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'Cozen' - Journey to IAPLC '22 (Next stop: Cenote Aktun Ha!)

Courtneybst

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The orange really does look good, i may get a light screen in future but looking excellent mate
Thanks Deano! They really do make a difference. Despite being expensive, if I did ever buy one I'd be very tempted to go ADA for the reliability. I've heard some...things about the competition.
Depth, drama, mystery, tension... Its got it all, love it.
I've genuinely spent the last 10 mins fixated on that picture "drifting out towards the horizon" I swear I could hear the waves lapping at my feet 😆
Thanks John! Then my work here is done. 😂
 

Courtneybst

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Just some new photos of the plant progress. The thick forest vibes are really starting to develop.

I've decided that ludwigia super red just doesn't work in this scape, as much as I like it. Instead, I've replaced almost all of the midground section with cryptocoryne (lucens, lutea hobbit and albida brown) to compliment the pink flamingo. I think it works so much better and will look even nicer when they've all grown in - you can just see the newly planted lucens behind the albida brown. Additionally, I don't have to worry about them in the same way I did with the stems.

A few plants are also being axed; hygrophila pinnatifida (grows iffy for me) and gratiola visicdula.

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Garuf

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I found gratiola to be a very sickly plant got me, never really got it to do much more than survive. I was later told it prefers softer water and is prone to deficiencies when grown in high light hard water.
 

Courtneybst

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I found gratiola to be a very sickly plant got me, never really got it to do much more than survive. I was later told it prefers softer water and is prone to deficiencies when grown in high light hard water.
Yeah I found that the few bits that did grow well would only do so when higher up and it just ends up looking leggy and weird. Onto the next one!
 

CooKieS

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Yeah I found that the few bits that did grow well would only do so when higher up and it just ends up looking leggy and weird. Onto the next one!
Interesting, I’m actually trying this plant in my contest tank too and it’s not growing very good for now….will probably replace it with hemianthus micranthemoides or similar.
Thanks for the info guys!
 

Garuf

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What is it with this bad boy, it's listed as a "medium" category plant. I know @Hufsa and @Karmicnull have been having an ongoing discussion on the perils of it. Gonna have to get me some and give it a go.
H. Pinnatifida? I’ve never had much issue with it even when grown in a low tech, the key seems to be good flow and to grow it from pots rather than in vitro, in vitro takes a long time to mature before it starts to go gang busters tending to get choked out by other plants.
 

pat1cp

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H. Pinnatifida? I’ve never had much issue with it even when grown in a low tech, the key seems to be good flow and to grow it from pots rather than in vitro, in vitro takes a long time to mature before it starts to go gang busters tending to get choked out by other plants.
Darn, I've just ordered some 1 2 grow :oops:
 

Garuf

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I wouldn’t panic yet, in vitro you just have to baby it for the first couple of months so it doesn’t get crowded out while settling.
 

Courtneybst

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we're gonna need a date when we can see the entire tank :p it already looks great on the blurred/cropped pictures so good job
Thanks Eddie! Unfortunately it's a long wait. Results don't come out until end of August. I will maintain the tease, however..
What is it with this bad boy, it's listed as a "medium" category plant
Well I've recently discovered that my fertilising regime might have been lacking and I suspect that this could have contributed to its demise. However, I've had pinnatifida do well and then suddenly mope in several scenarios so who knows.

I've used Cryptocoryne Albida Brown in the places where I had pinnatifida to great affect, and I don't have to worry about giving it too much light or spontaneously melting! Hail the crypts!
 

Courtneybst

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any updates? Courtney
Thanks for the nudge Eddie. I haven't been active on UKAPS in the past week as I've been really busy and I only like coming on when I'm relaxed. Haven't been doing much relaxing lately!

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The scape is doing well! I'll take you through some updates...

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Just about everything in this tank needs a trim! I'm getting fairly close to final picture time.

