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Common Aquascaping Mistakes

Discussion in 'General Aquascaping and Planted Tank Discussions' started by John N., Apr 25, 2012.

  1. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    Let's discussion common aquascaping mistakes made by beginners to the advanced aquascaper.

    Please post your thoughts and perhaps your own experiences with your past mistakes, and what you have learned.

    -John N.
     

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  2. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh, I have one....

    "I know the CO2 is good"

    *edit* In light of Garuf's post below...

    I have made probably all of the mistakes or believed the misconceptions that will be listed in this thread. The Co2 one I mentioned particularly. CO2 is so hard to get right, especially in larger tanks.

    I am always willing to offer help when I can because of all the great help I received while breaking into the hobby and I think ASW has a positive reputation for being "newby" friendly. We all remember what it was like and how overwhelming the wealth of information and myths were.

    Good point, Garuf and I'm glad you brought it up. Hopefully, I don't sound like a jerk! :D
     
  3. Garuf

    Garuf Moderator Staff Member

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    Way to go John, I was about to write about this in my intro to scaping. ;)

    The ones I was just writing up are "x bubbles per second", "2wpg" "x lumens per litre" "I dose x ammount once a week" "but the filter says 300lph" "but the box says it will filter my 50 gallon tank?"

    I feel I should point out we should careful here too though guys, I remember reading posts like this when I was a newb and thinking everyone was elitist and unsympathetic to "new blood" so please bear that in mind.
     
  4. jfravn

    jfravn New Member

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    I very often see (also by myself) that people wanting to make an NA style tank use too little hardscape. When you think there's way too much, its probably just right.

    "I can make a tank without any algae, just like Amano..."

    "There's no algae in Amano's tanks"
     
  5. Shadow

    Shadow Moderator Staff Member

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    I think the biggest mistake is beginner does not do their homework. They just jump to the hobby without the right info. After a while plant unhealthy, algae take over and they just give up.

    Wait until you visit Niigata :)), it isn't algae free as many people think. And what Amano said? It is natural, which is true. Algae is part of planted tank and will stay that way.
     
  6. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    I would also say research and more research, then start rough sketching, and ask for honest opinions.

    Learn the basics of design first, in many cases nature has done it for you all you have to do is find it.

    If its a shocker tell the newcomer why it is a shocker and what has to be done to be done to create a good Aquascape.

    My last aquascape took several months of planning, sketching and hunting for that piece of driftwood I wanted in the end I found two smaller pieces and when I found them I could get down to some serious planning.

    Forget the clock its not a race so why rush.

    Most important be prepared to take advise even if you think your aquascape is perfection.

    Keith
     
  7. CatfishSoupFTW

    CatfishSoupFTW Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I feel that, to be even more general, in the whole aquarium hobby people underestimate the care, time, money and overall minimum requirements you need to meet any standard. There are many rules of thumbs to know, and I will admit to falling into this a few years back when i started.

    always good to look before you leap.

    also, you gotta keep in mind, even after the scape is executed and planted. it takes time for growth and filling in the gaps.
     
  8. Flo

    Flo Aspiring Aquascaper

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    in my opinion, as a newbie you want everything very quick, but a good aquascape need time to develop.
    it starts with a good cycled tank, first experience with hardscape, different materials and plantspecies, fish, trimming and the correct fertilizing in view of the used light. what is needful, what is throwing money out of the window...
    i prefer to give the tank a lot of time, Not to finish a scape in 3 month. as faster you want to have a good aquascape as a newbie as more you ll be faced with problems. that is my own experience.
     
  9. biobio

    biobio Aspiring Aquascaper

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    If the tank goes for the competition no matter how good hardscape is in 3 dimensions. You should always do the photos and see how the parts of hardscape are overlapping in 2D.
     
  10. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    This is a very good point. It's very hard to capture ALL elements, especially depth in photos.

    -John N.
     
  11. King_Kong

    King_Kong New Member

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    From a Novice point of view it has always been hardscape.
    Taking the time to plan and execute rather than rush in.

