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VERY new to aquascaping - please offer advice!

Discussion in 'General Aquascaping and Planted Tank Discussions' started by younggm, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. younggm

    younggm New Member

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    Hello all. I never thought in a million years that I would join a forum website! About a year ago I became addicted to aquariums and since then have established 3 of my own. I have always wanted to create an aquascape in my 50g corner tank, but I don;t even know where to start!!

    I currently have my 50g corner tank filled with blue gravel, fake bamboo leaves, and real driftwood. Although I like my tank, I would LOVE to make an aquascape out of it.

    Can someone please tell me WHERE TO START? What do I need to learn and what will I need that I wouldn't have already for my freshwater "fake" setup?

    Any advice is appreciated!

    This is a picture of my tank as it stands right now. IMG_8779.JPG
     

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  2. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    younggm
    [​IMG]

    Where do I start?

    First I think you have achieved an Aquascape that many strive to achieve but take ages to get there.

    The over all concept is great bordering on fantastic.(y)

    It has appeal shape and texture every where.

    Now for my suggestions.

    Blue massive mistake see the difference a natural brown substrate does to the over all appeal.
    Suggest new depth 8-10 cm
    You can create a slope very easily either a shallow curve or one side in your case back RH side.

    Try several with the DW only and post a few photos.

    Do a little bit of research here on ASW to see what I am referring to.

    The Driftwood red X is a bit too much its not required, its a massive distraction from that open part of your Aquascape.

    The green is a suggested moss with a few very low plants.

    Naturally all FAKIES to go, I had to have a very good look to see if they are fake but I will take your word for it.

    Plenty of tall stem plants can very easily replace them.

    I would try this first

    Take one step at a time and with a few simple steps

    Substrate shape, DW location, planting and its all finished.

    One big question can you house all those fish while this is being done ?

    All you require is a clean tank, use the same water and filter and you will not have any problems at all

    Throw in those artificial plants this will help to settle the fish

    Keith:):)
     
  3. greenfinger 2

    greenfinger 2 Active Aquascaper

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    hi Younggm, welcome to ASW well a nice start do you design for a living or is that just natural talent ;) nice cheers roy
     
  4. younggm

    younggm New Member

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    Hey guys. Thanks so much for the advice! I have always been pretty creative and I am actually minoring in photography right now, which has seemed to help a lot. I am actually looking to start from scratch and do something totally new. I am a quick learner... I only started getting into this hobby about a year ago. Below is a picture that I would really like to base my corner tank off of. Being a corner tank, it's a little harder to imagine an aquascape that flows nicely.

    I have written notes on the picture to describe what I plan to do. I want to use the same layout, but with less plants. I don't want to have to get into CO2 stuff too much, or extreme lighting for that matter. I simply want a nice, lightly planted tank that that looks AMAZING. When looking at this picture, imagine it being in a corner tank with the back left corner being the back corner of my tank. Let me know what you think I should tweak! photo (53).JPG
     
  5. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    younggm

    Photography is a major help as you are learning about proportions, sight flow, and most important balance of the overall picture.

    A few things that concerns me are, white sand it gets very dirty quickly and its a boring, glary, and uninteresting.

    You have natural colours in the rocks and then add white, I grantee you will have trouble with your sight flow trying to get away from all the white sand.

    Sand can also cut into impellers on filters very quickly

    If you are not careful those sharp rocks in the front could also look like a barrier I suggest rocks and low plants scattered in the front to break up the harsh look.

    Keith:):)
     
  6. younggm

    younggm New Member

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    Keith,

    I have look into more tanks with white sand and you are totally right. It looks awful to the eye! I want to keep my tank very simple in terms of maintenance. I don't want to have to upgrade anything other than perhaps a stronger light. No CO2 or anything fancy. With that said, I only want easy plants. I want some sort of moss to put on the tree branches, and some low plants to provide ground cover. I really like the plant that looks like fine blades of grass.

    What suggestions do you guys have for plants that would do/look best in my tank given the general layout idea I have posted for my aquasacpe?

    Also, where the heck do I find all these amazing pieces of wood and these rocks that you have all acquired for your brilliant aquascapes? Is there a place I can purchase them, or where did you find them and where should I look? I can;t really start tweaking my layout ideas until I have the physical pieces to work with.
     
  7. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    younggm

    My only suggestion is to hunt every LFS and Landscaper (for rocks) in your are and beyond if necessary.

    If there is an Aquarium club in your are go to a few meetings and they will know or might have some to sell privately.

    Keith:):)
     
  8. younggm

    younggm New Member

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    Hey guys! I know it's been a while since I focused on my fish tank. I am trying to get the ball rolling again on creating my first aquascape. As you know, I have a corner tank, and I think I have found the type of layout I am looking for. Below are pictures of the two tanks I want to combine to create my own aquascape. And below those pictures is the pieve of wood I am planning to purchase.
    corner idea.jpeg
    LOVE THIS (back left corner is back of tank).jpg
    screen-capture-3.jpg


    Let me know what you guys think.

    Now I need to find some stone to use. I like grey stone. There is a guy on ebay that sells lots of Seiryu stone, but it doesn't come cheap. Any sugestions on what shapes or sizes I should use? And what do I need to get as far as substrate?
     
    greenfinger 2 likes this.
  9. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    younggm

    Welcome back

    The first aquascape using that piece of DW would work as long as you can locate similar big flat rocks with plenty of character.

    The DW could easily be placed in a similar position.

    Aquascape No2 seems a lot more thought and work has to go into planning that aquascape and most important would be location the perfect piece of DW to make a tree.

