A little help for my first 'proper' aquascape

Discussion in 'Aquascaping' started by Steven E, 26 Nov 2008.

  1. Steven E

    Steven E Newly Registered

    13 Nov 2008
    Please note, I have now begun 'building' this tank. You can see it's progress in my journal


    I’m currently in the process of setting up my Rio 180, I’ve got all of my equipment but I’m trying to decide on plants. I’ve got a pretty basic layout and map below, but it needs a lot more. I was hoping to have some input from as many people as possible. I’ve had a couple of planted tanks in the past, however this is the first which I am actually doing properly with high-lighting, cO2 e.t.c...

    Basic Equipment:
    4x T5 HO Bulbs (Each with reflectors) - 168w (3.4wpg)
    FE CO2 / Rhinox 5000 Diffuser
    Tropica Plant Substrate (1cm base layer) topped with Black Fine Gravel (2-3mm grain) 2-4”

    Here’s a crudely potatoshopped layout of the sort of aquascape I have in mind


    The map to above aquascape


    And the key to above map

    Red – Amazon Sword Echinodorus bleheri
    Orange – Echinodorus ‘Red Flame’
    Teal - Alternanthera reineckii
    Green - Pogostemon helferi
    Yellow - Java Fern Microsorum pteropus
    Blue - Hygrophila corymbosa "Compact"
    Purple - Nymphaea lotus (zenkeri)
    Turquoise - Eleocharis vivipara
    Pink - Vallisneria spiralis
    Olive - Cryptocoryne balansae

    Grey - Rock
    Brown – Wood

    On the photoshopped aquascape you can see some moss on (as yet) unbought wood, ideally something ‘weeping’ (i.e. Vesicularia ferriei) or just another type of moss.

    The black areas are so far undecided and is where I need the most help with. I really haven’t a clue what plants to slot into these areas, for the back areas I can envision some bushy tall plants, and the fronts something thin that will sprout out through everything else.

    So if anyone would be so kind as to offer some comments and suggestions for what to add/replace/remove I’d be really grateful

    Thank you,
  2. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    19 Feb 2008
    worksop, nottinghamshire
    neat idea with the plant layout, i think some hairgrass (eleocharis vivipara) would look nice as a background plant.
  3. a1Matt

    a1Matt Member

    10 Mar 2008
    That is a great mock up. I agree with Aarons choice of background. Although any tall thin plant will do... Vallis would go well. Cryptocoryne Balansae also, f you want a slower grower. Or you could just get another stem to go in there. Rotala Rotundifolia is my fave stem, but there are a multitude to choose from. All would do the job IMHO.

    If you can't visualise it then leaving it empty to start and adding it later is an option.

    I got rid of the hygro corymbosa compact in my tank. Although it stays low the leaves are huge and it just didn't sit well with everything else. As yours is next to a Lotus which also has large leaves it'll probably look good.

    I'm not an experienced aquascaper though, so I'd be curious to see what others have to say....
  4. Steven E

    Steven E Newly Registered

    13 Nov 2008
    Thanks for the replys guys, that's really helpful.

    I'll definitely get some eleocharis vivipara and I think the cryptocoryne balansae would fit quite nicely on the right somewhere.

    I've updated my diagrams above to reflect these additions.

    I think i'll get started ordering this lot in the next few days and get started on a journal. My regulator arrived from Germany today (lunapet), funnily enough before other fairly essential equipment (namely the heater, filter and lighting...) from UK suppliers...

    I'd still love to hear any other suggestions or comments if any.

    Thanks again,
  5. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

    3 Jul 2007
    N. Wales

    I think your best bet would be to get the hardscape sorted first, then plan your planting around this. It is the hardscape that will form the foundations for the look of the tank. Then, after a while, the plants take over and the hardscape all but disappears :lol: .

    Nevertheless, the hardscape is still underneath all that growth, holding the overall look together. Play around with the rocks and wood sat in the substrate without any water in the tank. Try all the different positions for the hardscape until you find a look you like, and then think about which kind of planting would compliment it.

  6. Graeme Edwards

    Graeme Edwards Founder Staff Member

    21 Jun 2007
    Wirral/Chester Cheshire.
    Hi Steve,

    Just my quick thoughts. Dave is right, get the hardscape sorted first. If your going with the original plan.....

    E bleheri and E red flame should be swaped round. Red flame is a big and powerfull plant, bleheri is much more slimline and unasuming, it would be lost in that posision.
    I personaly would think about swaping the Hygrophilia compact for Storogym.
    I would also sugest some kind of Crypts to bridge the transition from PH to the Alternantheria and the Red flam. The hight differance will be huge. Go for a C, wendtii "tropica" or even C,Undulata broad leaves would be nice.

    Hope this helps a little.
  7. Luketendo

    Luketendo Member

    25 Feb 2008
    West Sussex, England
    Just wondering but what lighting stuff will you be using? I have a Juwel Rio 180 and I want 4 T5s for marine.
  8. Steven E

    Steven E Newly Registered

    13 Nov 2008
    Dave, Graeme thanks for your comments. I went up to my local garden centre and bought a few really nice pieces of wood, one is humongous. They have all been soaking the last few days. So i'll be starting the hardscape tomorrow when my gravel arrives.

    I've actually just ordered a big batch of plants from AE, GM and Aquarium Gardening, most of the ones on this list, some not. I'll certainly be ordering more plants in the coming weeks/months but to begin with I just want to make a start and get this all up and running. I'll of course be starting a journal too...

    Luke, Lighting wise i'm running a new Juwel High-Lite 100cm 2x45w bar, and 2x39w T5 HO Osram bulbs from an Arcadia Twin 39w starter. Reflector for each bulb. So total of 168w. I went for the High-Lite rather than anything else because a) it's a few watts more than another arcadia, b) so I could fit the juwel standard 'access flaps' onto the tank. I want it to be closed top for aesthetical reasons. Open top+luminaire just wouldn't look right in it's current setting. That's for a future tank methinks...

    There's already a post on here showing how to attach extra lighting to juwel tanks, but I can't find it.. It's pretty straightforward and i'll be sure to document it.


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