Aquascaping tips
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Old 02-12-2014, 01:23 PM   #1
Adri.
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Aquascaping tips


I'm redoing my 100 gallon as soon as my group of Geophagus Altifrons sell. I'm ordering a new light fixture, the Planted Plus, but will not be doing co2 as I can't afford it right now. Hopefully some day in the future. Not sure if I will do ferts, depends on how much they cost. I really have NO money right now...darn this hobby, being so expensive! The tank will be slowly scaped and planted as I can afford it.

I'm wondering if you guys can link to me to the best sites, in your opinion, about aquascaping. I know nothing about the "rules" of scaping, I've always just done what I thought looked good. I'd like to learn more about how I can improve my scaping skills.

I'm also wondering where you guys get driftwood. Just the thought of buying driftwood for a tank this big makes my wallet cry - I'd like to collect it myself, that's what I did with the two very large pieces I have in there right now. But how do I know if the wood I find is safe to use? Where's the best place to collect driftwood?
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:00 PM   #2
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That's not quite litterally but almost a backward start. The light will need ferts and CO2 to keep out algae. A lower level of light would allow you to not use either till you got some plant growth. Of course ferts are better for plant growth but smaller amounts of them do not require CO2 or light that is high. Can you give the dimentions of this tank because I think you can start off/w about$60 on lights for a good start on the plants.
The thing about the light that I have in mind is that you can use it other places besides on a tank later when you do go to LED or just leave it and double it for another $60. One two bulb fixture would be low light. Two of the same would be either high end of low range or lower end of med range. This and where your PL+ light stands are related to the depth of the tank.
Mostly I say all this because it takes lots of plants and equipment to run a high tech tank and that takes a lot of $...but the light you are thinking of using usually goes/w that set up. Raising it up off the top of the tank will of course lower the level it effects the plants so it will work, but just needs to be raised at first till you have plenty of plant growth.
Most of the tanks on there are high tech. But You Tube has plenty of aquascaping vids.
You can use them for how to build up an aria for a hill for example etc.
I get lucky on driftwood as the lakes around here get lower at end of summer exposing wood and one is lowered intentionally for boat dock repairs in winter. Streams in rocky arias have tree roots that look great. Just don't get pine or other soft wood as it deteriorates faster than hardwood(but pine is where turpintine comes from).
As long as the water is clean in that place where you get it, I try to find pieces
which are sunk already and just use them as is. Some people boil them.
Here is an actual rule. For it to look good don't use even numbers of rocks.
If you pour vinegar on a rock and it foams it is not good. Coral or crushed coral raises the PH of the water/not good for most fish/good for cichlids.
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:10 PM   #3
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Thank you.
My tank is pretty deep, at least 23". It is 60" long and I would be using the 48" light set on top of the eggcrate that I use as a cover for the tank.
I'm not too worried about algae. I will limit the amount of time the lights are on during the day, and can throw in a good number of Otos if there are algae problems. Plus, I like a little algae, I think it gives the aquarium a more natural feel. I will probably be asking for a CO2 setup, or money to go towards a setup, for my birthday in April.

I'll have to go to the local lake, maybe today, and see what I can find for driftwood
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Old 02-12-2014, 04:57 PM   #4
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My two cents? There are no "rules" of aquascaping. It's your tank in your home, it should be what you like. There are lots of beautiful scapes that follow the rules, and honestly, after a while they all just start to look alike. I think it's living art, and art is a personal thing. Just have fun!
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Old 02-12-2014, 07:17 PM   #5
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There are a list of aquasaping links in this thread. There are "rules" to aquascaping. However, they are intended to create a natural looking scape. If you dissect a nice looking aquascape you will see it follows a basic set of rules regardless of whether the designer intended to do so or not.

A nice low-medium light can grow many plants without CO2. I would suggest you invest in dry fertilizers though. It really is quite inexpensive. A user here, nilocg, can set you up with everything you should need to dose for under $30. I would start saving for that money now. You will enjoy the return on that small investment for some time to come.
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Old 02-12-2014, 07:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koiboi View Post
after a while they all just start to look alike.!
then you're not looking close enough
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Old 02-12-2014, 08:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
There are a list of aquasaping links in this thread. There are "rules" to aquascaping. However, they are intended to create a natural looking scape. If you dissect a nice looking aquascape you will see it follows a basic set of rules regardless of whether the designer intended to do so or not.

A nice low-medium light can grow many plants without CO2. I would suggest you invest in dry fertilizers though. It really is quite inexpensive. A user here, nilocg, can set you up with everything you should need to dose for under $30. I would start saving for that money now. You will enjoy the return on that small investment for some time to come.
+1 for nilocg
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Old 02-12-2014, 10:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
There are a list of aquasaping links in this thread. There are "rules" to aquascaping. However, they are intended to create a natural looking scape. If you dissect a nice looking aquascape you will see it follows a basic set of rules regardless of whether the designer intended to do so or not.

