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Alastair 04-21-2009 11:42 AM

Rio125 - aquatic shrubbery
Hi, I'm new to the forum (been lurking a while) and returning to FW planted after an excursion to the salty-side of things.. Having too many hobbies the saltwater tanks have gone to allow me to focus on photography, but my trusted FW tank has been sat waiting on my returning to it and I just can't be without an aquarium in the office.

My much neglected 12 year-old Juwel Rio 125 is now in the process of being re-scaped, re-stocked and generally freshened up. The old substrate has gone (play sand), new bogwood has been added, two bags of eco-complete.. and a few retained plants (Cryptocorne and Vallis) have been retained until I plan the additions and source some good quality plants.

The tank as it is now.. it still needs at least half a bag more substrate to fill the rear planting pockets..

I eventually want to soften the hardscaping as much as possible to the mid- and rear-ground of the tank, but I want to keep clear gulleys and view lines in the foreground for photographing the fish and other inhabitants. Still with me after many years are two Corydoras auratus, Pangio myersi, P. oblonga, P. anguillaris (yes, I like my Pangio species), one Gymnocorymbus ternetzi (last of its shoal) and seven Hemigrammus rhodostomus (which I intend to reinforce).

In the past I've found that a low level canopy of Cryptocorne in the forground encourages the normally reclusive Pangio species to be active and observable throughout the day. Vallis has always grown like a weed for me in this tank.. I pulled out armfuls when clearing the tank for the re-scape.. so I think I need something a little slower growing (but just as tall)to disguise the filter box. I did think about switching it for an external, but decided not to.

As I mentioned, I'm creating sight-lines for photography.. already I can see that the crypts need to be moved to either side of this gulley I've formed.

Plans are to keep this fairly low tech.. the lighting is the standard Juwel twin 24" T8 unit, now faced with replacing the tubes I've been introduced to replacement T6 units but these aren't something I'm familiar with although my research suggests they will give me more useful light output than the T8s.. without the expense of going to T5s.

More updates to follow..

cah925 04-21-2009 12:03 PM

Looks like a good start. I really like the hardscape. Can't wait to see this one mature.

sewingalot 04-21-2009 10:04 PM

I really like the hardscape. The crypts will look even better when they grow in.

Oscar17 04-23-2009 12:52 PM

Nice driftwood pieces. I have a Juwel Rio 125 also so I'm interested in how this turns out.

Alastair 04-23-2009 03:28 PM

My local LFS had its fortnightly plant shipment in.. now I have to admit to not being too fussy about plants at this stage.. I just want to get some greenery in there.. I can prune, trim, remove, replace and pick out anything special once I get going..

Full tank shot.. sorry about the reflections/smears on the glass.. I'll get better shots in the evening..

Click any of my shots to link to the Flickr photopage where a larger picture is available.

I've also got a few inspirational shots taken over Easter of interesting natural rock formations for anyone looking for aquascaping inspiration..

Alastair 04-30-2009 08:58 PM

I've just ordered a pair of 24" T6 tubes to replace the T8s.. is this going to push me into CO2 territory with this tank?

Alastair 08-27-2009 03:48 PM

Been far too long since the last update.. I've given up waiting on the T6s.. growth is good with the T8s.. a minor equipment failure has seen the DIY CO2 taken out of commission temporarily and the green hair algae took off.. but the algae crew are gettiong on top of it..

I've been taking some time to get to grips with improving my aquarium photography and I've put together a ghetto clamp rig with a budget wireless flash set-up.. the results are promising..

yikesjason 08-27-2009 05:06 PM

I like your flash technique. If you put some cardboard in front of the lights, you can get a better picture.

Your tank and layout look great too.

Alastair 08-27-2009 05:57 PM

Cardboard snoods are next on the list..

This was a set-up shot to explain how the flashes were rigged, normally they wouldn't be in the frame.. It's amazing the difference that they make to photographing the fish and shrimp.

cah925 08-27-2009 06:45 PM

That's a great picture with the light focused on the middle of the tank. Those crypts have grown quite well for you since the last update. Hopefully you can get the CO2 issues worked out and get the algae cleaned up.

Alastair 08-28-2009 12:57 PM

Cross-lit (as above) and with some work in post to warm the colour and deepen the shadows..

cah925 08-28-2009 02:09 PM

Very nice, it looks like you are having fun with your new toys.

Oscar17 08-28-2009 02:43 PM

Looking good there.. What's that plant in front of the filter? Bacopa?

How's the "hiding the filter box" going? Are you satisfied? One idea I had was to cover the filter box with bark, then attach a few Anubius or African ferns to it. So as to make it look like a tree in the back corner. Right now what I have is large pcs of drift wood attached to the box, then plants attached to the wood. Problem is, it creates a dark corner that doesn't look good in pics.

Alastair 08-28-2009 03:10 PM

Thanks.. it sold up my reef to focus more on photography, and this tank was planned from the start for practicing photography on.

Plant wise.. since the first post.. the Vallis had to come out, it was just too dominant, it always has been everytime I've grown it in this tank. The HC has been a failure.. not enought light.. but it's doing well emmersed in a smaller tank (18"x10"x10") I've been working on. I suspect the dwarf chain sword may also be too rampant, so it might come out to make room for some more Cryptocorne as this has always done well even in my most basic tanks.

Two out of the three bunch plants have done very well, the third feathery one less so.. so cuttings from the right hand side may go on the left to fill out there.. that will make for an interesting proscenium arch of paler vegetation.

Oscar17 08-28-2009 03:38 PM

Vals were a problem for me in my 14g. Pulling out the new growth always brought up some gunk from the bottom. They also tend to become to compact and removing plants from the middle of the bunch became a pain.

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