Plat's 17 Gal High Tech/Maybe Betta/First Go - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-26-2020, 02:43 AM Thread Starter
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Plat's 17 Gal High Tech/Maybe Betta/First Go

A little background on myself to start. I had the most basic of basic 10 gal tanks as a kid. It had everything from goldfish to a catfish my brother caught while pulling crawfish from rice fields. I eventually found other hobbies as I grew older and moved on.

My next tank was a 5 gallon desk/office tank I threw together after the tech company I worked for in the late 90's went bankrupt after the bubble bust and 9/11. Someone just left a fish behind in a call center that I, for whatever reason, just happened to notice in the rows and rows of cubes with nobody in them. It was missing most of its tail when I found it. I don't know what it was, but it was small and pinkish. I named it Pink Slip as that seemed appropriate and kept it alive for about a year as the company wound down and I helped turn off the lights.

Since then I had various ideas of doing a marine/reef tank over the last decade or two, but just never had the time or resources to dive into it. I knew I would enjoy a tank, but nothing really clicked. That changed a little over a month ago when I came across a pic of a paludarium. I was intrigued to say the least. Google images was ripe with perfect little worlds of ferns and water. More google images and YouTube eventually lead me to aquascapes, ADA, Amano, George Farmer and all the others and eventually here. I was hooked and set my mind to do it this time.

Timing-wise I guess I couldn't have picked a worse time. Evidently being forced to stay at home because of Covid drove the masses to all buy aquariums to stay sane. Every online retailer out there was wiped clean of anything I remotely thought I wanted to do. I needed something not too big/not too small. Something I could keep a Betta in because after googlewebbing for aquarium stuff, I came across some great videos and they seem to be a perfect desk companion. Not too chatty, willing to eat lunch whenever I do and grumpy enough to commiserate with at the thankless job that is corporate outsourced IT related work.

So with that all in mind, I was off. I found a nice 60P clone at Amazon finally; a Lifegard 17 gal with 45 degree edges. I was intrigued, it was fairly cheap and I wasn't finding a lot of other options. Next was a stand. And a filter. And a light. And tools. And substrate. And CO2 (shout out to Bettatail who is hooking me up with a nice reg). And hardscape. And jeebus it just never ends. I haven't had to sell a kidney yet, but for some reason I thought freshwater would be significantly cheaper than marine. Now I know better.

I'm about 80% there right now for gear in-hand. I need the Co2 reg (coming) and a tank (I can get that this week). I also need 16/22 Lily pipes. Evidently they are the 3rd most sought-after item during Covid right behind hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Amazon says I will get them by October. Maybe November. I am hoping for a bit sooner....

Today I made a LFS run for rock and wood for the hardscape. I was able to hit 3 well rated stores, and as it happened each one was better than the last. #1 was good and I bought way too much wood and dragon stone most of which turned out to be too big. #2 I bought 3 small pieces of Dragon Stone and will probably use 2 of those. Store #3 was ADG in Houston. OMG, that place is amazeballs. I bought 2 pieces of very "rooty" wood and a bunch of SeaChem additives. Also got some other goodies to fill in some gaps. I wish I had known about this place a month ago and just went there from the start.

Anyway, so here I am ready to start the hardscape layout. I am probably 2 weeks out from having all the gear I need to be able to run (sans Lily pipes maybe). Plant design is next, but I want to get some input on the hardscape before I start that planning. So with that, pictures!!


There is just so much stuff (and this is maybe just 80% of what I'll end up with)....


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The cabinet is an Aqua Worx in weathered grey. Nothing too fancy. It fits the tank length perfectly and is reasonably stable. Fit and finish is typical for assemble yourself.



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My first attempt. I really want something breaking out of the surface with some immersed plants up there. Maybe even a fern or an orchid. Not sure yet. My initial thoughts are to raise the substrate in the back right corner a bit and let it flow to the front where I may transition to sand. I am torn there. I like the idea of some sand in there for bottom dwellers to play in eventually, but I also like full carpets. Being only 24" long and 11.5" wide, I don't have a lot of real estate to play with for that.



I plan to add more roots onto the right tree so the Dragon Stone is more covered. That structure is two main pieces right now. One large chunk that has the roots on the rock (plus a few I added individually already) and then a 2nd more simple branchy piece to break the surface.


Thoughts? Too much? Need more small pieces? Angle anything different? Once I feel I am on the right track here, I'll add substrate and get this into the tank for final tweaking and then planting design.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-26-2020, 01:26 PM
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Off to a great start!

That piece of wood is spectacular!
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-26-2020, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
Off to a great start!

That piece of wood is spectacular!

Thank you!


Here is design A in the tank.

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Just to clarify, that is 2+ pieces of wood (one primary/more intricate in water and one smaller/more simple stacked on for the surface section) plus a couple single roots of which I will probably add several more of if I go this design.

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I feel obligated to at least try one other design option from the LFS supply run I did yesterday, but I think I like the first one best. I liked this piece of wood so I bought it. Maybe in another tank one day.

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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-26-2020, 05:02 PM
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I like the 1st one too! Looks great!
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-26-2020, 05:18 PM
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The combo dragon stone and spiderwood on the rock in the 1st pic I think looks really good. The two pieces of stone on the left to me are very angular and look more like something you would see in an Iwagumi. I would keep the piece on the right from the first pic and combine it with the stone arrangement on the left in the last pic (you could even go with one rock on left instead of two), possibly extending some pieces of root to the left pieces to connect it all. Once it grows in with some moss etc, could be a very nice effect.

