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Hey everyone,

So I have started a fully planted tank. It's been running for about eight months. I've got really good growth out of my swords, but everything else has been kind of unimpressive. I'm happy with how the tank looks, but it is definitely lacking, and I don't know what I should add to make it look fuller and better.

I was wondering if anybody had any suggestions for aquascaping to make it look better and recommendations for getting the best growth possible without CO2 (a little too expensive right now).


EXTRA INFO: I normally use root tabs in the tank, and I just started using excel. I am running quad T5 HO 48". The problem is that the tank is 30" deep, so the bottom doesn't get much light.

Here is a pic. Since this pic I have also got two more pieces of Manzanita wood to work with. Looking for background plant suggestions, foreground, and carpet ideas! Maybe moss for the wood too. I had flame moss, but it just isn't working - going very brown.
 

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Ooof... at 30" you would need a ray2 and perhaps an atomic blast.

Another idea is to rescape so your substrate is higher up and hence closer to the light.
 

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You have enough light and apparently are good at handling it, tank doesn't seem to have algae problems. Perhaps there isn't quite enough fertilizer for the plants. Have you checked nitrates? If there are plenty then probably there are plenty of phosphates as well and you just need to add some potassium and traces to perk up the plants. And get those root tabs back under the plants as well.

I think your tank looks nice. Nice woody bits, the vals look great. The rocks look a bit haphazard and the wood bits are fighting each other a bit though.

Rule of thirds is good and there are also my personal rules of keeping focus points off the center and don't squish plants against the sides of the tank. Two of three, you are doing well!

What about taking the rocks and wood out of the tank and make a faux tank on a table. Work with what you have to see if you can come up with something you like better. Do mark lines at the thirds horizontally and vertically as guide lines but if they don't work then that is okay as well.

Dwarf sag is the go to ground cover for low tech tanks and you have plenty of height in case the ones you get grow tall! If you get the swords to grow tall then between the grassy front and back you might like what you have. Another plant that is a good contrast to the grassy plants are Anubias. Might tuck some in a pile of rocks or crevice between branches.
 
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