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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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Hello Gordon. Welcome to TPT!

I was in your shoes only a few months ago, and this is the kind of thing I have learned. Stock Lighting normally cannot grow many, I f any plants. The Fluval Roma is not something we get here so I only have their website to go off of which does not tell me much about the lighting, but from what I have read it will not do much as far as plant growth. I recomend a dual-fixture T5HO lighting fixture. I believe 125L converts to about 33 gal (I am just more comfortable dealing with gallons) should give you great low-med lighting. With that kind of lighting, you will not need C02 and can forgo all but simple ferts. Glass Canopies will be needed, but most T5HO are easily attached to another fixture making upgrading to a high-tech setup easier if that is what you want to do later. As far as plants, I used Java Fern, Java Moss, Rotalia Indicatia (spelling may be wrong there), Amazon Sword, several types of cryptocoryne, and Hornwort. The great thing about these plants are that they are easy to care for, look good, and can easily taken out and substituted for other plants. Anachris is another good option. For substrate I love Seachem Florite. I found that the look was great and it grows plants very well but initial set up can be difficult, but their are tons of threats around here that help to solve the issues you may have. I find that natural looking driftwood, rocks and plants in a close to random (but still aesthetically pleasing) configuration makes the tank look Natural but stunning.
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