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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I am turning to TPT for some inspiration / ideas for my next scape / layout.

Little history (this will help explain what I am looking for). Started my 75g low tech, all easy growing stem plants, a dwarf sag carpet. a bit of random hardscape but no plan in mind. moved things around a lot and it did well. looked alright but nothing impressive.

slowly transitioned over my first year to more interesting plants, obviously these became more demanding and as such i up'd the ferts and lowered the lighting and added co2. this stage i was still trying to get the growth i wanted but wasn't planning my scape at all. still a chaotic mess.

finally got sick of trimming and such and went with a full crypt tank with moss carpet (my latest, till i torn it all down today). it was a success in terms of awesome plant growth imo, but the scape lacked in a lot of ways. I realized that i wanted more of an impressive hardscape while still keeping things low tech low maint. I want the water to be as high quality as possible for my fish as well. I am focusing more of fish and hardscape but with some plants in the mix.

Which is why I am seeking some advice now. I can't seem to find existing scapes that I like that resemble what I am looking for. I want it to look natural. I am going to be housing only 1 species of fish (most likely angels but I may change my mind. But it won't be small schooling fish but rather some medium or large ones.

I want to have lots of driftwood but that doesn't take away too much swimming space but can break up sight lines and such. Rock is key too, again nothing to overpowering. I don't know what kind of wood or rock is best but I would rather it not have to be attached to slate because I want to easily move it around if possible.

I don't want to have a deep layer of substrate, I want to be able to stay clean and anaerobic free. so I will be using a thin layer of PFS.

As for plants I want to stick with hardy low tech ferns and alike. anubias for sure. narrow leaf java fern or similar, and bolbitis. maybe a big amazon sword (maybe..). I have a small buce brownie blue that will be in there too. since I want this to look natural, I want to stick with only a few species of plants. ideally ferns because i won't have deep substrate.

Lighting will be my 48" finnex planted plus. I will raise it up as high as I need. I will be dosing very rarely and no excel or co2. I don't want lots of plants. I would prefer lots of hardscape and a bit of plants in the right spots to highly focal points.

Creating a sense of depth has always been a huge problem in all my attempts. I fail at it all the time. I would really like to achieve this in my new layout.

I hope my rambling is making some sense and has painted a picture of what I am looking for. Any help / suggestions would be a huge help, I really want to do this right! Type of wood to use? rocks? layout advice? other potential plant choices? fish suggestions? pictures or links to similar ideas would be great too.

money is not an issue, the tank is a new rimless 75g and its a blank canvas right now.

I have been doing planted tanks for 2 years and I can grow nice lush plants but have never been able to achieve a great scape. I want to change that :)

Thanks
 

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my scapes suck too lol. I suggest to keep looking at examples of tanks similar to what you want to achieve. Planning is key... Good hardscape is paramount for that kind of setup but you will also need to have an idea of what plants you want and where you want them which it seems you have a good handle on. I am personally terrible at doing all that so I kind of just 'wing it' and use plants to get the best results I can.

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well that's part of the problem. I can't find tanks that really capture what I want to do.

I guess the closest thing is a biotope.

As for plants I am pretty set with bolbitis, anubias nana and petitie, needle leaf fern.

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Well that's part of the problem. I can't find tanks that really capture what I want to do.

I guess the closest thing is a biotope.

As for plants I am pretty set with bolbitis, anubias nana and petitie, needle leaf fern.

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For fauna could take a look at geophagus species they're lots of fun. There's a couple sub species that grow to the same length or a little bigger than angels, cupid cichlids are another great choice

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Ivanacara adoketa's!
think you could keep a nice group with 2males 3/4 females in your tank..
they'd leave angels alone as well, just make sure there's some holes for them to hide in, although they don't do so much.

first thing that came to my mind with your description is a biotope as well actually. blackwater to be specific..
the roots would make it hard to make it look big unless you can find some really nice really small ones..

if the back of the tank is dark and with low light it's not to hard to create a sense of depth with one really big piece of driftwood sticking out of the darkness in the back. Saw a really nice display tank done like this last month had like 30 blackhead angels in there. looked impressive!
 

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So I spent the night reading about geos and I am really digging these fish. I called around and I can get some geophagus tapajos aka orange or red heads.

I am still unsure how many I will get. Maybe 7?

Gotta start sourcing materials for hardscape. I should be able to get the new geos on Saturday. Maybe a bit of hardscape before then too.

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Is there any rocks that someone can suggest that will work for a biotope type of thing but won't change / harden my water. Ideally I want to use a single type of rock. Has to look natural. Thinking of use some manzanita wood.

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Wow stunning fish! Plant eater or no?

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Geophagus rummage through the sand but do not eat healthy plants, since you don't really intend on root feeders this won't be a problem =)

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So I spent the night reading about geos and I am really digging these fish. I called around and I can get some geophagus tapajos aka orange or red heads.

I am still unsure how many I will get. Maybe 7?

Gotta start sourcing materials for hardscape. I should be able to get the new geos on Saturday. Maybe a bit of hardscape before then too.

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Tapajos a really the way to go, I have 6 right now and love them, perfect little fish, and so so active. As for rocks I find simple river stone works for me in a biotope.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Aren't river rocks a mix of different type of rocks (minerals)? Wouldn't those effect the ph and hardness?