I also wouldn't commit to anything until you put the substrate in. Drifting up substrate around focal areas make a big difference in the way it will look.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-26-2020, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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The combo dragon stone and spiderwood on the rock in the 1st pic I think looks really good. The two pieces of stone on the left to me are very angular and look more like something you would see in an Iwagumi. I would keep the piece on the right from the first pic and combine it with the stone arrangement on the left in the last pic (you could even go with one rock on left instead of two), possibly extending some pieces of root to the left pieces to connect it all. Once it grows in with some moss etc, could be a very nice effect.

I also wouldn't commit to anything until you put the substrate in. Drifting up substrate around focal areas make a big difference in the way it will look.

Thanks for that!!


Now that I have a good idea that the right section is locked in, I will mess with the left side. 100% agree on the pseudo-Iwagumi look over there. I'm still figuring this whole aquascaping thing out and taking inspiration from various designs that I like, but that can (does) often muddle things. Good call on the the substrate. I will get that in next to play with this.

I am using Fluval Stratum and probably putting some CaribSea under that as a base layer when I am ready to plant. For testing though, I'll do a temp dump of just Stratum so I can get my elevations and contouring set and then add the surface branches and work on that left side.

I'll get some more pics out once I have something I like. Thank you for the feedback. This really helps. It takes a village, right?


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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-26-2020, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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Ready to test with substrate.

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I loaded about 80% of a full 17.6 lb / 8 kg bag of Fluval Straturm into the tank.

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Idiot proofing for rock placement.

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I took the very good advice and scrubbed the pseudo-Iwagumi look

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I flipped the dominant design feature to the left as it ended up being a better fit in the tank and presented better rock face and root structure. I also moved those two smaller rocks over and fit them to the main rock so they appear to be fractured off the main rock (sort of). There are about 6-8 individual roots placed on there that were cut from another piece of wood I bought just for that purpose. The surface branch piece is just kind of setting there on top. When I get the stainless wood screws I'll be able to fix it in place with a happier angle.

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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-27-2020, 01:08 AM
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Nothing wrong with that, good job. Looks like it fits the tank perfectly. Going forward the hard part is not overplanting. Once yo you do that you lose all the detail of the hardscape you liked from the beginning.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-27-2020, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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I am contemplating a sanded area to the right or bottom. I like the look of sanded areas but I also like the look of the full carpet. Tough choices.

Having no sand means I get a whole open area to play with more plants. I could sweep that right side back barrier rock forward a bit so the sand was only in the front right area.

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I could also do just a sanded front. That is a look I really like as well. Maybe even better than the first one. There would be less sand than I show here. I put sand into Ziploc bags so I could see it and it's for sure too much. I would be thinking a 2" to 3" max beach width there and probably only a 1/4" to 1/2" depth at the front.

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Thoughts? Sand or no sand? Any issues this would cause I am not considering?

Thanks!
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-27-2020, 08:04 PM
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Not a fan of the sanded front for this scape. I think it looks best with no sand, also looks good with the sand on the right. I think no sand with a nice carpet would be the best.
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-27-2020, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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Not a fan of the sanded front for this scape. I think it looks best with no sand, also looks good with the sand on the right. I think no sand with a nice carpet would be the best.

Solid feedback. Thanks!


I am torn on the sand aspect. I keep going back to front sand though because of this design that I really like. I am in a much smaller tank of course (This is a 120cm compared to my 60.) I am not copying it, but it's definitely representative of something I would like to borrow from and resemble.


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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-27-2020, 09:08 PM
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Solid feedback. Thanks!


I am torn on the sand aspect. I keep going back to front sand though because of this design that I really like. I am in a much smaller tank of course (This is a 120cm compared to my 60.) I am not copying it, but it's definitely representative of something I would like to borrow from and resemble.


Attachment 901485


plat.
I like the sand as well. Especially if you want to add some fish or shrimp. If fish, this design would look great with a group of pygmy corydoras.

Great design, I love it!
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-27-2020, 09:12 PM
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Solid feedback. Thanks!


I am torn on the sand aspect. I keep going back to front sand though because of this design that I really like. I am in a much smaller tank of course (This is a 120cm compared to my 60.) I am not copying it, but it's definitely representative of something I would like to borrow from and resemble.


Attachment 901485


plat.
Thatís a nice inspirational tank. I think if you could add some more stone across the transition it would work.
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-27-2020, 09:54 PM
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From the look of the scape I agree with @knm<>< that a carpet would be better IMO. The sand in that scape you showed has rock covered moss so it gives better separation and depth to the foreground. You would have to add more stone with or without plants covering them.
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-27-2020, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knm<>< View Post
Thatís a nice inspirational tank. I think if you could add some more stone across the transition it would work.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
From the look of the scape I agree with @knm<>< that a carpet would be better IMO. The sand in that scape you showed has rock covered moss so it gives better separation and depth to the foreground. You would have to add more stone with or without plants covering them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
I like the sand as well. Especially if you want to add some fish or shrimp. If fish, this design would look great with a group of pygmy corydoras.

Great design, I love it!

Thank you all again for the feedback! I know I still have that newbie "fit it all in" mentality and I am trying to break it where it just doesn't make sense. Appreciate you bearing with my while I work through this difficult time (/humor)


I am working on one more variation to do partial sand, but only at the front on the right half.


I am trying to stick to only two hardscape materials which happen to be all that I have without another LFS run .... Dragon Stone and Manzanita root.


I have an unattractive Manzanita clump that I bought just for roots to cut off and add to the main feature so it looks like it is wrapping the rock more and spreading out a bit. I think I will cut the core of that to get some base wood to do a moss wrap or two on and then break down one of the less attractive Dragon Stone rocks for small pieces to make strategic barrier wall.


I'll work on that and post up pics. If that looks bad, then full carpet or just more wall to wall planting it is!!


Thanks!
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