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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Racine Dans La Rivière 180 Gallons

Ferny wood is no more. The ferns were taking over the tank and no room for ground covering plants so new plan. Wood is now the backdrop and is covered with ferns and Anubias and maybe moss if I get around to it. The epiphyte branch is still in operation but needs a lot of work.

Edited the title to reflect the main elements of the tank. Congo tetras, Anubias and Bolbitis are all from the Congo/West Africa and one of the main languages of the area is French. Racine Dans la Riviere is french for root in river.

Idea is a twisted tree root reaching down from an eroded bank with large rocks tumbled from the bank and plants growing in the protected crevices between rocks.

I went ADA AquaSoil this time. The Eleocharis Belem looks really sad until it is a good sod in the lighter and bigger mix of clay and gravel Ferny Wood had as a substrate. To reduce the amount of AS used I sewed up pouches of window screen and filled with the old dirty substrate. These were placed on the tank floor. I left as much mulm in the tank as I could as well. AS is about 1/2" thick at the left and front of tank, 2" on top of the pouches which are about 2" deep, hoping the moderate 3-4" slope holds. Rocks are the same as in Ferny Wood.
Tank on June 23, 2015
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Then worked the larger of the old wood I had plus a box of manzanita from Tom Barr into a branch to run along the back of the tank. Tried to make it as narrow as possible. Also made up a root for the right side of the tank.
Tank on June 24, 2015
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The planted tank. It took me about a week to get the plants back into the tank after removing them so while the tank looks okay here there was serious melting in the future! I made up 'bolos' from pebbles and rags to hold the wood down and those worked really well, you can just see one in the photo.
Tank on or just after planting on June 27, 2015
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The tank this week. Blyxa really likes AS a lot and is growing better than it ever has before. The rocks had been baked in the sun for a week and the moss came right back, I have been very lazy and haven't done any work in reestablishing it on the rocks and it looks great. I would like it on all the rocks in time.

I did have to polish the tank panes this week and the pennywort does get diatoms on the oldest leaves and there has been a little BBA on rocks and sad Anubias leaves but increasing light very gradually, removing those dying leaves and applying metricide during water changes seems to have contained the problem. Haven't seen any GDA or GSA at all so far.

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All equipment is the same as the previous incarnation.
LEDzeal 5' programmable light on for 14.5 hours a day, mostly at less than 30% full power
40 gallon DIY sump equipped with
-5" of vertical sheets of Poret foam as filter media
-20" Cerges reactor powered with Rio2500 pump
-Laguna max-flo 1500-1300gph pump, both have a foam prefilter on
-200 watt stainless steel heater in sump
-cheap digital thermometer.
20 pound CO2 tank with a huge regulator [Matheson?] equipped with a solenoid. Gas is on from lights on to about 6pm with pH going from 7.6 down to 6.2 or so when light is at about 20% of maximum power
50% water changes once a week with a python dumping water into garden - severe drought here, no wasting water!
Fertilized with estimative index daily and lots of GH booster at water changes

The fish were in a 29 gallon tank outside in shade from June 19 to July 10 when the ammonia and nitrite zeroed out in the tank. I stored a lot of Anubias with them and there was never any ammonia or nitrite detected in the small tank. I made daily 50% water changes in the display tank to reduce ammonia levels the first week, every other day the second week and then tank was ready for the fish. This was in spite of the filter sponges getting a good rinse out in tap water and left dry for a week.

By chance my son decided he wanted a planted tank! I sent him all my leftover plants including some weed Crypts, old substrate I rinsed out and sifted to get rid of the large gravel, wood and rocks that didn't make it into this scape and even found a filter for his new 20 gallon long. His family is enjoying seeing guppies and shrimp in their new digs.
 

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Looks pretty radical! I like the slope and contours of the tank. Is it a custom acrylic? 40 gallon sump! My tank is only 40 gallons. LOL
 

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Looks pretty much just like you said, a tree root hanging down into the river/w a few
fallen in also. That general theme I'm steady trying to picture for a new build 10g.
Not much luck so far on any clear picture in my mind about it yet other than the idea
that I want the entire bottom covered/w rocks sunken slightly in the sub/w plants etc
growing from between them.
Your set up is real nice looking...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks!

I bought the tank used but believe it was a custom made tank, the top brace is more open than usual and peninsula overflows are a bit unusual. If I cannot have a rimless tank then this one is the next best thing. It is just what I was looking for.

You could easily build a scape that would look just like my attempt with no problem at all. A 40 has great depth and you don't have to work hard to build to the top with wood. You probably would be better off not allowing the Blyxa to grow into a 12" wide bush is all.

Raymond, start collecting rocks and once you have double what will cover the bottom go for it. I started out by choosing the 3 largest as the main rocks and after placing those in a pleasing pattern the others were plopped into place.

