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West Virginia river scape

Discussion in 'Aquascaping Journals' started by KatieK, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. KatieK

    KatieK Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Ahoy,

    This is my first endeavor into aquascaping. I have a:
    • 33 gal long tank. The size of a 55 gal, but half the height
    • Aquatop filter. I can't remember the model
    • LED lights. Already, I'm thinking these aren't going to be sufficient
    • CO2 in the works, but not in the tank yet
    • Same with ferts. I'm probably going to go with SeaChem, for now, till I become more knowledgeable
    • AquaSoil
    I just want to make a note, before anymore is documented, our good camera was stolen. This happens when you take on dishonest business partners.
    So, as the title says, I took my inspiration from a river in West Virginia. I visited this river almost every summer during my childhood. This last time, I grabbed some slate and sandstone that you see in there. The driftwood came from a stream above Centennial, WY. 20130723_143900[1].jpg 20130723_145815[1].jpg
    It's a beautiful, layered slate waterfall that falls into, maybe, a waist deep pool. Lots of frogs, spiders, and probably snakes.
    Below, is what I had this morning. The best that I can say about it it, my water is finally clear. I think sitting in the San Francisco port really effected the AquaSoil negatively.
    This afternoon I bought a few plants and changed the hardscape a bit. I want to point out that the driftwood is still floating and that is why there are rocks on top of it. 20130831_124953[1].jpg
    This is what it looks like this evening: 20130831_221316[1].jpg
    Oy, between my camera phone and the haze in it, it's really hard to discern detail. See if these pictures provide more detail:
    20130831_231231[1].jpg 20130831_231238[1].jpg 20130831_231252[1].jpg 20130831_231252[1].jpg
    One thing I have already learned is I need to invest in some long tweezers. That's going to make this process easier. I just want to say, that this tank looks significantly more impressive in person, but I do appreciate any feedback and questions.
    Katie
     

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  2. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Katie

    I like the aquascape you have created particularly the slate but I would have liked to see it a bit higher either one thick piece or two thinner pieces to give it a greater height.

    By doing that I think it would soften the bold heavy wood you have there.

    I also like it when you see something in nature and you play with that idea in mind.

    I played with that photo a little and come up with this, its just another method of working with an idea.

    [​IMG]

    That one would be totally different more like a forest and a creek bed with the falls in the distance.

    One of Roy's tanks is an idea from something he saw when out one day.

    Regardless of every thing that is certainly beautiful country.

    Keith:):)
     
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  3. greenfinger 2

    greenfinger 2 Active Aquascaper

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    Hi Katie, I like the way you have taken your idea from nature and made a Scape plus collected the things you needed (y) Your off to a great start :D And as Keith said Stunning Country side can see why you keep going back :) I would too;)
     
  4. KatieK

    KatieK Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Hi Keith,

    I like how you manipulated the picture. After looking at it a bit, I want to try it for my next scape, but I don't have the resources to do it this time.

    I agree with you, the slate needs to be higher. I realized that after the first picture. I tried to remedy this by putting flat pieces of sandstone underneath the slate, but then I ended up drawing the slate towards the center and moving the DW further right.

    What I'm thinking of doing now is building the slate up with AquaSoil. Also, do you think the gnarled piece if DW wouldn't look so dominant covered in moss?

    Freefinger 2, thank you for compliments. I appreciate all the help I can get.

    Katie
     
  5. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    [​IMG]

    Katie

    What you have done so far is a great start.
    You can either leave it alone or tweak it up a bit here and there nothing drastic.
    I have played around again.
    This time I lifted to slate up a lot and by doing that it softens that heavy DW
    My suggestions for the DW are a few simple moves it might or might not work you will see immediately
    1 Move that piece across to the left and lay it on the back part of the slate as if it looked natural rather than sticking up in the air.
    2 RH side ?? see how it looks if it was laying down
    3 That remaining ? piece see how it looks laying on the substrate.

