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280L "Cangai Crossing"

Discussion in 'Aquascaping Journals' started by nikko, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. nikko

    nikko New Member

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    NSW, Australia
    Hi everyone


    I would like to share with you my 120cm tank which is around 4 months old. I'm fairly new to aquascaping but like many of you (I suspect) I am seriously addicted. I have 3 nano tanks on the go as well, where I am playing around with various ideas. I appreciate many of the aquascaping styles that have evolved recently but I am still constantly drawn to the simple beauty of the E. tenellus series of tanks that Mr. Amano did several years ago.


    I now spend much of my spare time around the creeks, rivers and coastlines near my home, exploring, collecting, and observing nature at work.


    At the moment, I'm mainly focused on working with stone arrangements and native plants.


    “Cangai Crossing”


    [​IMG]


    Setup Date : April 08
    Tank : 120 x 45 x 60 / 280 litres
    Substrate : Aquasoil, powersand, ADA substrate additives
    Filter : Eheim + glassware
    CO2 : Pressurised
    Lights : Metal Halide (8000k) and PC (6500k) combo
    Ferts : Separate dosing of K, Trace and Macros

    Flora : Glossostigma elationides, Eleocharis caespitosissima, Crassula sp.


    Fauna : Currently I am removing copper from this tank following two nasty outbreaks of an
    unwanted small ramshorn snail. The tank will eventually house a local species of Caridina
    shrimp and a school of approx. thirty Iriatherina werneri.


    The stones and the Crassula sp. were collected from Cangai Crossing on the Mann River in NSW.
    Google Maps - search ' Cangai, NSW, Australia '

    Cheers
    Nick
     
  2. echofish

    echofish New Member

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    Location:
    los Angeles, Echo park
    beautiful.
     
  3. nikko

    nikko New Member

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    Thanks echo.

    Gee it's quiet in here. I thought everyone must be on holidays but at least 97 of you aren't. LOL

    I've just been chatting with folks over at UKAPS. At least they were curious enough to enquire about the 'blue' rocks. :ehhh:

    Anyway for what it's worth here's the hardscape with a more natural colour rendering.

    (I have just made a mental note. 'Have fun and enjoy - they're only plants in a glass box.' ;))

    [​IMG]
     
  4. nikko

    nikko New Member

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    Nick: So I'm curious. How did you get that blue coloration in those rocks?


    Nikko: Beats me mate. The whole photography thing is as much of a mystery to me as is the finer points of balancing an aquarium.


    Nick: Did you change anything from the shoot of the hardscape to the current pic?


    Nikko: Come to think of it I did change a number of things. The tank lights are new and I think the color temperature of the globes may be different. On top of that I might have mucked up the white balance but I'm not sure. Oh and I stuck some blue card in the gap between the top of the tank and the lights to stop light from bleeding out into the room – maybe some blue was reflected off the card and back into the tank. Who knows. I'll play around with things next time I set up the tripod.


    Nick: Photography aside, what improvements do you think you can make to this scape?


    Nikko: Well you know how it is. Sometimes you just need some input from others to give you a fresh perspective. I've been chatting to some folks over at UKAPS and I got some excellent feedback.
    First thing I'm going to do is manipulate the Hairgrass a bit more. I'm going to let it grow forward on the left side of the tank to try and get more of a diagonal aspect to the transition zone between the glosso and the hairgrass. I might even introduce another plant in that area. Also I'm going to remove the Crassula from the right hand side completely and move it over to the left side planting.
    It might be a bit too symmetrical as it is.


    Nick: I see what you're getting at – sounds good. And tell me, what's been your experience with the US aquascaping crew?


    Nikko: Hello Nick...... you're breaking up mate, I can't hear you. Nick.....are you still there? .....hello Nick........Nick?
    :)))
     
  5. Mellonman

    Mellonman New Member

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    Nice rocks !
    Too bad some of them have been "overflowed" by plants... ;)
     
  6. planter

    planter New Member

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    :hi: Hi Nikko....... Nikko? ..... is anybody outhere? ;)

    Sorry mate but couldnt help but laugh at you last post lol.
    You know my opinion (UKAPS) great scape needs a bit of tweaking!
    If you get loneley you know where we are :)>-
     
  7. nikko

    nikko New Member

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    I'm still taking to the UK crew and/or myself. :))

    I do like your thoughts Planter and I'll be making a few small changes over the coming weeks. I'll keep you posted.

    Cheers
     
  8. nikko

    nikko New Member

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    Hi Mellonman

    Yeah the plants ate a few of my stones. Never mind, I think the hardscape is still quite balanced.:)
     
  9. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    Location:
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    Nikko your hilarious! :))

    I found your blue rocks quite interesting. I thought it was probably due to the color temperature of your bulbs. Probably something like a 9325K bulb causing it.

    Why is the scape called Cangai Crossing? There must be some special meaning as I don't actually see a crossing in the scape.

    Overall I think the scape is turning out nicely. I agree, growing out the hairgrass to the left and right sides would help. To be honest, I ultimately think that the downfall of this scape is the lack of height sloping from front to back. An increased slope would help accent the rocks, which current in the flat slope seem unmoving/uninteresting. It's almost like a flat grassy plain that is interesting for only a moment.

    Critical eye aside, the scape is a lovely scape and I think it is beautiful in itself. There are just a few tweekings that could be done to enhance the overall interest of the scape. Can't wait to see what you do as the scape develops further.

    -John N.
     
  10. nikko

    nikko New Member

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    Hi John

    I agree, it must be the bulbs. The lights on this tank are a Metal Halide and Power Compact combo which I bought used and I believe they were set up for a marine tank. I replaced the MH globes with 8000K units but I left the PC globes as is, and I am not sure of their colour temperature.

