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Old 06-18-2012, 06:04 PM   #46
talontsiawd
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Dry start is good for keeping slopes, depending on how deep the plants root. It also makes planting easier as you don't have to worry about things floating up.

I personally am not a big fan of a long dry start. I will do it with certain plants (HC specifically for a week or two), only to make sure it stays down. However, I find it has two downsides. First, many people seem to have a huge outbreak in algae. It may be inevitable in some peoples tanks (too much light) and it hasn't happened to me, but it just isn't as "simple" as it seems.

The main thing is I have yet to have a plant grow more quickly, compared to CO2 (I have never added extra light, just duration, during dry start). So, I find it slower as well.

Not to say it's a good or bad idea, it has the advantage of rooting and holding slopes better (though they still will level out a bit, nothing will hold them forever), I personally am not a fan. More than a few people who have done it more than once or twice feel the same way, some people use it on every tank.


As for the water, I think that is a good idea. Honestly, I don't think many people are using tap water over RO/DI water. A lot of us are using it instead but not necessarily out of preference. Some people go 50/50. It's easier to use tap water and it's basically free. Many people use RO/DI water if they are very picky about their water parameters (breeding or picky fish), or they have bad water. I don't think I have heard any regret from people going that route and it is far from uncommon so go for it.
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Old 06-22-2012, 10:01 PM   #47
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The ADA order arrived

I'm very pleased with the Ryuoh stones...



As expected, seeing the tank with the stones and Aquasoil has caused me to rethink the hardscape. I like the stones and I think they look very good in larger numbers (even though they will make maintaining adequate flow more of a challenge.) The Aquasoil is much "rounder" than I had expected and would require much support for the drastic elevation changes I was planning.

I ordered 2 large bags of regular Aquasoil, 1 large bag of Powersand and 1 Large bag of Powder Aquasoil which combined is much more than needed. Here's the sandbox with just 1 bag of Aquasoil and the stones quickly added to get a feel for what it might look like...



I'll work on a final hardscape over the weekend and hopefully complete installing the equipment in the stand. I'm still undecided, but leaning toward starting this tank dry to give the HC a head start.

The planting plan is still a work in progress. Because the tank is so short, I'm planning on all foreground/carpet types and mosses for the rocks. Any recommendations on plants and sources? - I'd like to purchase through the SnS, but I'm going to want a large amount of HC.
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Old 06-24-2012, 03:55 AM   #48
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The sandbox has served it's purpose. I think I've got a hardscape that I'm pleased with...











Getting enough flow with a single return might be difficult with all the stones. If needed, I'll upgrade filters and split the returns. I also tried to make sure each stone was set in a manner that allowed enough light for the carpet between the stones.

Now all I have to do is re-create it in the actual tank It will look a bit different when I add the Powder Aquasoil cap. I'll also use more Aquasoil to hide a bit more of the bases of each stone and to increase the grade on the right side. Small strips of stainless steel mesh will be added to support the steeper grade areas as needed.
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Old 06-24-2012, 05:03 AM   #49
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Absolutely love the rocks, but I'm a bit iffy on the formation. The peaks of the highest stones seem to form a plateau, so you don't get a nice variation in height. The rocks also stand a bit too vertical. Visible spaces between each stone disrupts the flow from rock to rock and the overall depth of the scape. You can make some rocks higher than other, some more angled, and some overlapping others. I know that this may not fully accommodate maximal water flow and light spread, but flow should be adequate and, in time, the carpet will fill out the less lit areas.
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Old 06-24-2012, 03:33 PM   #50
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Thanks Meo,

I'm a bit torn, while I agree the hardscape could be improved - I rather like the current iteration.

It's probably a moot point anyway as the odds of precisely replicating the sand-box hardscape tank in the actual display are probably a million to one.

I think I'll spend a few days staring at it and see how I feel then.
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Old 06-24-2012, 05:32 PM   #51
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My advice would be to adjust things until you are happy. My first 2 rocks scapes didn't look good. I wasn't happy with them when I made them, you at least seem happy with yours. Looking at them after awhile taught me what I didn't like. Then I redid some, or just started over once I got bored. Either way, it takes practice. Some people are naturally gifted, others not so much. For me, personally, I am not very good at visual arts, even though I am a semi-professional musician. I am able to see things I don't like but it's hard for me to visualize what I do.

