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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been working on this for a while, and I have to say thanks to everyone on this forum for lots of helpful info that they have posted in regards to their tanks. I hope you all realize that there are a lot of people out there that get great information from your posts. Hopefully some people will get some good information from mine.

I've just received the tank. It's a large 40" pentagon but fairly shallow at 18". It's open on all sides so I had a tough time designing a scape, but finally decided to keep mostly foreground/groundcover plants. Probably Marsilea minuta and Hemianthus callitrichoides. I might have a few midground type plants in the back. Maybe some glosso or dwarf cardinal plant. There will be some floaters in the back also to provide some shaded area and more hiding places.

Hi-tech ... because I'm that kind of guy.
Tank size: about 100 gallons after subtracting hardscape, substrate.
Light: 496 watts lighting: 400 watt dimmable 10K metal halide and 96 watts 6500K T5.
EI fertilization schedule: automated with peristaltic pumps and Aquacontroller.
Water changes: automated with solenoids and Aquacontroller, probably 10% daily.
Water parameters: straight RO for now, because my GH is 20 and KH is 16.

Over the last day I've created a slate barrier wall or retaining wall and poured some shallow 1" ADA Sarawak sand on one side and ADA Amazonia on the other. There's a cool cave that's built in to one side of the slate wall. There are lots of little crevices so maybe any fry might have a chance to hide before getting eaten.

I've got a mini "Ode to Iwagumi" on the right side and an old curved piece of Mopani functioning as a kind of retaining wall for the slope. And for something to chew on for the plecostomus. I know wood and rock are tough to combine, but I'd like to give this a shot. The rock is petrified wood anyways, so it is kinda wood :)

Pics to come ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·

The tank is in between the kitchen and family room on a big counter, of which half is tank :biggrin:


I siliconed the back side of the wall and used silicone as mortar to strengthen. It's pretty sturdy.


The cave is made out of siliconed Lexan from the local home improvement store. The wall and cave are siliconed to a rubber mat that I purchased through marinedepot. They sell it by the foot. I bought it to use as a floor liner in the cabinet where all the plumbing is so spills are easy to clean up and water doesn't damage the wood. This piece was leftover and worked out just right. I trimmed it to about one inch on both sides of the wall and cave and will serve as a base so that dirt/sand pushes on it and holds it down ... kinda like landscape edging that you might have in your yard.




The "point" in the wall was inspired by a place that I've had the pleasure of spending some time in. Montserrat, British West Indies. Beautiful island. There's a corner of it that is shaped like this with sheer cliffs and beach on the sides. It's called Bransby Point. It might not be there anymore, because of the Soufriere nearby ... a now active volcano. They had some cannons there also that I didn't try to imitate :) There is a big field on the top that should be simulated pretty well with some low groundcover.




Side shot of the cave entrance. Some loose rocks camouflage the plexi pretty well. It's pretty dark in there even with 500 watts up above.
 

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Sounds cool to me. A tank like that would be begging to be put dead center in the room.

I've always dreamed of a circular aquarium sitting in the middle of my living room.

edit - You posted before I did.

It looks fantastic even if you didn't put it in the middle of the room. :wink: I like your slate wall. I think "manicured" walls in planted aquaria look great! I've always wanted to try some sort of natural colored paving stones to form a terrace in one of my tanks.

It also doesn't appear to be a true pentagon, it looks like it has two long sides and three shorter sides. Cool tank. Where did you get it?
 

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Looks good so far. I can't wait to see the final product and the rest of the stages in between. Very exciting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It also doesn't appear to be a true pentagon, it looks like it has two long sides and three shorter sides. Cool tank. Where did you get it?
It has two 40" faces, two 26" faces, and one diagonal 20" face. It's basically a 40" square tank with a diagonal 20" corner cut out. I got it from a LFS (Alamo Aquatic Pets, San Antonio, TX) but it was made by Deep Sea Aquatics in Houston ... apparently one of the remants of Oceanic after they got bought by AGA.
 

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wow this is pretty darn neat! I can't wait to see the next steps.

I think the hex tank is the cave that was talked about. I could be wrong though!
 

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subscribed~ Very interesting idea. Can't wait to watch it take shape~
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Now you're talking! Looking forward to watching this one...
It's pretty neat, but I'm sure it's not going to be as neat as your chem lab setup, Mad Scientist! :icon_twis

maybe a stupid question but what is the hexgon little tank inside of the slate wall?
I think the hex tank is the cave that was talked about. I could be wrong though!
Yup, that's the cave I was talking about. I was going to make a few smaller ones, but this worked out better, I think.
 

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I can't wait till you get this tank going. The border between the AS and sand is very unique. I don't think I've seen anyone do this before.
 

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REALLY interesing project. VERY original. I LOVE seeing something different!

I'd say is that I'm not a fan of your wall-- I would be, if it wasn't so artificial looking. You need more variation in the slope of the wall and the bends in it. It's too even.

