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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! I'm currently playing around with arranging rocks to scape this 29g tank and would love some feedback. I'm also going back and forth on whether I want to add height with wood or if I want to leave it as is and achieve height with just plants. I'm planning on planting Cryptocoryne crispatula and spiralis and Elocharis vivipara in the back left, transitioning down to Crypt. becketti 'petchi' and lucens and Juncus repens through the middle, and then Helanthium tennelum and Crypt. albida 'brown' in the lower right, trident fern on the tops of some of the rocks, and various Bucephalandra in among the rocks in the foreground. I might change that plant list up a bit, but the general idea is lots of crypts and generally grassy plants.

Wood Rectangle Display case Natural material Gas


I appreciate any feedback you have for me.

Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There is no right answer here; you should do whatever you find most interesting. But my vote is to add some height via hardscape, either through adding wood, adding more rocks (esp. at the back), or raising up the substrate (at the back). A root-like wood piece would look great on the right, for example.
Thanks!

One idea I'm considering is putting a rock further behind the main line of rocks near the left side focal point. I just can't really put it in until there's substrate in the tank which won't be for a bit. I am planning on banking the substrate quite high in the back, more or less commensurate with the level of the stones.

Wood Bedrock Soil Human leg Rock


One of the reasons I'm going back and forth on whether to include wood is that this layout already has quite a bit of directionality to it, and wood could interact with that in a bunch of different ways depending on the specific piece, either strengthening it (could be a good thing or a bad thing) or diluting it. I might get some wood to play around with and see if I like it and just not include it if I don't.
 

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I really love the rockscape and I think it will look pretty great once the substrate is in. I would only add wood if you found a piece you really loved... wouldn’t add those generic branches everyone has (sorry everyone 😅 ). The rocks give a grand feeling of scale and I think the wood could take away from that... though I do agree with something in the back maybe.
 

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I see that you have some material at the bottom, under the rocks — a white checkerboard type mat. What is that and is it common to use it? Would it be necessary (or helpful) if all the hardscape in a tank will be going on top of a sand substrate? Does the mat protect the glass bottom from scratches? Thanks!
 

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6g office nano, 20g cube, 29g cherry shrimp, 2 x 40g breeder community and 75g in the works
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I see that you have some material at the bottom, under the rocks — a white checkerboard type mat. What is that and is it common to use it? Would it be necessary (or helpful) if all the hardscape in a tank will be going on top of a sand substrate? Does the mat protect the glass bottom from scratches? Thanks!
It's "egg crate" light diffuser used to better distribute the weight of the rock. It super cheap at most hardware stores and easy to cut to size with a pair of wire snips. It's great to use to protect the glass from scratches and hard points that may cause glass failure. I have some in my one scape that also has a lot of heavy rock.

I kind of like it as is and would love to see how it fills in after planting, but then again I don't have to look at it every day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I kind of like it as is and would love to see how it fills in after planting, but then again I don't have to look at it every day.
I think the rock work is strong enough without wood, the wood might even take away from it IMO. Also make sure whether you add the wood or not that you have room between the glass and the hardscape to clean it, because you will need to do so.
Thanks! I'm planning on housing a school of danios in this tank as well, so I'm leaning towards no wood as well to make sure that they have ample swimming room. I made sure that I have room to clean the glass in the front. I'll need to check the sides, thanks for reminding me of that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This is just vesicular basalt (lava rock that has relatively few, large bubbles in it) that I picked up in river beds (read: dry washes mostly, because desert) locally.

I picked up some manzanita wood (literally from a broken manzanita branch on the ground) at a rest stop while travelling today. I might see how it looks with the rock scape, but I do really like it without. The wood might just end up decorating one of the shelves in my living room.
 

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I think the decision to use wood or not really depends on a few different things:

1. You have a specific idea in mind and it requires a branch or two
2. Building a really cool scape you have in mind that would require just too much rock so large pieces of wood can help fill in some of the space
3. You already have the wood in hand and after putting it into the tank it seems to fit perfectly so you leave it

I like your scape the way it is, but it's hard to say how wood would add or detract from the scape without actually seeing it in there.

Whenever I've done scapes, and this is mostly limited to reef scapes, I usually come at it from two different points of view....I either have a scape or idea in mind and then make my hardscape fit by using epoxy and drilling rock with acrylic rods inserted, or I have no idea what I want to do and start stacking reef rock until something cool emerges.

ETA: with my build, the one that is taking forever lol, I had an idea in mind and the very first pieces of hardscape I bought was wood. I saw two pieces that really fit what I'm thinking about, but I very well may wind up with a scape that is far from what I imagined, just because the specific pieces I have get turned, angled, raised, and after adding rock the whole idea changes because something I like better emerges from playing around with all the scape materials.
 

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In my experience if you want to add wood to a tank it needs to be the first thing to go down. Basically start with the biggest hardscape item (usually the wood unless its a really small piece) and then work your way down to the smallest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for your input @minorhero and @ddiomede My original plan for this tank involved wood to add height, but I quite like the scape with just rocks.

As I mentioned before I did pick up some manzanita wood and I've been experimenting with that a bit, pictures below.

Blue Wood Arthropod Natural material Gas


Picture frame Plant Waste container Flowerpot Houseplant


Wood Twig Rectangle Display case Natural material


I especially like the third one.

I think I would enjoy either with wood or without, but they would be very different aquascapes and I need to decide on the vibe I'm going for. I'm enjoying the process of rearranging things and seeing what the wood (and before that, stones) look like in different locations and orientations.
 

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Thanks for your input @minorhero and @ddiomede My original plan for this tank involved wood to add height, but I quite like the scape with just rocks.

As I mentioned before I did pick up some manzanita wood and I've been experimenting with that a bit, pictures below.

View attachment 1042725

View attachment 1042726

View attachment 1042727

I especially like the third one.

I think I would enjoy either with wood or without, but they would be very different aquascapes and I need to decide on the vibe I'm going for. I'm enjoying the process of rearranging things and seeing what the wood (and before that, stones) look like in different locations and orientations.
I really like the third one also. It really adds some interesting lines to the scape.
 
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