originally Posted by cprroy73
I like it so far, I can imagine the entire back wall with the moss. Is it java moss?

its xmas moss. it's looking pretty wild right now and could really use a haircut.


Originally Posted by cprroy73
Your plants look very healthy too.

Thanks! EI, increased CO2, and a UV sterilizer seem to have made all the difference in the world.


Oqsy 01-21-2006 06:29 PM

Oh, I have some e. tenellus that I just pulled... it's enough to fill a 10 gallon tank front to back, if anyone is interested (it's actually filling a 10 gallon grow-out right now). I'm thinking about $7 plus shipping. PM me for details.


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