• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up

Channelling my inner Filipe - Christmas Corys

Sammy Islam

12 Mar 2019
Hey guys and girls, I thought I would start a journal for a scape I will be setting up next week.

I've been in the hobby for 3/4 years and luckily have had a decent amount of luck with plants and fish in general and i've learnt a hell of a lot in those years mainly due to UKAPS and I thank you all for that, I've literally read 100s of threads even the crazy long ones

So basically I recently turned 30 and thought I would treat myself and invest in an "Aquascaper 900" set up now that I'm a lot more confident and experienced. I contacted Steven (@Siege) from aquarium gardens to get the ball rolling. Massive thanks to Steven and Dave as they answered a lot of the questions I had and gave me some valuable insight into things to consider. I took the plunge and ordered everything before Christmas and the tank will be delivered on monday (so excited), will be planted and flooded by the weekend.

So recently I've been really into Filipe Oliveira tanks, i really love the "controlled chaos" that some of his scapes evolve into. I watched his workshop video for green aqua on youtube and really like the "v" styled scape, so i decided that's what i want to replicate.

This is Filipe's scape for green aqua:

I popped into aquarium gardens on monday to pick out and finalise my hardscape. I had a play about for 2 hours in the scape box and was really happy with my final result, can't wait to put it together in the tank.
(Ignore the random rock on the right in some of the photos)


Really looking forward to getting everything set up and planted next week and will keep this updated in the hope everyone follows along and pitches in when things may not be going to plan (dreading algae ).

Thank you for reading and will update as things progress!
Last edited:
David and Steven seem to be quiet unsung heroes, always ready to help but not receiving the recognition they so richly deserve.

I like the scape, however, it seems a mite aggressive for me, almost as if the right hand side is leaning into the left. I am not however, an expert!
Both nice guys. Dont rush you at any point, could literally spend the whole day there. Best customer service I've ever received. Thing your layout looks good, what plants have you gone for?
Dave and Steven are really great guys! I've been to aquarium gardens quite a few times now as it's only a 50min drive. Every visit Dave or Steven have really taken the time out to talk through the scapes and answer any questions i've had. I highly highly recommend aquarium gardens if you haven't been there or used their services.

I agree the scape is pretty aggressive and bold, but i plan to plant very heavily as i have a decent amount of plants ordered and have loads in my current scape so i will use them too seeing as they are fairly healthy. Hopefully all the plants (there will be lots) will balance it out and make it look less aggressive and bold. I tried to replicate the Felipe workshop video as best i could with the vast array of hardscape available.
Heres the video if you're interested:


Will see how it looks once in the tank, will be interesting trying to get a decent slope either side. I'll probably use some substrate supports so help i guess, aswell as rocks. The left hand side is a little towards the front than the right, not sure if they need to be level or not, but i thought is would create more depth having them offset a little, also another reason is the glassware will be going in front of the right hand side.
Last edited:
Wow great choice sammy on the aquascaper 900 i really fancy a 900 at some point once i can consistently keep my plants alive and well, really looking forward to this and seeing what equipment and plant choices and fish choices you use, also looking forward to seeing some hardscape and layout ideas in the tank.

I think the 900 is a great size and handy as should only need 1 filter etc as wouldnt want to keep 2 running.

Will it be a high tech setup ?

I have ordered a lot of equipment from aquarium gardens however never been as live to far up north but they have always been super helpful and great all round.

Keep us updated and best of luck.

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
Thanks, it seems like the perfect sized all-round tank, especially with the 50cm depth just gives you so many posibillites. My current tank is a 125l and will be replaced by the AS900 once everything has settled so made sense to get something a little bigger.

It will definitely be high tech, with twinstar lighting, oase filtration and in tank co2 and EI dosing. Will update with everything once i set everything up and scape the tank.

I have a decent plant list, i want to plant as heavily as possible and will be using healthy established plants from my current scape too.
I have ordered:

Staurogyne Repens
anubias nana mini
anubias nana bonsai
buce wavy green
pogostemon helferi

java fern tridant
crypt wenditti green
crypt wenditii brown
hygrophila pinnatafida

rotala orange juice
rotala rotundfolia
rotala sp green
rotala yao yoi
rotala h'ra

I'll probably use quite a few crypts from my running tank that are healthy and well established.

