125 gallon hardscape (mostly spider wood and rocks) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 02:55 AM Thread Starter
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Hey Fellow aquarium addicts. So this 125 gallon hard scape took me roughly 4 months and at least five different layouts until I came up with this. Definitely spent over $300 on spider wood but it was well worth it. Going to be mostly nano community Fish and inverts. Going for a mini city like set up with tons of crevices and bridges.

Filter is a fluval fx4 and a fluval 407. Lighting is 2 fluval 3.0’s. I will also be using co2 and thrive all in one fertilizer. Will post photos when planted! Will be using lots of different ferns, Anubias, and mosses. I plan to have some nice stems along the back as well. Can’t freaking wait!

So I’d love to hear your thoughts on this hardscape. I’ve tweaked it a lot and I’m happy with it but always willing to improve it! Will be planting it next week.

https://i.imgur.com/zVR2UXY.jpg
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 03:15 AM
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Very nice. You should start a tank journal:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12-tank-journals/
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Style: Organic potting soil, sand, gravel, wood, plants, moss, snails, shrimp, small fish, dual siestas
Tech : Small tanks, Fluval Plant 3.0 Nano, Top Fin MF10, Eheim Skim 350, Tunze 3161, Neptune Apex EL
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 12:53 PM
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Great to see another Maryland'er!

Your hardscape reminds me a lot of Florestas Submersas with little islands of plants and space in between. Also the flip aquatics 480 gallon tank (which is modeled on Florestas Submersas)




I love little islands of plants and empty space between, its fun to see the fish form schools and mark off territories on the islands.

My biggest concern with such a scape is the darn thing is going to float! Hopefully you can glue everything down in a way that doesn't show all the glue marks. Either that or you are going to have to take it all apart boil each piece.

Its not clear either on the left or right if the wood is close to the glass. If it is I would definitely arrange it so you have enough room to clean. A lot easier to fix that now then after its full of plants.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 03:28 PM
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Since your looking for comments, my first reaction was it's a nice looking setup, but I think it's a bit crowded. I personally would try to trim some of the branches to create more open space. Once the plants go in and start to grow it will look much fuller anyway. You could even go with a two island scape.

I'm currently running a similar setup, albeit much smaller, but I'm using same type of plants, with co2 and it's Spiderwood and Seiryu stone. The link in my sig is my journal.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 03:55 PM
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That's going to be a stunning aquarium! I really like the scape though agree that it's going to be a bit crowded once plants start to grow. Also might be a tad symmetrical with 3 similarly sized islands spaced apart. Sometimes less is more and open space is visually important. I'm not sure if I would be more inclined to lose one of the islands or cluster two of them together to make a large and small one. It's hard to see what the spider wood consists of in terms of pieces that could be removed or rearranged but my inclination would be to create an area of clear substrate and open water somewhere.

The only other thing that stands out from your post is that you might be happier getting some dry fertilizer salts to "roll your own." I've got 2 125s and can tell you that they drink fertilizer. Also, you mentioned mosses and Anubias -and this is just personal preference -but I would avoid Java moss if you have access to fissidens or other mosses. You will find that anything else is less inclined to grow onto old growth Anubias leaves.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by organic sideburns View Post
Hey Fellow aquarium addicts. So this 125 gallon hard scape took me roughly 4 months and at least five different layouts until I came up with this. Definitely spent over $300 on spider wood but it was well worth it. Going to be mostly nano community Fish and inverts. Going for a mini city like set up with tons of crevices and bridges.

Filter is a fluval fx4 and a fluval 407. Lighting is 2 fluval 3.0’s. I will also be using co2 and thrive all in one fertilizer. Will post photos when planted! Will be using lots of different ferns, Anubias, and mosses. I plan to have some nice stems along the back as well. Can’t freaking wait!

So I’d love to hear your thoughts on this hardscape. I’ve tweaked it a lot and I’m happy with it but always willing to improve it! Will be planting it next week.

https://i.imgur.com/zVR2UXY.jpg
Personally, I would just do lots of mosses on the wood and do a grassy carpet to frame the architectural beauty of your rock and wood. I wouldn't detract from it with plants, but use plants to highlight the hardscape.

Get a large school of one type of fish- further emphasis on the hardscape.


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 04:54 PM
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I love your commitment to the hardscape! It's such a common thing for people to have big empty tanks. Yours will be interesting from day one.

I think you're on the right track for overall composition. You're using the whole space and following the rule of thirds. I think you could have a stronger focal point though. The middle island seems like a natural focal point, but its impact is lessened by the neighboring islands. I would reduce the height and/or complexity of the side islands, and move the middle island a little more to the left if possible. This would make the composition a little less symmetrical, help that island stand out as a focal point, and open up some negative space.

That said, it's a sweet tank already. You could pack that tank with plants and it will be a show-stopper.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 06:09 PM
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That hardscape is too much. The W profile is not a great one typically for hardscape. You need a much longer tank to pull off what your aiming for. I'd attempt a more A-symmetrical layout with the length of the 125.