    The photos were taken with the PC lights only. I felt the MH lights were so bright that they flattened everything out too much. I'll play around with the lighting on the next shoot.

    The name 'Cangai Crossing' simply refers to the place on the Mann River where the stones and the Crassula sp. were collected.

    The lack of height at the back is quite deliberate as I was indeed looking for a low 'rolling plain' scape with a lot of water volume above it (the tank is 24" high). From the side view the high point is in the centre and the substrate then tapers off towards the front and back.

    From the front view there is a mound on the left which then moves to a valley about half way along and then another mound on the right. If I was to change anything I would have made the mounds a little higher and the valley a little deeper to exaggerate the 'rolling hills' a bit.

    Alternatively a simple planting of something low growing like HC would have made the hills more obvious.

    We live and learn. :ehhh:

    I have already made one change and that is I have removed the Crassula from the right hand side and added it to the left hand side planting.

    I am amazed at the speed of the Glosso and Hairgrass growth. I am tweezing out bits of Hairgrass every week as it simply wants to spread everywhere. It won't be long before I have more of a diagonal planting line across the length of the tank.

    Also I am taking delivery of a school of 60 Irianthera werneri in the next couple of weeks and I'm pretty excited about that.

    I'll post some new pics then.

    Cheers
    Nick
     
  11. iam_koi

    iam_koi New Member

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    yes..well balanced. good job! :)
     
  12. StanChung

    StanChung Aspiring Aquascaper

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    A good dose of Aussie humour!
    I only talk to myself in the presence of others! :lol:

    As for your tank, I like the growth and would suggest that you add more height to the main stone, looks a little empty up there.
     
  13. nikko

    nikko New Member

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    Hi
    iam koi and Stan.
    I'm posting this morning from Jackadgery, on the Mann River where the stones from this
    scape came from. This place keeps drawing me back and I must do a serious
    photo essay of the area one of these days.

    Stan, I take your point about the main stone. While I don't want to change the stone itself
    I am beefing up the planting around and behind the stone with more Crassula sp.(which has grown
    taller since the photo) to add a little more height and reinforce this as the focal point of the
    scape.

    This plant has quite a different growth habit in it's natural state here, where it grows as a low
    carpet plant (emmersed and in shallow water) with much smaller, rounded leaves.

    I found this newspaper article about the part of the Mann River where we are staying this weekend.

    Old Grafton Rd attracts riders and drivers | The Courier-Mail

    Cheers for now. Breakfast is over and we're on our way to another part of the river, before we return
    home this afternoon.
    Nick
     
  14. nikko

    nikko New Member

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    I thought I would add a quick update on this tank and at the same time express a couple of concerns.

    The Crassula sp. has now put on substantial growth with some stems reaching two thirds of the height of the tank. I need to do a bit more trimming and rearranging to get the desired effect but I can see this working well.

    However the problems I am having with this layout also relate to plant growth and habit.

    The Glosso has surprised me with the speed of it's growth and it's habit of forming layers. I would say that within a month or so the Glosso has the ability to layer itself three times or more, with the resulting growth obscuring a lot of the smaller stones.

    I revisited the Amano Nature Nquariums books recently and in volume 3, I found a scape called 'Hill Rug' in which the potential for Glosso to engulf a tank set me back on my bum. Have a look if you have it and you will understand my concern.:eek:

    LOL

    On a similar note, the spread of Hairgrass is also becoming a maintenance issue. The runners creep under the substrate at an alarming speed and threaten to overwhelm the Glosso unless they are tweezed out on a weekly basis.

    I'm not sure I want to do this much trimming and tweezing.

    The first thing I am going to explore is to see whether it would be an option to replace the G. elatioides with G. diandrum. I have no first hand experience with G. diandrum but I believe it is a smaller plant which requires high light to do well. I am planning to do a small trial next week to see how it goes.
    Has anyone had any experience with G. diandrum that they would like to share?

    Depending on the outcome of this trial I will then look at potential replacements for the hairgrass.
     
  15. MARIMOBALL

    MARIMOBALL New Member

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    Nikko your tank looks great. It has a clean and calm feel to it. Consider yourself fortunate to have access to those great looking stones. I do agree with every one else that the substrate should have been sloped high, because over time it tends to settle in and flatten. I suggest you allow the hairgrasas to blend with the glosso but not add any new plants. Do you have a full tank shot with your lights visible? Are the fish in already?
     
  16. nikko

    nikko New Member

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    Hi marimoball and thanks.

    I'm actually in a bit of a quandry at the moment regarding the maintenance issues with the Glosso and the Hairgrass and I am seriously considering replanting the tank.

    I don't want to change the original idea very much but I think I am going to have to try and execute it with different plants.

    The Hairgrass is driving me absolutely nuts because it is so rapidly invasive and I'm finding even the Glosso growth obscures the stones far too quickly.

    I just received a quantity of Glosso diandrum, which could possibly be a better alternative and I have placed a small pot of it in the tank to observe it's growth habit. If it is successfull then I will more than likely replant the tank.

    If I do replant, I will take the opportunity to remove some substrate from the front of the tank as it is deeper than it needs to be, and this should give me a steeper slope.

    The replacement of the Hairgrass is a more difficult issue as I really like the fine appearance of this plant and I think it contributes to the overall calmness of the tank.

    I have a native species of Lilaeopsis (L. brisbanica) which may be a more manageable alternative from a maintenance aspect, although it remains to be seen whether it will stand up aesthetically.

    My big lesson from this tank is that a living, breathing aquascape is a far different beast to an idealised photograph of a frozen moment in time.

    I'll be making a decision on where I go from here in a couple of weeks I imagine.

    Cheers
     

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