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First Aquascape ever!

Discussion in 'Beginner's Corner' started by Marein, Oct 2, 2017.

  1. Marein

    Marein New Member

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    Hi!

    My name is Marein Roestenburg, from the Netherlands. I have always kept aquariums and even though i always heard that people loved my tanks, i never actually made an aquascape. I also never used a CO2 installation to help my plats grow so this is also new for me. I used to work with EasyCarb before.

    I recently got a new tank, sized 46x46x55. It is located in the middle of my living room, you can look into the tank from 3 sides, even though 1 side has a partly blocked view due to a double oblique side where all my tubes and wires can go trough. This way i will have no tubes and wires outside of my tank, if you get what i mean. For lightning i recently bougt a Daytime Cluster lamp (LED, 2400 Lumen), i also bought a Dennerle Quantum 300 CO2 installation. Furthermore i have a Tetratec EX 1200 filter and regular heating.

    At the moment i am working on my hardscape, i've got some black Dennerle gravel (1-2 mm), a nice piece of Savannah wood and Canyon Rock. I put quite a lot of gravel in, so that the water depth will be about 40cm in the front and 30cm in the back. I moved the rocks wood and gravel around a lot and I'm pretty happy with what i have now, but some tips & tricks are very welcome! I really want to go for the WOW effect and i like it to have a peaceful , relaxed feel.

    Furthermore, i am still deciding on the plants i want to grow, but i was thinking on growing some Hemianthus Callitrichoides on the sides, some Eleocharis Acicularis mini alongside the rocks, and in the back some Pogostemon Stellatus and/or Cyperus Helferi. On the wood i want to grow some Fissidens Fontanus.

    For fish i would like to put in some tetra's or something, combined with another species i still have to think of. I also want to put in some shrimps. I was thinking about putting in some Neocaridina heteropoda or Caridina cantonensis combined with some Caridina multidentata.

    For now i am working on my hardscape, since i can't start running my tank until the end of November. So by the time i can add fish or shrimp we are a few months ahead.

    Any tips on hardscape or plants are very welcome! I also don't have a real plan for starting up the tank yet (lightning/CO2 schedule, water replacements, adding fertilizer, etc.).

    Here are a few pics:

    WhatsApp Image 2017-10-02 at 20.28.31 (2).jpeg
    WhatsApp Image 2017-10-02 at 20.28.31 (1).jpeg WhatsApp Image 2017-10-02 at 20.28.31 (3).jpeg WhatsApp Image 2017-10-02 at 20.28.31.jpeg
     
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  2. Zeus

    Zeus Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Hi Marein and welcome to the forum

    No rush but thats very quick before adding livestock, dependant on which route you take.

    You have got black Dennerle gravel (1-2 mm) which looks very nice. If you plan to just use that it will provide Zero nutrition to the tank all it provides is anchorage for the plants and looks great. Plants need nutrition/Ferts which will need to be added to the tank dependant on what plants you got for and the the level of Tech you plan to use. Some AquaSoil (AS) as an alternative to the gravel or mixed or layer will make growing plants easier esp since your planning to use CO2 too.

    the DENNERLE CO2 SET - 300 QUANTUM whilst it will work fine, you may fine it cheaper long term getting as lager Gas cylinder and regulator setup, I normally pay about £20 for a 6Kg refill in the UK.

    Your tank is 100Litres approx so the filters output of 1200LPH should be great for a high tech planted tank. The general rule of x10 pump output to tank volume is get great flow in tank esp in High tech tanks

    Daytime Cluster lamp (LED, 2400 Lumen) Humm light is best measured in Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) lumens doesnt convert to PAR. But Tropica have a guide for Lumens its a bit dated but for the plants you mention 30-60 Lumens per litre so thats 2000 - 4000+Lumen. The light will work but you chioce of plants will be limited to easy. Plus the depth of the tank makes growing plants like Hemianthus Callitrichoides (HC) as a carpet difficult or you need very light output because of the depth, more light means also more potential algae. HC is a favorite of many new to the hobby but can be very tricky to get a great carpet. Micranthemum 'Monte Carlo' would be a better starting place IMO But would you have enough Light to grow it as a carpet??

    Ferts - Dry salts are the cheapest with the EI method being very popular for results and cost great article here which has the added advantage of NO water testing require saving time and money.

    Hope that was of some help

    Zeus
     
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  3. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Marien

    Zeus has given you plenty of very good information therefor I will concentrate on your aquascape.
    At the moment is big and heavy and reasonable easy to Aquascape.

    I am treating this as the front and are several concerns.
    On the LH side you will have slippage and will have to be attended to.
    The rocks on the RH side look as if they were very carefully placed in a row

    In the circle I have a little face watching me, have you noticed this?