    Another mistake I have always made is trying to use to many plant species. The less is more approach is often a good one. Trying to throw all the plants in from the last scape has never worked for me. My latest aquascape only has a few moss and fern species and more hardscape. I think I have improved this way.

    Something else I feel is important is learning about basic water chemistry, co2 etc as mentioned. No point setting it up then trying to figure out what to do next.

    Great topic.
     
  12. randy0319

    randy0319 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Here are a few mistakes in concept, perspective and execution that I am sorry to say- I have made...

    #1 "how do the professionals keep their tanks looking so good?...all the time...and get such great photos?" (Even if you are a professional, your tank might be photo worthy maybe two or three days a year. If you have six or more tanks going then you up your odds of having one turn out o.k. Some people have professionals take their pics and have specialists caring for each aspect of their tank..rich$...)

    #2 (from older aqaurists that are not necessarily into planted tanks) "I only change my water maybe once a month...if I get around to it. Old water is good water." (Luckily I saw some of their tanks and have always opted for at least once a week water changes).

    #3 "Gravity fed cannister filters work great" (NOT!!)

    #4 " I always crank up the CO2 on my 55 gal and my plants look great! Try it on your 10 gal. I swear it will work"...(I ended up gassing my fish...but the plants looked ... great.)

    #5 "Naw-- you don't need to oxygenate your water at night...the filter does it for you"(dead fish...thanks LFS.)

    #6 " Just use a really small amount of Seachem Excel every water change---the shrimp will be fine...Oh! and I have kept guppies and RCS for years and they never bothered each other" (Liers!)

    #7 " Fabreeze won't hurt your tank..I sprayed it in the other room." (Dead fish. keep all aerosols and cleaners away from tanks and tank rooms. Only Vinegar and lemon juice are exempt.)

    #8 "Sometimes I wash my hands before I reach into the tank...when I remember...they'll be fine" ( dead stinky fish)

    # 9"A fat fish is a happy fish. I usually feed them small meals 4 or 5 times a day" (nitrate build up= fat stinky dead fish and algae problems)

    # 10 "I 'never' have problems with algae-- if you do then you must not be as good an aquarist as I thought you were" ( ya...I don't speak to him anymore)

    #11 " Collectoritis is just a term for people who really like plants...and fish...and extra equipment...and lighting...and decor...etc. etc. I can quit anytime I want. I'm in control of my tanks- my tanks are not in control of me." ( I am still a bit guilty of hoarding).

    #12 " I'm sure that lace leaf plant (Aponogeton Madagascarensis) will grow in your tank. It grows in mine just fine" (each tank is unique in its bio load, lighting, PH, GH, etc. a species in one tank might have trouble growing in a tank three feet away.)

    #13 (from my mother) "Can't you put a castle or some elves or a dragon...OH! or one of those plastic ship wrecks in your tank?? Your tank...it looks so ...boring...just plants and rocks and wood..." (thanks Mom, I love you but--no)

    #14 "I hope you like the fish. I'm sure that they will work in your tank with the rest. I don't get much blue/green algae so don't worry. I never heard of that other stuff ...Cyano- ...what?"(Research your fish and communities of your tank. Quarentine plants and fish in a seperate holding/ hospital tank and do a 1 part bleach to 19 parts water dip for plants-lasting 2 1/2 to 4 minutes. Then dip in dechlorinater/water before putting in your tank)

    #15 " I'm designing my tank, by the use of the golden ratio, to be an elegant blend of iwagumi-arch-wabi kusa-concave-seashore-island-forest grouping with water fall and a mountain vista kinda of thing; but tastefully done of course". ( Come on...we are all guilty of this one- myself included.)

    #16 "I am leaning more toward the 'high end,' 'high tech' aquascape. ADA all the way. Anything less is simply out of the question. Lesser standards might be alright for certain sorts of people; but my tastes are simple- I only want the very best." ( Some may have the money to warrent this oppinion but not the 'common sense' that God gave a fish...and a sucker is born every minute. I list this as a mistake of the pocket book coupled with poor judgement clouded by conceit.)

