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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm not altogether happy with this so any suggestions would be appreciated. I'm considering replacing most if not all the lock rocks with driftwood. I need some different plants. Some suggestions on which of the low light varieties would be appreciated.







 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
So specifically, what's the opinion on the lock rock?
 

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ok, here is my take,

1. the bamboo has gotta go, it will rot if you keep it like that.

2. i like the rockscape in the one side, and I feel as though mosses and java fern would look great there if they are in a very high concentration. Leave the left side open of anubias or crinum in my opinion with a few moss balls.

3. deep six that michigan background on the tank, go with a nice black backing it will cost you $8 from any fish store and you're tank will immediately look much better and more natural
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The bamboo is coming out the back of the tank, its just short of coming over the top of the light. I should be able to clip the rest of the leaves that are in the tank.

So you think black is better than blue background? I can peel the Michigan sticker off.

I appreciate your comments.

I have some driftwood I could add. Its a question of how much lock rock to take out and would the two materials clash?
 

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yea, i agree on the background. Blue (unless it is blue/black) almost always ends up looking bad in the long run and the sticker isnt that attractive. (im not a sports fan though) I ended up buying the black/blue background from petco and was SO HAPPY i ended up going with the black side of the paper.

Id ditch the bamboo and put somthing like vals in its place if you wanted the same type of look (I have some vals in my tank right now, its the long grassy-type plants in my journal) Because hes right and the bamboo WILL rot if kept under water.

other than that i kinda like it how it is, but thats me LOL
 

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Could just be the white balance on your camera, but the blue really seems to clash with the warmth in your rocks. Too saturated. Also, try shooting without the flash.

I'd definitely change the background out. I've got a tank at home painted with a sky blue, and another with a black - I think either would work well for you. The sky blue is really refreshing to look at, certainly feeling very tropical; whereas the black will really make your hardscape pop.

If you get rid of that bamboo, you should definitely move the rock more towards the centre to give it that 'island' look - even with the bamboo in there, it feels very empty on the left side. Conversely, if you want to keep the slope look, (and hide your equipment) move the leftmost rock father right. Right now, I'm looking at it and seeing two rock formations instead of one - and I think one would make the whole a lot tighter.

Anyhow, what kinda driftwood have you got? That could be fun to play with too. It'll probably compliment the rock well, provided it feels like the same scale.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I thought the blue looked good on my reef tank. But black may be better for this one. It looks a lot darker than is coming across in the photos though. Its a foil so the flash really lights it up.



I think I'm keeping the bamboo. I don't think it will rot, its been in the tank over a year. The key is to have a good many leaves out of the water.

The driftwood is coming out of my african tank, I don't have to worry about a background on it.





There is also a piece in the left corner I may pull out. I'm thinking of going with some base rock normally used for marine tanks when I start back on the african tank. First I'd like to get happier with my guppy shrimp tank.

So I get the feeling that the plastic lock rocks aren't too bad, so I'll move the driftwood in and balance up the left side, look for some val to put in and take out a bit of the lock rock to keep it from looking so cluttered.

I have a good list from this site of the low light plants I should pick from. Any strong recommendations?
 

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you had driftwood in an african tank? were they cichlids?
if you are gonna keep the bamboo pull it out and let it grow taller. it does better if most is out of the water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
African cichlids yes. I grabbed the smaller piece of driftwood out. The really big pieces of wood in the tank are something called african root. A very hard root that I soaked for several weeks to leach the tannins out before I put it in the tank. Its been in there at least 5 years now. The african tank is set up since 1992 and most of the cichlids in the tank now were born in the tank, there are about 25 full sized cichlids in there. Its hard to keep count since you never know when to start counting the babies.

Anyway, I grabbed the driftwood and put it in the guppy tank.





I'm happier with this. I guess having an unbalanced scape is hard to pull off. The driftwood appears to be a nice contrast, I have a focus and the driftwood looks to be about the golden rule off center. I guess I should measure.

