Aquascaping tips for a tall tank

Discussion in 'Aquascaping' started by ulster exile, 21 Aug 2007.

  1. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    350
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Ok I did it. I spent a couple of hours clearing out my tank - currently it has 3 bits of slate and some 'pellia', but all of the plants are sat in a bucket.

    The problem I have with this tank is that it is disproportionately deep, or appears so to me. It is approx 100cm wide and 67cm tall IIRC (and fyi is approx 40cm wide)

    Has anybody got any planting or aquascaping tips for dealing with a tank like this? My idea would be to have some long bits of wood which bridge the distance between the substrate and the surface, but I've haven't found any wood that I've been satisfied with so far.

    For info, current plants are c.wendtii (lots apparently!!!), two types of hygro stricta (one variety does grow to the surface), 'pellia', ammania gracilis, nymphaea stellata bulb, vallis spiralis, an unknown very large anubias (same sort of size as the wendtii).

    Any ideas folks?

    PS Please be gentle - I'm not an experienced aquascaper :oops:

    Thanks in advance :D
     
  2. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,089
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    Hi Chrisi

    Practical tips for tall tank

    One tip would be to use a small step/up turned bucket/box etc. to climb onto to alllow greater reach into the tank.

    To plant you could use a long pair of tweezers and to prune a long pair of scisorrs.

    Another tip that involves actual plant selection would be to opt for slow growing, non-stem plants that involve very little maintenance i.e. anubias, ferns, crypts, swords, Cyprus helferi etc.

    Layout tips

    Have a plan. Sketch ideas. If you're stuck then simply copy someone elses 'scape, perhaps making a few changes as you feel necessary.

    Get the hardscape right from the start. This is the backbone of the layout. Aqua Essentials has a good selection of wood and rocks.

    Find out final growth sizes of plants. Plant smaller at front larger at rear.

    Broader and darker leaves to edges, lighter and finer plants toward centre. Plant stems in groups.

    Think focal points. Golden ratio is useful. Red plants and hardscape should be positioned with balance.

    Check out my pinned threads on aquascaping basics at the top of this forum.

    And Steven Chong's excellent articles -

    http://www.aquaessentials.co.uk/forum/v ... .php?t=608
    http://www.aquaessentials.co.uk/forum/v ... .php?t=681

    Hope that helps, and is gentle enough for you... :)
     
  3. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    350
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Gentle indeed, thank you for taking the time to do that. I can see that I will be busy reading for a bit, but I must say that a very quick initial glance tells me that your articles are definitely pitched at the right level (for me!)

    Thanks!
     
  4. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,089
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    You're welcome.

    Running a journal can be helpful, for you and others.
     
  5. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    ulster,
    Another thing you can do, depending on aesthetic appeal, would be to add a lot more substrate to the tank to mitigate the distance between the substrate and the top of the tank. That way you wouldn't have to reach so far down during maintenance. Having a lot of substrate might also enable you to get some radical angles with sloping front to back left to right etc. You could then insert the slate vertically to act as retaining walls and have some terrace effects maybe.

    With different vertical terraces you could have some cool downhill "stream", or uphill "climb" effects depending on the plants you chose, or you could use the terrace levels to highlight the texture of the slate or other rock. I'm trying to get these kinds of effects using Utricularia. I saw these ideas on Oliver Knott's website. The possibilities are endless in the vertical.


    Cheers.
     
  6. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    350
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    :lol: This site has made this woman extremely happy! Those articles were great as a starter (loved Steven Chongs's FFWS - Field in Front of a Wall Syndrome which I imagine my tank pre-change suffered from!) and have given me plenty of food for thought!

    Thank you ceg for the Oliver Knott tip - looking at two of the similar sized tanks to mine, I am bowled over at the designs and I have been able to visualise some of the concepts discussed earlier. I'm also impressed at the tank which is full of my favourite plant at the mo, monosolenium tenerum (shame I chucked away nearly half a bucketful last night).

    Thank you so very much!
     
