The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I like my tank but I want to go a more professional route. Can any of the more (and I mean no disrespect to anyone) experienced aqua scapers help me out? Right now I feel like my tank is a nice "novice" planted tank but I really want to kick it up a notch.

Dimensions:
60Lx24Wx18H in inches.
Lighting:
48" Coralife Lunar Aqualight 4 HOT5s (3 6,700k and 1 actinic for color) and 48" Marineland Optibright LED light bar.
CO2 and Nutrients:
Pressurized CO2 with Ista Mix Max large reactor (5-6 BPS) on canister outflow, Seachem Flourish Tabs every 5 inches replaced as directed, Seachem Flourish dosed as directed 2x/week, Seachem Iron dosed as directed 2x/week, Seachem Potassium dosed as directed 3x/week.
Filtration:
1 API Filstar Large Canister, 2 Aqueon Quiteflow 75s, 2 Aqueon 950 circulation pumps. Total Filtration 1000 GPH + Total Circulation 1900 GPH = Total water movement 2900 GPH.
Substrate:
150 lbs of aquarium sand (don't know specifically what kind specifically for aquariums)
Heating:
1 200 watt glass heater
1 100 watt glass heater
Timing:
10 hour photoperiod. CO2 come on 1.5 hours before lights and off 1 hour before lights out.
Fish:
3 Jack Depseys
1 Firemouth
1 Jewel
1 Electric Blue Acara
1 Albino Convict
5 "Haps"
2 Common Plecos
Chemistry:
Ammonia .25 (don't know why fully cycled) Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20, pH 7.1 (with CO2 at max saturation), KH 200, GH 180.

I want to get rid of all my decorations as they are fake. I know some of the more intricate scapes have more docile fish but I will absolutely be keeping my cichlids and will do any extra maintenance work that is caused by that.
My stem plants are growing fast so if possible I would like to use "cuttings" from them to fill in my new scape. Will buy new if necessary.

Current plant list:
1 java fern - producing many new ferns on leaves
4 single sprigs of cabomba
3 large bunches of moneywort
3 sprigs of anacharis that are branching quickly
1 medium ludwigia
2 banana plants
12 moss balls
5 anubias - 2 ready to be split
5 swords - 2 producing runners
7 medium jungle val - many are starting to produce runners.
6 "clumps" of baby tears
3 "clumps" of this grassy looking stuff that for the life of me I cant figure out what it is (no help I know lol)

Goals of scape:

1) I want a nature MICRO environment like some one plucked a 60x18 rectangle out of a super lush lake bottom. The ADA tank are amazing but some of the look like a MACRO environment like mountains and canyons. I want a scape that my fish are to scale and don't look like flocks of flying fish flying over a canyon lol.
2) I need caves/forests/canopies for my cichlids.
3) Plant growth from top to bottom of tank. Probably just takes time but I want my sides and background to be completely filled in with tall plants.
4) Possible carpeting plants, on the fence about it. I kinda like the look of the sand and to be honest with the way my cichlids dig carpeting my be difficult.
5) I want to show that cichlids can be kept in intricate planted tanks and not just rock scapes (not that there is anything wrong with that)
6) Finally, I want it to be refined but still wild looking tank. I like the overgrown natural look although I still want it to possess fine detail and visible thought to what is going on.

Misc:
1) I want to turn this into a detailed blog from start to finish. I have pics of the current tank before after what I have already done. I will credit in my blog any and all that help me along the way. I also want to promote my local fish store online because they have been awesome and given me basically online prices and they are a small mom and pop shop in the middle of West Texas.
2) Like most people money is a limiting factor I have already put $1900 into this setup not including my fake decorations, chemicals, ferts, and other maintenance/upkeep costs. I can spend more if needed but I would like to keep this rescape under $300 for any rock, wood, plants, ect.
3) I want to submit it to local/online contests. I know I will never be able to scape an ADA tank but.... I'll try my best.
4) I'm super nerdy, have minor in chemistry, bachelors in science, Im in nurse practitioner school, I have a huge backyard garden, my daughter and I love fish, and I oil paint. I would like to use my science background, artistic flare, and passion for the environment to give me and my daughter an artistic hobby that will teach her about the art and science found in nature.
5) Lastly, I really just want a bad @ $ $ tank !!!!!:p

This is my tank now! Thanks for all the future help.

