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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I'm putting together my first nature style aquarium, and thought I'd post my progress here and hopefully receive some valuable feedback and ideas.

I've planned out my tank in quite a lot of detail, let me know what you think. To date, I have only scaped the rocks, wood and soil. I'm waiting on orders for filter, lighting etc before I order the plants. I'm hopeful everything will be here in time to order the plants to arrive by Wednesday 15th. I hate waiting, so fingers crossed :wink2:

I'm using a Juwel Rio 125L (33G) hooded aquarium with the internal filter removed.

Here is my progress so far:
Rectangle Organism Natural material Wood Art

Wood Bedrock Fawn Trunk Grass

Road surface Asphalt Bedrock Grey Tar


I'm going for an all nurtural look, with an emphasis on scope to make this medium sized tank look larger. The front 1/3 will be carpet of Micranthemum 'Monte Carlo' with smaller leaved larger plants on a slight hill towards the back. I'll eventually be stocking with a handful of small tetras only, no large fish.

Full Specs:

Aquarium
Juwel Rio 125L Hooded Aquarium (internal filter removed) This used to be a low-tech Gold fishtank. It's not an ideal choice for a nature aquarium, however I'm making some mods to (hopefully) make it successful.

Filter
Fluval G6 As I was buying a new canister filter anyway, I thought I'd buy the larger of the two sizes as it was only slightly more in price than the smaller model. Fluval advertise the flow can be throttled without stress on motor, so my smaller tank volume won't become an underwater hurricane.

I'll also be splitting the in/out flows, and using two ball-style lilly return pipes to control flow, as well as create surface agitation (seen in first pic) as I want as much water turnover as possible without to-harsh of a flow.

Lighting
1 x 28W T5 Juwel Day
1 x 28W T5 Juwel Nature
2 x D-D Giesemann Midday T5 24w

NOTE: Lighting was a major concern for me, as the Juwel Rio 125 only comes with two 28W T5 lights, making a Med light setup at best. As the hood coming off was not an option, adding more lights was a difficult problem. I eventually decided to use a Hagen T5 Remote Twin Ballast in some extra Juwel reflectors to add the extra lighting. I've seen some people simply balance these lights on the support beam, however I intend to attach some hooks and plastic strip ties to hold the lights at the correct height, angle. Ill post some pics of how this goes.

CO2 / Airation
Pressurised CO2, on 1 hour before lights on, off after lights out.
Sera Reactor
Small Air-stone to operate at night only

Base:
Substrate:
4x litres Cal Aqua Green Base Substrate
Handful NZ Black Iron Sand (offered from aquarium store, apparently has a long lasting release of iron)
Soil:
10x litres Cal Aqua Labs Black Earth

Plants
I've mapped out where I want to place the plants, hopefully you can interpret my messy writing:
Handwriting Font Rectangle Painting Art


1. Micranthemum sp. Monte Carlo (ground cover for front 1/3 of tank)
2. Hydrocotyle tripartita Japan To plant around RHS rock, and train to grow into rocks cracks
3. Staurogyne repens (Create a dense ground cover style at back sides)
4. Alternanthera reineckii 'Mini'
5. Hygrophila corymbosa 'Angustifolia'
6. Myriophyllum mattogrossense (this is my main control plant to help prevent algae - may remove as tank alliances out)
7. Persicaria sp. 'Sao Paulo'
8. Rotala sp. Green
I'll also tie some Java moss to some of the wood, and insert a square of Star Moss to the front of the LHS rock to cover most of rock eventually.

That's it so far, I'll post updates as they happen. Let me know your thoughts :)
 

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You've really got this planned out, a sort of "tank-by-numbers" haha! My only suggestion, if you don't mind me saying, is more hardscape wouldn't hurt. I say this because I also did extensive planning on my first tank recently and the thing that bugs me is the rock I used, just not enough and too small. Makes me feel like I should just remove them since plants overgrow them anyway. Just my .02
 

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If the rocks are on the smaller side like you have you need to build up the left center piece of driftwood with more branches. That should be your dominant area IMO and should be larger then the grouping on the far right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the advice guys, it's really appreciated.

