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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is one of two "first" planted tanks. I'm also starting a tiny 5.5 gallon nano.

Here's what I have:

Tank
47 gallons, 48x12.5x18

Lighting
48" 56 watt coralife T5

Filters
two aquaclear 70

Substrate
Play sand, but I'd like to mix something not too expensive with it. suggestions?

Plant Care
The usual dry ferts, using EI
Flourish Excel

Flora
Java Fern
Windelov Java Fern
Rotala rotundifolia
still waiting for most of the plants...

Fauna
7 Laetacara dorsigera (waiting for a pair)
6 Celestial Pearl Danios
1 Albino Bristlenose Pleco
I might add bronze cories

Sand is going in today, and I'll post an update pic after I do that.
Here's the first pic, a fresh slate! except for that huge chunk of driftwood that looks like a pterodactyl...

 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you. So, I rinsed the sand and it's in the tank now. I'm quite frustrated because I think the sand is way too fine. I might go to home depot tomorrow and try to find something else.

here's a very cloudy picture (i really did rinse the sand a LOT):

 

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Hahaha it does look like a pterodactyl!

Sand will do that...be patient with it and do a couple of big water changes and the cloudiness will clear up. It is a somewhat frustrating substrate though; if it's a really fine sand it will cloud your water for a few hours any time you disturb it much. Home Depot also carries a small natural colored gravel that is about the same price as the sand; you could mix some of that in. I've done that before and it's pretty good looking.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The water is clearing up! It's starting to look much better, though I decided that I'm going to move the java fern to the center of the wood instead of on the branch. I might leave the windelov where it is though. From what I've seen of other peoples' tanks, java fern looks better in the middle.

I'm ordering some plants that should arrive next week. here's what I'm getting:
Needle leaf or narrow leaf java fern
anubias petite
crypt wendtii
HC
I think a couple of others.

Here's the tank:


This is my first attempt at aquascaping, so I'm very open to suggestions about how to make it better!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you! The only reason I'm considering changing the sand is because my fish sift through it and I'm afraid it might get into the filters. I do like the way it looks though. If I do change it, I'm just going to swap it out for a larger grain.
 

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Cool piece of driftwood! Really like the new subtrate, exactly what I was thinking of getting.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My plants were a day late, but they're finally here! A few of them were melted away when they arrived, but the rest seem to be doing well. I ended up with extra plants though, so it all evens out :icon_mrgr I added a bit more sand and planted everything, but I HATE the way it looks!! It's really frustrating, because I planned it out, but it looks really bad. It really does look like I dumped everything in there. I haven't taken a picture yet because the water is still cloudy.

I'm going to be sooo embarrassed posting a pic of the tank, but honestly...I really need help. I guess I don't have that "natural talent", but I hope I can improve.

I might replant everything to see if I can get it to look better. I have an exam this Friday, so I need to study for that. If I have time tonight, I'll replant. I will get that picture up today though.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Here it is... :icon_conf The two stem plants right in the middle are there because I don't know where I want to put them yet. Actually....that seems to be true for the rest of the plants, too! There's also still a pot of HC that I haven't planted yet.


Left side (this is the side I hate most):

Right side (I think this side is alright. Not a catastrophe, but nothing special, either):


I have this piece of wood in my 125, and i was wondering if it has more potential than the "pterodactyl" (see first post):




There are sooo many talented people here. I hope I can get some advice about this tank!
 

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I think the driftwood look fine where it is, but its your tank. Can I suggest capping the sand off with some aquarium gravel? It will make the sand look less dirty, and may aid in keeping the sand down! Looks much better than my tank though! Good job!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Jake, thanks for the advice. I don't think I'll go with gravel though. I know that once I stop sticking my hands in the tank every two minutes, the cloudiness will go away. My 3 other tanks all have sand, and I never have a problem with cloudiness. It'll just take time!

Well... I tried the other piece of wood. Pterodactyl just wasn't working for me. I'm not inherently creative, and I guess I just couldn't use it properly. The good news is that I think this other driftwood has a lot of potential. I re-scaped the tank, and I like it much better now. There are still a few things out of place, but I like it much better. Again...it's still cloudy, but I'll post new pics when it clears. I wasn't patient enough to wait :tongue:

here it is:

left side:

right side:


Oh, and this fish is sooo cute, I just had to post a pic. I have 7 of them, and I'm just waiting for a pair!


As always, I'm still open to advice, suggestions, and criticisms!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The water is more clear today. I'd really like to know what I can put on the very left side. Right now, I have some crypt. wendtii "red" in front of the crypt. balansae, but it's just hiding there. There seems to be a big open space under the wood. Should I fill it?

Here's a picture from 5 minutes ago:

And a close-up of the left side:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
No comments? C'mon...I'm so sad, see? :frown:

To recap... here are my questions:

1. Any criticism or suggestions are welcome.
2. What to put under the wood on the way left side
3. I'm still up to moving things around. That includes the wood. Is there a different position that would look better?
4. How can I make this better?
 

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I really like the layout. Personally I would let it grow in a bit. But then I too move things about too often as am impatient :)

Its a lovely tank.
 

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Your tank looks awesome! The pterodactyl was definitely unique and cool, but I like your new choice of driftwood better. It looks more natural and "flow-y". As for suggestions, I agree that as it grows in your tank will look superb.
 

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I also believe you should let things grow in, and see how the tank evolves by itself. Your set up is looking incredibly nice for an initial set up! Cories would be a great addition, especially for their sand sifting habits.
 
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