Bump: This is also my first time on this site so I apologize if this is in the wrong area or if I ask stupid questions! Thanks again!
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,074 Posts
welcome mfranco,I think your equipment is very good but wonder about your fish choice.Some of these can be tough on plants.Your planting now is a little haphazard as bunching same type plants together usually looks a little better but you will be getting some better replies as I don't have a lot of experience with cichlids in a planted tank but look forward to following your journey and good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
289 Posts
here are my 2 cents:

competition tanks are not natural in that they are extremely clean (no rotting or broken leaves, not a lot of organic sediment) and very frequently manicured. :) So it's not a great example for kids really, unless it's maybe a biotope.

co2, ei fertilisation, static lighting... it's about as artificial as you can get. the minute i realised that the better my aquascaping became.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the reply. I am totally aware that cichlids are rough on plants. Im okay with that, I figure if I plant very heavily then it will spread out the damage done by the fish. The cichlids are kind of a must even though they have draw backs. I love their personality, color, mating displays, and territorial disputes. They are a very animated fish in my opinion and it adds character to my tank. Will they beat up a little on my plants... absolutely. But this tank in the picture has been up and running with the cichlids for over a month and they are thriving.... Minus the diatoms I'm fighting right now lol.

I agree on the haphazard comment 100%. I have a healthy tank but a novice set up. Any advice on where to look for plant arrangement ideas? I want it to be unique and not just a copy of a previously done tank.... even if it doesn't measure up exactly lol.

Bump: I totally see what your saying... Maybe less of a competition "ADA" type tank and more of a nature "ish" looking feel that still has a sense of artistic awareness.

Bump: One question, where is the best place to get rock and driftwood that is good quality but not overpriced...Fair priced is fine because I value quality but I don't want to pay $100 for a single piece of wood.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Best place to find cheap quality drift wood is in the wild. Next best would probably be your local LFS or online. Make sure you are using the full height of the tank in your aquascape, it seems like there is a lot of empty space up at the top. As far as plants, keep in mind that most plants fit into 1 of 3 catagories: foreground, midground, or background.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
New Scape update!

So I decided to do the rescape today. 86'ed the idea of driftwood and removing the sand.

Thanks everyone for the tips and ideas. Im really happy with the way my tank came out and I owe y'all a lot.

The tank is still cloudy from the rescape but I had to post a picture. I still need to get a few tall plants for the back corners but thats about it. I had the rock in my back yard. I scrubbed it down really good with bleach then rinsed it REALLY WELL. Other than the rock, everything in this tank is was was on my previous set up. I separated the moneywort, ludwigia, baby tears, and cabomba. I pruned a alot of the plants really well before I put them back in the tank so hopefully they will grow even stronger.

This fish are all chasing each other and hashing out new territories so they are really colorful right now.

I'll post more detailed pics once it clears up.

Let me know what y'all think. Be honest! I'm totally open to critiques!

THANKS EVERYONE!!!!
 

Attachments

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,942 Posts
If your running good light, co2, etc. you really need to back of the lighting period and dose macros (N,P,K). Flourish Tabs are the same thing as the Flourish liquid you are dosing. I really doubt you need the Flourish Iron. For your purposes there's enough in the Flourish.

On the scape IMO, I think the rocks look pretty good with the fish you have going. The rock on the right leaning looks artificial to me. I would bunch plants more around the base of just certain parts of the rocks inside of spreading them out. I would put a grouping of tall plants, behind the tallest part of the rock grouping and call it a day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If your running good light, co2, etc. you really need to back of the lighting period and dose macros (N,P,K). Flourish Tabs are the same thing as the Flourish liquid you are dosing. I really doubt you need the Flourish Iron. For your purposes there's enough in the Flourish.

On the scape IMO, I think the rocks look pretty good with the fish you have going. The rock on the right leaning looks artificial to me. I would bunch plants more around the base of just certain parts of the rocks inside of spreading them out. I would put a grouping of tall plants, behind the tallest part of the rock grouping and call it a day.
How do you think I should lean the rock on the right? I plan on cultivating the moneywort and letting it grow from where it is on the right all the way back behind the rocks. That stuff is growing like crazy. Also there are 7 jungle vals that I pruned down that are producing runners in the back left, eventually I want those to cover up that back left wall and canopy over a little bit.

I'll pick up some phos, I already have Potassium. One question, If my nitrates are usually around 20 do I still need to dose nitrogen?

Bump:
Keep the 2 biggest stones and use smaller stones around them. Think Iwagumi:







You can take to the smaller stones with a sledgehammer to break them up......
That is a cool set up and looks really natural... The thing is I don't have a sledgehammer plus to be totally honest, getting those damn rocks in there was a really pain in the butt. The picture doesn't really do it justice, those damn rocks where hard to get in there and will be significantly harder to get out :) Im up for rearranging them if need be but they are gunna be in there for the foreseeable future haha. Totally up for any ideas as the arrange them.

Bump: Last question, how long should my photoperiod be?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I tweaked the scape a little after reading about the rule of thirds. I also clustered the plants around the rock formations. Its still cloudy from the rescape but I wanted to post the progress. I like the left side of the tank but the right side still needs some work. Let me know what you think.
 

Attachments

1 - 12 of 12 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top