harrynolan27, I agree about the rocks, unfortunately these are the only ones I have to work with. I also wanted to get larger rocks, but as the tank is very close to the floor, the scale would be cut off by the average persons viewing angle, so I needed to keep them bit lower as you may be able to see here:
Plant Window Fixture Wood Building

I'm hoping to have the front 1/2 of the rocks only surrounded by the carpet, and the larger plants towards the back to prevent them being completely hidden. I think the pics make them look further towards the back than what the really are.


houseofcards, thanks for the advice. I was thinking along similar lines but was limited with the wood I have (and further limited by how much I have already spent :smile2:) However I did find an extra small piece I forgot I had. I think it fleshes that side out more, what do you think?
Wood Natural material Art Space Twig

Wood Branch Organism Sunlight Grey
 

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To me that looks much better. If your doing alot of planting its usually ok to have the hardscape pieces smaller. If you keep lower ground cover up to the front of the rocks and use a few bushes around the front edges of the rocks it should look really good. Then go with taller stuff in the back and have the branches poking thru.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks houseofcards, thats the look I'm going for. Just waiting on all lighting, filter etc to arrive before I order the plants. Looking forward to seeing how this turns out :)
 

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Sure no problem. Good luck with the setup.

If your new to planted aquariums the biggest mistake people make when they first setup their tanks is they run their lights too long. If your going hi-tech and running strong lights you need to reduce the lighting period to about 5 hours at the start. In addition keep up with water changes, seed the filter if you can and use carbon or other organic removal products. You need to do all this until the bio-filter matures and the plants really start to grow, if not algae uses shows up pretty quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sure no problem. Good luck with the setup.

If your new to planted aquariums the biggest mistake people make when they first setup their tanks is they run their lights too long. If your going hi-tech and running strong lights you need to reduce the lighting period to about 5 hours at the start. In addition keep up with water changes, seed the filter if you can and use carbon or other organic removal products. You need to do all this until the bio-filter matures and the plants really start to grow, if not algae uses shows up pretty quickly.
Thanks for the advice, algae is my major fear right now. I was going to start with 6 hours lighting, but I might dial it down to 5 as you suggest. I was going to replace the carbon filter cartridge with purigen, would you suggest keeping just sticking with the carbon in the beginning? Also what is meant by 'seeding the filter'?

EDIT: just realised seeding is about the cycle. Yeah, I'm going to use an established ceramic bag from my Fluval Edge guppy tank, also going to ad fish slowly, starting with 2x SAE and a handful of algae shrimp after the first few weeks if the parameters check out.
 

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Thanks for the advice, algae is my major fear right now. I was going to start with 6 hours lighting, but I might dial it down to 5 as you suggest. I was going to replace the carbon filter cartridge with purigen, would you suggest keeping just sticking with the carbon in the beginning? Also what is meant by 'seeding the filter'?

EDIT: just realised seeding is about the cycle. Yeah, I'm going to use an established ceramic bag from my Fluval Edge guppy tank, also going to ad fish slowly, starting with 2x SAE and a handful of algae shrimp after the first few weeks if the parameters check out.
5 hours certainly isn't an absolute number just what I've used to keep things within check. Definitely due the seeding and either or both as far as purigen/carbon. You just need all the help you can get to bridge the gap until the bio-filter (plants/substrate/media) really kick in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Love the background on this tank...I've always wondered why more folks don't go with those.
Thank :)

What is the background exactly? I like it.
It's a rubber like material I got from an aquarium here in Sydney, you can also find some on eBay and other places under '3D background'. It comes in rolls you cut to measure, and glue to the glass with sealant. Looks just like real rock when its done, and covers up all the ugly plumbing and co2 equipment behind the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Good news, filter has arrived so I'm only waiting on the additional lighting that should arrive any day now. I've ordered the plants from Z-Aquatics.com.au that should arrive Tuesday or Wednesday. So happy I don't have to wait too much longer :)
 

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Good news, filter has arrived so I'm only waiting on the additional lighting that should arrive any day now. I've ordered the plants from Z-Aquatics.com.au that should arrive Tuesday or Wednesday. So happy I don't have to wait too much longer :)


I'm looking forward to seeing what you're going to do with it.
 
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