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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well, if I don't start this now, it'll just be a pic of a finished tank in 6 or so months. I guess I'll start at the beginning, & pardon my use on military terms & date format & such. Also, the top of this post will be taken up by background instead of unboxing/equipment/dirt pics. By now we all know what that looks like.


In AUG I was looking for something interesting to buy my Household 6 (wife) for her birthday & our 8th anniversary. Since she's Canadian, I think that made it our 25th anniversary in metric, but I digress. She loves watching our son's eastern mush turtle zoom around his tank, so I figured I'd get her a turtle & tank set up. Somewhere along the line, I started reading more & more on planted tanks & soon the "Big Brown Truck of Love" dropped off her ADA 60-P Mist.

As a 10 year US Army Disabled Veteran with a bad case of "The PTSD", I don't even get out of the house outside of appointments at the VA, let alone have the motivation or interest in doing all of the things I used to love. I found that scaping my HH6's tank cleared my head (a miracle) & I got a sense of accomplishment every morning in seeing how much the plants grew from the day before. I've found this to be more therapeutic than all of the VA-issued pills & talk, so I planned on getting a 60-P for myself.

HBDirtbag's "I've Lost My Mind" journal cured me of my 60-P Syndrome, & 3 weeks after buying her tank, led me to ask my Household 6 the most dreaded question in marriage: "How Much Do You Love Me?"

Newlyweds, if you ever hear that question, your spouse just bought something expensive.

A week later the "Freight Semi of Love" brought my 225 lb pallet of GLA 120-H, & like my sig says, the "H" stands for Hernia.

About the scape:

I moved out here to the Black Hills of South Dakota last year from West "BY GOD" Virginia partly because of my post-military issues, & partly because of falling in love with the Black Hills on a cross-country drive back in 2005. I've taken inspiration from the scenery on my weekly drive up to Rapid City for VA appointments, the views of Seven Sisters & Battle Mountain from my house, & driving the long way (Custer-Hill City-Deadwood) up to Sturgis. I'm also adding in some color because this Hillbilly has issues with nothing but snow & pines during the winter months & missing WV in fall (deciduous trees how I love thee).

Plant List:

Alcantara Reineckii Mini

Ammania Pedicellata

Anubias Petite

Bacopa Australis
Sp Japan

Bucephalandra Brownie Ghost - an unexpected & GREATLY APPRECIATED gift from Bartohog
Mini Catherineae
Misc. buces, yet to identify - Bartohog's grab bag o' buce

Cabomba Pulcherrima

Christmas Moss

Didiplis Diandra

Eriocaulon Aquaticum

Glossostigma Elantinoides

Hemianthus Callitrichoides

Lindernia Rotundifolia Variegated
Sp India

Limnophilia Indica

Ludwigia Arcuata
Sp India
Sp. Rubin

Marsilea Creanta

Mayaca Sp Sulowenia

Myriophyllum Sp. Guyana

Persicaria Sp. Kawagoeanum
Sp. Sao Paulo

Pogostemon Erectus
Helferi Red (Red Downoi)

Proserpinaca Palustris

Red Cabomba Belem

Rotala Colorata
Macandra Green
Red Cross
Sp Green
Sp Nanjenshan
Sp Vietnam

Starougyne Repens
Sp Purple

Wave Moss


"Christmas" Bonsai from Bonsai Driftwood




Power Sand
ADA Amazonia
Randomly scattered & strategically placed Iron Bottom & Multi Bottom -preemptive fert strike, or dumb idea...I've got no clue which but I did it anyway. That's just how this old soldier rolls.


Eheim 2217 (Pre-cycled on Household 6's tank)
Hydor Pro 600


Hydor 200W inline


CO2Art- Lily Pipe Surface Skimmer
Poppy Glass Outflow

Cal Aqua Labs- Influx X3
Efflux F3


Atomic V1 -Yes I know it's way too small & expensive but, I use on on HH6's tank & the convenience of buying cartridges for both our tanks till my son finds a place that refills large tanks in Rapid City & I can do a 20 lb system works for me. It ain't like I can get out of the house & ask around...I don't even answer the phone. It's actually hard to private message you folks. Ah, the joys of PTSD.

