Aquascape advice for a newbie? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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Aquascape advice for a newbie?

Hi yall! First post here long time snooper I have a 53 gal 36x18x19 that desperately needs rescapeing. I just won a lovely plant package from aquabid (star grass 10x rotala macaranda green 10x rotala colorata 5x blyxa japonica 5x ludwigia repens 2x myriophyllum 1x Alternanthera reineckii 6x dwarf sag 2x2 bunch of glosso 125 dwarf sag, 25 val, 25 pennywort and 25 ludwigia) and have no idea where to start...any suggestions? I will upload a current picture as soon as possible.

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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Here she is! I would appreciate any thoughts
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 05:46 PM
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Welcome to the forum!

I like the rimless tank, real clean look.

Well, what are you tank specs (light, filter, CO2 or not, fertilizer, substrate, etc)?

Most of the plants look ok for a low tech setup (low lighting, minimal fertilization, and no CO2 (or just liquid), but the blyxa will struggle without some higher tech equipment. I one time had the CO2 run out on one of my tanks and had the blyxa totally melt away. I don't know if it would have come back as I had more in another tank that I just replaced it with, but still, just giving you fair warning.

So, with the scape, you've got mostly background plants with some foreground and the blyxa is a midground. Do you plan on adding more rocks or any driftwood? Also, that looks like some sort of limestone rock on the left there, the white stuff, that may be raising the hardness of your water which could make some of the plants a little more difficult to keep. Maybe take it out and get something more inert like lava rock or petrified wood? Is that just sand on the bottom? You'll want some root tabs beneath the stem plants if it is as there are no nutrients in the sand.

General rule for this would be plant the tall stuff in back, in groupings of individual stems. That giant sword plant should be placed in the back, probably in a corner like on the left, IMO. Might be good for covering up some of the filter equipment or heater so you don''t see it. I would then put the blyxa in front of this, the long, thin leaves of the blyxa should help compliment the really "leafy" sword plant behind it. Then probably the dwarf sag up in front of that for the foreground. That would all be on the left 6-10", from there I think you can just plant groupings along the back in a couple ways, either going from leafy with the sword, transitioning down to thin (first the sword, then ludwigia repens, then macaranda, then colorata, and finally the myrio) Or you can just mix them all up. You can keep the alternanthera reineckii shorter with trimming so it could be a mid-ground plant maybe in middle-left of the tank. Then get the glosso and rest of the sag up front. The star grass will probably grow tall if you don't have high lighting, so keep that in mind. Then I'd put the vals in the opposite corner of the sword plant.

Anyway, hope that helps some. Probably a lot to take in, haha. Maybe check out "dutch style" tanks since you have lots of stems. I think you just want to try and establish a flow to the tank, big leaves to smaller leaves, or long slender leaves against the long, wider leaves of the sword. Focus on background, midground, and foreground first, that's the easiest place to start.

Best of luck!

Old tanks, all torn down:
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Hope to get a new tank (or two) up soon...
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the great advice! I really like the idea of the gradient larger to smaller left to right. I hadnt thought of that.

Specs: Lighting-T5 6500k
Filtration-Fluval 306
Parameters- ph 7.4 Ammonia 0 Nitrites 0 Nitrates 20ish
our well water is naturally soft in this area but I couldn't give the kh off the top of my head.
Substrate is play sand with copious amounts of root tabs! I dose Flourish on occasion but haven't decided if I want to tackle CO2 yet. If I am correct in understanding, diy CO2 for a larger tank is quite a task....

As for hardscape I have a couple pieces of driftwood in place but they are difficult to see in this picture. The rocks on the left are Texas Holey rock I wouldn't be opposed to losing them but I'd heard they were good for inverts? Also the substrate is at a pretty steep slope. I'll keep an eye on the blyxa thanks for the warning
I'll post a couple detail pics and head off to google Dutch style! Thanks again
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-20-2014, 07:12 PM
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Gotcha, cool. I'm honestly not that familiar with the lighting aspect with T5s, I use LEDs. So maybe someone else can comment if that's adequate, I know it will depend too on the number of bulbs.

Substrate is ok, the root tabs are good of course, should be fine for stems.

You know, CO2 to me isnt' as big of a deal as people make it out to be. The initial cost can be daunting though. Probably around $200-$300 for tank, decent but cheap regulator, and other equipment. $500 if you buy a nice regulator. And I think it's one of those, once you start you can't stop sort of things, haha. I don't know that I would want to attempt a planted tank without CO2 now that I've done it. I do believe DIY would be a bear with this. I would say at least dose some liquid carbon since it's a bigger tank. For the size, maybe look into metricide, same stuff as excel but oodles cheaper, especially since you'll need so much for a big tank.

And I suppose if you have really soft water, the rocks should be fine. I have horrible LA water that's ridiculously hard so I am wary of it. Any shrimp or snails will benefit from some calcium and carbonates in the water, so yes, good for them in that respect. Plants need both too.

Dutch style is the oldest aquascaping style, just well trimmed hedges of stems, usually some reds against greens for contrast. Then the concept of back, mid, and foreground comes from this style. People have done some incredible tanks with just plants.

Old tanks, all torn down:
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Hope to get a new tank (or two) up soon...
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