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Old 05-28-2013, 02:27 PM   #1
Fish from Philly
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Help creating depth in 150 gallon


Hey everyone. My goal is to set up a 150 gallon low tech discus tank (plus my tropical community of tetras). While I certainly want the discus to be the main attraction, I really want the aquascape to be interesting. After research for past few weeks, I found a couple inspiration tanks but can't quite get mine to look like them. Tank is 72" wide, 30" high, 18" deep. I plan to have sand (the white and black substrate is mix of white gravel and eco complete). Any advice is appreciated!

- I sloped my grade toward the back and set the rocks at different depths while paying attention to the golden ratio.
-The plants are in temporary position until I set up hardscape
-My light is fresh in from BuildMyLED and is pretty bright although I'm going for low-tech planted (vals, crypts, anubia)

http://imgur.com/a/qyMCn

-Barry
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Old 05-29-2013, 01:24 AM   #2
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Looks good man, with pretty Discus in there all the better. If I had to be critical I would say your rocks and substrate match too closely, but I'm terrible at scapeing a tank.
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Old 05-29-2013, 02:10 AM   #3
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That funky black and white gravel might be part of your problem. You're on a good start with the elevated back section. The 18" deep will be your biggest hurdle on trying to get more depth. Its just like trying to scape a 55g.
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Old 05-29-2013, 05:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelub View Post
That funky black and white gravel might be part of your problem. You're on a good start with the elevated back section. The 18" deep will be your biggest hurdle on trying to get more depth. Its just like trying to scape a 55g.
I have to agree with this. A 18" deep tank can be very hard to scape and get good depth out of. Read through this article as it can be very helpful when attempting to create a scape.

http://fish-etc.com/aquascaping-main...anted-aquarium

Sometimes you need to try a different approach when aqua scaping a tank with dimensions that are less than ideal. I have not seen too many 18" deep tanks that I thought had depth to the scape. I had a 55 gal. at one time and it was frustrating trying to create depth. It's hard to have a foreground, midground, and background with only 18" to work with. Here is one 55 gal. tank that I actually like the way they have the hardscape positioned.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=197579
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Old 05-29-2013, 06:51 AM   #5
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Have you considered a jungle scape? Go with height instead of depth.
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Old 05-29-2013, 04:25 PM   #6
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I should note the white and black gravel was by accident (mixed up the white gravel that came with tank with the eco-complete I put in) and will be covered up by natural looking sand.

As for depth, I never knew the tanks I was looking for inspiration were do much deeper. With only 18" to work with, it certainly makes the 72" width a challenge to look right. I have read that article in the past and tried to mimic some of the techniques, I suppose just didn't get it quite right (at least not as professional as the ones submitted to international competition, hah!)

Those links were very helpful, thanks!

I have considered a jungle and opted against it since I want more room for discus to swim. I must say though, I really like most of your plant selection! I read you don't use CO2 and they still look really nice and healthy.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:23 PM   #7
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I don't use CO2, but most if not all the plants I have are for the most part weeds and aren't very picky on their environment.
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Old 05-31-2013, 02:56 PM   #8
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I will remove gravel this weekend and replace with all sand with only the heavy planted areas with eco-complete layer.

Since I angled the dw to the back, it definitely helps with the depth. I'm going for an uprooted tree look with the branchy piece on far right being the canopy of the tree which I'll work with some java moss or java fern. I am thinking of leaving some eco-complete exposed in the spot where the tree was uprooted so it looks natural. Here's my latest and greatest:

http://imgur.com/a/TykQN



Still not quite there though and I'm wondering are rocks the correct size?

May look better when I plant large leaf in the front and small leaf stem in the back?
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Old 06-04-2013, 12:43 PM   #9
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Philly,

Thank God you are removing that horrible black and white substrate!

A few things. I assume you have those blue pieces of tape there to tell you where the thirds are. But then you don't seem to be placing the wood etc to coincide with that.

You do have that one piece of wood on the third line but placing the piece on the left of that kind of defeats the purpose because it is so much bulkier than the one on the third line. You need to realise that those wood chunks are very heavy (in terms of balance). One thing i have learned in my few scapes it that even though you may love a piece to death it can kill a scape. often it's not what you add but what you leave out that makes the scape. If it were me I'd be trying to find more of the other branchy style wood.

Your rocks look too placed instead of natural. They're kind of like a wall atm.

Sorry, I started this a few days ago and never finished.

I look forward to seeing what happens.

Linds
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Old 06-04-2013, 02:20 PM   #10
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Farmer - I definitely love the wood on the left side but have been thinking it is really out of place. Rather than laying down the large stump, I decided to use only 1 piece of it and some small pieces to create a stump with roots in the ground. What do you think now?

http://imgur.com/a/jj669#0
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Old 06-04-2013, 03:07 PM   #11
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I think you are on the right track. Adding or switching out some or your rocks with a darker colored ones may help add a little depth, if you place them towards the back of the tank. Also a jungle type scape that is heavily planted will add some dimension. It might be cool if you go with a higher growing carpet {shag} try dwarf sag. or Blyxa J. then a tall back round plant. Good Luck, I can't wait to see how it progresses!
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Old 06-04-2013, 04:24 PM   #12
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I considered the shag but since I want to have discus, I went with slow growing crpyt parva (temp and less maintenance)

I like the idea of the dark rocks in back. I was thinking of attaching some small leaved nana anubia to background rocks to create illusion of it being far away.
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Old 06-04-2013, 04:33 PM   #13
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I like most of the rock placement except the ones mixed in the roots of the wood on the right side. I would take those out completely and put some small plants mixed in around the roots. Something small that would still allow the root to show - maybe downoi. The other rocks would look good with some higher growing carpet grass as JerSaint said. They wouldn't obscure the rocks, but perhaps accent them a little more naturally.
Small thin leaved plants along the back like Mayaca fluvatillis, Didiplis diandra, Hottonia palustris, Rotalas (wallichii would be a good choice), maybe some Erio Type 2 also. Then use some larger leaved varieties in front of those stems, but keep them trimmed a little lower. Hygrophilas, Limnophilas, Ludwigias, and some Pogostemons would help the eyes see depth in the tank.
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Old 06-04-2013, 06:26 PM   #14
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Quick google search on the downoi shows it can grow without CO2 and up to 86 F which is great for my discus (future anyway) tank. Of the plants suggested, which would do best in these conditions?
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:16 PM   #15
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Philly,

You have a hard job ahead of you I think. It's harder because you have fish and water in the tank already too.

However you have a large tank so you can use the space to your advantage. I'd be trying to get things away from the sides of your tank i.e. the wood on the left. Keep it sure, but it isn't doing anything for the scape IMO where it is.

I'd try and find some larger stones, but if you haven't got any then I think you need to get some height with them by maybe staking them (securely of course). Have an 'island' perhaps in the centre (but not symetrical so it looks centre).

Kind of like this approach.

http://i265.photobucket.com/albums/i...IslandDay1.jpg

http://img378.imageshack.us/img378/7256/89468788rm0.jpg

I think that way your white sand won't stand out so much as being odd.

I'm certainly no expert when it comes to plants but the setups I have had so far have been inert gravel. It's not the easyest to get plants that will grow well in it. I have and success with those crypts (but use root tabs or such). To that end I'd be tending towards epiphytes. That way you can plant your rocks and wood. I like the long thin java fern and I think it would be useful in adding the height you need.

Linds
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