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Planning a first proper aquascaping project.

1620 Views 12 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Higher Thinking
Good evening,

My name is Gordon, I'm 16 and looking for some advice on aquascaping. Currently have 4 tanks, too many I know!

Recently we've had our dining room redecorated, including flooring so our biggest tank that was in there - a Fluval Roma 125L, had to be moved out. Now, tomorrow likely it's being moved back - it is in an absolutely awful algae ridden state.

We've currently got many small community tropical fish, but I've never liked the way it's looked, there have been just a few rock like ornaments recently.

With a new dining room, what we'd really like is a beautiful looking aquarium that's just incredible to look at when eating and makes guests to our house awe at.

Seeing as the tank needs to have most water removed in the moving process, the next few days, whilst I'm on school holidays especially, is an ideal time to redo the tank. And I've volunteered to carry out the project myself.

Tomorrow, we plan on temporarily housing the fish in their tank water in makeshift containers. Then storing the majority of the water in barrels from our LFS, removing enough for a regular water change. Then the tank and its cabinet will be moved to its place in the room, get the contents of the cabinet refilled and the electrical devices organised from the socket. From here with a completely empty tank - thoroughly cleaned, I plan to aquascape something fairly simple for a beginner such as me that looks similar to the pictures of aquariums I see online.

Ive got a sheet of paper and a pencil out at the moment, ready to plan this out. But, whilst I've done quite a bit of research, and seen many youtube clips of the process and I'm fairly well informed. I have a few questions - mainly to compose a shopping list of equipment and items I will require.

Lighting - we have the stock bulbs that came with the tank - will these be adequate? - I'm aiming on a "low light / low tech" - which leads onto the next thing;

CO2? - simply, is one of these systems necessary? My mum says shed rather not have to get and maintain one, even though ill no doubt be doing the work. Are there plant species available that wont require one - I'm aware camboomba is one, I have it in the tank in my bedroom. And if there's no option but to have a co2 supply, what is the simplest system to use?

Substrate - previously we'd had white gravel, which is no option for plant growth and we plan to get rid of anyway. We like the look of the typical yellow sand but I understand we require a different substrate for areas where plants grow, I've seen this in videos - people using cardboard to seperate the types. I'm aware of the yellow sand type, but what is the other one needed? And are other ingredients necessary as well, I've seen people putting in additives before the substrate?

Finally, what sort of look/style would you recommend? How should one go about the design? As stated above, I will plan out the look prior to building on paper. But what is the technique for "the art of aquascaping" I know of various types of plants for separate areas of the display and that they should be planted around the hard scape, but what elements of hardscape should I use and how should they be arranged, where should plants be placed around the hardscape and what species would you suggest - as low maintenance as possible ideally. I realise this a very vague question, but any pointers would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks for your help in assisting me and I look forward to using the forum in the future!
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Good job on the scape. Keeping goldfish with tropical fish is usually not recommended though because you must either keep the goldfish in water that is too warm for them or else keep tropical fish in water which is too cool. I would certainly watch out for the gold fish eating plants. Goldfish are big, dirty, plant eating goblins.

I don't know what you would be storing all the water you take out for a water change in barrels. I would assume it was because you are trying to keep the bacteria colony stabilized in the tank, but this will not accomplish that. All of the beneficial bacteria is housed within the filter and within the tank itself. The bacteria live on surfaces, not free floating in the water. If you took your entire tank apart and scrubbed it down, then you likely ruined the tank parameters. Hopefully you kept your filtration running in those makeshift buckets because that would allow the bacteria to stay alive for a while longer. Bacteria all need a food source and oxygen to survive. I'm assuming they could live without a food source for a while, but they wont survive the day being in an unplugged filter.

All that to say, I would keep a very watchful eye on your tank parameters, i.e. nitrite and ammonia. If you have other tanks then take some of that media out and use if it you need it.

· Premium Member
1,531 Posts

Thanks. The water was stored as the tank had to be moved across the house, and you can't completely 100% change it without harming fish? Also, I am aware of the goldfish, I'd rather not have them but my mum won't let me get rid of them plus they're "pets" but fortunately they've not shown any interest so far in eating. I've given high doses of nutria fin cycle as if the tank was new and water conditions only have about 0.25 nitrate after a test.
When you say .25, are you actually referring to nitrate or nitrite? Cuz there is a big difference. I don't think test kits show .25 for nitrate.
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