Crypt nevellii
Crypt beckettii
Crypt flamingo
Crypt legoroi
Crypt albida brown

I'm pretty sure of the hardscape layout it will be similar once set up but may change a little once i will be restricted by the glass. I imagine the rocks will be a little more spaced apart as it all initially seems a little harsh being so tight.
Last edited:
I think it would look better with the left side moved forward, with a sharp cliff, as this would increase the depth and make the scape even more dynamic. I think it looks great anyway and the aggression is really dramatic.

I would prefer some plant with smaller texture than S.Repens in the foreground. Bolbitis on the sides would frame the scape nicely and MonteCarlo growing in between and weeping over the rocks would look cool.

Good luck. I think it’s going to grow in great.
Thanks for the input! I will have a play about on monday and try perfect it. I'll have a couple of days to stare at it and make any final decisions before gluing and picking up my plants.

So you think the rockwork should start at the same level rather than slightly offset? I'll give it a try! I would say its mainly offset to create depth as the left hand side would be the main focal point, also the glassware will be in in the front right hand side.

I do like the finer plant textured carpeting plant like Felipe has used but i think the two little banks either side would look awesome with the s repens acting as a frame. The middle will be a beachy/sandy area so i didn't want any carpet as im going to plants i've had decent success with to start off.

Thanks, will keep this updated!
Cool, it has been set out like that in the photo unless it doesn't seem like it. The left hand side mound is slightly in front of the right hand side mound so it creates more depth, but i will offset it a little more when i set out my initial scape tomorrow once i have the glass as barrier. Can't wait!
First update now the tank is here. Took half a day trying to level it on my own, it didn't help the fact that the cabinet is front heavy and nearly fell on me a few times :lol: also the cabinet with "aqua frame" came already built which was a bonus. The only thing that freaked me out was that there is no top panel on the cabinet so the tank rests essentially on the frame/panels and has no support in the middle. :crazy:

I applied some frosted film to the back of the tank as I have weird coloured walls, but not sure if its its much of a difference depending on what angle you look at the tank. But was easy enough and can change to black later if I don't like it.

Got in a couple bags of soil and laid out my rocks. Still got a lot of positioning to do but im happy with what ive got so far. Any suggestions are most welcome as I really want to get this "right".

Sorry about the difference in colour of the photos, capturing photos with the twinstar is very hard so far.


Thanks :)
Last edited:
Thanks! I will definitely go a little higher, still got a 9l bag of soil to go in so i will try that before playing about with the manzanita.

Do you think i should raise it from mainly underneath? Or make the "mounds" bigger either side? That will also make the rocks turn in towards the centre making a deeper/steeper valley like the scape i created at aquarium gardens? Not sure if any of that makes sense :lol:

So i added more soil underneath and to the "mounds", it has got a little higher but i'll have another go today with the remaining soil. Still have to adjust the rocks alot but i'm really liking the right hand side.

Couldn't resist chucking the manzanita in so i could sort out which bits i'm going to use on which side. Putting in the wood highlighted the fact that i need to improve my rock work, especially on the left hand side. The large piece of manzanita in the back will have to come towards the front but didnt want to snap it just yet :lol: But pretty happy with the right hand side arrangement of both rocks and wood. Hopefully will have a couple branches sticking out from the waterline too ;)






Thanks :thumbup:
So i've finally sorted out the manzanita and glued it all down... Finger crossed it holds :lol: i'm pretty happy with the layout and positioning of the wood considering it was dictated by how it all could be glued together.
I've also added in some substrate supports to help keep the slopes from flattening out..... Not sure of it will work but once the plants are grown in i won't be able to see them.




Going to be planted and flooded tomorrow hopefully if everything goes to plan, can't wait! :lol:
Ahhh i've done it!! Took me about 9 hours but i'm really happy with the result! :) filled it very slowly last night and it's pretty much clear already!

I think i ordered the perfect amount of plants, maybe a little too much but i want the best start possible. Didn't expect the crypts to be of such high quality, they split up into so many plants, so had a hard time in the end trying to cram them in. Massive thanks to @Aquarium Gardens for everything, the best customer service by a mile and really amazing quality hardscape and plants! :thumbup:

@FishLifeLondon i took your advice and grabbed some monte carlo when i picked up my plants. So thanks! :thumbup: probably planted them a bit too deep but didn't want anything floating :lol:

End result
Thats a lot of plants but as said gives best start and less chance of algae,hardscape looks excellent, great job and keep us updated.


Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk