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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

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Hi JuanSan,

I didn't read your journal but I grow Helanthium tenellum (previously Echinodorus tenellus / Pygmy Chain Sword). Without a good close-up picture it is difficult to say what the problem is specifically however if i is the new leaves that seem to show the most 'white' I would suspect an iron deficiency; if it is older leaves I would suspect a potassium deficiency. Those are the two most likely deficiencies to cause 'whiteness' in the leaves. I find that Helanthium tenellum seems to like a little carbonate in the water as well so with my soft water and low dKH here in Seattle I add about 1/16 teaspoon of NaHCO3 (Baking Soda - not powder) to my water during water changes.

Helanthium tenellum (previously Echinodorus tenellus / Pygmy Chain Sword)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi JuanSan,

I didn't read your journal but I grow Helanthium tenellum (previously Echinodorus tenellus / Pygmy Chain Sword). Without a good close-up picture it is difficult to say what the problem is specifically however if i is the new leaves that seem to show the most 'white' I would suspect an iron deficiency; if it is older leaves I would suspect a potassium deficiency. Those are the two most likely deficiencies to cause 'whiteness' in the leaves. I find that Helanthium tenellum seems to like a little carbonate in the water as well so with my soft water and low dKH here in Seattle I add about 1/16 teaspoon of NaHCO3 (Baking Soda - not powder) to my water during water changes.

Helanthium tenellum (previously Echinodorus tenellus / Pygmy Chain Sword)



Thanks for the response! my water parameters are as follows:

Temp 77 F
pH ~7.4
NH3 ~0-.125 ppm
NO2 ~ 0 ppm
NO3 ~10-15 ppm
GH 15 dGH (~265ppm)
KH 11 dKH (~196.9 ppm)
PO4 ~.8 mg/L
Silicates ~18.5 mg/L

as you can see I am not lacking for minerals in my water XD. the issue began after I cleaned them after a BBA development. This link states that one can dip their plants into a 1:20 bleach solution for 10-15 mins to get rid of it, well it did alright, and all of my straight vals as well....

Black Brush Algae (BBA) - How to Kill it | ScapeFu047 - ScapeFu

I am in the recovery phase after losing most of my background and I believe that the plants are as well. Do you have any recommendations on what I can do to continue developing my tank, and possible replacements for background plants for water that is moderately hard?
 

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Hi JuanSan,


The water parameters look fine. If the plants were growing fine before the bleach dip then I would surmise the bleach, which is a strong oxidizing agent, damaged the leaves.
<bleach> breaks down chlorophyll, causing the damaged leaf tissue to lighten or gray.
Without chlorophyll the leaves are unable to produce the sucrose (sugars) necessary for plant growth; hopefully new leaves will form quickly and the plants can recover. I don't use bleach dips or sprays on my plants....period.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi JuanSan,


The water parameters look fine. If the plants were growing fine before the bleach dip then I would surmise the bleach, which is a strong oxidizing agent, damaged the leaves. Without chlorophyll the leaves are unable to produce the sucrose (sugars) necessary for plant growth; hopefully new leaves will form quickly and the plants can recover. I don't use bleach dips or sprays on my plants....period.
Lesson learned thank you! I just reordered some more straight vals but would like some guidance on the direction of my tank. Is there any way that I can bounce some ideas off of you?
 

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Hi JuanSan,

You are welcome to bounce as many ideas as you want, if I don't know an answer I will tell you so.; most of my advice will be based upon my own experiences in the hobby.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi JuanSan,

You are welcome to bounce as many ideas as you want, if I don't know an answer I will tell you so.; most of my advice will be based upon my own experiences in the hobby.
Thats all I am asking for! Here in NM, there is a very limited population of aquascapers so any and all insight is welcome! I started a new thread in aquascaping, but the basic jist of my issue is that I need another set of eyes to help with additional plant placement. Attached below you will find the present state of my tank. I have a good start carpeting my DBTs but now with a lack of a background, I am not sure where to go! I was thinking another wall of straight vals would look nice, but I have literally no midground plants. Thoughts?

One use mentioned the use of echinodorus angustifolia 'vesuvius' as a midground and I am digging it! But where to place it?!?!
 

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Thats all I am asking for! Here in NM, there is a very limited population of aquascapers so any and all insight is welcome! I started a new thread in aquascaping, but the basic jist of my issue is that I need another set of eyes to help with additional plant placement. Attached below you will find the present state of my tank. I have a good start carpeting my DBTs but now with a lack of a background, I am not sure where to go! I was thinking another wall of straight vals would look nice, but I have literally no midground plants. Thoughts?

One use mentioned the use of echinodorus angustifolia 'vesuvius' as a midground and I am digging it! But where to place it?!?!
Hi JuanSan,

First of all aquascaping is all about personal preferences. I do not believe there is any "right" or "wrong" aquascape as long as you enjoy your 'scape then it is a great 'scape.