    My advice at the moment would be hunt the WWW for a similar heavy Aquascape that could give you an inspiration of what you would like to do.

    The big piece of DW is very good I would not change it at the moment.

    As you have plenty of time to complete the Aquascape lets get a very good one using what you have.
    upload_2017-10-3_16-30-51.png

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  4. Marein

    Marein New Member

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    First of all thank you for the feedback! I appreciate it!

    I will add fertilizer, i was planning on using Tropica Specialized Fertilizer which is an All in one product. Do you think this is not enough? I was not planning on changing since i just bought it and can't return it. I also really like the look.

    Unfortunately, no PAR data is available for Daytime lights, i am aware that this is a more reliable metric.

    I put in quite a lot of gravel. This way, i have about 30 Lumens/liter which is the minimum for HC i've read. I just want to give it a try since this is the plant i prefer, if it doesn't seem to work with HC i can always replace it with Monte Carlo.

    Thanx for the useful info and links!
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
  5. Marein

    Marein New Member

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    Thanks, i thought it would stay in place but i will anchor it with some vertical deviders. Would that be enough? The reason i made it this way was to create depth.

    Yes the rocks are in a line, it is because i tried to make it look like a canyon, and a path running trough it. Since my rocks arent too big i needed a few to create this path. i tried to make it less straight but i cant seem to get it to look nice. Straight still looks the best i think.. so i dont really know how to make it look nice without it being a straight line.

    No! But know i see it, hahah! It looks a bit like an Otter to me :LOL:

    What do you mean bij an 'heavy aquascape'? Never heard of this before..:rolleyes:
     
  6. Zeus

    Zeus Aspiring Aquascaper

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    You dont need Aquasoil (AS) and it can be done without it but keeping on top of the ferts needs to be stop on, The AS buffers the levels of the ferts in the water column and also buffer the toxins too. Plus some AS is packed with nutrients too like ADA AS. so they make growing plants easier. You could keep the Gravel you like and just cover some of the AS with it. I would use some mesh to hold the AS down, or bag up the AS, otherwise the gravel will sink to the bottom and the AS will end up on top, which would spoil the look your planing. Tim Harrison would be a great person to get advise from as he has done many many tanks and has vast experience in many substrates. Great thread The Soil Substrate Or Dirted Planted Tank - a How to Guide... Hopefully he will pop a post in your thread ;)
    Good article on substrates - Guide to Substrates by George Farmer

    As to the HC its your call and you may be successful OFC but knowing the pitfalls prepares you for them and you have it covered (y)
     
  7. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Marein

    Typo big and heavy. It relates to the big and bulky Drift Wood and the large rocks

    [​IMG]

    LH front move that rock it will make a perfect barrier for you.

    To get a better result think depth of field in other words biggest at the front and smallest at the back.

    Is No1 one or two rocks? replace it or them with No4 as a started. Can you do this and post a photo please to get looking nice yet still retaining the pathway it will take a few moves and its best to adjust it slowly at first.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  8. Sweded

    Sweded New Member

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    Great looking hardscape. Crank up CO2 for the HC cuba and let it drape over the larger rock and wood like this.

    Maybe combine and have Monte Carlo growing over some rocks/places.
    Biggest problem I see people do with this type of scape is to cover it in too big plants and you seem to have the right idea already! Think detail,detail, detail. No java or larger anubias.
    Anubias petite, smaller bucaphelandra, highly trimmed pinnatifida and fissidens on the wood would look amazing if set up correctly.
     
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  9. Sweded

    Sweded New Member

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    Another important tip is to play around with CO2 without any shrimps or fish for the first few weeks till you get a hang of it. C02 in too high of a concentration will kill any shrimp and fish you put in.
    I would start out really high with CO2 and work yourself to a steady 30 PPM.
    Also the tank is high so another light or a more powerful light will be a good idea for success unless you go with lower light plants.
     
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  10. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    A few more things for you to think about in the near future my only advice would be research all you can and don't hurry.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  11. Marein

    Marein New Member

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    Thanx for all the great advice again!

    Interesting idea! Thank you!

    Yes i was planning on doing that. Have never worked woth CO2 before so im defenitely not going to add fish or shrimp in the first 1-2 months after starting up. I do have an extra light available, which is around 1000 lumens. Also no PAR data available. I can always add this light.

    Thanx! Great advise. I moved around some of the smaller rocks, and used 2 to create a barries on the left side to prevent from slippage. Rock 1 is just 1 rock, its fits great on rock 2 as it is resting on it, also creating a small hole which is a great hiding spot for the shrimp, kind of like a small cave. I will replace rock 1 with the smaller rocks in the front, but these are really tiny ones.

