I have enjoyed my recent "rediscovery" of this forum. The irony is that this journal chronicles the same tank I posted with when I originally joined. In other forums, I'm sort of known for my low-tech tanks, but I have always been a huge fan of the Dutch style of aquascaping. It is so colorful and the idea of keeping many species appeals to me. I also like applying the basic principles of this style on a much, much smaller scale.
Over three years ago, I purchased a Finnex brand 8g aquarium (no longer made in this size :sad: ). After about 2 years of scaping, including experimenting with some Dutch ideas, I dismantled it in December, 2008. It's been patiently waiting for me to set it up again. Over the past few weeks, I've been gathering the equipment needed to setup this tank.
: Finnex Seamless front 8g - 16.5"x10"x11.5"
: Finnex 24W CF fixture, 6500k bulb, 3WPG, but
...The CF isn't very efficient, so I've always considered this tank at best, moderately lit. It hasn't failed me, though.
: 1 Aquaclear 50. Set to minimum flow. Still gives me more than 10x turnover.
: --Bottom layer: a mix of coarse sand, fine-grained gravel, and laterite. Yep, good old laterite. I had an extra box from a good sale way back. Plus, I'll add some squeezes from my filter media from my other tanks. This will help establish a nice mulm layer.
--Top layer: A cap of very fine sand to help more delicate species root better.
Not too thick in the front, though, I've got to observe...
"Happy Dutch Principle" #1
- You shouldn't see much, if any, of the substrate above the tank seam in the front. It is unsightly. Of course, you've still got to be able to plant. :lol:
: Only a few piece of mopani wood to help create a small path in the tank (leading to the focal point, or acting as the focal point) and act as an anchor to some species. Others will be covered possibility in plants. Because...
"Happy Dutch Principle" #2
- The hardscape should only be of one type. Some of the possible wood choices below.
2, Nutrafin canisters connected via T-connector to a Rhinox 1000
I have a chameleon drop checker and will be making my own 4dkh solution and eventually my own ferts with a little jewelry scale I purchased.
: Right now, to get things started, I've ordered some TPN+ and I have extra Seachem Flourish and Seachem rootabs lying around.
: I really want to create the illusion of larger size, yet maintain the Dutch style. I'd like to follow...
Happy Dutch Principle #3
Happy Dutch Principle #4
Fish play a very important part in this style as well. The bottom, middle, and top zones of a tank should be filled with fish to make each area interesting to the viewer. All fish species should be different in shape, color, and size, but the least number of species possible should be used to fill all niches in the tank (so no blue rams in a tank with kribensis, or silver hatchetfish with marbled hatchetfish, etc). Schools must be as large as possible.
- Create the two tank focal points using the rule of thirds or the golden ratio. Another hard concept on such a small tank. I will settle with one as long as it is roughly 2/3 the length of the tank.
Happy Dutch Principle #5
- Use contrasting colors and leaf shapes. I'll be a bit limited, since I cannot use species with especially large leaves, but I think I'll be able to come up with quite a few. I plan on dividing the tank into 3 main sections and use between 3-5 plant species per section. The usual rule is 3 species per foot, but I don't really have that luxury.
Happy Dutch Principle #6
- The back should never catch the eye. I plan on constructing a moss wall using a method that I thought of.
Rules I'm going to break
- The tank is seamless, therefore it is impossible to obscure the sides effectively, so I will leave them alone. My tank is way smaller than the average Dutch. It will not
be the main focal point of a room. It's an 8g tank in a family room with a 52" HDTV. Impossible to be the focal point when you're competing with that. :lol: I won't be using some of the traditional "Dutch" species because their leaves are too large or broad for this tank.
I have to make sure that the bunches of stemplants are small to keep the scale correct, and I also cannot overcrowd. I'm going full force on the principle that CO2 is ultimately more important to determine whether a plant will do well rather than lighting. Oooo, I also picked up this to help me trim and take care of my new tank.
This is the preliminary post. The tank is partially planted already, but I'll be adding more details in subsequent posts, as they get very technical, rather than bog you all down with one ginormous post. I hate doing journals like this, as you lose a sense of spontenaity, but I only recently discovered this forum again and I've see some lovely Dutch scapes, so I thought to add mine to the mix.
Again, thanks for looking. Comments and suggestions, if you are not too tired from reading, are always welcome.
Next post: The planning and building of the "moss' wall. Stay tuned!