Hardscape (petrified wood and mopani) is WAY too small. ESPECIALLY if you're going only foreground plants It's a big tank (really in ANY tank), you need tall elements to bring it together, in the form of tall hardscape or at least tall plants. It's odd seeing really different looking stone pieces, especially if they're not mixed (as in the wall of slate and layout petrified wood). I'd say get some huge pieces of slate. Also, what's the mopani FOR from a DESIGN perspective? From your commentary it seems like a "I had it lying around and my plec likes it" deal. You mentioned that you know combining wood and stone in a scape is not easy. When something is not easy to use, that means its use in design needs MORE thought, not less.

Sorry for being such a rag. When I see a project that interests me/excites me I just REALLY want to see it come out GREAT. Nothing erks me more than seeing brilliant hardware set up followed by a bad looking aquascape. :icon_lol:

Really, it is an impressive and exciting start-- that's why the advice! :proud:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
REALLY interesing project. VERY original. I LOVE seeing something different!

I'd say is that I'm not a fan of your wall-- I would be, if it wasn't so artificial looking. You need more variation in the slope of the wall and the bends in it. It's too even.

Hardscape (petrified wood and mopani) is WAY too small. ESPECIALLY if you're going only foreground plants It's a big tank (really in ANY tank), you need tall elements to bring it together, in the form of tall hardscape or at least tall plants. It's odd seeing really different looking stone pieces, especially if they're not mixed (as in the wall of slate and layout petrified wood). I'd say get some huge pieces of slate. Also, what's the mopani FOR from a DESIGN perspective? From your commentary it seems like a "I had it lying around and my plec likes it" deal. You mentioned that you know combining wood and stone in a scape is not easy. When something is not easy to use, that means its use in design needs MORE thought, not less.

Sorry for being such a rag. When I see a project that interests me/excites me I just REALLY want to see it come out GREAT. Nothing erks me more than seeing brilliant hardware set up followed by a bad looking aquascape. :icon_lol:

Really, it is an impressive and exciting start-- that's why the advice! :proud:
Thanks Steven ... This is really GREAT help. It's nice to hear what people like, but it seems to be natural tendency for people to hold back from saying the things they DON'T like. I especially am happy to get some suggestions for improvement from someone like you who I know is really dedicated to this stuff. And I'm a NEWBIE. So I need the help.

The petrified wood does look rather small. I was hoping it would "pick up the colors" in the sand. Great, now I sound like an interior designer. I will look into getting some big pieces of slate, as you suggest.

The mopani is there for some functional purposes. It is good for the plecostomi. It's not just that they like it, it's good for their health. I have to get it or some wood in there for this reason alone. It also functions as a retaining wall so all that Aquasoil doesn't wash down over time. I was hoping that plant cover would obscure it enough that it doesn't look like a piece of wood just thrown in there.

The wall ... I was excited about the idea, and the inspiration of Bransby Point. That's really somewhat the shape of it in real life. Here's an aerial pic of Bransby Point ...



Perhaps the unnatural shape of it is what made it memorable to me. It really was a neat place to just look at the curvature of the earth over the atlantic ocean! The sheer walls are much bigger when your standing at the point.

I also was not totally happy with the pieced-together look of the slate wall. It was pretty difficult for me to get it to look that continuous. The rock wall lines are continuous horizontal lines in real life at the Point ... like rivers carve out walls of adjacent rock over centuries/millenia. Perhaps I was trying too hard to simulate that which takes nature so long to make, and it ends up looking too artificial. Maybe pieces sticking out more, more irregular, like piled up rocks would have been better. Maybe I can put some loose pieces of irregular slate on the sand near the wall to break up the "even-ness" ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So I was up late last night doing some wiring. I needed a power outlet in the ceiling for the light ballast to plug into. I also wanted it switched so that I could power off the lights as needed from below. I've done some electrical work before, but it never ceases to amaze me as to how long it takes me to do something as simple as this. I guess that's why electricians are paid so well ...

I really want to fill this up with water, but I have to deal with some of these ancillary issues before the tank is totally fixed in place and loaded with water.
 

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Good thinking, but the wall is too big to give the same impression as that island. If you zoomed closer in to the shore, I'm sure you would see more grooves, ridges, and variation in the coastline.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Good thinking, but the wall is too big to give the same impression as that island. If you zoomed closer in to the shore, I'm sure you would see more grooves, ridges, and variation in the coastline.
Cool ... the tallness of the wall should be pretty easy to de-emphasize with some more sand. I've got some extra. That and some more slate stones might do the trick. I'll play around with that some ... I'll have to visit a local nursery/landscape supplier to see if they've got some big pieces of slate also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Wow. That was a lot of Hemianthus callitrichoides. Thanks to bigstick120 ...

Tough plant to plant. I broke it up into small pieces and planted clusters everywhere I'd like a carpet ... which is most places.

I went to a couple landscape supply places and no one had a really dark gray/black slate in chunks that I could get. I ended up getting some pretty big pieces of something called "moss rock" from one of the places. It passes the vinegar test and doesn't appear to be affecting pH as of yet.

Tank is really cloudy and will take some more pics to update the journal soon ... after the cloud settles. Guess that's the Amazonia that's making it cloudy.
 
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