Planning a first proper aquascaping project.
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Old 04-07-2013, 06:17 PM   #1
GordonH
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Planning a first proper aquascaping project.


Good evening,

My name is Gordon, I'm 16 and looking for some advice on aquascaping. Currently have 4 tanks, too many I know!

Recently we've had our dining room redecorated, including flooring so our biggest tank that was in there - a Fluval Roma 125L, had to be moved out. Now, tomorrow likely it's being moved back - it is in an absolutely awful algae ridden state.

We've currently got many small community tropical fish, but I've never liked the way it's looked, there have been just a few rock like ornaments recently.

With a new dining room, what we'd really like is a beautiful looking aquarium that's just incredible to look at when eating and makes guests to our house awe at.

Seeing as the tank needs to have most water removed in the moving process, the next few days, whilst I'm on school holidays especially, is an ideal time to redo the tank. And I've volunteered to carry out the project myself.

Tomorrow, we plan on temporarily housing the fish in their tank water in makeshift containers. Then storing the majority of the water in barrels from our LFS, removing enough for a regular water change. Then the tank and its cabinet will be moved to its place in the room, get the contents of the cabinet refilled and the electrical devices organised from the socket. From here with a completely empty tank - thoroughly cleaned, I plan to aquascape something fairly simple for a beginner such as me that looks similar to the pictures of aquariums I see online.

Ive got a sheet of paper and a pencil out at the moment, ready to plan this out. But, whilst I've done quite a bit of research, and seen many youtube clips of the process and I'm fairly well informed. I have a few questions - mainly to compose a shopping list of equipment and items I will require.

Lighting - we have the stock bulbs that came with the tank - will these be adequate? - I'm aiming on a "low light / low tech" - which leads onto the next thing;

CO2? - simply, is one of these systems necessary? My mum says shed rather not have to get and maintain one, even though ill no doubt be doing the work. Are there plant species available that wont require one - I'm aware camboomba is one, I have it in the tank in my bedroom. And if there's no option but to have a co2 supply, what is the simplest system to use?

Substrate - previously we'd had white gravel, which is no option for plant growth and we plan to get rid of anyway. We like the look of the typical yellow sand but I understand we require a different substrate for areas where plants grow, I've seen this in videos - people using cardboard to seperate the types. I'm aware of the yellow sand type, but what is the other one needed? And are other ingredients necessary as well, I've seen people putting in additives before the substrate?

Finally, what sort of look/style would you recommend? How should one go about the design? As stated above, I will plan out the look prior to building on paper. But what is the technique for "the art of aquascaping" I know of various types of plants for separate areas of the display and that they should be planted around the hard scape, but what elements of hardscape should I use and how should they be arranged, where should plants be placed around the hardscape and what species would you suggest - as low maintenance as possible ideally. I realise this a very vague question, but any pointers would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks for your help in assisting me and I look forward to using the forum in the future!
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Old 04-07-2013, 07:23 PM   #2
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for the lighting need to know how many watts the bulbs are also what spectrum they are to know what you actually have.

If aiming for a low tech low light tank then you really dont need Co2. It comes more into play with higher light set-ups. not to mention if you change your mind later it can be added in.

For substrate for your plants you could go with something like eco-complete or flourite. Theres alot of different options though. Could even use potting soil but theres pros and cons to all of them so read up a bit.

When it comes to aquascaping thats totally up to you. Can be as heavily planted or lightly as you want. Could be a jungle or a very manicured look. I suggest looking at other peoples tanks and when you find something similar to what you want do then use that as a reference for types of plants and so on when asking questions.

Goodluck and hope it goes well
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:31 PM   #3
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Thanks for that. I've done a plan now, please find it attached;

http://s1324.photobucket.com/user/Go...tml?sort=3&o=0

http://s1324.photobucket.com/user/Go...tml?sort=3&o=1

Last edited by GordonH; 04-07-2013 at 10:33 PM.. Reason: Photos not working
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:32 PM   #4
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hmmm cant see the pics
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:34 PM   #5
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Do the links work?
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:35 AM   #6
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Hello Gordon. Welcome to TPT!

