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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Background info:
This tank was given to me for free, and I couldn't pass it up. This tank size and dimension is really awesome, albeit hard to scape. Long story short, I have had this tank for over a year, and have never really been happy with it. I rescaped it today (10/6/2012) and it turned out really nice.

This is my first real scape.

Most current FTS:
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Big mama enjoying the space. She's been laying once a week!
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I will put the most current shot on this post along with a new post.

Planned fauna:
Some kind of wild type shrimp colony
Breeding pair of angelfish
Otocinclus

Planned flora:
2 ruffled sword plants
Dwarf hairgrass belem
Cryptocoryne nurii/wendtii
Java fern windelov
Fissidens fontanus or maybe some fissidens I collected in oklahoma
Anubias coffeefolia [needed]
Hemianthus micranthemoides

Possibly some kind of bucephalandra, those are so cool

Now for the journaly part!

Expenses so far:
Filter, heater, and tank came free
~$20 for cfl lights
$1.49 for topsoil
$11.50 for rocks

I filled up some panty hose with some old aquarium gravel I had laying around and placed them in the tank to give my largest rocks a place to sit upon:
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Then I found where I wanted my rocks to sit:
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And then filled it with dirt and voila!
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Critiques welcome. I'm pretty dang happy with the scape, so I probably won't move a lot around except for dirt. If you think dirt should be placed anywhere else please speak your mind. I'm not sure why but it seems a little off so suggestions welcome.

Let me know what you think!

ALSO:
Help me pick a wild type shrimp species! Something that can hide well enough from 2 angelfish. Maybe wild type cherries or green babaultis?
Hairgrass is coming in wednesday!
 

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It'll get cloudy any time a fish gets near the bottom as well. Just be ready to do a lot of filter cleaning, this and fine particulate settling on plant leaves are my biggest gripes with soil tanks, and I've always done them with caps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
wont the dirt get kicked up every time you trim or replant?
Yes, but not too badly. It'll settle back kind of like in a lake. Luckily, this topsoil luckily settles really quickly. I'd just have to turn the filter off until it was clear enough. I am also doing a dry start method on this tank.
It'll get cloudy any time a fish gets near the bottom as well. Just be ready to do a lot of filter cleaning, this and fine particulate settling on plant leaves are my biggest gripes with soil tanks, and I've always done them with caps.
I am planning on dry start method to fix that problem. I will not have bottom feeder fish, only angelfish, otocinclus, and maybe some wild type shrimp in there. The particulate wont really get on the dwarf hairgrass I think, and if I have shrimp then it will be cleaned off by their activity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
love those rocks, their so round.
Thanks! Hence the name 'Smooth Hillside' :) They're really awesome, I went to a rock store and got them cheap.
looks good
Thanks!
Interesting method. Never have seen a dirt tank without a cap. It will be good to see the results.
I've never done it before either, but I've heard of someone doing it with success and have been encouraged to try it so I decided I would :)

Still doing some small tweaks to the dirt, to make it more like a naturally eroded hill.
 

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Cool hardscape, the triad of round stones is very relaxing and grounded. With the two fore stones being similarly sized, I would move one of them forward and the other further back and in to create a bit more asymmetry. I guess if the soil gets to be a pain you could always cap it but it will be interesting to see how it works for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Cool hardscape, the triad of round stones is very relaxing and grounded. With the two fore stones being similarly sized, I would move one of them forward and the other further back and in to create a bit more asymmetry. I guess if the soil gets to be a pain you could always cap it but it will be interesting to see how it works for you.
Thanks for your compliments and input! They're not as the same as they look, and they are a pain to move. I think I may leave them, because the way I'm planting this tank it'll change the perspective of it. The rock on the right will have its front more covered up by plants (hairgrass) and will look further back. Here's a top view of it. Besides, they're a little more off center than they appear.
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My plants are going to be in thursday actually, I forgot about columbus day.

Also, should I try to dry start my windelov java fern? They will be superglued to the sides towards the base of the rocks. I'm not sure if I should or not so I'd like some input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Day 5 Dry Start
Got my hairgrass in today! Got it planted, and added some windelov java ferns I had been growing emersed as well.
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For some reason my pictures have a really greenish color to them.
My wall color makes for a nice background.

I have two ruffled swords, where should I put them in this scape? I also have a few crypts that I was planning on putting in there as well, so where should I put them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks, I'll watch out for it. It's just really clear right now so I dont think there is anything going on.

The hairgrass is starting to grow, I can see some small new stems coming out of the places I put them in the substrate.
 
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