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Bite the bullet

maybe hydrocotyle tripartita, or hemainthus callitrichoides? fissidens and riccardia would also look really nice in this tank I think.
Work in progress is the best, wen the scape is done and can't be improved it slowly becomes boring..

did I mention that I really like your hardscape?😉
I've planted it up tonight. Thanks to @buttons and @Ryan Thang To for the moss and rotala, frankly huge mass of plants.

Not really used rotala before in a big way. Having just planted I've realised I probably should have trimmed the stems shorter so the grew in more in shape and didn't shadow so much. I may also have planted too densely?

Should I trim now, or give it a couple.of weeks for them to establish and root first?

Plants in are:
Anubias nana petite
Java fern narrow
E. Tenellum
Various crypt
H. Tripartita
Fissidens fontanus
Weeping moss
And there's marsilea hirsuta and some lileopsis to come.

Advice welcome.

View attachment 121096
Like it. :thumbup:

Im thinking that you should get about 3 pots of java fern and wrap it to tons of rocks and pack out the mid ground. Java fern grows tight when tied down compact in my experience. Then flood the foreground with dwarf hair grass (use fert tabs of no substrate under the sand).

Then as the background towers up and becomes compact, the foreground and mid will flow nicely into it.
Three days in from planting... Issues:

- rotala seems to be ok ish, can see new growth but also some melt of leaves, but no stem melt so far which is a good sign.
- the colorata has lost some of the bright red colour, but I expected that.
- Colombo flora base is terrible to plant into underwater!
- fish still in sump, extracting them will be a task in itself.
- Have upped c02 a wee bit.
- not 100% sure I've got the plant choices right, but I'll let it grow and see how it looks.

Mmm, spoke to soon about the rotala... salvaged some tops that seemed ok, but 90% has had to be ditched.

I've also chosen to cap the soil. The gravel is a bit bright, but in time I'm planning on it being covered by plant mass. The soil was just a joke to plant into.

I've also added some wood back in that I'd removed in the initial planting.

Happy days.

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As a birthday treat I got some new fish. 20 very small ember tetras and 3 peppered corys to keep me 1 existing survivor company.

Tetras are about 1cm. Anyone got top tips for making sure they get enough food with bigger faster fish around?

Wow great colours on the embers, definitely on my future must have list
I am about 6 weeks in now. Generally going ok. All plants growing to varying degrees and appear healthy. I've trimmed the stems to the ground and replanted once already.

A little bit of green hair algae in a couple of spots, and the inevitable BGA that affects all my tanks. But only a wee bit.

I'm adding about 6ml of TNC Complete daily via the water auto top up system. Co2 has been upped a bit and the drop checker came out the cupboard. Not sure how long my 600grm bottle will last, we will see.

Not 100% happy with the scape, I feel it's a bit caught between two stools and perhaps should have had more of a minimalist iwagumi planting style. Dunno.

Anyway, progress pics.

If bga means cyanobacteria then blue slim remover from ultralife is the best solution I've found yet.

Scape looks nice, plantation could be improved;

That petit microsorum fern is blocking the focal point, you could easily remove the left one and put it in the left side of the tank.

Then move an little bit that left stone on the middle 'path' to the left because it blocks the view too.

All that sand on the front doesn't look natural, you could easily siphon it and replace it with soil, just on the left and on the right of the tank. Plant the soil with an mix of eleocharis and MC for example. Keep that middle part with sand and add some Gravel for smooth transition.

Tank has a very good potential, love the stones and the roots, good flow, don't worry, with some easy changes and grows it will only look better and better, keep up! Iwagumi are nice but gets boring very quickly.
Well done, my eyes are now directly on that main stone, and then on that little branchy path, that's a nice focal point.

Keep up
Unfortunately I appear to be losing the small ember tetras. I have seen bodies in the first sump chamber, I'm assuming they been sucked through and then perished, rather than vice versa. All other stock seems fine. I've covered the inlet with a net to try and stop the carnage.

Also is it possible the tiny ones could be being eaten by the butterfly cichlids?
Scape definitely more balanced now. That was good advice.

I think small fish are vulnerable at night to getting sucked into inlets. Eheim skimmers are bad for it. Not sure about the cichlids but I’ve had chocolate gourami eat similar sized fish!

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