That said I have found myself dissatisfied with my 'scapes from time to time and that usually results in my doing research and trying different plant combinations, hardscape materials, or hardscape layout.

When looking for inspiration I usually go to the Aquatic Gardener's Association (AGA) website and check out some of the previous entries and winners looking for ideas and layouts I like. I also like the Aquatic Plant Central plant database for plant ideas and growing conditions suggested for plants I am considering. AGA also sells videos of presentations done at previous AGA conventions; the DVD of the 2010 convention contains a presentation by Karen Randall (a judge for the AGA Aquascaping Contest) on aquascape design principles is very good and talk me a lot of using different plant leaf shapes, colors, and textures to add visual interest to a 'scape along with the use of repetition. She discussed how to add visual depth to a 'scape and how to use the 'Rule of Thirds' and 'Golden Ratio' for placing hardcape pieces.

Now a quick discussion of your 'scape...what did you have in mind when you put it together? What do you like about it? What do you feel is missing?

I grow Helanthium (previously Echinodorus) angustifolia 'Vesuvius' and use it for a background plant in my 30 gallon and a 'midground' plant in my 20 gallon. It is a nice plant with good visual interest with the 'twisty' leaves. It requires much less maintenance than Corkscrew or American Val but it does send out runners if it is happy. Like most chain swords it seems to enjoy a root tab (I use Flourish Tabs) near the base for good growth.

20 gallon (not 'scaped)


30 gallon (note different leaf textures, shapes, and colors)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I tore through all of the medium sized aquariums and this is what i am going for. I love the texture of my rocks and the carpet in the front, i feel that there is something missing in the hardscape that doesnt draw you i to the tank. There is no perspective.
 

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I tore through all of the medium sized aquariums and this is what i am going for. I love the texture of my rocks and the carpet in the front, i feel that there is something missing in the hardscape that doesnt draw you i to the tank. There is no perspective.
Hi JuanSan,

The first two pictures you attached used the golden ratio to place the primary rock in the 'scape which helps to draw your eye to it. In addition they use darker stones against a lighter background to provide contrast and increase the illusion of depth. In the last example the background isn't quite as light but the use of smaller stones placed near the back of the tank gives the illusion of distance and depth.

All three are good examples of using the Golden Ratio and Rule of Thirds in designing the 'scapes. BTW the principles I referenced are not just used in 'scapes - they have been used by artists, photographers, and architects for decades to add interest and symmetry to their works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I tore through all of the medium sized aquariums and this is what i am going for. I love the texture of my rocks and the carpet in the front, i feel that there is something missing in the hardscape that doesnt draw you i to the tank. There is no perspective.
Hi JuanSan,

The first two pictures you attached used the golden ratio to place the primary rock in the 'scape which helps to draw your eye to it. In addition they use darker stones against a lighter background to provide contrast and increase the illusion of depth. In the last example the background isn't quite as light but the use of smaller stones placed near the back of the tank gives the illusion of distance and depth. Drawing the lines out makes a lot of sense.

All three are good examples of using the Golden Ratio and Rule of Thirds in designing the 'scapes. BTW the principles I referenced are not just used in 'scapes - they have been used by artists, photographers, and architects for decades to add interest and symmetry to their works.
Ill study the link that you sent and report back! Thank you so much for your insight!!!

Edit 1: Wow that was a great article to start. I was wondering how to achieve the golden ratio while achieving perspective and this, (Aquatic Layout Guide- Rules of Composition: The Golden Ratio, Creating Perspective and Layout Shapes - The Green Machine), post was super helpful. I am starting to better understand the importance of composition. I think that my next step will be to take a dry erase marker to the front of my tank and draw out a mock layout of what I envision the tank to be. Call me OCD, I am not looking for perfection, it's just that every time I look at my tank, I do not get the overwhelming sense peace and tranquility that I am hoping to achieve with this tank. Another point that I need to modify is the linear placement that I currently have. So much to change!! I can't wait.
 

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Hi JuanSan,

I found that there are a lot of aspects to aquascaping besides just plunking plants into my substrate. Sometime I just take a picture or two of my layouts so I can analyze them; if I look at the tanks themselves I usually end up watching the fish or finding some maintenance thing to so.

That is exactly the picture I was looking for but couldn't locate it. I think if you apply a couple of the principles that are discussed you will find your 'scape more to your liking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi JuanSan,

I found that there are a lot of aspects to aquascaping besides just plunking plants into my substrate. Sometime I just take a picture or two of my layouts so I can analyze them; if I look at the tanks themselves I usually end up watching the fish or finding some maintenance thing to so.

That is exactly the picture I was looking for but couldn't locate it. I think if you apply a couple of the principles that are discussed you will find your 'scape more to your liking.
Your guidance has been invaluable! I took a lot of the principles that you suggested and rescaped the tank. I am happier now! I have a ways to go on plant growth and I may end up swapping out my largest stone for an even larger one but overall I would say that I am content. Thank you so much for your help!
 
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