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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just set up a new Spec V, stock everything. My plan is to plaster the "mountains" with mini Buce varieties and cover the ground with Cryptocorne parva (with Salvinia minima floating). For now, it's pretty rough looking, since it's so sparsely (and recently) planted, but more Buce are on the way from Han Aquatics, who is having a killer pre-Black Friday sale on Buce (still looking for a good, inexpensive source for C. parva). It will house a betta of my wife's choosing.

Comments and suggestions welcome.

Specs:
Seachem Onyx Sand base, ADA Malaya Aqua Soil
Cobalt Aquatics 50W heater
Flourish Excel, 2mL 2x/day
Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED+

Updated plant list:
HC
Bucephalandra
Alternanthera reineckii "mini"
Hygrophila 'araguaia'
Duckweed
 

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You sure you want to do a parva valley/carpet?
They get taller than you might want, reaching further up the mountains. (especially in low light? -floaters-)

I'm no aquascaper, but I think the valley between the mountains could be implemented better somehow to make it more "dramatic" (eye catching, focal point)

Maybe like more sense of depth by tappering the valley, wider up front to a more narrower appearing valley at the back. Or angle the substrate, or different depths of substrate front to back down the valley? Like I said, I am no aquascaper so I am bad at explaining it and not sure myself on how to go about implementing it. Just a suggestions. Still looks nice. Although the right mountain, I like how it has a curved face toward the valley and I like how the substrate sort of reflects that curve with it curved/sloped appearance against that "mountain"
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You sure you want to do a parva valley/carpet?
They get taller than you might want, reaching further up the mountains. (especially in low light? -floaters-)

I'm no aquascaper, but I think the valley between the mountains could be implemented better somehow to make it more "dramatic" (eye catching, focal point)

Maybe like more sense of depth by tappering the valley, wider up front to a more narrower appearing valley at the back. Or angle the substrate, or different depths of substrate front to back down the valley? Like I said, I am no aquascaper so I am bad at explaining it and not sure myself on how to go about implementing it. Just a suggestions. Still looks nice. Although the right mountain, I like how it has a curved face toward the valley and I like how the substrate sort of reflects that curve with it curved/sloped appearance against that "mountain"
Thanks for the thoughts! You're right that the parva is taller than I'd like for scale purposes. I would love to do a lower/carpet-like plant for the valley, but I don't know that it's feasible with such low light and no CO2 (I could add Excel). I don't think I'll let the floaters stay over the valley, though -- they seem to stay on the left, and I'll scoop them out when they creep out over that.

As for changing the valley, I will give some thought to tapering it as you described... I'll need to find some smaller seiryu stone to work in for that purpose.

Bump:
Hey, great looking tank! Can't wait to see how the plants hold up with the Stock light of the Spec V. I have the same tank and I am considering switching the light for a Finnex since the stock light is so weak.

Keep us posted!
Will do. I think the Buce will be fine; a little worried about the parva, so we'll see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I like the angles of the rocks on the left, but the ones on the right might need work. If it's covered completely w/ buces, that would look like a good focal point.
The angles of the left and right are closer to aligned in person (you can't tell from the picture that the left and right formations are both pointed forward at the same angle), but you're right, I think I'm going to tilt the main rock on the right a smidge to the left and forward by adding a little more substrate under it.

Bump: Any recommendations for a background color? Also, what kind of material does everyone use for backgrounds? My other tank has a spraypainted back, but I don't want to paint this one. Is there a non-glossy material that works well and sticks to the back?
 

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I am thinking a black background would work best. Or if you wanted a less "dark vibe" approach, maybe a white background like you see in those fancy aquascape photos, but not so sure it would look so great without the lighting effects (sun shine, blue sky, clouds) they use.

