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80 Gal Planted
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good afternoon fellow planted tank enthusiasts!

I would like some advice to help create my vision. I've been researching and posting about fish selection recently and I've decided that despite being in the hobby for about 20 years I've never actually had any skill or fantastic aquascapes.

My vision is a low tech wood heavy set up that still allows me to show a lot of green and get the most out of my plant selection (and future additions)
Luckily I have a fair amount of driftwood and rocks lying around from years of keeping large cichlids.

Here's a shot of the tank right now
Water Plant Vertebrate Botany Nature


After a lot of thought I have decided to make my striped African barbs the show piece and build around them.
I know they like wood and tannins and over the last year I've slowly moved out the wood and rocks to maximize the plants.
in all honesty I would like the hardscape to be more important and the plants just accentuate that.

I'm planning on moving all the plants around into new positions but I'd like some help coming up with ideas for the hardscape.

For example, is it a good idea to build some little wood caves at the back and sit the wood above that to give the effect of height and less blue back ground?
Should I add more sand to create a slopes substrate? Currently it's pretty flat.
I don't like how the entire look hinges on tall stems that are ugly at the bottom. This is not what I'd hoped it would become and I admit defeat.

Finally once the hardscape is in position I would need to put the plants in places where they can do well

I have a lot of crypt wendti
3 sword plants
A bunch of Val's that are spreading and growing in in the back right corner
2 big clumps of flame moss
Lots of limnophilia aquatics
Hygrophilia species
Some hornwort

To add:
I'd like to encourage the Val to grow more and maybe add to it.
Anubias and other epiphytes

I struggle with the rule of thirds and I'd be very happy if someone has pictures of something similar ? Id like to have kribensis in here so caves and hides are also a must.

I'll come up with some hardscape attempts and post here based on your feedback!

Thanks and have a great day!
 

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80 Gal Planted
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I'm a little unsure as to how to put the plants around the hardscape, here I have created 4 crappy mock ups.
brown is wood, grey rocks and green plants.
are any of these good configurations?
I can build the wood up higher on the rocks if necessary and attempt to hide that.
Green White Product Rectangle Handwriting

Thanks!
Rafini
 

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I'm a little unsure as to how to put the plants around the hardscape, here I have created 4 crappy mock ups.
brown is wood, grey rocks and green plants.
are any of these good configurations?
I can build the wood up higher on the rocks if necessary and attempt to hide that.
View attachment 1046039
Thanks!
Rafini
My advice is to find actual tanks you want to emulate and post pictures here asking how to make something similar. There are many techniques to make elaborate hardscapes.

Also you may wish to check out green aquas YouTube channel to see how some builds can come together.

No matter what though, if you wish to have a hardscape heavy tank you will need to buy substantially more hardscape then what you currently have in tank.

In my 120p build I put in about 150 pounds of rock and I frankly feel like it still needs some more. So these things can be resource intensive.
 

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80 Gal Planted
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My advice is to find actual tanks you want to emulate and post pictures here asking how to make something similar. There are many techniques to make elaborate hardscapes.

Also you may wish to check out green aquas YouTube channel to see how some builds can come together.

No matter what though, if you wish to have a hardscape heavy tank you will need to buy substantially more hardscape then what you currently have in tank.

In my 120p build I put in about 150 pounds of rock and I frankly feel like it still needs some more. So these things can be resource intensive.
Hey minorhero,
I have a lot of rocks and wood left over.
I did find some pictures on Google but I wasn't sure what the policy would be on sharing those? In case they are copyrighted elsewhere?.
I'm soaking some wood already to add

Thanks!
Rafini
 

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Hey minorhero,
I have a lot of rocks and wood left over.
I did find some pictures on Google but I wasn't sure what the policy would be on sharing those? In case they are copyrighted elsewhere?.
I'm soaking some wood already to add

Thanks!
Rafini
You can post the pictures or the links. You are simply using them as reference points.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Water Plant Pet supply Wood Aquatic plant

Plant Water Vertebrate Organism Botany

Water Plant Organism Pet supply Grass


Obviously my tank is quite tall but I was thinking with my overflow box being on the left hand size I could hide that more with hardscape.

Have more scape on the left side and opening up on the right, kind of like a river bank and have more plants growing on the right side.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Okay I acquired 2 more pieces of wood whilst I'm waiting for some of mine to still sink, got a bunch of new plants.

Went ahead with my vision of a heavily wooded hardscape sloping from on side.
Regrouped all the existing plants into new places and planted some. We crinum, Val and a bulb of some kind that will stretch right up to the surface.
Added a bunch more sand substrate and I have rock caves under the wood adding support.

Before (with wood soaking)
Water Vertebrate Nature Natural environment Plant


After (wood still floating, a little misty from the sand and substrate replanting)
Water Plant Underwater Fish supply Pet supply

This picture is 2 days old.
I'll update with a picture later, I have more tannins now and the plants have settled and are looking happy.

Added x10 nematobrycon Palmeri (emperor tetra)
Looking to add x10 Congo tetra, 2+ kribensis cichlid.

If I can find some of the rarer African tetras like the long fin alestes tetra I will swap out the emperor for them. I wanted something with an interesting shape that will utilise the midwater and plants with plenty of movement and so far the Emperor's are perfect, they really help the banded barbs feel safer to forage.

So far I'm very happy with this rescape!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Little update,
All plants are growing well, fish are doing great I added 10 emperor tetras, looks like 3 males and 7 females. They have nice movement and color.
Almost all the wood has sunk now.

When I built the raised wood area it was constructed with rocks forming caves so I'm thinking of adding something like kribensis that could take advantage.
I also plan to add Congo tetras for the top level.

I haven't seen any mid level African schoolers for years so the Emperor's will take that roll until I can find some alestes tetra.
 

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