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Old 04-10-2014, 04:49 AM   #1
chan011
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A complete novice's first attempt at aquascaping


Hi everyone,

I just found this forum and it seems to have a lot of information. My only experience with aquariums is breeding tanks years ago (bettas and guppies)

I set up a 10 gallon tank in my office at work and its nothing pretty. Bare and looks like a breeding tank since that’s all i have experience with. I currently keep important Japanese guppies in my 10 gallon tank and plan to eventually move them over to the new aquascape once I get everything dialed in.

Aquascaping has intrigued me for a while but it always seemed like too much work and can get expensive. I have enough expensive hobbies that my wallet doesnt need anymore, but I finally got tired of looking at my bare tank at work.

I found a 29 gallon Top Fin set up with a stand off of craigslist that i bought for $30 so that’s what I’m going to try starting with. (I like that a stand was included)


I know the lighting sucks (24 inch 18w T8 florescent bulb), but since I’m going with a low light plant set up at first, i might be able to make due until i get some experience and know what 'I’m doing before upgrading everything. Trying to keep costs as low as possible for now while i make my mistakes.

Right now I’m looking at substrates (would like something black) and taking the recommendations of a previous thread keeping my plant species down to 4 low light species.

I’m looking at the following plants
Java moss (already have in my tank)
Java Fern (Windelov possibly)
anubias nana (or a similar leafy type)
cryptocoryne wendtii
microswords
chain leaf sword

in regards to substrate I’m using Seachem Flourite and i plan to go with a island type design

im looking at one of these two pieces of driftwood (obviously cut down to fit)






theres also this third piece that fits right on top of the island


Any suggestions so far would be great. I hope to update this thread as i progress with the tank. constructive criticism is welcome.

Thanks in advance

Last edited by chan011; 04-10-2014 at 05:39 AM.. Reason: added a pic
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Old 04-10-2014, 05:57 AM   #2
Fiftymeatballs
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Pic 1 is the better of the 3 IMO. You can always cut it up and position the branches how you want if your feeling restricted. 2nd piece is cool but too bulky, 3rd doesn't even look like wood to me.
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Old 04-10-2014, 06:21 AM   #3
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thanks for the suggestions.

i like 1 because it can look like a tree at the top of the island
2 is cool if i cut it in half. i like that it has a lot of grooves for plants to grow around/in

one of the downfalls of the drought in CA is that there is plenty of driftwood exposed out on the lakes
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Old 04-10-2014, 06:46 AM   #4
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I like 1

You can always flip upside down and grow moss or fissidens or many other plants along the branches.. it'd look like mangrove roots ..
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Old 04-10-2014, 07:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurie View Post
I like 1

You can always flip upside down and grow moss or fissidens or many other plants along the branches.. it'd look like mangrove roots ..
didnt think about going upside down

im planning on planting anubias plants to the wood if that helps
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Old 04-10-2014, 07:11 AM   #6
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Do an internet search on tips n trix regarding scaping. There are some pretty easy rules you can follow to make the hard scape pleasing to the eye on the first try.

edit: Googled it for ya.
https://www.google.se/#q=aquascape+for+beginners
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Old 04-15-2014, 04:23 AM   #7
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tank is planted. now i wait. ive read i should change 1/3 of the water every few days from the beginning. is this true?
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Old 04-16-2014, 06:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chan011 View Post
I know the lighting sucks (24 inch 18w T8 florescent bulb), but since I’m going with a low light plant set up at first, i might be able to make due until i get some experience and know what 'I’m doing before upgrading everything. Trying to keep costs as low as possible for now while i make my mistakes.

Right now I’m looking at substrates (would like something black)

I’m looking at the following plants
Java moss (already have in my tank)
Java Fern (Windelov possibly)
anubias nana (or a similar leafy type)
cryptocoryne wendtii
microswords
chain leaf sword
For lights new check out Pet Blvd. For Med light I favor the Coralife T5NO 36W light strip.

For a black substrate cheapest is black diamond blasting sand. Can be found at [URL="http://www.northerntool.com/"]Northern Tool.] Cost was 9.53 for a 50Lb bag

The microswords and chain leaf sword won't survive in that light. They cryptocoryne will if you have rich substrate.

Cheap of rich substrate is Scott's Hyponex Potting Soil. I am topping it with black diamond blasting sand some day. If you decide to do a dirt tank check APC El Natural section.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chan011 View Post
tank is planted. now i wait. ive read i should change 1/3 of the water every few days from the beginning. is this true?
Test water at least 2x/week. When nitrate is 0ppm Ammonia and Nitrites 0- do a 50% water change, feed the bacteria again and check the parameters again the next day. If have 0ppm Ammonia and Nitrite- the cycle is DONE -
Feed it with fish food or cocktail shrimp (By fishbreath)
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:08 AM   #9
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thanks for the tips. what nitrite test kit do you recommend?
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Old 04-16-2014, 02:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chan011 View Post
thanks for the tips. what nitrite test kit do you recommend?
After 3 months you won't need to test. Thus it is more economical to take some water (in vile or bottle or plastic bag) to a pet store. They test for free. That is what I do now. For my test kit is out of date.
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Old 04-17-2014, 03:01 AM   #11
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I think it's worth it to keep a good liquid test kit for several reasons: You never know when you're going to need to test, especially if you have fauna in the tankl; not all stores test for free; stores often use dip strips, which can be unreliable; store employees may not perform or interpret the test correctly, and of course you have to take a water sample to the store when it's open.

I use the API freshwater master test kit, which is popular and a solid value.
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Old 04-21-2014, 05:06 AM   #12
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one week in and now the fun part. waiting...

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Old 04-28-2014, 04:12 AM   #13
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another week another picture. the crypts in the front to the left of the wood melted. hopefully they come back around in the next few months...
ammonia is 0ppm nitrate 5ppm nitrite 2ppm

Last edited by chan011; 04-28-2014 at 07:54 AM.. Reason: added water conditions
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Old 04-29-2014, 06:46 AM   #14
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can anyone identify if this is fuzz algae and should i be concerned? i notice it growing on my java moss


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Old 04-29-2014, 08:28 AM   #15
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That white "thing" on your java moss is something that comes to almost all new tanks. It disappears with time as the tank settles. I think it has something to do with the bacterial growth.
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