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140l project - Driftwood dominated Nature Aquarium

Ullalaaqua

Member
Joined
22 Jun 2020
Messages
46
Location
Finland
Again here sharing my latest project.

The tank I’m currently working at is 70x45x45cm. Those of you who have followed my aquascaping journey from the beginning know, that this is the tank where I made my very first aquascape in 2020. This scape is gonna be the second and last one in this tank (I’m not including the rescapes I made with water and lifestock in), because it’s getting old and the risk of leaks increase in time.

So, here is where it all started in April this year
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We were hiking in the forest with my spouse and daughter. My eyes fixed on this beautiful piece of pine under the surface of a forest lake - love at first sight ❤️

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So I took her home…

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And gave her a good wash with a high pressure cleaner and let her dry in a +60C sauna.

She needed a friend so I went to another lake and found her an aspen friend who got the same treatment as the pine did.

So, now I had two big pieces of driftwood that I had to fit in my tank. As always, I have a distant idea in my head about what I want to do, but the clear vision comes once I start scaping. And It might change a lot along the way.

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The backbone. Main struckture of the scape. Now I think it’s gonna be an island-style scape, but who knows what ideas I’m gonna have along the way.

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The ”draft” of a plant plan:
Dark green: bucephalandra and mosses
Light green: HC Cuba and Montecarlo
Reds and yellow/orange: Rotala sp bush. I’m thinking the rotundifolia variants as well as sp. variants like wallichii and macrandra. Maybe some grasslike plants as eleocharis vivipara among them to get that flower meadow vibe to it.

These are the ”main” plants. Knowing myself it’s not gonna be the complite plant list. I’m gonna use serval other plants for details and structure as well.

The Island is gonna be surrounded with a sand area.

Other useful details:
Light: Twinstar Led Light 600 SP
Filtration: Oase BioMaster Thermo 850
Filtermedia: Mainly Seachem Matrix

Tips I would like to have:
How do I attach the big wood pieces? I would like to hear about the oldschool way that does not include glueing.
And whatever you get in mind, let me know. I’m open for suggestions 🤘🏾
 

shangman

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13 Jul 2020
Messages
1,009
Location
London
Wow that wood looks great, love that you found such beautiful pieces!!

I had a lot of success recently screwing wood together, and also screwing wood and lava rock together. Lava rock can be drilled, screwed and even sawed if need be. Use nice long screws so it's really sturdy.
 

Ullalaaqua

Member
Thread starter
Joined
22 Jun 2020
Messages
46
Location
Finland
Wow that wood looks great, love that you found such beautiful pieces!!

I had a lot of success recently screwing wood together, and also screwing wood and lava rock together. Lava rock can be drilled, screwed and even sawed if need be. Use nice long screws so it's really sturdy.
Thank you @shangman 💚
I’m not that convinced about drilling anything to be honest. I hearf the old school aquascapers lock wood between stones somehow to keep them from floating. Not shure if thst works here eighter. Maybe I just overthink it again and should go with the glue and cigarette filter way. Then secure everything with a stone until they sink well.

Now thats an impressive display of wood, almost seems a shame to hide it with plants, lol.
Thanks 😁 I try not to hide the wood behind plants too much but to just make them look like they’ve been there a long time
 

Ullalaaqua

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Thread starter
Joined
22 Jun 2020
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46
Location
Finland
And it continues… and changed along the way as I suspected 😂

I ordered some Manzanita twings from Riverwood Aquatics. The Finnish post lost them so it took a moth for me to get them.

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See how happy I was finally getting them? The other twigs beside me are from my friends. For this project (and the ones to come) my friends wanted to participate by hunting me driftwood from their summer cottages (it’s a finnish thing to have a cottage in the middle of no-where beside a lake with a sauna building). This was the end of July.

Anyway. I got my Manzanita. Then some more lava stones. I really took my time with this. Still wondering in my head on how on earth am I gonna get it all glued.

After I had gathered more hardscape I took all of it away, gave the wood another wash with a pressure cleaner and from the smell of them I realized I had two pieces of pine. So I but them into the sauna just to check that they don’t leak any resin. Thankfully they didn’t and I knew I was good to go.

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There I tried a bit the bigger twigs. I didn’t plan it too much. Just tried the twigs, tried to remember how roots look in the forest when they creep on the moss covered rocks.

The scape stayed like this for quite some time. When I had the energy and will to continue I took the rest of the twigs and placed them along the bigger wood pieces and on lava stones.

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Before the first fill.

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I used only thermal glue from Arka. No filter and superglue, drilling or silicone. I’m very surprised on how well it worked out!

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After the first fill ❤️ I was super happy with the result so far.

Now I let the wood soak and loose tannin over the night and last Thursday (9th of september) I drained the water out. Added one bag of ADA Amazonia ver.2 and forgot to put the taps under the soil!!! I poked them in the soil with tweezers and hope I did well 😆
To keep the soil from pouring on the sand, I used fiter wool for the gaps. I also made some terraces on the sides and on top.