    #17 "I picked up these rocks from the back yard. I don't really need them for anything so I thought you might like 'm." (If any rock has limestone in it, it will mess up your water chemistry and hurt/kill your fish.)

    #18 Hopefully you will be having fun in this hobby. "Fun" being a key word to remember. My mistake sometimes is taking all of this a little too seriously. Then it stops being enjoyable. So I remind myself why I did this. Each person's reasons for getting into this hobby will be different but the biggest mistake that I can think of is not having fun with it. I hope that all of you will enjoy this amazing art form.


    A quote from the immortal Joseph Campbell: "Don't heed the advice of one who is not around when you endure the consequences from previously taking their council". Best wisdom ever. It is very lucky for me that I found this site and was steared in correct directions by folks who know better, and have the experience and diplomas to back it up. The above mistakes were things that I suffered from and lived to regret. The good people in this forum have helped to keep it fun for me. I owe them many thanks. I hope that they are tolerant enough to let me whine and pout when I make more mistake(s)- I hope that we can laugh when we make them.
     
  13. ianho

    ianho Aspiring Aquascaper

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    the one and only for me is...

    Learn to grow plants first and then move onto the aquascaping. Theres no point what so ever doing a wonderful scape if you can't grow plants.
     
  14. Flo

    Flo Aspiring Aquascaper

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    i can not really agree with you ianho. i think it s more that we don t should expect to create a perfect scape at the beginning. and i think it is important to make experience and mistakes with hardscape, plantcare, fertilizing and equipment at the same time. cause in the aquascaping hobby everything is playing together. so you can practise all skills at the same time. but it means to not give up if things fail and that we keep on learning learning learning.
     
  15. ianho

    ianho Aspiring Aquascaper

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    these can be very expensive mistakes to make. It's Ok to do an amazing scape, but if the plant health is poor, algae WILL take over, making your scape poor. This is where newbs IMO slip up. What i'm also saying is that no body ever will pull off an amazing scape with there first aquascape, this is why it's important to concentrate on plant growth.
     
  16. Flo

    Flo Aspiring Aquascaper

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    but what speaks against a good hardscape in an beginners planted tank?
     
  17. ianho

    ianho Aspiring Aquascaper

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    nothing, though theres a difference between a beginner in aquascaping and a beginner in planted tank keeping. I could probably bet you a £1 that we all started growing plants before we went whole hog and started aquascaping.
     
  18. Garuf

    Garuf Moderator Staff Member

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    I went straight into scaping followed every "rule" that was kicking about at the time too, 2x36w power compacts over a ten gallon tank on a recommendation, diy co2, you know all the good stuff, even ran phosphate remover for a while because my LFS told me to.
    I had to work backwards, hardscape I was always comfortable with, growing stuff was the challenge.
    Buying second hand stuff is always a false economy I find, unless you know the age of stuff, I had a hydor heater pack up and cook my tank, the water so hot you couldn't put a hand in. I've had filters leak, lights blow all of them second hand.
     
  19. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    To speak to what Flo and ianho are discussing...

    I think if a beginner tries it all, they will find little initial success coupled with a lot of frustration, which could lead to quitting before really getting going. I made a lot of expensive mistakes...I also was the average over enthusiastic beginner who wanted it all and didn't know squat about planted tanks. My story is in the ASW magazine. My 20 gallon practice tank was probably a great decision. I got to try DIY soil/substrate, DIY CO2 pressurized, lots of plants, etc. Funny thing is...I thought I WAS scaping. lol! I look back at the pics of that tank and think how awful it looked. It was a planted tank, not an aquascape. Lessons were learned and applied. I've been improving with every scape.

    It takes time to figure this hobby out, but the adventure of figuring it out is part of the path. A passion for the hobby will get you through the frustrating times. The small successes will keep you dreaming of that perfect tank in your living room.
     
  20. Jurijs mit JS

    Jurijs mit JS Admin Staff Member

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    the most common mistake I see is that people add to little plants mass from the start
     

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