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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
sort of. I have had plants in my tanks before but I have never really made a lot of effort to try and make a really appealing aquascape. This will be my first. I have a 75g tank going through a fishless cycle at the moment, plans are community fish, a large school of something small and silver, school of cory cats, and some shrimp. In the tank now is black sand and the few rocks and piece of wood you can see. I want to get some height, just not sure how...rocks or wood or combo? Off to one side, in the center, both side with open center? The tank will be low tech, no CO2 and lights will be as many as four T8 6500k bulbs as needed. I am just having a hard time visualizing but will be spending some time today looking at other tanks on this site for idea. The only thing is that at the moment budget is tight and i am having heck of a time finding decent driftwood.

 

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hey, try looking for manzanita wood on google, there is a place in CA that supplies. Unfortunately the cost of shipping to the uk is just too high.
Also if you want a really good scape then you need a better substate than sand. It can work but it is hard work with average results normally. Your substate, light and nutrients are the key factors to success, get one wrong and it becomes a lot more difficult.
 

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As soon as you said no CO2 the thing that popped into my head, was uh oh, I already see problems. In a tank this big you can have success without CO2 but it will be more difficult. I suggest going with DIY CO2 if cost is a problem. Throw a 2-liter bottle behind the tank and run it to a little diffuser and you can do just as well as if you had a high tech CO2 system. It just is a little more of a pain since you have to keep switching out bottles as the yeast culture dies off and your output will usually be high at first, then slowly tapering off over a week or two. I don't even run my little nanos without CO2 because it makes that much of a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
DIY CO2 is possible...I just don't have the cash to through out there for a real setup. I do actually have a 5 pound tank, but the reg and solenoid are out of the budget right now.

As far as sand...I'll have to work with it...I'm not changing it out. It really isn't even sand...more like very tiny gravel, or very large sand grains...however you want to look at it. Just out of curiosity, what substrate would be recommended?
 

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Sand isn't a bad substrate; in fact some people love sand only tanks and won't do anything else. You'll just have to add some root tabs (if price is a problem you can wait until after it's planted and concentrate them under rooted plants like swords and crypts), and dose fertilizers in the water column. But you would have to do that with any substrate, basically.

Fertilizers will go a long way in helping your plants be healthy and grow nicely, even in a low-light, non-CO2 tank (which is what I have, and since adding fertilizers I've REALLY noticed that my plants are happier; they don't grow fast, but they are healthier).

Dry ferts are really the way to go; you can get everything you need for around $25 shipped, and should last you for at least a year. If you want help with figuring that out, just ask. :)
 

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As far as your hardscape, I would keep the basic structure you have with a couple changes.

1) Use the rocks you have on the left to prop up the driftwood in a vertical position to get some height. Obviously if you can find a branchier/stump like piece, that would be great.

2) Divide the tank either by the golden ratio or the rule of thirds(probably rule of thirds would be better with such a wide tank) and center the wood/rock focal point on the left border. It will be closer to the center of the tank than it is now.

3) I agree that rock you did the closeup on is very interesting. To the point that I would put it by itself (not crazy about the wood that you have with it...I'd just leave that out, personally). Center it in the right section of your grid and then angle it more front to back to emphasize the interesting features on the face and create a sense of depth.

Those are my suggestions, anyway. Take them for what they're worth.

Edited to add: You also look like you might have enough rock to create a retaining wall which would allow you to do a terrace effect on the left side of the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks idontwan2know. I appreciate the input. I think I agree. The piece of wood that is tucked under the rocks now is just like that mostly because it floats. I may tie it to a piece of slate or another rock and reposition like you suggested. I do have a couple more smaller branches and I plan to head out tomorrow to look for some more stuff and perhaps collect more of those rocks like on the right side. I can get lots like that and many that have some pretty neat fossils embedded in them as well.

I did grab some plants today...not much, a med sized Amazon Sword, an Anubias barteri nana, a C. wendtii 'Red', and a piece of wood cover in Java Moss. I also ordered a couple plants off ebay more as a test to see how this seller is...he is located in Malaysia...figured for a few bucks and free shipping, it was worth the gamble cause if he ends up being a good seller (not so much the seller I guess but how well the plants ship from there), there are lots of cheap plant options from over there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just brought in a haul of new rocks...Pretty happy with them. I'll probably replace all the rocks on the left side of the tank with some of these...the one that is at the top left is going in the tank for sure...pic really does not show how sweet the rock really is...hopefully once in the tank tonight it will show. I am thinking that rock that is like a ledge, actually two rocks stacked...maybe to the far left with the other rock I mentioned to the right of that. Not sure about the right side of the tank yet...more rock maybe? I am still hunting for that perfect piece of wood. Going back out tomorrow to walk the creek and see what shows up.

Just for perspective...the stacked rock ledge is about the size of a basketball.

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Alright...tank is hazy from adding a bag of Tahitian Moon Sand, removing some rocks, and adding new ones. So here is a bit of new aquascaping...not sure what to do on the right side yet and I want to still incorporate some wood in there somehow. That's it for now...definitely open to criticism and suggestions....

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
True. And it is possible to have a beautiful tank without CO2, it just takes more patience. But it's a lot less work once you get it established.
Yeah...I'm going to try without and see how it goes. I think as long as things stay healthy I am ok with slow growth.

Thanks GitMoe...I was pretty happy to find those this evening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
WOOOOHOOOO!!!! I HAVE FISH!!!!!

Cycle finished about 8 or 10 days ago...I've been feeding the bacteria ammonia all week...5ppm to 0 over night, nitrites zero too...so I did a 60% water change this morning and went fish shopping. Came home with 10 black neons, 8 Glowlight tetras, and 3 oto cats. The cats are working on my diatoms and the tetras are schooling together nicely. Very excited to have some life other than snails in the tank.

I would like to maybe add a couple more otos once these settle in, some more black neons and Glowlights, and maybe one more school of small fish. I also plan on getting a school of cory cats...possibly three line. That will likely do it for my stocking. Just looking for some suggestions on the third school. I'd like to get the first two schools up to around 12-15 each. I was thinking possibly some zebra danios, but something with nice color would be cool as well. I just like the zebras cause the pattern would be a nice contrast to the other fish, plus they just seem like neat fish to watch. Still working on planting the tank a little at a time too.

Read more: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-aquarium/nubsters-75g-log-77358/page4/#ixzz1WkA9y3QH
 
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