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New canvas! Need ideas for a direction to go in!

364 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  mfranco
Hello everyone, I have been in the aquascaping hobby for about a year now. My first experienced with a planted tank was with my 120 gallon, high tech, cichlid tank. I put a ton of time into and overall I believe it was a success. The thing is, it has been about a year since I first started and I am bored with it now. Thats where you all come in, I need some ideas for a new scape.

I am willing to basically start from scratch if needed. I hope to achieve a "professional" style tank with lots of contrasting plants and hardscape. I want the hardscape to be more rock then driftwood because I have cichlids and in my opinion, cichlids look better with rock hardscape. Just a quick note, I don't need to hear anyone say you can't have cichlids and a intricate planted tank, I proved that wrong already.

Here is what I am working with.
Budget: $250 for plants and hardscape
Lights - 4 lamp HOT5 that spans entire tank
CO2 - High pressure system with custom diffuser that achieves ~95% CO2 utilization
Filters - 2 HOB and 1 canister ~1200/GPH turnover
Tank - 120 gallon
Ferts - EI dosing micros/macros
substrate - sand

Alright guys and gals, lets turn your ideas into aquascape gold!
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It would be possible for most people here to go on and on about what they like and don't like about aquascapes. The problem is that by the end of the day, it's your tank and your going to have to live with it.

How you aquascape your tank is very subjective. What you might love, I might think is terrible. However, I will offer a few suggestions and guidelines.

You have a large tank, so you have a lot of options possible. In a small tank your limited to more or less a single scene. In a large tank you can accommodate multiple scenes.

Consider how your and others will view the tank. Will you be right up close or viewing it from across the room? If your right up close, small fish or fish that hide will be fine, but if viewed from across the room the tank may seem empty. If viewing from across the room, you may want fish that are larger and more out in the open.

Have some sort of unifying theme. If your tastes run toward decorations that look like Greek temple ruins, don't break the theme by adding Sponge Bob stuff. With rock work and driftwood use similar types. For example, it usually doesn't look that good if you mix round river cobbles with flat pieces of slate.

Don't try to do everything in the tank. Often less is more from an artistic standpoint. Open spaces can add a lot of contrast to the jungle of plants you might have in other places.

Look at lots of other tanks and pick a few you like, and use one or more of them for inspiration. Don't try to make an exact copy the tank, but try to create that same sort of feeling or look in your tank.

Consider the amount of work you will need top put into maintaining the plants. That thick carpet covering the bottom might look great, but you might need to "mow" it every week to keep it that way.

Don't be afraid to rip out major sections and do them over if they don't work out for you. Most great tanks have had this done to them more than a few times.

Have fun with it. If it stops being fun get a new hobby.

An additional thought - My dad, who did a lot of painting in oils and water colors, would often say that a blank canvas was a terrible thing to face, meaning that choices about what he was going to do with it needed to be made.
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Alright here is what I am starting with....

What I need....
1)more red
2)thick bushy plants in the back corners
3)something in the middle back

Let me know what you think!


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