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Sand is a mix of La Plata and Colorada.

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Job done and time for a dark start.

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And my plant plans changed. I’m going to challenge myself by a lot more minimalistic planting than I’m used to. No stemplants. Only moss, HC ’Cuba’, some bucephalandras here and there and eleocharis in different sizes. I’m so excited!!!!!

Useful info:
Soil: ADA Amazonia ver.2
Sand: A mix of ADA La Plata and ADA Colorada
Gravel: ADA Aquarium gravel

Hardscape:
Pine (from a lake)
Manzanita twigs
Lava stones

to be continued with planting after dark start….
 
Last edited:

Ullalaaqua

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Thread starter
Joined
22 Jun 2020
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Finland
Continuing… i really have to step up undating this… sorry.

PLANTING
After a month of dark start on the 23rd of October was the time for plants. During the month I watched for signs of resin leak or any hich-hickers and there was none. The wood gave the water a lovely forest scent and there was a lot of white fluff on the manzanita twigs.
But after a month I thought it was safe for planting.

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Photo taken 24th of October in 2021

PLANT LIST (at this point):
Eleocharis vivipara
Eleocharis acicularis
Eleocharis minima
Hemianthus callitrichoides "Cuba"
Glossostigma elatinoides
Anubias barteri var nana "Mini Mini"
Bucephalandra ”Brownie Blue”
Bucephalandra mix (i think sp. ”Red” and ”wavy green”)
Bolbitis heteroclita difformis
Marcilea angustifolia
Vesicularia montagnei "Christmas"
Vesicularia ferriei ”weeping”

So because the scape is so hardscape heavy I went for minimalistic planting. Vivipara in the back, bucephalandra on the rocks and eleocharis mini in the foreground sand with ’cuba’ and marsilea angustifolia. I planted glossostigma in the crossing of the wood (middle) where I made a terrace with soil. My plan is to let it creep down on the mosses and hopefully look similar to Linnaea borealis that we have a lot growing here in our forests.
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Linnaea borealis, these are some of the photos that inspired this scape.
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After planting started the waiting. Because the tank was already cyckled I let my fish out of the fish holding tank I had up snd running since I took down the previous scape in this tank.
At first I had problems with co2 since my 2kg bittle had emptied out. Luckily I had my nano set and a full 90g bottle. Maybe it would last long enough for me to go and fill up the bigger one…

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It looked really cute and lasted for about 3 days

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Filled and ready to go!

Now the prosess of transforming the scape into an underwater forest scene could continue.
During the next weeks I transferred more different bucephalandras from my other tanks. I also took some Riccardia chamedryfolia from my nano. My plan is to slowly find places for all my bucephalandra. I have lots of brownie blue and them some brownie ghost, needle leaf, arctica and kedagang in my tanks. And more anubias nana. It all goes there eventually.

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13th of November 2021

First challenge. Melting.
Yep. I started to have melting buce and melting bolbitis difformis. I think the main reason for it was the huge amount of poop my nerites produced eating the soft layers of the wood and all the fluff of the manzanita. I didn’t change water as often as I should have. Now I try to clean the waste more often and there is a big change in the buce condition.

I didn’t have big algae problems. Just some here and there. Mainly diatoms (the hairlike one). I started dosing sceachem advance and potassium (ADA) daily from the day one. After a week or so I swiched the potassium for APT complete (2hraquarist).
It took about 2 months for the plants to take off. Now it feels like every morning they’ve growed more. I am so happy of the way it looks like!

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I made a DIY back light out of milky foil in the back and a 6000 kelvin led stribe. Costed me about 50€

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It’s ok for my needs :)


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3rd of December 2021

The latest image I’ve taken.
I will upgrade the plant list once I have everything there. Meanwhile let me know what you think :)
 

dw1305

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shangman

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13 Jul 2020
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London
I love it Ulla, and seeing the inspiration in the forest makes me really excited for how it will look when it's grown in some more!

Could you link where you got the LEDs for the back screen? Just curious what type you got, it is REALLY effective. I've been meaning to try to make my own and this has def inspired me to give it a go :)
 

Ullalaaqua

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Thread starter
Joined
22 Jun 2020
Messages
46
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Finland
I love it Ulla, and seeing the inspiration in the forest makes me really excited for how it will look when it's grown in some more!
Thank you! I’m really excited too 😄 I have a clear vision in my head but not sure if i manage to get it visible through the scape.

Could you link where you got the LEDs for the back screen? Just curious what type you got, it is REALLY effective. I've been meaning to try to make my own and this has def inspired me to give it a go :)
I bought it from a lockal store, but it is this one:

Just 1 meter long. And 6500k I remembered wrong :)
 

Braxximus

New Member
Joined
21 Dec 2021
Messages
15
Location
Sweden
Terve!
How is everything going?
I was wondering about the pine wood that you are using, what about the risk of terpentine leaching into the tank? Have you had any issues besides plant melting?
 
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