75 Gallon tank - adventures in budget aquascaping **7/21/14** - Page 2
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Old 05-09-2014, 01:44 AM   #16
tharsis
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^ thanks! Hopefully it comes together!

So I finalized the hardscape, removed the black painted background and built a backlit background set-up. I was getting tired of the dark backgrounds and wanted a nice light background that was variable. So I got some frosted window film and blue cellophane to create a backlit background.

Here are some before and after pics.

Black painted background


Black background removed


I set-up a T8 fixture to light the bottom


No background with the backlight


Added the frosted window film and blue cellophane over the light


I am really happy with the changes, I like that the center brace shadow isn't as prevalent in the pics and I like how the ripples show up on the background. I can't wait to get some green and reds in there from the plants! My light should be arriving tomorrow, so I am pretty excited!

The backlight is just a single t8 flora bulb (pinkish hue), so I think I may either replace the bulb with a bluer one or try to get a brighter fixture in there. I will play around with it tomorrow.
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Old 05-09-2014, 03:33 AM   #17
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That looks really cool with the backlighting. The hard scape looks really nice also.

What kind of Apistos do you plan to add? If you haven't decided yet you should look into Apisto panduro or Apisto nijsseni, both are very cool looking apistos but not the easiest to find. I will be watching this thread and look forward to see what you do with the planting.
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Old 05-09-2014, 01:30 PM   #18
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Thanks!

I have had an agassizii double red trio before and I really enjoyed them, so much so that I was thinking of doing them again. The Borelli Blue look really cool though as well so I was thinking about them.

The Panduro are quite nice, kind of like a chubby agassizii, it looks like there are some available on aquabid. There are not many optiions around here for apistos, so I will probably have to order off of aquabids.
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Old 05-09-2014, 05:47 PM   #19
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In regards to the back lighting...you might try some LED lighting fixtures (I'm talking something like this: https://www.adafruit.com/search?q=led+strip not the kind you put over your tank), they will take up considerably less room behind the tank. You can rig up some small reflectors to reflect it back towards the tank. That T8 hangs a lot back there.

Looking good though. Love that you're using the Needles as inspiration.
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Old 05-09-2014, 06:52 PM   #20
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Very cool layout, really like the last photo! Are you still planing to add any plants?
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Old 05-09-2014, 08:00 PM   #21
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Got my LED's today woohoo! They look great, there are two banks which operate independently and for each bank you can have half on or all on. So there is some decent variability there. I am quite pleased! They are very bright which diminishes the effect of the backlight though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thor79 View Post
In regards to the back lighting...you might try some LED lighting fixtures (I'm talking something like this: https://www.adafruit.com/search?q=led+strip not the kind you put over your tank), they will take up considerably less room behind the tank. You can rig up some small reflectors to reflect it back towards the tank. That T8 hangs a lot back there.
Looking good though. Love that you're using the Needles as inspiration.
I think I will eventually switch to something like that, especially since the LED's on top of the tank are washing out the T8. I don't really have any space constraints since this tank is essentially in the middle of my basement so I am not too worried about space issues. But I like the idea of being able to switch the colors. Going from a blue to an orange/red would be pretty sweet.

I also ordered a stronger pump (700 gph) from aquatraders that arrived with the light. 35$ and this thing is a beast! It really improved the flow through the sump and in my tank.

I got my CO2 set-up, the solenoid on my milwaukee regulator crapped out on me though. It failed in the closed position, so I just jammed it in to allow CO2 to pass through. I will just run it as is for now. I don't plan on getting fish for awhile so I am not too worried about it.

So, it looks like I am ready for some plants!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaAurora View Post
Very cool layout, really like the last photo! Are you still planing to add any plants?
Thanks! I am definitely going to plant heavily.

I am thinking I want to do dwarf hairgrass transitioning to blyxa on the left, I want s. repens in the front and possibly some downoi. And then maybe 3-4 different stem plants for the back and the right. Not sure what yet, but I want some nice color variation back there.