  7. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

    Messages:
    1,389
    Location:
    N. Wales
    Hi Ulster,

    This is my Juwel Lido which has a lot of height in relation to it`s width, which has made it a bit of a challenge to scape properly. What I have done is to cover rocks in Riccia, and build them up progressively towards the rear and to the left, giving something of a terraced feel. The substrate looks raised, giving an effect along the lines CEG was talking about.

    I also have tall stems at the back to help fill out the tall water column. This tank`s stems are mostly Micranthemum umbrosum, but I have used others such as Rotala rotundifolia and Ludwigia arcuata when this tank was a stem jungle. The Rotala in particular looked stunning when it had grown the full height of the tank.

    Tank1027ps.jpg

    Dave.
     
  8. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,089
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    Raised substrate is great, but can cause long-term issues with anoxic substances unless there is rampant growth with large root systems. Personally I'd go no deeper than 10cm.

    Love the Riccia, Dave.
     
  9. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

    Messages:
    1,389
    Location:
    N. Wales
    That`s a valid point about the raised substrate, George. I hadn`t taken it in to consideration, but mine is raised via rocks.

    Thanks for the Riccia compliment :D . This is far and away my best scape so far. It has a real wow factor when people walk in to the room, especially when it is on back lighting only with all the O2 bubbles glistening.

    Sorry for the hijack Ulster.

    Dave.
     
  10. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    350
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    I admired your riccia (and tank in general) inthe White room, but thank you for the reminder of what is possible!

    These sorts of thread hijacks I enjoy :lol:
     
  11. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    350
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Well after a bit of thought, I decided to take some of your advice to copy an existing design.

    I think I'd like to go for an off centre 'mound' sort of like this one from Oliver Knott. My tank isn't a bowfront, but I hope that the design will translate well.

    I hope that I can use my existing slate, most of which is much thinner than those rocks, but i like their shapes. To combat the height, I'm going to use eggcrate under the substrate, with some of the flat slate and more gravel to try and build up the overall height of the feature.

    Plants - well instead of the anubias, I'm going to use my cryptocryne wendtii with dwarf sag at the 'edge' to create the effect of a gentle slope upwards. The mono looks great in Oliver's design so i think I'll use my own to aim for the same effect. Not sure what to do about the backdrop plant - the vallis (that is vallis, isn't it?) certainly provides the effect of height, but I don't like straight vallis. I may try and use one of the types of hygro I have (don't know if it's stricta or corymbosa :oops: ).

    Any comments on this? Does anybody think that the colour of the c wendtii (it's one of the bronze/brown varieties) would detract from the slate as there should be only one focal point, not two?
     
  12. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,089
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    Oooo, I love mound compositions.

    Which 'scape is it? The link goes to the main site.
     
  13. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Dorset, UK
    is that one of those Aquaone tanks chrisi? Friend of mine has one exactly those dimensions, planted up with plastic plants, she finds it very difficult to get the height in it. One thing id suggest, if you can get hold of it, put cork tiles all over the inside back glass, stick it on with silicon gunge :) side glass if approriate to your tanks situation, you can then use bent wire to hold plants onto the cork, such as anubis or other such object rooting species like javafern.

    not only would that give you an easy way to soak up the height at the back, but it would look amazing :) This is a technique that Tom Barr suggests alot for many tanks, not just tall ones, but I recon its worth a try.
     
  14. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Messages:
    350
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Sorry George, it won't let me post the exact one. It's shown on the medium tank gallery (100l-200l) and is the second o the 180l on view. His looks to be more of a lower light set up with dark mixed gravel, anubias, monosolenium and lots of duckweed subduing the light.

    Flora
    It's not an Aquaone, although similar in that it is straightfronted but has curved glass corners. It's a Cleair - one of the main tanks Shirley Aquatics sell. Two words - cheap design, although in fairness its outward appearance is quite nice.

    The cork idea is a good one - I'd heard about people using sponges with suckers sown into them to hold java ferns but the cork is a much more comprehensive idea.

    I always come away from this place with more ideas, thank you!
     

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