    The red line would be the sight flow from the top of the slate down to the one laying down.

    As I said its all guess work looking at it now it might or might not work.

    I personally think if you added moss now it would become a main feature rather than just part of the total aquascape

    Nature is the best teacher the more natural it looks the greater the Aquascape.

    Keith:):)
     
  6. KatieK

    KatieK Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Keith, I just learned that while it is 5 pm sept 2nd there, it is 1am sept 2nd here. I will be able to look at my tank and respond better later today.

    Katie
     
  7. KatieK

    KatieK Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Keith,

    I moved the DW further right. To me, it looks like two separate focal points; very disconnected. image.jpg

    The way it is set up right now, it's way too difficult to move it further left. Tomorrow, I should get more AquaSoil. I'll be able to raise the level of the slate with that and give the plants more depth for the roots, which they need right now. Unfortunately, that means draining and starting over again. On the plus side, I'll be able to properly scape instead of piece meal.

    Do you think covering the DW in moss would turn it into a main focal point because it would be another color of green and would, therefore, be brighter than the slate?

    Katie
     
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  8. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    [​IMG]

    Katie

    The red dots are your 4 focal points using the very old 1/3rds method.

    Slate and Substrate I would leave it alone main reason its going to be a messy stinker of a job.

    Hunt around and see if you can locate more slate (try landscape gardeners) if you can not get it your self.

    My only question is the DW with the ? on it is it necessary?
    [​IMG]
    Personally I think it reduces the heavy look at that end.
    Its just a thought.

    Personally I would leave the DW alone as far as adding moss and let it age slowly.

    You have the makings of a very good tank there just let it develop for about 1 year and you will be surprised at the difference.

    Keith:):)
     
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  9. KatieK

    KatieK Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Hi Keith,

    I did play around with substrate; I added more, created a hill, and put the slate on top of it. I took away the DW ok the slate. I had there originally to draw the eye to the other side of the tank, but, alas, it did not work. Here's what it looks like now: image.jpg

    Can you tell a difference? I'm not altogether sure I can, but thats how it's going to stay. I think I'm done upsetting the AquaSoil.

    Speaking of AquaSoil, do you know how I'm supposed to cycle it? Everything I've read says I'm doing it completely wrong.

    Katie
     
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  10. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Katie
    As you can see this is from Day 1
    ADA can be a problem unless you know all about it.
    Re your Aquascape I would still like to see the slate higher keep, hunting you might find a piece to place on the top.

    As long as you like it that is the main thing also only you can see exactly what it looks like.

    Keith

    Day 1 Set up tank



    Day 2- 90% water change
    Day 3- 90% water change
    Day 4- 60% water change
    Day 5- 25% water change this point I also add any plants.
    Day 6 and on- at this point I usually leave the tank for 2 weeks. I then check Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate. P.H is generally not my concern but you can test. The tank is usually cycled by this time and I will remove the external canister. Monitor for a further 2-3 days. Sometimes you can get a mini re cycle when removing the canister so be patient if this happens. Do a 20% water change and once temp is up you should be good to add inhabitants.

    There are a couple of tricks you can do, using some media under the UGF from an existing canister, using water from an existing aquarium for the cycling. This method will still work without using a canister but cycling time will be extended by maybe a week or 2.

    It always varies, so to be realistic cycling times can be from 2-6 weeks on average if you were to use brand new everything.
     
  11. KatieK

    KatieK Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Hi Keith,

    Yes, yes I am doing it wrong. However, the tank looks fine, the plants look fine. To make up for it, I've been doing daily 50% water changes. I'm on the right track. I had my water checked today and my ammonia is at about 1 (ppm?). I'm not sure what the measurement is.

    My canister was already cycled when I added the AquaSoil. Why do you remove the canister after 2 weeks? My guess is I still have about another week of daily water changes.

    Katie
     
  12. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Katie

    That would be if you removed the filter to clean or replace any of the medium.