    This is what i've got so far: i really like it, except for the view from the righthand-side, this side looks a bit dull.
    05-10 Voorkant.jpeg 05-10 Zijkant 1.jpeg 05-10 Zijkant 2.jpeg
    I was thinking of turning the entire aquascape a about 40-45 degrees to the right. I am guessing this will make the right hand side less dull and also the straight lines are at a different angle than the aquarium. right now the straigt line of rocks is parralel to the glass.

    This would be the right hand side: WhatsApp Image 2017-10-06 at 14.17.22 (4).jpeg

    and this would be the new front:
    WhatsApp Image 2017-10-06 at 14.17.22 (5).jpeg
     
  12. Marein

    Marein New Member

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    Ok i just couldn't help it, i mixed everything up. Here is a movie of what it looks like now. I dont know if it is any better, haha. I really like the way the righthand side looks now, but i think that overall it looks kind of flat. What are your opinions?



    Here another version with some extra added gravel.

     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  13. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Marein

    Can you post a photo of the front only now please.

    I hate to say it but this one has a far better chance of becoming a very good aquascape.

    The LH side is not quite there yet but extremely close. The RH side only requires moving rocks 1,2,&3 around If I was there It would not take very long but this way its a slow process.

    The Video looks like all the rocks have been very carefully placed around the base of the DW and, very sorry to say it lacks complete interest.

    Keith:cat::cat:

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Marein

    Marein New Member

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    Ahh oops. Well i can always place the rocks back as they were, i took clear pictures before moving everyting. But good to know that i actually created a good version haha, wasn't so sure myself.

    This is the front and top side as it is now:

    WhatsApp Image 2017-10-07 at 09.31.04 (1).jpeg
    WhatsApp Image 2017-10-07 at 09.31.04.jpeg

    As i said, it wont take me much time to move things back as i know exactly how it was placed so there is no problem at all. What i do like about this one is that there is a bit more open swimming space, and i like the difference in ground level between the sides and the 'pathway'. I also really prefer how the right hand side looks from the way it did before. It still not perfect but i'm just trying to find out what looks best and hopefully i can integrate them in 1 version. It's my first time doing this after all.

    .
    Well its a good thing i'm not in a hurry then :).
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
  15. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Marein

    This is the photo I want to work with as it shows me many thing some excellent to the complete opposite which should have been picked up ages ago and this photo highlights it.
    Am I correct in saying its a large tank in front of a window or in front of a bench in front of a window?

    If it is direct view of a window you could be heading in for a very big dosage of Algae.

    Is the back and two sides exposed to direct light?

    Keith:cat::cat:


    [​IMG]
     
  16. Marein

    Marein New Member

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    Hi Keith,

    No it is standing next to my kitchen island. There is no direct light coming in, it just seems that way in the picture i guess.
     
  17. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    I could see it was in front of a bench its the surface above the bench and the side. Direct light can be a major concern that is why I checked before we went any further.

    [​IMG]
    I will try to explain what all this means.
    The three red dots are your main Focal Points and they are very good.
    As you can see I have moved three rocks main reason straight lines plus its opened up you Aquascape and not crowded around the DW which made every thing very confusing, now your eye can roam over your aquascape.

    Question mark about the central I am not 110% happy with it yet.
    Question mark RH side suggest you place another rock there slightly smaller than the front rock on that side.

    If you are prepared to try these moves remember you are the only one who has a full view as all I have is a flat image, then I can it a step further.
    Have you thought about the plants yet?

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  18. Marein

    Marein New Member

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    Thanks again, i did try the moves you suggested. I moved the 2 rocks on the left side as you suggested, i think it looks better now. I did not move the rock on the right side, moving it just didn’t look good to me and the 'cliff idea' went away. Also the gravel collapsed as I took the rock away, making everything a lot more flat. I didn’t like that so I kept it the way it was. I did move a little rock to the far right side in the back, you can barely see it in the picture but it’s there. I am really starting to like the look that the whole thing is getting now!

    08-10 voorkant.jpeg

    I did think about the plants. Working with this hardscape, this is how I’d do it:

    08-10 voorkant planten.jpg

    I feel like there should be some plants where the pink areas are, but I’m not sure which plant to put there yet. Something not too big. Any suggestions?
     
  19. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Its starting to look a lot better all ready.
    Here are a few minor moves plus one ???
    I have moved the three smaller rocks to reduce slippage a minor adjustment might have to be done its the slippage I am concerned about. See red down arrows.
    The ??? rock I would like to see it moved a few Cms to the right, this will break the 3 in line plus help to reduce any slippage from the top RH area.

    Again only you have a full view of your tank.

    Re the plants I will leave it up to the plant experts.

    Keith:cat::cat:

    [​IMG]
     

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