What would help now is a better balance of plants. The right side is a bit of a mess, but considering I have baby guppies and shrimp, I don't mind a dense thicket for them to hide in. Also, the tank is in a corner, so the perspective is usually looking from the left side.

I'll play around with it more. I need to relook at the aquascaping principles and see if I'm breaking any glaring rules. Again, any comments would be appreciated. I did take the Michigan stuff out.
 

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That bamboo looks a lot better now, stretching up from behind the rock. The driftwood fits in well.

My only comment now is that it seems like there's no 'center' to the tank, rather, you've got three separate 'vignettes' going on. With plants, now, I think your mission is to somehow unify the three.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That bamboo looks a lot better now, stretching up from behind the rock. The driftwood fits in well.

My only comment now is that it seems like there's no 'center' to the tank, rather, you've got three separate 'vignettes' going on. With plants, now, I think your mission is to somehow unify the three.
In looking over the aquascaping principles, I understand the need to create a pathway between the different vignettes as you say. While I could mess around and stumble onto something that appears to work, I would like to have a better idea how that sort of thing is accomplished and what I should be working toward. I did find out that cherry shrimp love to hang out on the driftwood.

I think i'm pretty satisfied with the left side of the tank, maybe some taller plants in the back to complement the bamboo. . The tangle of java moss and clump of lock rocks on the right needs some work but I need to keep the cover for the fry that it provides and tie it in to the left side a little better and also better focus the driftwood as a centerpiece.

I'm not sure how to get there but i'm pretty open to trying different approaches. Thanks for the comments, I appreciate your input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here is the latest iteration. I put in another piece of driftwood, took out some lock rock and got more plants. Anubias, rotala, hygrophila and ludwigia. I'll probably leave it a couple weeks just to see what the plants will do.

Any comments? I'm not quite happy with it yet so feel free.

 

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i'd move the wood so it wasn't all on one side of the tank... i think there's something really artificial looking about it that gets to me.. all rock on one side. all wood grouped on the other. a straight line of the bamboo on one side. each type of stem plant bunched very closely. hmm yeah, i'd probably move the rock and wood in a way so it wasn't so divide one on each side... take the moss and spread it thinly over the wood to get a thicker growth over it...
I think i have guppy envy btw. For some reason i am death to them and they are such pretty fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
The latest set up. I think I'm starting to get happy with it. I'm going to leave the bamboo, I really want to see them growing out the top of the tank. They are just poking 5 inches out of the tank, another few inches and they'll start to look good behind the light fixture.
I think the hygrophila will grow quick from what I've seen so far and that will help blend the stalks in.

I have set the one driftwood piece at the golden ratio and used a terrace to force the focus. There is no doubt it is the focus of the tank. I also used a repeating pattern of wood and lock rock to tie it together. I think I'm following the principles but if I'm missing something let me know. Plants are another aspect and I'm not so sure I've got them right. They might need some grow out time. The anubias came as a nicely rooted plant. All the others were cuttings with only a string or two for roots. I think I'll just let everything sit where it is for now and reevalute at the end of the month.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I think its gotten better with every step so far.

I have 110 watts of lighting, dose a capful of Flourish Excel everyday, put 5 Flourish Tabs in the gravel which is a mix of river pebble and flourite.

By the way, my lfs gave me a buck a plant credit on 15 crypts. Could I have done any better on a sale here?





 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So here is my update. The plants are filling in. I added 10 crystal red shrimp. The cherry shrimp are breeding like mad. I'm sure I'll have 100 soon if I don't already.

I'm adding a cap of Excel most every day, I have 5 Flourish root tabs in the substrate, and I'm adding a half to a teaspoon of potassium nitrate per week. I'm still testing to see what the dose rate needs to be. I'm trying to keep nitrates between 5 and 10 ppm.









 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I suppose this should be moved to the tank journals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So now two months later, I feel like I have a real planted tank. Dosing a capful of excel everyday, some potassium nitrate weekly, and I have some root tabs in the fluorite substrate. I'm fighting a little hair algae. The 120 watts of t-8 lighting is on for 8 hours, I may back that up to 6.

 
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