I was just at petsmart today, checking out their plant selection and they had the dwarf hairgrass, the downoi and S. Repens. I may try a few of the packages out and see how they look. I am itching to get some plants in this tank now that it is all set-up.

Stay tuned!
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Old 05-09-2014, 09:10 PM   #22
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Lucky you my Petsmart has crap for plant selection (as well as Petco) so have to get my plants online.
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Old 05-09-2014, 09:12 PM   #23
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Looking good! I like those rocks.
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Old 05-10-2014, 06:38 AM   #24
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Have to say, I'm really liking that rock formation and background. Works very well together.
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Old 05-10-2014, 12:08 PM   #25
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^^ Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaAurora View Post
Lucky you my Petsmart has crap for plant selection (as well as Petco) so have to get my plants online.
It really is hit or miss with the chain stores, some have great aquatic sections while others you wouldn't want to go near with a 10 foot pole. The ones near me are somewhere in between. I am just curious about the gel packet plants, think I may get some today.

I am also going to get a big plant order from aquabid.

So, here is my beautiful powerpoint schematic for the plant lay-out. Atleast this is what I have in mind, whether or not it can be executed remains to be seen!



I want the left to be kind of like increasing taller grass, and the stems in the back to follow the slope of the flat-iron rocks. I want some color in the stems to kind of mimic a sunset. And I would like to have the big spire as a main focal point.

Any comments/critiques would be welcome about the plant choices and the layout. I am not very knowledgeable about plants so I am not sure if the stems I chose will achieve what I want.
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Old 05-10-2014, 02:10 PM   #26
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Out of curiosity, but how are you going to solve the apisto's preference for soft, acidic water? Are you just going to stick to species that do well in alkaline water?
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Old 05-10-2014, 03:29 PM   #27
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I hadn't really thought much about it much since this is a little farther down the road. But my water is pretty soft to begin with and I am using quartz sand and dosing CO2 which should keep the pH on the lower side. The rocks are silicates so they won't leach much into the water and I will probably also use RODI water for water changes. I can also put wood in the refugium to drop the pH if it gets too high. In addition, the Borelli, Agassizi and Cacatouides are pretty forgiving so I am not too concerned.

I won't be getting fish for awhile though so I will be able to check the parameters to make sure the set-up works for the fish I want to get. I will monitor the pH and TDS as I go.
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Old 05-10-2014, 03:38 PM   #28
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Oh, good...from my research, apistos are often found in areas with deep layers of dead leaves, so adding some leaves would both be natural and help with the water parameters.
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Old 05-13-2014, 02:52 AM   #29
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woohoo, just got my first plants in the tank (rotala rotundifolia) and they were pearling great after a couple hours. Very happy to see the lights and CO2 doing their thing. I am very excited to get this bad boy planted.
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Old 05-16-2014, 02:49 PM   #30
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Starting to get more plants:

Picked up these guys from Petsmart, I was curious and wanted to give them a try. They look pretty decent, small, but in good shape. Hopefully they will transition well to my tank.



I also got a ton of Blyxa, thanks mosART!

So I have some of the foreground (E. Parvula, Downoi, alt reineki cardinalis) still want some S. Repens but I think it will be done after that. The blyxa is the midground. And I still need a big stem order to fill out the back.

I have been playing with the back lighting a bit, trying to get a something I like. I moved the T8 fixture to the top and put some LEDS on the bottom. I also have a small bulb to simulate a setting sun. The top lighting is a little too bright, I find it distracting at the moment so I will have to raise it a little higher so that the actual bulb is hidden above the tank. Other than that I am pretty happy with it. I have been thinking of getting another light for the lower left hand side to simulate sun rise. I would have the two yellow lights on timers to bookend my light cycle. Kinda pointless, but fun



I am finding it really difficult to photograph the tank, the lighting is really weird with the variable background so the pictures aren't really doing it justice I find.
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