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Old 11-17-2012, 06:29 PM   #1
owen.john
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Aquascaping ideas - A bit stuck


I have a fairly narrow but taller fish tank in the Fluval edge 46L version, before I purchased it I was informed at how difficult it was to position plants and such because of the small gap size on the top I haven't found this much of an issue once my arm is in the tank its much the same as a normal tank however I've not really found a tank layout that I like I have a few plants and rocks with a sand substrate but I am struggling to decide how I'd like it to look, any advice would be great preferably aquarium experts but with it being a decorative then please feel free to have a go.

The tank consists of:

Numerous fish platy's harlequins shrimp and very small barbs (all of which get on really well)

2 Larger Red rocks of similar size (in the middle)

1 Java fern on wood (at the back of the tank the wood is along the back of the tank all the way down to the bottom)

1 Moss ball

1 Half coconut

Lilaeopsis novea-zealandiae carpet plant (about 2 square inches of - on top of tank)

roughly 10 small leafed plants I am unsure of the name of this sit just on top of the sand with roots underneath (on top of tank)

6 x Nomaphila stricta fleur (I believe that is what it is - Also on top of tank)

Numerous very small lighter green versions of above again I'm not sure of the name but they are very very small after my fish have uprooted them and subsequently "chewed" at the roots

Also 2 x Tropica Cryptocoryne x willisii ( a very similar style of plant to this but not actually this one)

There are 12 single strands of a bamboo like plant (due to my fish eating the leaves it resembles this. I couldn't tell you what it is any more you may spot it at the back on the picture but it resembles bamboo and is 3/4 of the height of my tank.

As you can tell I'm just using a website to find the names so I don't imagine them to all be right so sorry about that if you do know what they are called I'd really like to know.

Thank you in advance and I hope somebody can think of a better way of laying this tank out than me a I will accept any suggestions even really experimental designs I'm willing to give it a go and send a picture back if that would help.

( top of tank other plants )

(tank front view - current)
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:15 PM   #2
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Well, I'm not keen on the conconut thing....I mean it could work, but you'd want to cover it with a moss or something. I feel like the rocks are also a bit big, and that you need to get some more stems.

I do like your use of java fern though, for some reason it reminds me of the godzilla monster, biolante :P
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:43 PM   #3
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Don't get me wrong this is an awesome tank and you've got some nice stuff!

But you need more. I personally would ditch the coconut.

I would add more/different rocks. Keep in mind you can stack them to create dynamic structures. I did that and it makes my 2.5 gal look like a 20 gal you can do anything with superfluous scaping materials!



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Old 11-17-2012, 09:17 PM   #4
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Yeah I'm not 100% on the coconut there was one in the house that broke the other day and obviously it sinks to the bottom so I thought i'd have a go at covering it in the moss ball like a hill sort of thing, the fish seem to like it a lot at one point today all of them were in it which was interesting but we will see.

Im trying to cover the base of the tank in the carpet plant but again my fish are quite taken with that and it's finding it difficult to grow very quickly the tank has gotten to the point with plants that it no longer needs large water changes the parameters are great and also very good for the plants so it's just a matter now of making it look great. It's quite new so some of the plants are only small the large leafed plants at the back especially they should create some quite interesting areas but like you said it needs more.

Is there any particular way that you would lay it out I don't know if you can see from the picture but its right side is up against a wall and the left is completely visible I don't know if that makes a difference or not. Personally I'm quite rigid when it comes to design which is why I'm struggling here as you can tell it's all symmetrical when in fact natural areas are not. With adding new rocks where would you put them along side everything else this it might give me some direction with what is already in the tank if I can see what is wrong with it at the moment.

I've spent most of the evening as sad as it may sound just looking at the thing trying to see where I could put stuff as yet nothing has changed.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:19 PM   #5
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I can say I have no inspiration with the materials at hand, but I will say take your materials, lay them out and aquascape 5-10 minutes at a time.

That's how I do it and it makes it my favorite part of my tanks


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Old 11-17-2012, 09:47 PM   #6
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I wasn't expecting that but it makes absolute sense, I'll give it a go and send you a picture of my efforts.
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by owen.john View Post
I wasn't expecting that but it makes absolute sense, I'll give it a go and send you a picture of my efforts.
Yeah all you can do is try to have fun with it. If you aren't, why even do it :p


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Old 11-18-2012, 12:04 AM   #8
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Try drawing an imaginary line diagonally through the tank from left rear to front right and using shorter stuff on the front triangle and taller stuff in the back triangle. That would make for nice viewing on both the front and left sides of the tank. My tank is viewed from the left and front sides and I really like wrapping shorter plants around that side which makes for a triangular layout.

Be nice if you could find a couple smaller stones to combine with the two large ones. Mock up a tank outline and play with the rock placement. If you could make up some sort of crumpled paper wood/fern and work with that as well you might get some ideas on what you like best before you start moving things around.

The most successful small tanks use tiny leaved plants and small scale hardscape materials. I would consider the amazon swords and Nomaphila as temporary as they will grow too large for this tank. Nomaphila would be great for a jungly theme but the swords will just take over the whole tank. The crypts [plants at the front on top of the tank] are likely a better size. The stem plants in the tank might be Bacopa and would look better if you trimmed them a node or two below the lowest leaves and replant the tops. The bottoms might sprout again though.
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Old 11-18-2012, 04:08 PM   #9
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I had a large change yesterday but it didn't work at all so I reverted back for the time being but changed the middle and front areas.



