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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, so here's the start of my first tank journal. I'm going to try to post a little something every day. I'm sure there well be days when I can't get to a computer (at least I hope there will be), but that's my goal.

The first few pics unfortunately will be from my cell phone, but I'll bring a better camera to work and snap some higher quality ones soon. I just got the last of the equipment shipped to the office today (boy is the mail guy annoyed with me :hihi:) and just unpacked it all. So here it goes!

The JBJ Picotope all boxed up:


Unboxed and my first iwagumi attempt:


The two rocks in the middle (Okho stone) are keepers. I may change them out with some other rocks but that basic layout is what forms the "broken bridge". The others I plan to play with over the next couple of days.

A quick rundown of the equipment:
Filter
Azoo Palm filter. I like this more than the filter that came with the picotope
Heater
None
Light
23w spiral screw-in in an architect's lamp. I had originally bought this light but have found the spiral bulb to be brighter and much whiter. I may consider switching after getting a true 6700k bulb for the other.
Substrate
AquaSoil Amazonia

Planned flora:
HC
Spikey or Java Moss
Maybe some small leafed stem plants in the back corners (rotala???)

Planned fauna:
5 RCS
2 Sparkling Gouramis
1 Black Tetra (he's adopted - his siblings died before I took him and he needs a better tank to live out his days)

So what do you guys think of the first rock layout? Any suggestions?
 

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Great layout!!!
I do like the idea of Rotala mini in the back.
 

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Since you asked for my opinion Solstice, I'll try to give the best advice I can.

The right side is definitely more in keeping with a typical rock lay out. Based on the plant choices, it looks like you are doing something similar to an iwagumi. The purposeful slope also makes me think you might have been influenced by Filipe Oliviera (spelling?) who is a good aquascaper as well.

The left side, with its more sparsely layed out rocks is interestng. At a gut reaction level, I tended to prefer the consistency of the right side but I'm not quite sure where you are going with this so I can't really made a guess.

For more visual interest, I'd consider sloping the substrate front to back in addition to the already obvious middle sloe. Having more levels will help you create depth/visual complexity.

Hope that helps :D
 

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i like it so far and i agree with Steven_Chong, adding the front to back slope would make it killer!
 

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Steven, I can tell you've had to do some art critiques ;).

I very definitely like the right side, I'm having trouble with the left for some reason. I believe it looks a bit too symmetrical perhaps? Something to do with the two smaller rocks on the very left and front center of that group. You might try playing around with those two positions a bit.

Looking forward to seeing it planted!
 

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I'm gonna jump on the right looks good left looks bad bandwagon. Try to create a bit more variety in the angle that they are protruding from the soil. they're pretty much all up and to the right.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you all very much for your feedback.

mrbelvedere - Yes! Rotala mini will work well. I'm also considering doing something with cabomba that I haven't seen done yet, especially in a nano. We'll see how it pans out.

Steven - I love Filipe Oliveira's scapes, but this idea came from a footbridge we have here in San Diego. You can hike under it through a bamboo forest and I was looking up at it thinking "wouldn't this be prettier if all this was green?" (San Diego is pretty dried up and brown in the late summer), so I figured I'd make my own. Ha. And yes, the front to back slope does make for a much more dramatic effect. Thanks for that! :proud:

RoseHawke and ianmoede, after reading your comments I couldn't have agreed with you more. I like the new layout much more. Thank you as well.

So here's attempt 2. I promise next week I'll bring my camera to work and get some better shots....

 

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Much better! Plant away my friend. The sparkling gourami's are going to look great. Stocking list looks good, and i'd have to reccomend rotala. It's light yellow/green/red leaves look great in my opinion. If you wanna wait another week or two i'll have some trimmings of it for postage. Let me know.
 

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Let me suggest 2 stem plants for small tanks:

Micropea minima
Crassula helmsi

These are very small thin-leaved green stem plants. They may be able to give you the impression of bamboo, since it sounds to me like this is not meant to be iwagumi.

As of now, I'm not a big fan of Rotala sp. mini. I tend to think of it as in the same class of plants with tonninas that I think, "pretty, but just not useful for an over-all lay out."

That said, I invite anyone who thinks otherwise to prove me wrong with an effective use. R. mini isn't commonly available, but Tonninas appear in advanced hobbyist's collections world over. And yet, Tonninas fail to appear in any lay out in the top 60 or so in the ADA contest while Rotala rotundifolia will appear well into the top 20.
 