What's size tank do you have the 6 in? Talking to a guy yesterday about his and he has 12 plus other fish in a 125 (4 foot tank).


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Remember Geos are Earth Eaters (they pick up mouthfulls of substrate and sift through it), so keep that in mind with your planting ideas as they can/will uproot any plants that aren't well rooted.

As too how many you can keep in a 75, it depends on the species, which would determine their temperament and how large they get.

Some large Geos can actually be housed with small 2" fish. But do your research on which species tend to work out best if you attempt that. If you succeed though it does look very cool to have little fish with much larger fish coexist peacefully. Chances of success are better if you can get the Geos when they are young and have them grow up with the other small fish. Keeping the fish well fed helps too :)

You can keep a mixed species tank of Geos, but again do your homework to find out which are more likely to be compatible.
I saw on your other thread regarding sex ratio, I would say 1M/1F would be the most, but more females than males would be the more preferred ratio. Especially if you are doing all the same species Geo and breeding takes place, things can get hectic and so definitely more females would be preferred.

Try asking on MonsterFishKeepers forum or a Cichlid forum and you should get more experienced input.

Couple threads from a quick search
How many Geophagus in a 75? - Tropical Fish Forums at the Age of Aquariums
Geophagus Red Head Tapajos - 57662
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I am getting tapajos. How many of those could I keep?

No plants will be in substrate (pfs), all will be ferns and anubias and bolbitis, attaching to driftwood and rocks. Maybe some buce too. I won't be keeping anything else with them just geos by themselves.

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I am getting tapajos. How many of those could I keep?

No plants will be in substrate (pfs), all will be ferns and anubias and bolbitis, attaching to driftwood and rocks. Maybe some buce too. I won't be keeping anything else with them just geos by themselves.

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A good size group if you only include a dither that is local to them like lemon tetras, there are a few small pike cichlids in the Rio tapajos as well. I'd go with a group of 6-8 to start, they will breed if you give them good water, not saying you have to change it a lot just nice and stable 6.0-7.0 pH and some tanins if you don't mind them. They also like leaf litter while young.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
so i am buying either one of these driftwood boxes from a website i found.
http://fineaquatics.com/images/ap2 contents.jpg
http://fineaquatics.com/images/ap2 xl contents.jpg

i purchased my 7 geophagus tapajos today and acclimated them (drip). They are doing amazing! active, exploring the sand, no shy or scared. They are young (didn't want to spend $450 on bigger ones) only about 2-2.5 inches, but look very healthy.

I have no idea what rock i am going to use, hoping to get some suggestions. I am kinda going for a biotope-ish look but no darkwater and will use anubias, bolbitis, and needle leaf fern. Like i mention before I want a natural look.

I can't seem to find any good pictures of tanks that i like.. need to keep searching through pictures i guess.
 

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Looks like you have found some VERY cool pics. FWIW, and this is just my opinion, the 3rd pic from the top is visually a KILLER! I could spend all nite looking at that.
The 6th pic looks cool but I think you would loose the appearance of your fish in the background.
The 7th pic has beautiful fish, but it just seems to be too many fish.
The 9th and 10 - Wow. Don't know how to do that look, but if I could I would.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I wondering what kind of rock is being used in these scapes. Are they safe for aquarium use?

I want to go with more nuetral color rocks as I am using pool filter sand as substrate. So beige or off whites, tans, light grey rocks would be ideal.

It's really the last piece to my puzzle. I don't want it to raise my ph have metals. But I know very little about rocks.

Alot of people use river rock. But it seems river rock is all a mix mash of different stuff, so how is it safe?

I really like 3 too. I will be using all of these and taking some ideas front each to create my own scape


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I wondering what kind of rock is being used in these scapes. Are they safe for aquarium use?

I want to go with more nuetral color rocks as I am using pool filter sand as substrate. So beige or off whites, tans, light grey rocks would be ideal.

It's really the last piece to my puzzle. I don't want it to raise my ph have metals. But I know very little about rocks.

Alot of people use river rock. But it seems river rock is all a mix mash of different stuff, so how is it safe?

I really like 3 too. I will be using all of these and taking some ideas front each to create my own scape


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Most of those are typical river rock easy to test for safety but if you change your water with r/o you shouldn't have issues, I have mine in sub 6 pH most of the time 90/10 ro to tap

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·


Any idea what kind of rocks these are? Vinegar doesn't seem to make the rock fizz.

There is clear shimmer parts to it. When wet you can see some dark in it too.

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Here is a pic of them today. After only a day of acclimation they are all eating and super chill. They are not scared of my hands in the tank or my right in front of them starring :)

I bought 60lbs of rocks (granite roundish stones) in all sizes from the biggest (what you see in the pictures) to as small as .5 inch pebbles and everything in between.

I placed the largest ones in the tank to get a feel of how they look.

I have a box of manzanita dw coming in. Untill then I will keep buying plants (anubias nana, needle leaf fern, and more bolbitis). The amazon sword and buce in the photo are being sold, just there temporally. The little twigs in there will probably go too as I don't want non manzanita in there ;)



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