I pulled out 95% of the Rotala in the background as it just wasn't happening! I replaced it with pearlweed since it's easy, dense and small leaved and some Rotala 'Blood Red' SG variant courtesy of Dennis Wong. It really does stay red without nitrate limitation, mine is always fairly high. It must look amazing in leaner waters.

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Lots of my epiphytic Monte Carlo came off in big clumps a few weeks ago as it was getting too dense. It was a bit stressful I can't lie. So I trimmed it right back to the attaching point so it can nicely fill in again for the photo. I think it actually looks better shorter and so I'll keep it short if I can help it. I guess it was supposed to happen.

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Considering my Blyxa looked like it was on the edge of death when it first went in, it's now loving life. So much so that it decided to get high and float to the surface. 🙃 I need to thin it out so it's not blocking the hardscape I painstakingly constructed.

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The moss is doing really well! It actually grows quite fast (too fast tbh). As beautiful as it is, I'm reluctant to use it again in my aquariums because of the upkeep. If it floated when trimmed I'd be all over it...

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Unfortunately I'm down to 5 Golden Ricefish and 1 Platinum Ricefish from 6 and 5 respectively. One of the gold ones jumped in what is probably comically high flow at the front. I'm surprised more fish haven't jumped since I keep the water level right at the brim. The platinums I don't understand. 3 died and 1 vanished overnight. I suspect one gorged too many fruit flies though.

There's also shrimp EVERYWHERE. They've been breeding like it's an extinction regeneration project! 90% are black, with the odd brown, blue jelly and super red. The genetics have been very surprising at times.

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I also replaced all of the midground plants with cryptocoryne and anubias since it's so shady. A mix of Cryptocoryne lucens, Lutea 'Hobbit' and Anubias congensis 'mini'. It's growing much better than whatever I had there before.

I recently vaporised a little BBA issue I had through some detritus cleaning and a single spot dosing of APT fix. At first I thought it hadn't worked because the algae looked the same after 3 days and then by day 5 the algae started to vanish. Now you can't even tell there was ever algae there after only one dose. It did however work a little too well...I was hoping to leave a green patina on my rocks to give them age and character but the APT fix polished the rocks clean! Quite a wide area too, so I guess I'm going to have to clean all of the rocks if the patina doesn't return by next month.

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Courtneybst

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Weirdly, I don't think it was ever mentioned why I now have the gold tetras.

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Unfortunately the beautiful Dicrossus died, suffering from what looked like some kind of white head fungus. He may have been sick before I got him but come to think of it, this scape was probably a terrible environment for him. I wasn't able to source any females at the time so this social fish was incredibly lonely. Additionally, the water is on the cool side (23c/73F), the flow is high, lights are bright and CO2 is raging which all likely compounded the stress.

I've since acquired a group of dicrossus which are living in my Tidy Jungle and seem to be doing well after a couple of months now.

For the final photo I was thinking to remove the ricefish (they were for the pond anyway) and just keep the tetras in there. I think it's also about the time I need to start adding final details, refreshing the sand, doing last major trims etc. Daunting!

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Courtneybst

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The FINAL photo has been taken!
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All that's left to do now is make the edits and submit. The whole journey has been quite a slog but overall it's gone quite quickly. I'm already feeling relinquished from the confines of this manicured beauty and have started experimenting with Chara sp. I got from @killi69 . As soon as I added it to the tank about 15 shrimp swarmed the area and area currently nibbling away (hopefully at biofilm and not the Chara!).

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I'll be pinching the Cryptocoryne, Bucephalandra, Anubias and maybe moss from this tank to go in my 120cm rescape. In the meantime, do you thinki should let it grow wild and see what happens???

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Courtneybst

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No. I think you should use the tank to really push the boundaries beyond your comfort zone and see what you can achieve.
In terms of different scapes?

I'm planning an interesting biotope in the next few weeks/months so that will test me in some ways!
 

seedoubleyou

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Ue
In terms of different scapes?

I'm planning an interesting biotope in the next few weeks/months so that will test me in some ways!
Yeah mate, take the opportunity to try something new. Try something never done before. That’s as far as I can say as my imagination is rubbish hahah
 
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