ADA 45-F : My first Aquascaping project! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 69 (permalink) Unread 08-16-2019, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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ADA 45-F : My first Aquascaping project!

Hello guys and welcome to my journal!

I live in Sweden and I am getting back into the hobby after a 10 years hiatus. I have previously kept mainly fish tanks (cichlids) and even a couple of low tech, low demand planted tanks but never gotten into aquascaping. I have been however watching for months aquascaping videos and reading related articles and forums and I have now decided to try to set up a small tank. It is really exciting to see how the hobby has evolved during the 10 last years and I honestly consider myself a total newbie, once again.

I kind of feel overwhelmed by all sorts of styles, stones, plants and new equipment that has become much easier available since my last time. But I decided to go for a small tank mainly due to space limitations and since I really enjoy the idea of a "miniature landscape". I have read quite a lot about Iwagumi and Japanese gardening and I am fascinated by the style and its philosophy. I don't have the ambition however to go for a pure Iwagumi or call my scape an Iwagumi, since I really lack the experience and probably the knowledge to use effectively all the related rules and principles.

I decided to use the dry start method and use Hemianthus Callitrichoides as my only plant to start with, adding maybe later something more to create some better perspective and depth as well as to add some accents of colour (maybe Alternanthera reineckii 'Mini'?). I am not planning for any livestock yet, since it will take weeks (months?) before everything is up and running (and cycled) but I have shrimps (Amano and probably Red Cherry) at the back of my head.

This is the equipment I have purchased by now, to get everything started:

Aquarium:
ADA Cube Garden 45-F (45 x 24 x 16 cm) - that's approx 4 gallons

Light:
ADA Aquasky G 451

Substrate:
ADA Power Sand Advance
ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia Powder
ADA Bacter 100, Clear Super and Tourmaline BC

Hardscape:
Ryuoh Stones

Cabinet:
ADA Plain Cabinet 45 (this is made on order from Japan and it should take at least a couple of weeks more before it arrives to Sweden)

I still haven't purchased a filter and a CO2 system but I have my eyes on a couple of things

Day One:It felt like Christmas!



And what I was most excited for, the stones!



Day 2: Getting started!

I used a layer of ADA Power Sand Advance on the bottom and sprinkled the recommended dose of Bacter 100, Clear Super and Tourmaline BC. I kept the visible edges free from this and filled with Aqua Soil Amazonia Powder. It looked like this:



Today:

After quite a lot of experimentation and moving rocks around, I ended up with the following scape. I added substrate support that will hopefully hold the larger slopes in place and I am now patiently waiting for my HC Cuba to arrive to get the planting started!



I will try to update this journal regularly to keep everything documented and hopefully get some much needed help and tips down the road. This has been a long first post so if anyone has made it all the way down here, thanks a lot!
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post #2 of 69 (permalink) Unread 08-16-2019, 08:41 PM
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Great hardscape!

Looking forward to seeing how your tank progresses.

What kind of filters are you considering? I've used a small Eheim on my 45-F and liked it a lot.


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post #3 of 69 (permalink) Unread 08-16-2019, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
Great hardscape!

Looking forward to seeing how your tank progresses.

What kind of filters are you considering? I've used a small Eheim on my 45-F and liked it a lot.
Thank you so much!

I haven't really decided which filter I will go for, but I have had my eyes on the ADA Super Jet ES-150 because I really like the look, both of the filter and the lily pipes that come with it. Its pricey but its a one time cost (if I don't manage to break the pipes, that is). I need to look a bit more into the Eheim line-up. Thanks for your tip!
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post #4 of 69 (permalink) Unread 08-17-2019, 02:07 AM
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That's a great start! Following!

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
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post #5 of 69 (permalink) Unread 08-17-2019, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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It's been years since I last used my Canon DSLR and it felt like time to take it out. Just a couple of test shots to get it warm. It will be fun shooting the HC Cuba



I also got a Garden Mat for the cabinet.

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post #6 of 69 (permalink) Unread 08-18-2019, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
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I have been thinking about the plants and I decided that I do want to add something more than just the HC Cuba, to give some depth and diversity. I want to get some experience with other plants as well.

My thoughts are to add a small bunch of Rotala indica in the back left side of the main rock that will hopefully become a dense bush adding some contrast and hopefully some red accents if it shoots reddish tops.