A nice low-medium light can grow many plants without CO2. I would suggest you invest in dry fertilizers though. It really is quite inexpensive. A user here, nilocg, can set you up with everything you should need to dose for under $30. I would start saving for that money now. You will enjoy the return on that small investment for some time to come.
Darn it. My fish haven't even sold yet and after reading only half of those threads in the Aquascaping section on the link you gave me, you've got me wanting to go out and buy my plants NOW! Oh, I'm starting to get so excited! Fish should be gone on Friday then I can start planting. Thank you so much for the link, so far it has been very helpful & I've only finished reading half! I will also look into ferts

I have a question. With a 48" Planted Plus resting on eggcrate on a 5ft tank, 23? inches deep...would this be low, medium, or high lighting?

Planted + info from Amazon:
48" Unibody Ultra Slim High Output Planted LED
TRUE 660nm intensive photosynthesis RED LEDs
(180) 7000k + (96) 660nm RED + (12) Blue Moonlights
35.6 Total Watts
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Old 02-13-2014, 02:32 AM   #9
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Also...how do I find out what ferts I should use? I want to start using just the bare minimum, since I really don't have much money. I get $40 a month and have chickens, fish, and a gecko to feed.

Last edited by Adri.; 02-13-2014 at 02:48 AM.. Reason: add
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Old 02-13-2014, 01:07 PM   #10
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Adri,

There is no specific PAR data for the Planted plus lights as of yet. It most likely should provide around 40+ PAR at 24" which is considered medium light but that's a guess. I'm not sure what impact the egg crate material is having on the light level. The use of Glutaraldehyde (Excel) may help will nuisance algae.

I would obtain KNO3, KH2PO4, Plantex CSM +B and a GH booster. That should cover most situations. I would suggest you become familiar with dosing. At first glance it can be a little daunting but it's actually quite simple. Here is a post I made about nutrient management you may find helpful. There are other links in the thread I suggested earlier as well.
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Old 02-13-2014, 04:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
Adri,

There is no specific PAR data for the Planted plus lights as of yet. It most likely should provide around 40+ PAR at 24" which is considered medium light but that's a guess. I'm not sure what impact the egg crate material is having on the light level. The use of Glutaraldehyde (Excel) may help will nuisance algae.

I would obtain KNO3, KH2PO4, Plantex CSM +B and a GH booster. That should cover most situations. I would suggest you become familiar with dosing. At first glance it can be a little daunting but it's actually quite simple. Here is a post I made about nutrient management you may find helpful. There are other links in the thread I suggested earlier as well.
Thank you! I will take a look at those.
Will I need a test kit? What are they called and where can I buy one?
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Old 02-13-2014, 05:05 PM   #12
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The most common tests come in 2 varieties.
Test kits with test tube and reagents (liquid or powder) are said to be more reliable.
Dry tests on a stick are said to be less accurate.

I have used both, and generally see similar results unless there are problems such as old reagents, or the sticks got exposed to the air too long.

API Master Test kit has most of the tests for aquariums, though I would also buy the GH & KH combination. The API tests are liquid reagents and test tubes. There are others, but I have not had good results with them.

Jungle, Tetra and others make the dip stick tests. You can find single tests for ammonia, a double test for chloramine and chlorine (good if you have chloramine) and 5-way or 6-way that do not include ammonia, but do have the others.

What you will need:
Ammonia- NH3 & NH4- during cycling, and when something goes wrong.
Nitrite- NO2- during cycling and when something goes wrong.
Nitrate- NO3- After tank is cycled, good way to monitor general conditions and fertilizer
General Hardness- GH- This is the test that combines calcium and magnesium. Go by this test to see what fish like. Keep fish that are compatible with your GH, or alter your water if you want to keep other sorts of fish.
Carbonate Hardness- KH- Carbonates and bicarbonates are probably the most prevalent buffer of pH in our aquariums. When KH is high the pH tends to be high, and difficult to adjust. The KH buffers it right back to where it was. If the KH is low the pH is controlled by other things, but is usually (not always!) low. It is easy to change the pH when the KH is low.
pH is tested with 2 liquid tests which cut off at 7.6 (I think). If your water tends to be higher pH then you will use the high range test. If your water tends to be lower pH then you will use the other (mid range) pH test. On the strips there is only one pH test and it does the full range.

Shop around. Check on line and local stores.
I have found the strips in bottles of 100 at Drs Foster and Smith or at Big Als (2 on line pet supply)
The strips are fast and easy to use.
The test kits with test tubes take more time.
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Old 02-13-2014, 05:12 PM   #13
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I think Diana explained it quite well. I also use a phosphate test since I dose this. Other than that, Diana is spot on.

If you're diligent with 50% weekly water changes you can dose without using test kits. However, since you have no "baseline" tests, tap water and tank before water change, it's hard to say. You could always have a LFS do several tests while you start. After that I don't use tests very much to be honest. It's very nice to have but not critical.
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Old 02-13-2014, 09:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adri. View Post
Also...how do I find out what ferts I should use? I want to start using just the bare minimum, since I really don't have much money. I get $40 a month and have chickens, fish, and a gecko to feed.
for just basic fertilizer check the sakes thread her or ebay for Osmocote Plus Rootabs.
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Old 02-14-2014, 02:27 PM   #15
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for just basic fertilizer check the sakes thread her or ebay for Osmocote Plus Rootabs.
Osmocote is like just past half way down this list. It's cheap.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...6393&highlight=
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