Aquascaping with manzanita? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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Aquascaping with manzanita?

I just got a load of manzanita from bloomsandbranches, and I'm having trouble figuring out what to do with it. Buying from them was a great experience, and the pieces I got are about 30% longer than advertised.


I have them laid out on my floor trying to mock up a scape before I start tossing stuff in the water, and it's not at all looking like I envisioned it. I don't know if I need to cut the wood into smaller chunks, break off the twigs, or what. Here are the pieces I got:



For reference, the box they're sitting on is the size of my tank (120cm x 45cm x 45cm ~= 48" x 18" x 18").


Does anyone have any tips on how to use these?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 02:54 AM
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Oh my, please please please do not cut these up.

A few months back George Farmer did a video about an amazing angelfish tank. No plants in it, but it did have incredible branching wood. When I saw your manzanita, I immediately thought of that video:


Anyway I would set up your wood similarly with it branching at an angle out of a rock pile. Plant the substrate and rock crevices. I would resist planting the wood at all. The intricate branching is amazing just as it is.


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 03:17 AM
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 03:57 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Oh my, please please please do not cut these up.

A few months back George Farmer did a video about an amazing angelfish tank. No plants in it, but it did have incredible branching wood. When I saw your manzanita, I immediately thought of that video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EqyI7Z_HVw

Anyway I would set up your wood similarly with it branching at an angle out of a rock pile. Plant the substrate and rock crevices. I would resist planting the wood at all. The intricate branching is amazing just as it is.

Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately, even my smallest piece is much too large to put upright in the tank, as the tank is only 18" tall. And the pieces are just so dense I don't know how I'll be able to plant anything without thinning out the wood.

Here are a couple of arrangements I've thrown together, although I'm concerned planting would be a pain (excuse the mess, everything got shoved out of the way to aquascape on the floor):


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Last edited by GeorgeTheGuppy; 01-21-2020 at 04:14 AM. Reason: Added images
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 11:49 AM
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One thing to keep in mind. Is that just because you have a hardscape material, doesn't mean you should use it. You have 3 very large pieces of wood. The reality is that 1 will likely be enough for this tank. The wood should branch at an angle out of a rock pile, by that I mean an angle that will fit under your water line. That's my suggestion anyway. The most important consideration is what you think looks good.


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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 01:16 PM
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YMMV but I feel sometimes cutting several inches off the base and thinning out some of the smaller twigs will improve the finished product. Zip ties come in handy around the bases to join pieces, and can be concealed by rocks or plants. If you have more than you'll use, cut into your least favorite piece first to practice pruning!

Also just a heads up, that sandblasted wood will go through a phase where patches of white wood fungus will grow on it when first submerged. Well it has every time I've used it... It's harmless and goes away on its own but doesn't look great while its there. If possible I'd soak it for a while in a clean tote/trashcan to waterlog it and get past the white fuzz phase before using it. But again, if you don't have the time to wait, or a proper container, it won't hurt anything in the tank
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions, guys.

Here's another trial. I was thinking I could put anubias up on the rocks under the wood, so A) I don't have to be trimming and replanting stemmed plants under wood and B) the anubias would be a little shaded.




@KayakJimW, do you have any pictures of wood you've thinned in this manner? Or, any tanks you've aquascaped with manzanita?
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 04:31 PM
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That's a nice look both facing down. i was going to suggest that in the 2nd pic where you had one up, one down. Thinning them you can simply break some of the smaller branches off. As mentioned by @KayakJimW those will take a week or so to probably sink, so it would be easier to soak them beforehand. They will also get much darker after being submersed over time.


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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeTheGuppy View Post
@KayakJimW, do you have any pictures of wood you've thinned in this manner? Or, any tanks you've aquascaped with manzanita?
I'll check when I get home, I may have some on my laptop but I'm terrible about taking pics... I basically just took wire snips and cut every other, sometimes more, little branches in the busier spots. Sometimes cut close to the main branch so it looks like it was never there, and sometimes bite into it with the snips and pull off in a twisting motion like creating a "jin" in bonsai. Just try to avoid leaving obvious man made cuts in the wood. That's why it's good to practice on the least favorite pieces before going at the ones you like the most

On your last pic, that looks great as is. I always did mine with bases down, tips up. So it was more to create room to fit my tweezers in to plant stuff and giving plants room to come up through. The "capillary look" looks way cooler when they're facing down like you have it. No real trimming necessary like that IMO

Just an observation/ my 2 cents: See how the left branching is busier than the right? It'd be cool to play into that by using small stones on the left and create a sense of it being farther back and the right appearing closer with its sparser spacing and larger stones. Or trimming the left up a little to resemble the branching on the right will create a more unified, equidistant look to the viewer. Just throwing that out there...

Last edited by KayakJimW; 01-21-2020 at 05:50 PM. Reason: added some jibberish
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 09:03 PM
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I ordered manzanita from Blooms & Branches. I had it for awhile and ended trimming and mixing smaller pieces with larger ones. Now I have it in a low tech 29 gallon that's completely overgrown with Brazilian pennywort and floaters.


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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-22-2020, 01:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys!

@KayakJimW, I like that idea. I don't really have smaller rocks (guess I could always run to the store), but if I decide to keep it like this I think I'll thin it out.


Here are a few things I've tried. It's so hard to envision what it will look like with plants grown in. I feel like without the second branch it looks bare, but with it there isn't enough free space. I think thinning out the second branch would help things, but I hate to make irreversible changes when the wood was so expensive and took a week to get here.
(Ignore the sad state of the plants; that comes next.)

1: Original idea (ish)



2: Here's another with the rock removed from the right, not sure how I feel about it.



3: And another with just one piece of wood and the last rock added (I think the main rock pile and wood need to be scooted to the left a bit to get the rule of thirds right).



4: Second piece of wood rotated.



5: I think this is it. I snapped some bits off the left wood so I could get it to lay a little flatter, and I'm pretty happy with it, although I'd still be glad to hear suggestions!


Last edited by GeorgeTheGuppy; 01-22-2020 at 02:06 AM. Reason: Added pics.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-22-2020, 02:32 AM
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Aqua scaping is a very personal thing, so whatever you like is most important. I have some significant OCD, so I would flip those two pieces the other way, and place them on a sideways angle, BUT, that is just my opinion, so whatever you decide on, I am sure it will turn out great! Best luck with your tank :-)
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-22-2020, 12:58 PM
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Looks good!, pretty sharp looking tank and stand too

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-22-2020, 03:25 PM
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Once those branches age a bit underwater, they're going to look great no matter how you position them.

I'm partial the to arrangements with all the rocks left in. Will look really natural once planted.


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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-22-2020, 04:30 PM
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That is the whitest wood I have ever seen.


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