Well they do make a reversible black/blue background, purposely made for aquarium that is waterproof and can stick to the aquarium, but the ones I've seen are glossy. If you meant a DIY one, I am not sure what material to get and where. I am interested in hearing if there is a cheaper DIY alternative. Maybe you could still get a cheap "purpose made" aquarium background (are they plastic/vinyl?) and spray paint that instead? (not sure how well it would stick onto the tank painting though, taping it might leave air pockets)


As for the rocks leaning, I think what is meant is that it appears the majority of the rocks (rocks as a whole, not just the points/peaks) are leaning toward the back left corner, where as the rock on the right seems to be standing straight up-ish. Usually aquascapers like to have all the rocks leaning toward the same direction/corner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
As for the rocks leaning, I think what is meant is that it appears the majority of the rocks (rocks as a whole, not just the points/peaks) are leaning toward the back left corner, where as the rock on the right seems to be standing straight up-ish. Usually aquascapers like to have all the rocks leaning toward the same direction/corner.
Ah, I see what you mean. I kind of like the concave look that creates, though; I'll play with it a little, but I may stick with it and see how it looks as things start growing. Still going to work on the valley some though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quick update: The Buces have been doing fine, so I added lots more mini Buces last night (thanks Han Aquatics). I may get one last batch once I see what does well and looks good after a few weeks. (Right now I really like the 'Super mini Brownie' variety.)

About half the C. parva has melted pretty thoroughly -- I'll give it a couple more weeks to see if it recovers. If not, I may upgrade to a Current Satellite Freshwater LED+ and switch to a smaller carpeting plant like Marsilea crenata. That should carpet alright at 30-40 PAR with Excel, right?

Given the crypt melt, no pics today. I'll check back in soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
All of the crypts melted completely? I wouldn't switch the light just yet until they bounce back. I wanna see more buces eye candy. heheh
Not all -- I'd say about 2/3 of the 15 parva nodes melted, while 1/3 seem to be doing fine. I'm wondering whether it has something to do with the Osmocote+ caps I buried under them (I don't think I overdid them, but perhaps some are too close to too much). In any event, I plan to wait a couple weeks to see what they do before any light changes.

Buce eye candy coming soon -- just waiting a bit for them to acclimate post-shipping. They really are cool little plants!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
And the Excel-only HC experiment begins... I added a blue aquarium background (it's not as dark as I'd hoped but it'll do for now), swapped out half of the onyx sand for Malaya Aquasoil, and planted some tissue-cultured HC. I left a couple of areas open in the "mountains" where I might try a little bit of AR mini. I'm still deciding what, if anything, to do in the two back corners. Maybe more HC, or possibly Ludwigia sp. red "super mini". Worried about messing up the scale of the aquascape with stems that are too tall though, so I might just add more HC.



I'm going to start with 2 4-hour photoperiods (9:30 - 1:30 and 5:30 to 9:30) with 3mL Excel added each time. Haven't decided whether to add ferts to the water column -- is that necessary/helpful for the HC?

 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Did you bury the right rock more this time? It looks a lot better now. I think the blue doesn't look bad. I like the HC choice you went with.

Yep, the right rock got buried a little more as a side effect of adding the new substrate.

I might change the blue to black, but probably not... It's one of those sticky backgrounds, so I think I'd have my work cut out for me.

Fingers crossed that the HC lives/grows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
This one is still a work in progress. The HC is starting to spread, albeit slowly. I added some tissue-cultured AR mini on the mountains, which is also starting to take root. The betta is in -- his name is Sir Elliot Puff. He started out pretty much pure white, but now has a good bit of blue-green coloring. We also have three nerite snails, which are big fans of uprooting HC (but my wife likes them, so...).

Latest photos:









 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Getting there...

These nerite snails are a pain -- they keep knocking off a handful of the Buces.

The HC has really kicked into gear the last month. I'm hoping the front corners will grow in in another month or two.

Still deciding what to do in the back corners... anything tall enough to see over the rocks may throw off the scale, but I hate to leave them bare. Ideas welcome.



 
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