Atomic inline diffuser
Atomic bubble counter

Can you tell I'm gearing up for a 2nd 120-H? My Household 6 is gonna kill me!


5 Tiger Nerite Snails
5 Zebra Nerite Snails
5 Sun Thorn Nerite Snails

60 Sakura Fire Red Cherry Shrimp
10 Neon Yellow Shrimp

8 Pygmy Corys
4 Black Bar Endler's
4 Peacock Endler's
2 Tiger Endler's
2 Rainbow Endler's
10 Zebra Danios
4 Platinum Blue Ivory Mosaic Halfmoon Guppies
2 Red Striped Killifish
2 Gold Australe Killifish
6 Khuli Loaches

Folks Who Have Made This Possible:

-This Space Continually Updated-


-Showing the Love-

- Plants & Mosses
Herns- Mosses
jesseliu13- Plants
Mrbluepanda- Seriyu Stone
natebuchholz- Plants
Patriot- Diffuser
plantbrain- Plants


My Household 6- Support, Eye-rolling, Heavy Sighs when UPS/FedEx shows up
The US Taxpayer- This is where most of my VA Disability check ends up

The Tank aka FINALLY HILLBILLY! I got carpal tunnel from scrolling through your yakking!:

So here's the basic scape layout.

Looking straight-on, the hill on the right goes past center-line & the valley is cutting diagonally to the left, but there's a specific reason for this. As you can see in the pic, the tank (& you can catch a bit of my HH6's tank beside it) is sitting behind a slab of granite & on top of a cutting mat.

That 3' x 6' table used to be my leatherworking space. Looks like I'm down to just making wallets/belts/holsters (will trade for plants lol). I also have just enough room for for my drawing pads off to the right, hence the tank is scaped for my view while working. It also provides a nice little world to escape to to calm down when the PTSD gets bad. Having that little world right in my face will help me calm down & get grounded according to my VA theRapist -

Phase Line Alpha

So what's Kȟe Sapa without pine trees? I'm trying to figure out if & how I want to do Cottonwoods. Perhaps my Anubias Petite on some smaller driftwood. I also have to figure out where I want my gifted Buce...& I have a feeling I'll get into collecting those beautiful plants.

I picked these two beauties up from Bonsai Driftwood. The pic shows their general placement, & I might look into having a couple custom height trees made. Yes, I know I could do it myself, but one: I try my best to support folks who are trying to make their hobby a viable business, & two: honestly, it's hard enough for me to do anything thanks to the PTSD & I don't want my family bearing the brunt of me walking around all pissy because the trees didn't turn out the way I wanted.

Trust me, it'll be bad enough tying the Christmas Moss to them...for hours.

As this is only my 2nd tank, & I've been doing this for less than a month as of today 27AUG15, tips/tricks/pro advice is always welcomed. Better pics than iPhone 6 will be coming in the future... if I can find the dang charger for my Nikon 1... or my 2 pro Sony camcorders. Moving sucks. You can never find anything.

Phase Line Bravo

-You, this is Me. Engaged & Destroyed one bank account. Time Now. Charlie Mike, over...-

As of 10OCT15

By now you're saying "Wow Mac, it's simply amazing how many plants just magically sprout in Aquasoil when you add water"! Unfortunately, that's just not the case. They say money doesn't grow on trees...but apparently it DOES GROW IN AQUARIUMS. This is NOT a cheap hobby...but I love it anyhow! Aquatic plants are like Lay's potato chips, you can't just have one.

I must tell you though, working on this tank HAS DONE WONDERS for my PTSD. When I'm having issues I find myself shoulder deep in water moving plants or scraping algae & I can actually focus & calm down. I guess it's like equine therapy...just more expensive. :wink2:

I'm going through & marking strictly tank posts with the green arrow thingy so you can scroll through & just hit the tank stuff if you don't want to read the conversation posts. I'll keep running progress pics in this post with little blurbs after them as well. There will also be the Black Hills Hillbilly™ website in the future because, why the hell not!


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137 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I really like the scape you have, the trees look amazing. I think a few more on the left hand side would help fill in the mountain look really well.
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing, but it's just the width of the trees that's a problem. The left side is going to be raised a bit (I had run out of Amazonia). But, there is still something I want to try that might make just the 2 pines & some soon to be made cottonwood trees, pull off the illusion.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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Oy! That's a cool looking scape. Not one cool tree but two to boot.