That said, I think your stones and layout look pretty good, especially at an angle. I would add some height variation, be it by stone size, or using substrate if they don't differ much. The easiest way to achieve something pleasing is have it make some sort of triangle. Not a perfect triangle, and definitely not an equilateral triangle, just some sort of triangle that fits.


If you are happy, fill it up. You may choose to move things later, maybe redo in a few months, but you can move stones all day, sometimes you need to have an "ah ha" moment. I personally did and I still have a long way to go but atleast I can now make myself happy.
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Old 06-24-2012, 05:54 PM   #52
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Number one thing is to go with what you like. Doesn't matter what other people say about aesthetics if it doesn't suit your own tastes.
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Old 06-24-2012, 06:38 PM   #53
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Thanks all for the comments and suggestions! After a couple hours of staring, I decided to try again. Here's revision # 6,154













This "arranging rocks in a box" is hard
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Old 06-24-2012, 06:44 PM   #54
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I like that one a lot more. However, I dislike one thing. The two tallest rocks are angled almost the same, at least when you account for the shape of both rocks. I would tweek the one in the middle just a bit.

I totally feel you on the # 6,154 time lol. It does really let you see how many ways you can position a rock, much less a group of rocks. I find that is helpful as I start seeing what position each rock looks best in, both in shape, texture, and general presence. Then I try my best to position most rocks where they look the best individually, while still maintaining a good feel in the group.

I want to say that I am no expert on this and struggle a lot myself.
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Old 06-24-2012, 06:49 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by talontsiawd View Post
I like that one a lot more. However, I dislike one thing. The two tallest rocks are angled almost the same, at least when you account for the shape of both rocks. I would tweek the one in the middle just a bit.
HA! I agree and I can make that tweak without a full revision - it will just be 6154.1
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Old 06-24-2012, 07:21 PM   #56
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This last is great - can I make a suggestion? Maybe separate the rocks into a couple of tighter groups and separate them more - keep the general angles, just play with spacing a bit by placing your open area between the groupings. The stones seem to be a uniform distance from one another, and that makes it feel a touch static. Varying spacing gives it some interesting rhythm. See the Unzan stone layout in Amano's Sumida Aquarium for a great example. The groups are tight but separated by varying distances.

PS- odd numbered groupings look best. Think in triangles.
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Old 06-25-2012, 03:59 PM   #57
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Quote:
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This last is great - can I make a suggestion? Maybe separate the rocks into a couple of tighter groups and separate them more - keep the general angles, just play with spacing a bit by placing your open area between the groupings. The stones seem to be a uniform distance from one another, and that makes it feel a touch static. Varying spacing gives it some interesting rhythm. See the Unzan stone layout in Amano's Sumida Aquarium for a great example. The groups are tight but separated by varying distances.

PS- odd numbered groupings look best. Think in triangles.
Thanks very much, your "thinking in triangles" concept was very helpful. Tom Barr had offered similar advice about separating the stones into 2 groups. Here's the result...









I removed one of the stones and this design might provide for a bit more flow. It also includes a bit more elevation change, creating some nice inter-stone planting areas.

I like it a lot, but then again - I liked most of the earlier designs as well so I clearly have some developing to do
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Old 06-25-2012, 09:23 PM   #58
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That's much better! Wow, way to take in critique and apply it in your own way - the best artists are able to do that with ease Everything looks very balanced and natural, with the exception of the tallest stone. It's just a little too vertical. Maybe play with it a touch? As long as it doesn't cost you any height, it should smooth out the lines of the composition. You are very close to a winner, here!
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Old 06-25-2012, 10:29 PM   #59
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I really like the last one. Their is room for some tweaking (I would consider moving the 3 left stones over just a tad and maybe turn the left stone in the right group a bit) but I think you could easily start the tank as is and just move things as you see fit, especially if you are still considering a dry start.
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Old 06-25-2012, 10:58 PM   #60
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nice nice, when its going to be planted?
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