One surprise with the wood like this is the fish look really great in front of the wood and plants.
 

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This looks great!
Now I want blyxa. He he, no room for a 12" bush though, that's the size of my biggest tank.
 

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Amazing tank. I was going to post a thread about the advantages of growing plants emerged and submerged in the same tank. And you are already doing it. What made you do that? And do you know the advantages other than lot of fert and lot of CO2?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Aplomado and retcheto, thanks!

Daisy Mae, Blyxa doesn't have to be a 12" bush, it will grow that large if you let it. I'm a sucker for happy plants and hate disturbing them just because they interfere with my plan for the tank. I pulled the 2 largest bushes up and replanted more reasonably sized bits this week, tank looks much more serene now. Maybe still too large a plant if your tank is 12x12" though!

Plantera, there are lots of ways to grow plants in and around tanks. I've always had suspended lighting over my big tanks and that means emersed plants fit logically. I failed miserably at just putting pots behind the tank as it was too difficult to keep them watered, Theatermusic87's over tank sump plan would have been perfect for that particular setup. Stem plants have always grown out of the tank and flowered for me which is pretty and interesting to see but under water growth is messy and the emersed growth shades too much of the tank, hydrophyte's riparium planters would have worked better. I was inspired by CrazyDaz's 200 gallon Riparium to make this faux branch from cut and heat bent PVC covered with felt and wicking fabric. See this post in my previous journal, Ferny Wood, on how it was made.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Got the Blyxa sorted out but that pennywort is conning me into leaving it too long!

All the fish were wondering why the lights got so bright. See how bad Bolbitis looks? It was big and healthy when it went in then promptly lost all its fronds. In a few months I hope the wood will be nearly invisible.

That big crypt is looking better than ever, the colors are amazing under LED.

Photo of Fissidens covered rock is sideways. The moss spread naturally after the rock was left outside in warm dry weather. Someday I'll figure out how to get it like that on purpose! Two rocks on the left are nearly covered with what is probably Java moss, looks great.

Full tank view. The snails, platies and fast growing bristlenose babies seem to be doing a great job on algae. Right now moss and the stray java fern babies are a bit annoying.

I finally got the 20 pound CO2 tank and power strip covered with a box of plywood. The big tank is about an inch shy of fitting in the stand! I still need to decide how to finish the wood but even unfinished it looks much cleaner having all the wires and equipment covered up.

Cut up weed moss and some stray hairgrass and smeared on the epiphyte branch then covered with plastic wrap loosely to see what happens. Extra wicking fabric on the fern roots hasn't helped them a bit, they are still fading away.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So amazing!


What are the plants growing out of the tank?
The healthy one is a kangaroo paw fern, actually in the same genus as Java fern. The others are autumn fern and a large leaved maidenhair fern.
 

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Very nice and unique scape. Would love to see close up pics of the foregrounds, nice patches.
New and different, what i look forward to seeing nowadays.
 

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Thanks!
You could easily build a scape that would look just like my attempt with no problem at all. A 40 has great depth and you don't have to work hard to build to the top with wood. You probably would be better off not allowing the Blyxa to grow into a 12" wide bush is all.

Raymond, start collecting rocks and once you have double what will cover the bottom go for it. I started out by choosing the 3 largest as the main rocks and after placing those in a pleasing pattern the others were plopped into place.

One surprise with the wood like this is the fish look really great in front of the wood and plants.
I'll need to "study" the rock bottoms in the lake around me first.
Probably the best "example picture" that I have. As you can see no two
are repetitious size or shape wise. About one foot of water over those.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/picture.php?albumid=14289&pictureid=87898
Could just take a picture and take home the rocks in the picture and
duplicate it. But it's a 10g tank. As in size of rocks in the picture won't
fit the tank. It's held me up for the last 4-5 months now.
But your tank is awesome. Are you doing attempts to duplicate
something you've seen or are these tanks of yours spontaneous
outburst of your creativity ?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The little bit that sticks in my brain of all the awesome tanks over all the years I've been working on a planted tank is my inspiration as so far I haven't found any natural underwater gardens that are exactly what I am looking for. Riverside by Rudy Lathouders is the closest inspiration for my current tank then I actually look at it and it is so different! AquaAcapingWorld

Taking photos is an excellent idea. Remember that even an untouched and completely natural rock arrangement can be framed in such a way it becomes art. Crop the photos you take to get the golden mean and rule of thirds and all that. See the varying sizes of rocks? Use that scale for your 10 gallon tank, a single big one, then 3-5 ones 1/5-1/2 that size then rubble. Really no different than any other iwagumi arrangement. I'd be collecting rocks and playing with arrangements in a 3 sized box the size of your tank.
 
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