Great materials.


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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Streetwise View Post
Very nice. You should start a tank journal:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12-tank-journals/
Will do! I plan to document a lot of this

Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Great to see another Maryland'er!

I love little islands of plants and empty space between, its fun to see the fish form schools and mark off territories on the islands.

My biggest concern with such a scape is the darn thing is going to float! Hopefully you can glue everything down in a way that doesn't show all the glue marks. Either that or you are going to have to take it all apart boil each piece.

Its not clear either on the left or right if the wood is close to the glass. If it is I would definitely arrange it so you have enough room to clean. A lot easier to fix that now then after its full of plants.
Maryland unite! Yes I can't wait to see how all the fish interact with the hardscape. I made sure to soak all the wood for a few weeks and I super glued the smaller twigs to the larger pieces of wood. It should all stay in place hopefully haha. The wood is at least 6-8 inches away from the front of the glass except for the bottom right where a few twigs are within 4 inches. I will be mindful of that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
Since your looking for comments, my first reaction was it's a nice looking setup, but I think it's a bit crowded. I personally would try to trim some of the branches to create more open space. Once the plants go in and start to grow it will look much fuller anyway. You could even go with a two island scape.

I'm currently running a similar setup, albeit much smaller, but I'm using same type of plants, with co2 and it's Spiderwood and Seiryu stone. The link in my sig is my journal.
I agree, now that I have been looking at the photos I took, I can see how I made it a bit too busy. I will be snipping some branches and moving the middle island over to the left slightly. Your tank is gorgeous, I love the layout and the bridge you created between the two islands. You also proved to me that less is more. I will take out some of my wood!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
That's going to be a stunning aquarium! I really like the scape though agree that it's going to be a bit crowded once plants start to grow. Also might be a tad symmetrical with 3 similarly sized islands spaced apart. Sometimes less is more and open space is visually important. I'm not sure if I would be more inclined to lose one of the islands or cluster two of them together to make a large and small one. It's hard to see what the spider wood consists of in terms of pieces that could be removed or rearranged but my inclination would be to create an area of clear substrate and open water somewhere.

The only other thing that stands out from your post is that you might be happier getting some dry fertilizer salts to "roll your own." I've got 2 125s and can tell you that they drink fertilizer. Also, you mentioned mosses and Anubias -and this is just personal preference -but I would avoid Java moss if you have access to fissidens or other mosses. You will find that anything else is less inclined to grow onto old growth Anubias leaves.
I did not think it all the way through when scaping this tank. The plants will just add more volume to the scape and I am afraid there will be barely any swimming room for the fish. I will move the middle island closer to the left. I am also going to lower the left island a bit and trim some branches throughout the tank. Regarding ferts, I already bought a large container of thrive all in one but after that runs out I will look into dry ferts. I don't plant to dose ferts too heavy, though. I am going with fairly easy plants. Lastly, I will stick to fissidens for my moss of choice. I love the look of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
Personally, I would just do lots of mosses on the wood and do a grassy carpet to frame the architectural beauty of your rock and wood. I wouldn't detract from it with plants, but use plants to highlight the hardscape.

Get a large school of one type of fish- further emphasis on the hardscape.
You are right, I need to be careful when planting to not hide too much of the hardscape. I will plan accordingly! I want a 12-14 school of lemon tetras as well as one more 8-10 school of something more slender bodied. I plan to have some oddity fish in here as well. It's gonna be a mini city!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ursamajor View Post
I love your commitment to the hardscape! It's such a common thing for people to have big empty tanks. Yours will be interesting from day one.

I think you're on the right track for overall composition. You're using the whole space and following the rule of thirds. I think you could have a stronger focal point though. The middle island seems like a natural focal point, but its impact is lessened by the neighboring islands. I would reduce the height and/or complexity of the side islands, and move the middle island a little more to the left if possible. This would make the composition a little less symmetrical, help that island stand out as a focal point, and open up some negative space.

That said, it's a sweet tank already. You could pack that tank with plants and it will be a show-stopper.
Thanks! I have slight OCD but it is more of an extreme passion for aquascaping and I have wanted a 125 gallon for over 15 years so it's such a blessing to spend all this time on the scape. I see so many large tanks with just a few manzanita branches thrown in and it looks so empty and boring. I am heading your advice as well as others and lowering the left island, and moving the middle island to the left slightly. I will also snip some branches throughout the scape. Stay tuned!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkellyid View Post
That hardscape is too much. The W profile is not a great one typically for hardscape. You need a much longer tank to pull off what your aiming for. I'd attempt a more A-symmetrical layout with the length of the 125.

Great materials.
You are right, I think I tried to do a little too much with the space I have. Hopefully with the tweaks I am about to make, the tank will open up!

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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I made some updates. I lowered the left island a bit, moved the middle island to the left slightly and removed a piece of wood that was on top of the middle island. Lastly I pushed back the right island, removed a few smaller spider wood pieces and snipped some branches throughout the scape. Thoughts?

https://imgur.com/NsfdEww


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