From Plastic, to Plastic, to Hardscape...And now PLANTS! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-06-2014, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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From Plastic, to Plastic, to Hardscape...And now PLANTS!

So I've been keeping African cichlids for quite some time now, and while I do enjoy the many colors, shapes, and sizes, I grew tired of them. I wanted some fish that would shoal and to be able to have various species in my 75 gallon aquarium.

So after about a year and half, I slowly began to part way with my cichlids. I gave some away and sold some. With the last two gone, I ordered up a tank full of tropicals. Of course I couldn't get completely away from the cichlids, I have some angelfish.

So here was my very first setup circa 2006.


Enter the fist inhabitants...




About a year later, I changed it up a bit. Look past my homemade mini seine, handy tool, not so good for tank shots.


A few years later, I got rid of the pool filter sand and put floor tile in the bottom.


November 2013...Having grown tired of the tile and plastic plants, and wanting to get tropicals, this happened. Sadly, this is the only photo I have of this stage of the changes, sorry.

I toyed with doing some live plants in the tank, but decided I just didn't want to mess with it. I didn't want to get into lighting, etc., and so for now, it's a hardscape. I will be adding more plants to the top of the tank in the same manner as the lucky bamboo, just waiting for spring to get here so there is a good selection at the local nursery.


However, I did get a video of all the new inhabitants. This was, by far, my favorite of all the scapes over the years, even though it is all plastic. (Just click the photo below)


While all those plastic plants looked good, at least to me, I wanted to simplify it all and make it to where the fish were prominent and not hidden from all the decor. So after some trials and frustration, I acquired some manzanita, which brings us to today.


From the left side


From the right side


The substrate is 100 lbs of pool filter sand mixed with about 30lbs of Black Diamond 20-40 blasting media.


6 Angelfish (help to ID these would be appreciated. I know we have one Smokey Blue, and one Black Lace. The others I can't recall and can't find my list. I think the 'yellow' one is a White Diamond?)
7 Panda Loaches
20 Neon Tetra
10 Harlequin Rasbora
9 Pristella Tetra
2 Dwarf Gourami (male/female)
7 Gold Skirt Tetra
2 Upsidedown catfish from my African cichlid days. I couldn't find them a home so they got to stay.

All are doing well with no signs of aggression at all. Of course, I know as the angelfish grow, that may change.

So that's my 'Then and Now' journal. I had to start somewhere. I'll update as things change and it'll be fun to see what it looks like 8 years from now.

Last edited by bibbster; 11-24-2014 at 08:38 PM. Reason: Updates
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-06-2014, 04:35 PM
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Wow I LOVE that drift wood! Nice find. I personally would prefer some green in there, but still looking good
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-06-2014, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks!

And I guess I told a fib. There is still some plastic in there, the small green sprigs of grass in the front. :lol:

I may end up with some plants some day, we'll just have to wait and see.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-06-2014, 07:17 PM
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That manzanita is awesome. Is it one piece or did you put smaller pieces together to make that? Either way it's super impressive.

I like the substrate color. I've seen many beaches that color.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-06-2014, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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Hi and thanks!

It's actually three pieces. There is one piece that goes from the center stone then to the right, one piece that goes from the center stone then to the left, and one piece that is in the very back that goes from center then to the left (its the lighter color piece you can see in the next to last picture, just in front of the nose of the gold skirt tetra.

I also forgot to mention that I soaked the manzanita in a spare bathtub for a little over a week with a heater. I changed the water every three days. White fungus did/is growing from it, which is normal, but the panda loaches are eating it up like candy. I've even seen the dwarf gouramis picking at it.

Last edited by bibbster; 02-06-2014 at 08:23 PM. Reason: info
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-06-2014, 09:18 PM
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To repeat what everyone else has stated, that manzanita is sick!
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-07-2014, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Lowe.

I was going for a mixture of these two designs that my wife and I really liked and I think we succeeded.



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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-07-2014, 02:55 PM
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It looks good. Can't wait for it to fill.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-07-2014, 04:06 PM
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Beautiful simplistic scape. I love the manzy! You did a great job!


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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-07-2014, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, hobo and lami.

I wish the photos were better, they don't do it any justice.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-07-2014, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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So it's a year later and I've made a few slight changes.

The substrate remains the same and the manzanita is turning a nice dark brown.

I've added some Peace Lily's to the substrate for a bit more green. They've been in there for about 4 months and are doing well. I have a few more I'll be adding later.

The tank inhabitants have changed a bit due to deaths. All of the Panda Loaches died, both original Dwarf Gourami's, the Smokey Blue Angel and another that I can't recall atm, and six of the Rasbora's. Rather interesting that the fish that died all came from a very well known distributor, yet all the fish I bought from Petsmart are doing great, including the ones I added below. Go figure.

I've added two Flame Dwarf Gourami, seven Red Minor Tetra (love these guys, very active), a couple additional Angels, and two German Blue Rams. I am not sure if I have two male or a pair so any help there is appreciated.





Male GBR?


Female GBR?






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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-24-2014, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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So I vowed never to have a planted tank. Well, surprise!

I found these plants locally and the previous owner did nothing more than have a 6500K light. No ferts, no Co2, etc. So I figured I'd give it a shot. I have well water and my fish have always thrived and water is always crystal clear.

I'll post better close up pics of the plants tomorrow (I need help to I.D. them), but I wanted to post the overall shot and see what you all thought.

The stock list is now:
30 neon tetra
4 rasbora tetra
9 pristella tetra
7 red minor tetra
7 gold skirt tetra
1 molly
2 guppies
7 angels
2 dwarf gourami
2 german blue ram (females apparently)
2 cuckoo cats
2 peppered cory
5 Trap door snails
16 Rams horn snails
More MTS than I can count. :lol:

Before: 11/21/14


After: 11/22/14


Last edited by bibbster; 11-25-2014 at 01:13 PM. Reason: added pic
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-25-2014, 03:56 AM
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Wow,what a transformation,great looking tank.


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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-25-2014, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-25-2014, 04:40 PM
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Peace lilies are NOT TRUE AQUATIC PLANTS. They will not grow big and full of leaves underwater but stagnate and slowly die. They do however make great RIPARIUM plants: roots in water but leaves above water. I have 2 difference species in a riparium right now that are doing quite well. You can pull them out and put them in either riparium baskets or buy 100% plastic shower baskets with suction cups and holes in the bottom (for roots to grow out) and put the plants in there with either gravel or inert clay media and stick them to the back of the tank at the top.

Due to photobuckets new bs cost for use of images on forums I have deleted all photobucket accounts. I apologize if you enjoyed or found my photos helpful.
Starting to update these threads

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