Well maybe... This weekend I took the plunge and cleared out my old 180 litre tank. It's a 36" x 18" x 18" tank with a homemade wooden hood. Lighting was two, 18W T8 Interpet Daylight pluss with a 55W T5 power compact Daylight plus too. Filtration is an Ehiem 2128. CO2 will be pressurised from a FE into a DIY reactor on a solenoid to turn it off overnight but I'm waiting for the new regulator to arrive still. This has never really been a scaped tank and is really my collectoritus tank where I keep all the plants I like. As such it's generally a mess! It's also my main tank for getting dwarf cichlids paired up and established before I move them to other tanks. As such it's always been a sort of jungle meets cichlid home and really it will remain that way! This time the cichlids are 7 Apistogramma eremnopyge. This is a gorgeous species from Peru with red spots on it's side and a prominent blotch near the caudal peduncle. I've bred them before but lost the original female and her fry. The two remaining males have been biding their time in a two footer but when I bought my Biotoecus sp.'Tapajos' I ordered 3 new females and another male. I was sent a bonus female too so needed to rethink the layout slightly, but more of that later... This tank has split slate as the background and I toyed with removing this but didn't have the time or the inclination to after I'd cleared the tank. I like the background and so kept it! My Ancistrus also spawn behind part of it so if I put them back they'll spawn there again hopefully! All the old fish (20 odd Cardinals, 1 old Diamond tetra, a pair of ancistrus + a dozen or so babies and a pair of Pelivicachromis taeniatus 'Bipindi' were moved into the 2ft tank while the fish for this tank are in my QT for a week or so. All the old Flourite and sand substrate was removed as were all the plants into various containers. The plants were also cut right back removing all old/huge leaves. While doing this I found that the Ancistrus must have spawned recently as I found 12 or so little ones hiding around the tank. Catching them slowed things down dramamtically! Then I started to sort the 'design' out. This is all practicality really. For breeding apisto I've found females like a territory of about 12" diameter or a 6-8" radius. With 3 females this meant I would be able to comfortably have three cave groups on sand at the front with two Aquasoil areas for serious planting at the back. However 4 females meant that one of those planting areas needed to have a cave too. I also wanted only some Aquasoil to copy elements of my Rio's design and reduce the effects of the aquasoil's leaching at first. I also found that even the plants in sand grew better than ever becuase, I assume, of the nutrients coming from the Aquasoil. So pure sand front and Aquaosoil backs. (I also had a 9l bag of Amazonia left from doing the Rio!). Also Apistogrammas, being Geophagine cichlids, love to chew the substrate over and I'm not sure how they'll like Aquaosil but they love sand so a nice large area of that was needed. Anyway basically big bogwood pieces on the right with Windelov fern and then slate pieces on the left. These separate the sand from the Aquasoil as the chewing of the Apistos would otherwise mix them I'm sure. So dry it looks like this (please excuse the rubbish pictures - I nearly forgot to take any and hurridly snapped a few shockers!) I dumped the Aquasoil in the two pockets created by the hardscape and then carefully added sand into the front area. I started off with a pretty thin layer of sand at first (about an inch) but added some more when planting to some areas. I planted everything dry except the Cabomba furcata as I've never found planting Cabomba dry that easy and it dries out very quickly for me. So I added enough water to let me plant it wettish. Then I topped the tank up. The water is 2/5ths tap water (Hot water to warm up the RO) and 3/5the RO. I haven't added any RO Right as there will be some minerals in the tap water. Then I switched the filter back on and had a beer. The fish will stay in the QT until Nitrite readings are 0.