Then I decided to add some Hemianthus glomeratus in at least some parts of the background as a dense bush, higher than the HC but lower than the Rotala Indica to give some depth.



Any thoughts on this? Will these plants fit in such a small tank without destroying the sense of scale? I went for plants with minimum sized leafs since keeping the scale is one of my top priorities. These can also theoretically work well with a dry start and will hopefully help with algae after flooding. Any ideas are more than welcome!
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post #7 of 69 (permalink) Unread 08-18-2019, 05:34 PM
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Nice setup! You'll be doing a lot of trimming with the Rotala Indica with such a shallow tank. I would let the rocks be the stars and go with something shorter like Blyxa Japonica for areas of the midground or background for that height tank or you can go with hairgrass as well.
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post #8 of 69 (permalink) Unread 08-18-2019, 06:02 PM
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This tank is only 6.3in/16cm high, so Blyxa likely isn't a good fit. It routinely gets 8 or so inches tall and spreads quite a bit. It can quickly develop root systems in a tiny tank that become problematic if you need to remove or trim a lot.

Rotala indica 'bonsai' would be a good fit because it's relatively easy to keep trimmed and its root system isn't as huge as Blyxa. It's generally easy to keep and when planted, trimmed & replanted, develops a bushy appearance. I find it to be smaller than other Rotala and Bacopa. In a tank this shallow, it'll make for a nice mid/background plant.


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post #9 of 69 (permalink) Unread 08-18-2019, 06:09 PM
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I've used Blxya J. extensively so I'll disagree with you based on my experience. It's a very manageable plant and can always be reduced if it ever does grow to tall. Stems on the other hand will reach the top every week. I've used Blxya in nanos for years and they haven't gotten to 8".
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post #10 of 69 (permalink) Unread 08-18-2019, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your input guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
Nice setup! You'll be doing a lot of trimming with the Rotala Indica with such a shallow tank. I would let the rocks be the stars and go with something shorter like Blyxa Japonica for areas of the midground or background for that height tank or you can go with hairgrass as well.
Blyxa Japonica was (and is) in my list with plants to consider. It's not going to happen in this phase however since I will start dry and, if what I have read is correct, that plant can only be grown submersed.

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Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
Rotala indica 'bonsai' would be a good fit because it's relatively easy to keep trimmed and its root system isn't as huge as Blyxa. It's generally easy to keep and when planted, trimmed & replanted, develops a bushy appearance. I find it to be smaller than other Rotala and Bacopa. In a tank this shallow, it'll make for a nice mid/background plant.
That bushy appearance is exactly what I imagined. I really have no idea how the plant will actually look in the tank, how large the leafs actually are etc but I have actually already ordered a box of both Rotala Indica and Hemianthus Glomeratus in-vitro cultures and I will probably try and see.

Its my first project and it is going to be a huge learning curve but I would really like to get my hands on a couple of stem plants as well, in order to get familiar with the techniques of trimming, replanting etc. I am not afraid of heavy maintaining, since this is my only tank but if I see that it is not working or if I just don't get it to become as I imagine it, I can take it out later, or can I?

Having a stem plant in place when I flood will hopefully help with potential algae problems, so I see this as a plus at least during that first stage.
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post #11 of 69 (permalink) Unread 08-18-2019, 08:12 PM
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Since you only have about 2 inches of clearance in in the rear of the tank - maybe 3 - Blyxa is definitely going to be tricky because of its height. Since you have strong lighting, good substrate and will be fertilizing, it won't have any trouble getting to 6-8 inches (15-20cm) it can grow to... and has for me on a regular basis. Also has for other members but I digress. It's also problematic in tiny, high-tech tanks if you aren't experienced because of the way it propagates. It sends out tons of runners and routinely has to be pulled up when it gets too large/there's too much of it in your tank. Which will happen because you don't have a ton of substrate area that's not taken up by your gorgeous hardscape. It's not as simple as just trimming like you would with a stem plant or HC.

Leaves of Rotala 'bonsai' are tiny compared to other Rotala varieties. There are plenty of tank journals here with photos of it in bushy groupings that look exactly the way you envision. It's as simple as mowing it down with scissors or snapping stems off with your fingernails when it gets too tall. Just replant the snipped off parts or share them with other hobbyists once you have the amount you want in the tank.

