An apology if this is in the wrong place this is my first post! I have been reading this forum for a while; I find it all very interesting, I love some of beautiful creations shown on these pages. My interest is on the rise as I am planning a new aquarium this year. I am looking for something special this time, however I have an aversion to fighting against nature. So my intentions are to work with what I have naturally, as I have done for the past twenty years or so. My problem is the local water: PH 8.+ and above GH 12-20 KH 10-15 I would dearly love a chunk of Amazonian rainforest but it’s simply not practical for me. As a consequence I have kept mainly Marines. Though I currently keep Cichlids from lake Tanganyika, as you can imagine the natural habitat for these fellows is pretty desolate, inhospitable to plants and even if conditions were right for the plants, then the fish would probably eat them. What’s my aim? The new tank will be a decent size decent depth and height, at the moment I’m dreaming 4ft x 2 x 2 to fit into an available space though it could possibly go bigger if I’m very lucky. I would like to stick to what I know when it comes to the inhabitants and I was thinking species tank of Tanganyikan Shell Dwellers, -Neolamprologus. This also dictates the gravel I use, as these little fellows dig and dig deep! So it will be coral sand. I can hear you saying (shouting) “NO!” But Shellies live in little communes near the bottom (lower layer) of the tank, so I have a lot of space still left to be filled. I was hoping to be quite creative with the rock work to enable pockets this is where the planting can come in, or can it? I recently added some Java moss just as a test, its doing fine, but then it would). Plants from the rivers that flow into the lake include Crinums, half C. natans and the other half C, calamistratum also Bolbitis, which could possibly be tied to the hardscaping? The Tanganyikan Biotope could be right on the edge, between the lake and the river? What would I need? My current tank has been running for about ten years now and things have moved a long way forward in that time. I am a bit behind the aquarium technology of today, I currently have no intentions of attempting to soften the water, but there are many other things I could now be using, which would make my life easier, and help create the magical tank of my dreams. Such as LED Lighting. So is the Biotope a good idea? Or should I forget the idea as technology has moved on and I really ought to be having a go at aquascaping Your thoughts and ideas please.