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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I have decided to redo my 29 gallon tank and make it a planted amazon blackwater tank.

I will continue to run two filters, the heater and the light will still be the Coralife T5NO that already hangs above the tank. The only things I will be changes to are plants, substrate and hardscape.

The fish will be same as what I have in the tank currently. (Pair of angles, 1 neon, 8 pristella tetras, 2 cories) I'm looking to pick up another cory or two, more neons to go with my lonely little guy and a bristle nose pleco.

Plants will not all be from the amazon, one of the reasons why I'm not calling this a biotope. I have some plants already and may try to get some more. Right now I'm planning on lots of Alternanthera Rienekii, 1 Crypt Ciliata, micro swords, melon swords, and lots of other crypts which I believe to be wenditii

Currently the substrate is floramax with medium pea gravel over top. I am going to dirt this tank with Miracle Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix. I'm torn between using the existing substrate as the cap thus retaining all the beneficial bacteria and detritus or switching to pool filter sand. Any thoughts on this are welcome.

For hardscape I have 3 oak pieces I plan to use, a few rocks and oak leaves.

Now...how about some pictures of the work that's been going on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
This is what the tank looks like now.


This bascially the hardscape I'm considering for now minus the rocks and I replaced the middle branch with a different but similar shaped one that should fit in the tank much better than the one in the picture.


I prepared the branches by cutting off the bark.


I poured boiling water on them several times. The oak leaves I brought to a quick boil to kill off anything that might be living on or in them.


I put the oven on warm (170 degress) and stuck the wet wood in there for about 5 mins.


Here are a few of the rocks I plan to use and the replacement branch, I still have to remove its bark.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Last night I removed the bark from the last branch, prepared the rock selection I have and fingered through the potting mix removing the larger sticks and woody bits. So everything is ready to go.

I decided to go with pool filter sand as the cap. I also decided to leave as much of the floramax in the tank as I can and only tank out the medium sized pea gravel that is on top.

I will mix the organic choice potting mix with the floramax and then cap with the sand. I already have a local buyer lined up for the water sprite an some of the crypts. Hopefully going to tear it down and redo it tonight when I get home from work.
 

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It's looking much better. I was thinking if you put small rocks at the base where the wood touches the sand it would create a better transition. maybe some bigger rocks in the back to give depth? Also those stem plants you had would look great in the background of this tank.

You know the slate you have on the left. I feel its covering up the lovely bottom of that wood on the left. If you moved that to the back it could bring it out more.

Looking good! :D
 

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Very cool, subscribed!

So found terrestrial wood, as opposed to actual driftwood, is ok as long as you strip the bark and soak.bake it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the compliments everyone

It's looking much better. I was thinking if you put small rocks at the base where the wood touches the sand it would create a better transition. maybe some bigger rocks in the back to give depth? Also those stem plants you had would look great in the background of this tank.

You know the slate you have on the left. I feel its covering up the lovely bottom of that wood on the left. If you moved that to the back it could bring it out more.

Looking good! :D
I like you comment about the slate in the front left. I may see where I can move it to... Most of the places with out rocks have plants, so I may just stack the rocks on top of the rocks in the back.

I put alternanthera in the back, it needs to grow a bunch but once it does, it should look awesome.

Very cool, subscribed!

So found terrestrial wood, as opposed to actual driftwood, is ok as long as you strip the bark and soak.bake it?
In most cases, yes. I use dead wood that isn't rotten yet. Also only hardwood. Some people will use softwood, but I don't risk it. You might get some fuzz fungus on the wood for a few weeks but it wont harm the tank or fish and will go away.
 

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That's good to know about the wood. I like to hunt real river/lake driftwood, but I've passed up many unique and beautiful hardwood pieces that were dead but not showing decay yet!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
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