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Originally Posted by SECollector View Post
That bushy appearance is exactly what I imagined. I really have no idea how the plant will actually look in the tank, how large the leafs actually are etc but I have actually already ordered a box of both Rotala Indica and Hemianthus Glomeratus in-vitro cultures and I will probably try and see.

Its my first project and it is going to be a huge learning curve but I would really like to get my hands on a couple of stem plants as well, in order to get familiar with the techniques of trimming, replanting etc. I am not afraid of heavy maintaining, since this is my only tank but if I see that it is not working or if I just don't get it to become as I imagine it, I can take it out later, or can I?

Having a stem plant in place when I flood will hopefully help with potential algae problems, so I see this as a plus at least during that first stage.


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post #12 of 69 (permalink) Unread 08-18-2019, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
... It's also problematic in tiny, high-tech tanks if you aren't experienced because of the way it propagates. It sends out tons of runners and routinely has to be pulled up when it gets too large/there's too much of it in your tank..
Are we talking about the same plant SWS? Blyxa does not sent out runners, it's actually a stem plant. This is from the same article you attached.

"tfhmagazine - Propagation: B. japonica is well behaved in the planted aquarium. Growth is modest, and it does not send out a profusion of runners like many other grassy species. Every few months, individual plants can be uprooted and gently separated at the connection points of the stem structure."

What I like about this plant is you can separate them and use the smaller stems and it still keeps a mature look to the aquarium.


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post #13 of 69 (permalink) Unread 08-18-2019, 08:53 PM
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Yep, same plant. "Runners" is a poor term but that's kind of what they are. Just as other stem plants can propagate at their base but both at a faster rate and with substantially larger/deeper root systems when it spreads - and it does spread. Grows really well in Aqua Soil, high light, lots of ferts. Maybe too well? Because it grows like crazy for me with just Aqua Soil, no CO2 and light-moderate fertilization.

Not a good fit in just 2-3 inches of water. Maybe in something like 10 inches of water. Take a look at some of these photos to see why I mention depths like that. It may work in a tank that's about 8 inches tall but it would definitely have to be a background plant and there couldn't be much in terms of sloping, substrate couldn't be too deep.

The 45-F is one of the most shallow tanks available on the hobbyist market and it's tough to plant if you don't constantly keep scale in mind. I can barely keep it in check. Here's a look at how some of the shorter Cryptocoryne varieties will almost grow out of the water:





The wood sticking out of the water is just under 5.5 inches tall.

On a related note - I want that 3 foot rimless tank, @Asteroid. It's way nicer than the 12gal long I've got.


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post #14 of 69 (permalink) Unread 08-18-2019, 11:08 PM
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All based on one's prespective. I don't doubt the potential for it to reach 8". I was actually describing it's usage to OP as a possible background plant, but either way I have always found it easy to manage. I also have always grown it in AS but with co2 and it grows very dense and compact. Because it doesn't send runners all over the place like other grass like plants I always found it easy to remove and replant with some of the smaller side stems.

Yeah I'm really enjoying the dimensions of the 12g thanks. Easy to manage and gives the appearance of a large setup.


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post #15 of 69 (permalink) Unread 08-19-2019, 01:04 PM
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What? Yes, of course based on my perspective and some reading comprehension to discern what OP is asking and why. That's what a discussion forum is - a place for discussion based on knowledge and first-hand experience.

Take a look at the OP's tank. Consider its measurements. Now consider Blyxa japonica and its size. It's not a 1-2 inch plant. It develops substantial root systems compared to the basic/beginner plants they mention. It's not that complicated.

Consider the OP's predicament: they're new, they have a tank so shallow that basic, low crypts are generally too tall as even a *background* plant. The OP has 2-3 inches of room in the back of the tank - in the deepest section of the rear slope. And even less than that in the highest section of the slope, where they'll have less than 2 inches of room for growth height. That's so shallow that C. Parva, HC, even Marsilea minuta would look like tall background plants.

Regardless, OP can use the search function or fire up their googler to see the size of Blyxa. They can read and see how it grows and propagates. Fortunately, they've made sensible, low-growing plant choices - along with one of the tiniest Rotala options available - for their new tank and can explore other plants as they progress into the hobby.
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