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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I'm setting up my first big planted tank, and I'm keen for some feedback on what I'm doing. So far I've gotten my substrate and rocks down, pics attached.

In the gap in the middle I want to make a sand 'lake', and possibly place some smaller pebbles around it. On top of the tallerrocks I'm thinking about trying to glue some moss.

My feeling right now is that the lake is a bit too centered.. thoughts? I remember reading something about a golden ratio..

Later this week I'm on to buying plants. Any advice on some good beginner plants that I won't kill too easily? I have C02 and 4 T5 bulbs. Will I need fertilizer beyond what is in the substrate?

The tank is around 75 gallons (150x45x45).

Thanks in advance! Comments positive and negative welcome.

Michael.
 

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Welcome to this beautiful hobby!

This site will give you all the info you need about maintaining and running tanks.
https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/

Nice tank dimensions!

Don't rush the proces. Good hardscape can take weeks. No rush in planting and running! I know you are excited but after planting hard to make changes and you will have the tank for a while.

Great to put some cosmetic sand in front. Break some stones and place them everywhere for details. Details are important!

Also a big slope (less negative space) gives way more depth. This is not cheap thats why I use a big layer of small lava chunks and top off with 5-10cm soil where I want plants. Lava chunks are also permanent they won't break down like aqua soil. Rough guideline I like slopes with at least 60% of the height of the tank. The smaller the tank the even bigger slope!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited by Moderator)
Really appreciate the feedback. That link was very useful Nigel, I expect I will spend some time there.

I made a few adjustments, in particular I moved the location for the sand lake over so that it is 63% across (I decided to move right instead of left). I won't fill that in with sand until I'm absolutely sure of the layout though. Also adjusted a few of the big stones, and it feels a bit more balanced to me, although it is hard to see in the photos.

Increasing the substrate slope was tough (I ran out of dirt), but I hope to fill up more of that space with plants. 60 liters of aqua soil ain't cheap :p

I've held back placing the smaller stones I have until after I plant, so I can see where they fit in.

Hoping to be able to share some more pics after this weekend. Hopefully my lily pipes have arrived by then too. Those black things are an eyesore!

front view
 

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Please consider small lava chunks for next rescape. You need to buy it once and it doesn't break down. Top it off every scape with 5-10cm soil. Much cheaper this way.

I always scape through the lens of my camera. If it looks good in pictures it looks good IRL IMO. I find it easier to see if things don't fit on pictures.

Consider using a scape box. Moving stones in soil can also crush them.

I still think you need bigger slope. I struggled with this in a running layout hard to fix it later tbh. Some plants can fill further but really better to do changes now.

Sorry I know you put lots of time in it but it looks like some stones that are just put in next to each other. I mean you worked front to back not left to right a.k.a. family photo with stones but it needs more natural flow. I miss something. For example I spoke a brazilian guy last time and he had a really top layout (ranks high in international contest) and he just worked 4 months only on the rockwork. Good work takes time! Never give up if you get frustrated go do something else and go back w/e you like.

Maybe smaller stones (but still big enough that they will be visible after carpet filling in) will give more connection harmony in the layout. Try out lots of things!

On the right there is not really movement in the layout the 3 stones right in the back go lineair down.

Also most rocks are just standing up maybe try to tilt some to make more interesting.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Nigel, really appreciate the considered feedback. I'm in no rush here (other than the wife asking me why I'm still playing with rocks), and I hear where you are coming from. I think I need to substantially rework the ideas in my head.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks Swarley. I polished up the slopes a bit, and added a bit of detail. In particular the shore of the sand lake in the foreground right is framed now. I suspect if I don't do this then the sand and soil will mix.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Day 0

HC and dwarf hairgrass is in. Rocks have been painted with chopped fissiden combo yogurt stew, and tank has been misted.

Fingers crossed !!!

All up I put around 3 gallons of water into the tank. Hopefully not too dry.
 

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I was going to say I liked the first plan over the 2nd, but this 3rd one is the best of both. Really nice.
 

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Day 0

HC and dwarf hairgrass is in. Rocks have been painted with chopped fissiden combo yogurt stew, and tank has been misted.

Fingers crossed !!!

All up I put around 3 gallons of water into the tank. Hopefully not too dry.
How many cups of DHG/HC did you end up using?
 
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