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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Picked up this 30 gallon on graigslist. Didnt really have a vision or plan, just needed something bigger for my son's growing goldfish. The seller failed to mention there were 3 convict cichlids, a peppered cory, black skirts and a gourami in the tank. Here is what it looked like:








I wasnt sure why the 2 male cichlids were beating everyone up in the tank. So I quickly re-homed them. Then went to work trying to make the tank a little more presentable:







Some texas holey rock, a little driftwood, and some rocks later. I was OK with it for about a week. Realizing I wasnt utilizing the available space efficiently I began to doubt my work. So I set off with my son to find some more rocks and driftwood:





He made it the first couple of miles. I admit I got a little lost but the creek guided us back. Two hours later he was less than happy.






Now armed with new stuff. I did some re-arranging:







A few live plants (and some fake), some more substrate and some sweet driftwood. I stared at it for about a week. I wasnt happy. Now I really started looking at aquascapes trying to learn a few things. Then the wife wasnt happy with the aquarium stand and spent 250$ on a nice wood one. I had kittens over that one... i named all of them curse words. Then I went and sourced some more rocks and wood:





At this point the son is less enthusiastic about our field trips. I got the tank re-arranged a third time. This time Im really getting worried about the fish. They have been through newbie hell with me. Im sure they will find me in the afterlife and punch me. But for now they are all alive and well. So here is the final incarnation:






Im not happy with the cave (as far as blending with the tank). But I had to throw the female cichlid a bone. She has been through alot so I gave her a cave. Feel free to offer advice and critiques. The fish made it this far Im sure if they can survive a little more if your advice is taken.
All those rocks and driftwood came from a local stream. I do plan on making a couple of "trees". Waiting on the hairgrass to carpet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There will be more plants in there, already picking species out. I agree the red gravel isnt the best but wanted flourite for the plants. Since im a newb I didnt want to start off dirted, layered or otherwise.
Thanks for the comments.
 

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Did you pretreat the wood before adding it to the tank. I like the cave, maybe try and place both pieces of wood on the left side, then plant some stem plants behind the cave and some low growing plants on top of the cave area. If you can pile the rocks up around both pieces like you did on the right side then you could place some anubias around the base of the one piece of wood. Then plant some more stem plants behind the wood. I would also get rid of the background maybe just a black one, would make the rocks and wood stand out better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Starfire: i like your idea of some anubas or similar the base of the plants. I really love idea of planting around the cave. That will be a priority. Yes the trees were dipped in bleach for a few hours. Sun dried. Washed with water then scrubbed with a stiff bristle scrub brush. I dont think i can move the trees, there is alot of hotglue around key parts.
Thanks for the feedback all on the background. I had no feelings one way or the other but will change it asap.

Mastertech et al. : there definitely be more background plants. The flow on the right side is horrible. So im waiting to get a nano pump on that right side then put alot of tall stem plants through the backside.
 
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