How do you plan? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 08:00 AM Thread Starter
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How do you plan?

I know this may sound like i really stupid question but how do you plan your tanks to turn out how you want them? How do you know what plants you want etc....
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 02:11 PM
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Look at lots of books and websites then factor in my local water conditions, tank size and placement, and general taste. Then I wake up from fantasy land and just go for it, letting the chips fall where they may. After all, where would we be without happy accidents?
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 02:33 PM
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Planning? What Dat?

90 gallon tank with water and some fish. Plants died and tank overrun with algae. Lights nearly burst into flames last weekend. Needs lots of help
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 03:54 PM
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I'm still fairly new to this game. But, here's my story. First, I got really anxious to get started, so I ordered a "plant assortment" on-line and blindly threw it in the tank. Then I battled all the normal startup issues (cloudy water, melting "difficult" plants, etc).

Then I started breathing again and thought about it a bit more indepth. I too spent a lot of time looking at pictures in books. I tried to focus on plants that I really liked. I'm guessing my style borders on Dutch, because I'm really attracted to different shades/colors and textures. Once I got the list of 'favorite' plants, I then started with the "default" tall in back, medium in the middle and short in front. After reading some aquascaping ideas on various forums, I then targetted the concave (?) design (the one that's high on the sides and lower in the middle). I then tweaked the plants listing with the concave approach in mind, drew up a quick, handdrawn plan, replanted the 'keeper' plants from my assortment and then started looking for sources for other plants.

I'm continually tweaking (though not really via major overhauls). To me, that is the real fun of the hobby. Thinking about what plants take too much work, what textures/colors look too similar, what cool plant would add more 'flavor' to the tank.

So, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it (at least for the rest of this month )!
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 04:46 PM
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Research, and some creativity.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 07:40 PM
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Really depends on what's available. I just crammed as many fast growers as possible in the tank early on. This consisted of maybe only 4 varieties, but you are somethimes limited by what the LFS has.

In 2 weeks, tied some java fern to some wood and threw it in.

Bought some more fast growers when next LFS shipment arrived; tangled in one of the bunches was some tennelus. Man has it ever taken off.

So now I am at the 3 month stage. I recently scored some micro sword and Lobelia that I stuck in the foreground. Also a crypt.

Plan? I don't have one. I think for a first high lit tank one should start out with a bunch of stems and just get them growing. After you know what does well and your tank is more established, that's when you start to think of a plan. Stem plants are easy to move around. Plus, most foreground plants take a while to really get established anyway.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 08:06 PM
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This is what I have learned in last few months as I struggled with the same question not too long ago.

1. Get five types of plants. Foreground, mid-ground, background, centerpiece and plants for rocks or driftwood.
2. Get a nice piece of driftwood. One thing all nice looking tanks have in common is a good piece of driftwood (of course there are exceptions).
3. There is beauty in similarity. Keep similar plants together.
4. If you have a tall tank, plant taller stem plants as it draws your eyes bottom to top. And if your tank is long, then go with lost of short foreground plants to give it nice long river kind of a look.
5. Leave enough empty space for plants to grow into and room for you to add extra plants later.

Of course there is no set rule as each tank is unique. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Good luck and have fun.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Aj86
I know this may sound like i really stupid question but how do you plan your tanks to turn out how you want them? How do you know what plants you want etc....
This is the one thing that I am ultra anal about.

Usually when I start a new tank, I constantly map out everything, including the driftwood, rocks, and definitely plants. My wife can tell when I am starting to set up a new tank, since I always pull out every aquarium plant book that I have (of course including Amano's). I also research the fish to make sure that is what I want in the tank.

The primary way that I already know what I want is through experience. I know that I like a val or sag background on at leat half the tank. I know that I like java fern, and it has to be somewhere in the tank. I know that I don't care for stem plants, so I keep them to a minimum.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 11:27 PM
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Not a stupid question at all! Going through the same phase here
(planning a 150G, waiting for all the equipment to arrive).

I also look at lots of pictures, Amano books, until I am completely saturated!
By doing this, I start to like this or that plant better, get ideas about what
kind of scenario I want to (try) to reproduce. I think that there is nothing
wrong in trying to emulate the great ones, specially if we are (I am) new to
this. I think that this is actually an art, and I'm sure even Amano's first
tanks were not so "perfect". Good way to learn anyway.

Keep us posted on your progress!
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 05:03 AM
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Looking at contest archives (ADA, AGA, Aquabotanic, etc.), Amano's stuff--this helps.

Then I dream about it at night, and try to recapture those dreams when my hand is in the water.

John P.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-02-2005, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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Thanx for all your replies guys it really helped alot! I decided to take your advice onboard and went looking through websites and other peoples tanks to see what plants i liked and how i could fit them into my tank i have now.. I actually went down to the lfs today and found 2 really nice anubius that i saw in a pic that i like and wanted for my tank and added them in today. onces the water dies down if anyone is interested ill post a pic of how its looking now and you might have some opinions... Once again everyone thanx alot for your replies its much appreciated!
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