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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,
So I've tried numerous layouts with this tank and I just can't get the scape right. This is the temporary lay out just to get the dirftwood in there and the plants while I play around with things.

I've got some emersed
Sagittaria subulata planted, 2 small Echinodorus amazonicus, and some Hygrophila I believe to be Hygrophila polysperma. The large peice of driftwood on the left is covered in Taxiphyllum barbieri, I just recently trimmed it down. I'm thinking of putting more plants in there but a lot of my current plants have poor growth when I put them in this tank, the 4x80w t5's have a hard time keeping plants compact. I might pick up some Microsorum pteropus or other ferns. The tank is only 18" in width and a tall 32" in height, so It's a nightmare for me to scape.

I'm just really lost with this tank, someone please help:help:

Plant Water Pet supply Organism Aquatic plant

Water Underwater Fin Wood Marine biology

Water Plant Pet supply Organism Wood
 

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Try long tapering plants like Vallisneria and some crypts.. Some crinums and aponogetons and sword plants can also fill up vertical space easily. Rotalas and big hygrophilas like tiger, pinnatidfida, corymbosa, angustifolia can also fill up the vertical zones. Ludwigias can do the same too.
 

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You could do a moss scape, just strap moss down to river rocks and lay them down. You ll get a carpet in a month or so. If you want stems, my fav is Asian ambulia, it's a weed once it's establish but its beautiful and doesn't req high light like cabomba.
 

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For starters, make the directions of the driftwood match. By this I'm saying that the left driftwood is pointing up, but the right is pointing down. See what you can do to the driftwood to make both pieces look like they grew from the same thing.

Two pieces of driftwood like that could be spread almost to either end of the tank to make a valley shape or put together to make an island. How you arrange that is completely up to you. Personally, I've always preferred valleys as they tend to look more secluded and large.

You always want a focal point. Right now, it's easily your moss-covered driftwood. The problem with this focal point is it is too clearly different. No other place in the tank appears to be covered in moss, making it look unnatural. Generally if you want to include a plant, you should have it in more than one place in the aquarium to give it a natural look. A focal point can be open space mind you, so with a valley you can use this to your advantage by arranging and spacing the wood in a fashion so that the focal area is at the golden ratio (1:1.618). It's not strict and you don't need to have it at the golden ratio if it doesn't look right, but generally it does make an aquascape look more natural.

As far as plants go, I wouldn't mix many large-leaved plants with smaller-leaved ones. Again, this goes back to it looking natural. A real ecosystem doesn't have plants from all over the world, it generally has stem of broad leaved plants. You seem to have medium light, so doing certain stems and most crypts/swords would be doable. Groundcover may work, but if you do, pick one that looks like the rest of your plants (example-grass for swords and HC for bushy stems). As of now, you look to have mainly sword type plants and some wisteria, I would say if you want mainly swords to probably drop the wisteria. Maybe keep the moss if you spread it to your other piece.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the comments :)

I'm going to trim the moss down and thin it out and attach some to the other driftwood as well. Wouldn't having a large piece of driftwood on either side look too symmetrical? I flipped the other piece now just need to cut it down.
I also don't have wisteria in the tank btw lol.

Water Plant Vertebrate Green Organism
 

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I would be arranging the wood in a triangle to one side as the wood is massive and I don't think there is enough room in the tank for two wood arrangements. Take it all out and play with arranging it [wrap the mossy wood with a wet rag to save the moss]. Once you are happy with the hard scape the planting will take care of itself. That great wood currently on the right could be displayed more prominently. The other wood is all nice but could be planted with java fern or bolitis for height - the sides of them, not all the way to the top. The top of the wood could be at the golden mean, about 3/5ths of the way to the top of the tank. With just the wood looking right you would feel more comfortable about the appearance of the tank.

Crypt. balansae would love the height of your tank and would drape along the water surface faster than you would think. Criniums would be great in there, love that suggestion. If Cyperus grows tall enough [I haven't grow it yet] it has a more formal vertical growth pattern than C. balansae or Crinium. Apons scare me, they are even bigger tank busters than sword plants. You could use a taller ground covering plant, maybe Blyxa or hairgrass and once the background plant and ground cover are in place arrange the other plants you have as you please.
 

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Hey traveller, its highly unlikely that light is your problem with 4x80w T5, it is far more likely that flow and in-turn distribution of nutrients and especially CO2 or what cause your leggy growth. Low light is a highly exaggerated problem in most situations, dont get me wrong i love this forum but low light is misconception that gets banded around far too much.
I spent months upgrading lights etc until Clive actually explained the relationship of light, nutrients and plants to me scientifically.
Reliable even co2 distribution, excess nutrients and reasonable light is the key to compact growth.
With this formula you will be able to grow all just the most fussy plants.
Dont get hung up on light!!!
I run a 55g 28" deep with 2x 54w and have no problems now, have grown HC, plenty of reds etc...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Kathy :)

I'm planning to place it on the left, but I'm going to re-attach the moss to the piece first and also pick up some Java fern to be the focal point on the wood. I'm kind of lost as to where I should place plants and whether I should leave the other side of the tank without any hardscape. I have smaller pieces of driftwood which are visible in the original pics, don't know whether I should use them on the other side.

Here's some crappy ms paint sketches I just to so you can kind of visualise it's placement in the tank and where the focal point will be.

Rectangle Organism Pet supply Art Display device

Wood Window Tree Tints and shades Art
 
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