I was in your shoes only a few months ago, and this is the kind of thing I have learned. Stock Lighting normally cannot grow many, I f any plants. The Fluval Roma is not something we get here so I only have their website to go off of which does not tell me much about the lighting, but from what I have read it will not do much as far as plant growth. I recomend a dual-fixture T5HO lighting fixture. I believe 125L converts to about 33 gal (I am just more comfortable dealing with gallons) should give you great low-med lighting. With that kind of lighting, you will not need C02 and can forgo all but simple ferts. Glass Canopies will be needed, but most T5HO are easily attached to another fixture making upgrading to a high-tech setup easier if that is what you want to do later. As far as plants, I used Java Fern, Java Moss, Rotalia Indicatia (spelling may be wrong there), Amazon Sword, several types of cryptocoryne, and Hornwort. The great thing about these plants are that they are easy to care for, look good, and can easily taken out and substituted for other plants. Anachris is another good option. For substrate I love Seachem Florite. I found that the look was great and it grows plants very well but initial set up can be difficult, but their are tons of threats around here that help to solve the issues you may have. I find that natural looking driftwood, rocks and plants in a close to random (but still aesthetically pleasing) configuration makes the tank look Natural but stunning.
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:15 PM   #7
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If you really want to blow people away go with an iwagumi. Simply stunning!
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:57 PM   #8
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Hi guys,

thanks very much for your assistance, on your advice, today I have aquascaped my tank, and must say it looks beautiful! Picture linked;

http://s1324.photobucket.com/user/Go...77785725879589

I used JBL "Manando" substrate pretty deep, where pants grow all topped off with silica sand.

As yo can see, there are two goldfsh in there that we have had for about 4 years, which have been kept with all our tropical fish for the last 2 years with great succes - therefore have used plants which supposedly they wont eat. A few chunks of moss around the bigwood at the back, vallisneria, crypts, java fern and anubias and fortuantely the goldfish dont look in the slightest bit interested in eating, and destroying them.

No Co2 system, for now. But I am going to start using ferropol 24, daily. With the regular form weekly. And every few days, some liquid co2 that I think is likely not neccessary though.

Just the black neon tetras and the odd platy does look a little bare, so any suggestions on some other good fish to get to compliment an aquascape would be greatly appreciated. Suprisingly, after the whole thing the water has remained absolutely perfect with no ammonia, nitrate or nitrite. On Thursday, I'm going back to the LFS, since they get new plants then, to look for some carpeting plants so I'm in the position to add more fish then.

Last edited by GordonH; 04-09-2013 at 10:59 PM.. Reason: Wrong link
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:42 PM   #9
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Bump?
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Old 04-11-2013, 05:09 PM   #10
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Good job on the scape. Keeping goldfish with tropical fish is usually not recommended though because you must either keep the goldfish in water that is too warm for them or else keep tropical fish in water which is too cool. I would certainly watch out for the gold fish eating plants. Goldfish are big, dirty, plant eating goblins.

I don't know what you would be storing all the water you take out for a water change in barrels. I would assume it was because you are trying to keep the bacteria colony stabilized in the tank, but this will not accomplish that. All of the beneficial bacteria is housed within the filter and within the tank itself. The bacteria live on surfaces, not free floating in the water. If you took your entire tank apart and scrubbed it down, then you likely ruined the tank parameters. Hopefully you kept your filtration running in those makeshift buckets because that would allow the bacteria to stay alive for a while longer. Bacteria all need a food source and oxygen to survive. I'm assuming they could live without a food source for a while, but they wont survive the day being in an unplugged filter.

All that to say, I would keep a very watchful eye on your tank parameters, i.e. nitrite and ammonia. If you have other tanks then take some of that media out and use if it you need it.
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Old 04-11-2013, 05:47 PM   #11
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Hi,

Thanks. The water was stored as the tank had to be moved across the house, and you can't completely 100% change it without harming fish? Also, I am aware of the goldfish, I'd rather not have them but my mum won't let me get rid of them plus they're "pets" but fortunately they've not shown any interest so far in eating. I've given high doses of nutria fin cycle as if the tank was new and water conditions only have about 0.25 nitrate after a test.
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:30 PM   #12
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The tank looks like it turned out very well. Should grow in really well with time but still leave a nice clearing in the front.
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:16 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GordonH View Post
Hi,

Thanks. The water was stored as the tank had to be moved across the house, and you can't completely 100% change it without harming fish? Also, I am aware of the goldfish, I'd rather not have them but my mum won't let me get rid of them plus they're "pets" but fortunately they've not shown any interest so far in eating. I've given high doses of nutria fin cycle as if the tank was new and water conditions only have about 0.25 nitrate after a test.
When you say .25, are you actually referring to nitrate or nitrite? Cuz there is a big difference. I don't think test kits show .25 for nitrate.
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