I cut the coconut in two and placed it at either side of the tank and rocks - again I'm not so sure on it but if the fish like it I thought I would find a way of making it fit.



I placed the rest of the plants behind the stones and coconut symmetrically on either side with them being taller with this layout I couldn't find many places to put them.



I've placed the crypts along the front of the tank and the carpet plants in dense bunches at the front, hopefully I'll have more success with it spreading this way. I also wrapped the coconut in the moss and some of the java fern that had come off the wood to try and add to the meadow effect I've been trying to implement with the carpet plants. As you can see I have only just done it and everything is tied on and not settled at all.

I can't say I'm happy with it and I think you're all right with the size of the rocks, I also think that the java fern on the wood plays a big part in the placement of the tank. I'd rather not move it about continuously with there being fish in the tank in the future I'd sort out the plants before the fish go in but never mind. Fish shops aren't all that helpful in that regard.

Between now and next week when I clean out the filter again I'll put together a mock up outside of the tank like you suggested, had I have read that before I started moving I'd have done that 1st .

Again if you can see anything that isn't right in the new/old layout I'm willing to take it on board I am new at this so I don't expect everything to be right instantly.

Last edited by owen.john; 11-18-2012 at 04:14 PM.. Reason: links not working
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Old 11-18-2012, 04:30 PM   #10
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Again, I think those two rocks you have are too big for the layout. They make the tank seem incredibly small and seem to be dwarfing everything else. They are also both very rectangular and unnatural looking imho.

If you have no special attatchments or feelings towards those rocks, I'd probably take a hammer to them and try and smash them up into smaller rocks or something, then pile them up or do something with them to make them accents throughout the plants or just more interesting looking.

aside from that one gripe though, I would say that you really should try and invest in more stem plants, help fill out the back and such

Those crypts in front are wendtii right? They might grow a little tall for your linking as the foreground but not sure what you are aiming for exactly, so thats just a personal preference. And to clarify, those large plants in the back are swords right? I'm sure they will look better once they can grow in a bit more.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:23 AM   #11
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I might have a look for some smaller rocks possibly darker ones, the ones in the tank I did try to break before and they are layered so they just shatter.

I did have a lot of stem plants but if they become uprooted the fish rip them to shreds I have not long put these in so hopefully the same won't happen again. But I will look at smaller leafed stem plants like you've all suggested.

Im not too sure what the crypts are only the other day I found out they were crypts but I have had them for a couple of months now and they just seem to flatten out along the bottom so I don't think there is a height issue but I might be wrong. I think they are but again I've tried looking for the names on websites and they are either in latin or not correct.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=188540

I did see this tank on the forum the other day, obviously It's a very good example of a tank but Id like to base mine "from now on" haha on this.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:35 AM   #12
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Do you have a budget to purchase aquascaping materials? $25-30 gets you a lot but if you want to try to forage for them, that's commendable too.


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Old 11-19-2012, 05:48 PM   #13
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Theres not really a budget but as you can tell from the size of the tank I don't want to be spending 100s on it. I'm in the UK so I don't know if that affects the price of the materials/plants. When I said look for some I didn't mean foraging I live very close to a city so I can't see me finding much about but it may be worth a try there is a small pond/stream nearby that might help but It would probably be at my LFS it was that which gave me the idea of the two rocks in the centre initially.

I was looking at a tank there with a very basic setup 2 rocks and some plastic plants at the back, obviously once you get the tank set up an you discover the benefits of the plants for the tank and the fish you put them in. I read a few articles about tank maintenance and with the colour of sand I had, I thought carpet plants would be ideal they take in the nitrogenous waste from the fish and whilst it is being broken down it's masked by the plants. It wasn't until I started looking around at different images on the internet that I liked the concept of a planted tank by this point I'd had my fish in quite a few months so they weren't going anywhere and the water parameters were good so I've had to work with what I have. Even more recently; the other day, I found this site and it has given me a few more ideas but I won't lie I have no experience in this what so ever biologically I am fine I understand the processes, but the positioning and layout is something that I am not learning very quickly.

I'm going to try and put together a layout outside of the tank like Kathy said. I think it's more the solid elements of the tank that are confusing me, I'm a keen gardener so I'm used to working with plants but I very rarely use Large stoned areas or gravel which is common place within aquariums so once I can get a grip on that I should be ok. That and the fish are my biggest issues they do have to play a big part in my layout and quite often some of them just "like" to hide in a corner of the tank where nobody/thing can see them, I know it might sound daft but I'd like to be able for them to still do this if they wished so there needs to be a opening somewhere within the tank for this to happen hence the coconuts. So I'll put together a layout outside of the tank and see where I go.
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:17 PM   #14
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Welcome to the forum!

I don't know too much about aquascaping, but I think your scapes are too symmetrical. My eye is drawn to the dead centre of your tank and in nature, things are rarely so uniform. If you Google aquascaping tips, there's a 3.51m video that gives some good pointers. I found this helpful.

You might have to get more 'stuff' in there too. But stick at it and keep posting pics here.

All the best
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:06 PM   #15
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The tank in that thread was put together by a very very accomplished aquarist and it isn't the same shape as your Edge. Wonderful, isn't it?

How about looking through this thread for photos of planted Edges? Keep you busy anyway, one of the longest threads on this board!
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ht=fluval+edge
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