    Keith:):)
     
  10. younggm

    younggm New Member

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    Keith,

    I was thinking I can use the DW in picture #3 to serve as the tree in pic #2. Below is a photoshop mockup with that piece of driftwood. Let me know what you guys think!
    photoshop.jpg
    And any idea of where I should start searching for rock?
     
  11. younggm

    younggm New Member

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    or do you guys like the tree flipped 180 degrees as shown in this picture?
    photoshop2.jpg
     
  12. greenfinger 2

    greenfinger 2 Active Aquascaper

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    Hi there, younggm Pic one for me :)Tree reaching for the sky :cool: more of a natural look ;) LOVE the design (y) cannot wait to see this scape started :rolleyes: think you should start a journal (y) your design and thinking.I LOVE (y) cheers roy
     
  13. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    younggm

    The first tree has more appeal its not too vertical or enclosing the RH side of the tank.

    That is the easy part of the Aquascape, creating the remainder, especially the Aquascape foreground is the challenge.

    Keith:):)
     
  14. Linds

    Linds Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I too like the first layout. But I also think I like the first tank you posted above (the corner one) better. They are totally different so hard to compare, but I like how natural and non-scaped it looks. I also think if you go with more of the second style you can do better with the rockwork. I'm not such a fan.

    To me the fish a re photoshopped in (see the blue tail fin in front of a green plants or dark piece of wood) and I wonder what else is? It is a little fake looking but maybe that is because the fish are (or some of them).

    Linds
     
  15. younggm

    younggm New Member

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    Thanks for the input guys! I have decided to go with the tree layout (as opposed to the corner layout) because I feel that it provides more space for my fish.

    I agree with you guys that layout #1 looks the best for the DW. Now comes the hard part...

    -I want plants, but I want something that will require little maintenance.
    -I don't want to have to get into CO2 injection.
    -I like thin, fine plants rather than large leafy ones.
    -I was thinking something that looks fine and grassy to provide ground cover?
    -Maybe some taller plants to hide the filter and heater in the back corner behind the tree?
    ***REMEMBER THAT THIS WILL BE IN MY CORNER AQUARIUM***.... so the back LH corner in the rendering represents the back corner of my tank

    QUESTIONS:
    1) What is my alternative to CO2 injection?
    2) What suggestions do you have for low maintenance plants?
    3) What type of moss would work/look best for the tree?
    4) What type of rocks do you think I should use? (I personally really like seiryu stone)
    5) What type of substrate do I need?
    6) What type of lighting do I need? (The top of my aquarium is an enclosed hood.... so it must fit inside there.)

    Any advice is much appreciated!
     
  16. Kcraven

    Kcraven Aspiring Aquascaper

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    1) you just run a low tech tank. Simple. You have lower light and no CO2 required.
    2) Try anibia, java ferns / moss, and cryps though unfortunately these do have slightly broader leaves. As for a carpet maybe go with somestaurogyne repens. Its a little taller than a normal ground cover but very easy to grow!
    3) Personally I would avoid java moss. Even though it is probably the easiest moss to get into, apparently its a pain to get RID Of it ! Try something interesting like flame moss or peacock or Christmas. There is a large range just have a look and check if they are a low requirement plant!
    4) This is a completely personal choice. It can range from volcanic to rocks found outside!
    5) Everyone will probably recommend ADA Amozonia (the aquasoil not the sand). For me, I have ordinary 4mm gravel and my plants are doing well. My new set up will have fluval stratum. But its another personal choice. ADA has a lot of good feedback though!
    6) If your going for low requirement plants then you could get away with probably just a T8 with a good spectrum. Personally my two tanks have CFL (phillips 6500k rating). There are a few things I still don't know about lighting so this will have to be answered by someone else but lighting depends on tank size and what plants you plan on growing. Remember a low tech tank will take longer to fill out compared to a high tech tank due to the CO2 and lighting.

    As for advice :p

    Your doing the correct thing by asking around first and doing things second. This hobby is comprised of many different ways to do things. So whether or not one is better than the other really depends on personal preference. But my advice would be do it once and do it properly if you have the money! Otherwise you will always be upgrading stuff and the cost becomes more!

    Ps, if your doing a tree scape java moss isn't going to be the best moss type to put on the tree to simulate the tips or tops of the tree! Willow moss i think is a good one!

    Enjoy!

    Kind regards

    Adam
     
  17. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    younggm

    If planting was only as simple as going to a LFS and walking out with a box full of goodies.

    You have to consider all these points first.

    Type of Substrate and its depth.

    Difficult to easy to grow.

    Lighting type and duration its left on/off

    Feeding that can be a minefield on its own from some expensive Co2 units, and the many types of Fertilisers.

    The type of plant Floating, rooted, tied to rocks or Drift Wood etc.

    The size, its growth rate and where should it be placed.

    Finally cost and availability.

    Just to confuse you a bit more.

    Keith:):)
     
  18. Kcraven

    Kcraven Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Gee Keith trying to scare him a little! But all these things do need to be taken into consideration. Personally I love doing the research and furthering my knowledge on this sort of stuff. Its part of the hobby! If you have any questions this is the place to ask :p
     
  19. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Kcraven

    If you have replied to only a small fraction I have done over the years you would notice a majority is often fixing problems
    simply because of no research or not knowing of Forums where experienced help is always available, this is mainly noticeable when some one has just started out and is literally bombarded with wrong information.

    Keith:):)
     
  20. younggm

    younggm New Member

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    Hey guys! Thanks for the input.

    Unfortunately, the piece of driftwood I posted above was already sold.... But I found another piece that I really like and the guy is holding it for me!
    Below is a picture of the new piece I will be buying. Let me know what you think!!!

    new concept1.jpg
     

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