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The sparkling gourami's will eat your RCS. Trust me I know from expierence that they love to eat them whole. I watch one hunt down a RCS. They are surprisingly quick when they are going for live food.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
ianmoede
Thanks for the compliment and the offer. I think I just might tank you take you up on that! I'm going to play around with some different plant layouts in my head over the weekend, but I'll check back in with you.

Steven
I love the look of the Cassula helmsi, but I can't find any images of the Micropea minima. I need to check into the growth height of the Cassula but it's definitely a top contender. I'm not going for true iwagumi as I don't want to limit the design to stay within the school, but it will be 95% iwagumi if such a thing is possible. There will be no background on the tank and quite frankly the cables for the 4 computers I have at my desk that have to run behind the tank are ugly, so I want a little backdrop to help hide them. The HC will be the only plant except in the very back of the tank.

saint27
Bummer. :( I figured the sparkling's mouths would be too small for a shrimp. I guess I'll be looking for different fish as there will definitely be shrimp in this tank. Any suggestions? Requirements: small, colorful and does well in a pair.
 

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I really like the layout! Great work with the hardscape. Can't wait to see it up and running with plants!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
wood
Just for you buddy, here's a pic of it filled up with the lone aquatic plant I had in the office - a tiny piece of java moss I had in the tetras old tank under a whopping 5w incandescent. :hihi:



My HC is getting shipped tomorrow so hopefully it will be here Monday or Tuesday and I can start planting it.

On a side note, this little Azoo Palm filter puts out A LOT of flow for such a tiny thing. Luckily it's adjustable, so I've turned it down to about 1/2 flow....

Better pics next week. Promise!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank Guillermo!

The more I think about it, the more I want a little more than just HC in this tank, but I'm shying away from stem plants. I still want to keep a clean, basic, simplistic look, but I want to dress it up a tiny bit. I've got some Monosolenium tenerum (aka Pellia...one of these days I'll either learn the scientific names or give up and stop posting them all together :p) that I spent the evening tying down to some rocks that I'm thinking about growing out for a background.

I'm also playing with the idea of using some dwarf hairgrass along the sides of the tank for a little more texture. Something like (and please pardon the MS Paint skills here):



I realize I'm asking for hell trying to keep the HC and hairgrass semi-seperated, but I figure that's what conference calls and 8" tweezers are for. :proud:

This would kind of give the effect that the hairgrass was growing atop the hills on each side of the bridge and the HC was growing on the banks and the bed of the canyon.

What do you guys think?
 

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Steven
I love the look of the Cassula helmsi, but I can't find any images of the Micropea minima.
Just to help out. Microcarpea minima is in the background of this pic.
 

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Thank Guillermo!

The more I think about it, the more I want a little more than just HC in this tank, but I'm shying away from stem plants. I still want to keep a clean, basic, simplistic look, but I want to dress it up a tiny bit. I've got some Monosolenium tenerum (aka Pellia...one of these days I'll either learn the scientific names or give up and stop posting them all together :p) that I spent the evening tying down to some rocks that I'm thinking about growing out for a background.

I'm also playing with the idea of using some dwarf hairgrass along the sides of the tank for a little more texture. Something like (and please pardon the MS Paint skills here):



I realize I'm asking for hell trying to keep the HC and hairgrass semi-seperated, but I figure that's what conference calls and 8" tweezers are for. :proud:

This would kind of give the effect that the hairgrass was growing atop the hills on each side of the bridge and the HC was growing on the banks and the bed of the canyon.

What do you guys think?
Hehe, reminds me of that old nintendo game Zelda :)

Sounds like a nice aquascape you will have going. You will be dosing with Excel I assume?

-Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter #20
SCMurphy
Thanks for the pic. I think if I go with anything other than the HC, DHG and Pellia though, it'll probably be the Crassula helmsi. I'm trying to resist the urge to design version 2.0 of this tank before version 1.0 is finished, but it's tough! :icon_cool

Gill
Thanks buddy! :) Hopefully it grows in as well as what I have in my head right now. Ha!

Here's a marginally better photo. As soon as I thought I was getting the hang of shooting this tank, the camera's battery died...go figure... I have to figure out how to keep my reflection from fudging up the tank. I'll have to try some more tomorrow after the Energizer Bunny works his magic.

Anyway, 3 Pellia stones are in the back of the tank now. The java moss is getting yanked today and there's the first shot of the black neon that I haven't named yet. I think that'll have to be my next priority.... :D

 
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