I had to laugh at "Household 6", I confess I'd never heard the term before. Over here we tend to use Niner Domestic.

I'm super glad this hobby is helping you "clear your head". Good luck with the tank, will be following.

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147 Posts
First off, THANK YOU for all that you've given. I have the utmost respect for our soldiers.

Next, I think it's awesome that our hobby brings some peace. I bet it does for all of us on some level. I know I get so immersed in setting a tank up that I pretty much block the rest of the world out for a little while.

Lastly, I can't wait to this come to life. Unfortunately, that's also when multiple tank syndrome kicks in as you're waiting the current one to grow in.

Hit me up if you need any help :)

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Nice layout. I find doing this is great therapy, but I am still very new to it because I have moved so much in the past 12 years and have to move very slowly on doing each one because of other money hogs in my household.

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137 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank y'all for your comments.

Now I'm in the middle of re-planning my planting given my newfound fascination with bucephalandra! I'm taking the direction away from the semi-realistic carpeting with ug & mosses & breaking the bank with buce. The pine trees will still have Christmas moss, & I have some wood coming for Anubias Petite trees, but I really want the multiple colors mini buces can give & it also gives me the leeway to add other small colorful plants that I wouldn't have otherwise put in because they wouldn't look right to me.

Daisy, I see your troops every time I'm up in Edmonton visiting my in-laws. Lime green camo uniforms...what are y'all trying to blend in with, the 80's? I joke with my wife that they could hide in her tank. "Tony Abbott wants to put Canadian troops in our cities" funniest ad EVER!

& Robert, just do a journal. I didn't do one for my Household 6's tank & wasn't considering doing one for this tank, but it was something I had to force myself to do. I'm glad I did.

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Hey, I wore one of those uniforms for a while! They were so warm when they first came out, because of all the pigment in the fabric. Nice thing was, first ex I was out on, I accidentally dumped spaghetti on my lap. Yeah, clumsy. It didn't show after a bit of a wipe, magic!

Brrr, Edmonton. Been there a few times, various seasons. One of my friends just moved to be closer to her family.

Good luck with the buces. I have one only, as a tryout.

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137 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey, I wore one of those uniforms for a while! They were so warm when they first came out, because of all the pigment in the fabric. Nice thing was, first ex I was out on, I accidentally dumped spaghetti on my lap. Yeah, clumsy. It didn't show after a bit of a wipe, magic!

Brrr, Edmonton. Been there a few times, various seasons. One of my friends just moved to be closer to her family.

Good luck with the buces. I have one only, as a tryout.
You've gotta love the military genius who came up with the CADPAT camo boots... How on earth were y'all supposed to polish those?! lol I'm glad I got out of our army before they introduced the new "only blends into a gravel pit" pattern.

As for the buces, I love the shear scope of how many variations there are & the color differences will be like "painting" the tank. I told my wife I wanted to tear my scape apart & do a buce tank... the look I got made my decision to carpet the current scape with buces a no-brainer! I can therefore change the carpeting plants AND keep my testicles intact.

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Funny seeing someone else from the hills around these parts. How'd you end up in Hot Springs?

Following this thread to see how your tank develops :)

Also, thank you for your service.
I did a cross-country drive back in 05 & fell in love with the Black Hills. While looking for the opportunity to get back out here I lived in Canada, GA, TX, South Korea, & back home in West BY GOD Virginia. During those years I was trying to narrow down exactly where I wanted to move to out here & discovered Hot Springs. I couldn't go wrong with a town of less than 3500 & a high population of fellow Veterans, let alone the fact I have a ton of VA appointments & the hospital is 2 minutes from my front door. So I packed up what would fit in the 4runner & drove straight through to get here last year...& found out I ain't as young as I used to be lol.

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Right on. I love it up there (big road trip guy, done 10 cross country drives, usually stay off the hwy and stick to back roads. 6 years ago we were living down in Huntington Beach and literally one day just out all our [censored][censored][censored][censored] in the car and decided to find a new place to live. 30 days later settled down in North Carolina for a few years.

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