    I would not touch the filter until ever thing has settled down and running perfectly.

    ADA can cause a lot of concerns at the beginning but once you understand it its all OK

    Keep up the water changes and that will slowly clean out the Ammonia.

    What you must remember that is a guide only (It was sent to me) every tank is different.

    I think there could also be a translation concern there as well.

    Keith:):)
     
  13. KatieK

    KatieK Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Hi Keith,

    I did wash my filter after adding the AquaSoil because the water was so cloudy, light couldn't penetrate to the bottom. However, I have a filtered water facet that I use when dealing with the tanks.

    I don't know. Like you said, every tank is different. I will just keep on keeping on. Hopefully next week I will post pictures of my new fish or at least Welby's frog in there. I hate that frog.

    And again, congratulations on your new position.

    Katie
     
  14. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Katie

    With a lot of Aquarium info treat it as a guide then you will manage every thing a lot easier.

    Beware of the WWW some of the info out there is totally wrong and very misleading.

    eg I recently read a post from a young Mod saying it was perfectly OK to use live fish for Cycling a tank as it will not hurt them at all.

    That main point is find a very good LFS and that always helps.

    Even if not buying any thing just keep going back and saying hello and looking at their tanks and ask questions.

    Keith:):)
     
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  15. randy0319

    randy0319 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Dear Katie,

    Now I know what has happened. I found your thread (thank God) and have seen your set-up....Got it. Follow what Keithgh has to say about ADA soil. I use sand and ferts so my set-up is very different as far as substrate is concerned. ADA was too expensive for my wallet so I went with DIY substrate. Seachem is pretty good for ferts. (I mix my own dry ferts ordered from e-bay because it is way cheaper). You have a lot on your plate with this tank but this site is a good place to get great advice on stuff and junk. At this point one suggestion is to cut a piece of neutral coloured card stock behind your glass to hide some of the wires and equipment so you only see what you are working with design wise. I would not bother with RO water at this point since you are working with a lot of other factors and that added expense would be too much of a hassle.The LFS that we have talked about is better then the others big box places, but you know your tank better then anyone else. The folks in this site has saved my tanks and fish a few times.
     
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  16. randy0319

    randy0319 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Ummm...one more thing...in your most recent picture of the tank(above), the large wood trunks are forming a big ol' 'X' right smack in the middle of the scape. You might want to move it a little. The ADA at the front edge of the tank always needs to be level and smooth - about a fingers' width in height (no hills and dales). Aside from that it will be a beautiful tank!!---R
     
    keithgh likes this.
  17. randy0319

    randy0319 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Don't be too discouraged. A while back I posted one of my scapes that I really liked only to have someone point out that my main rocks formed an anatomically correct phallic symbol. I looked at the scape and my eyes bugged out! I changed the rocks. I was beet red with embarrassment.
     
  18. KatieK

    KatieK Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Hi Keith and Randy,

    Keith, good news, there is no more ammonia in the tank. I bought three gold neon tetras. They're neater then I originally thought.

    You're right, there's a lot of wrong and contradictory info out there. I try to do all the research I can, then hang the sense of it and get what's available. A lot of what my LFS says contradicts what I read on this site. It takes a fair amount of common sense and a desire to experiment to have fun with these tanks.

    Randy, that made me laugh, "stuff and junk." You're right that is a big X made by the wood. It's only one piece of wood; it's all connected. I'm ok with the X because it's aux natural. Why does the ada need to be smoothed out? I don't have a problem doing it, but I thought an uneven surface looked more like a natural riverbed.


    Thanks for all the help you guys,
    Katie
     
  19. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Katie that is simple because the manufacturers/suppliers say so and you will have to buy the special tools to do it.

    I have done my fair share of river/lake fishing and I can assure you they are far from flat and smooth.

    Keith:):)
     
  20. KatieK

    KatieK Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I've been in my fair share of rivers as well, not too many are perfectly flat.

    Katie


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