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First Ever Scape

Smackbat

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Joined
27 Jan 2022
Messages
36
Location
West Sussex
Hi all. I've been watching the MD Tanks and George farmer videos since lockdown and finally took the plunge.
Found a 60x40x40 low iron tank on FB marketplace and then went to Aquarium Gardens. Super helpful and informative and took to the dojo to try my hand at hardscaping; nowhere near as easy as it looks is it? Met George Farmer in there, said hello and thanked him for the inspiration, and went back to my sorry looking hardscape. Eventually with a little help from Dave? I came away with something I thought I was happy with.

After many attempts at home, I've changed the design and think it's a much stronger composition. I'm going to cap the soil off with fine gravel and the clear areas will then be finished off with a layer of the ADA La Planta Sand.

Filter and lights are on order, now need to build a stand and then order loads of plants!

The 1st photo is from the shop, the 2nd is my redesign which I think I'm happier with. Still think it needs more spindly branches to create some more interest.
 

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Smackbat

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Thread starter
Joined
27 Jan 2022
Messages
36
Location
West Sussex
Just ordered the plants from Aquarium Gardens, should be delivered on Tuesday. Going low-tech, so all easy beginner plants at this stage.
Limnophila aromatica x 4
Hygrophila Siamensis 53B x 6
Microsorum Narrow Leaf x 3
Bucephalandra Theia x 3
Anubias Nana Bonsai x 3
Hydrocotyle tripartita Japan x 1
Helanthium tenellum 'Green' x 4
Salvinia Auriculata x 1

Heading to the hardware store to get the timber tonight, to build a stand during the weekend.
 

pat1cp

Member
Joined
6 Oct 2021
Messages
243
Location
Ballater, Aberdeenshire
Best of luck with your new adventure.

I've limited experience, but limnophila goes mental in my tank. I could feed a stable of horses with my cuttings, but it's a lovely plant IMO.
 

Smackbat

Member
Thread starter
Joined
27 Jan 2022
Messages
36
Location
West Sussex
Best of luck with your new adventure.

I've limited experience, but limnophila goes mental in my tank. I could feed a stable of horses with my cuttings, but it's a lovely plant IMO.
Thanks @pat1cp, I hope that the fast growing nature will help to keep algae in check? We will see
 

Konsa

Member
Joined
20 Nov 2010
Messages
1,019
Location
Lostock Hall
Hi
all the best with your tank.
Looking forward to see the progress of it.
Not sure if L aromatica will do well low tech.
Tried it few times and while it was growing it was shedding old leaves all the time and I got fed up with it.I have 3 stike system for new plants and give them up afterwards.
Potamogeton Gayi or Potamogeton Quadrifolius are really nice and easy plants if the L aromatica doesn't work out.
Regards Konstantin
 

Smackbat

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Thread starter
Joined
27 Jan 2022
Messages
36
Location
West Sussex
Hi
all the best with your tank.
Looking forward to see the progress of it.
Not sure if L aromatica will do well low tech.
Tried it few times and while it was growing it was shedding old leaves all the time and I got fed up with it.I have 3 stike system for new plants and give them up afterwards.
Potamogeton Gayi or Potamogeton Quadrifolius are really nice and easy plants if the L aromatica doesn't work out.
Regards Konstantin
Thanks @Konsa, I'm going with advise from Aquarium Gardens on what will suit my setup, so hopefully it will work out Ok?! All paid for and ordered now, so a bit late to turn back. If not, I'll definitely have a look at your suggestions
 

Konsa

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Joined
20 Nov 2010
Messages
1,019
Location
Lostock Hall
Thanks @Konsa, I'm going with advise from Aquarium Gardens on what will suit my setup, so hopefully it will work out Ok?! All paid for and ordered now, so a bit late to turn back. If not, I'll definitely have a look at your suggestions
Hi
hopefully it will work out for you.If not give me shout I may have some spare stems of the ones suggested in few months(as sometimes thats what it takes in low tech)to send your way
Regards Konstantin
 
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Smackbat

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Thread starter
Joined
27 Jan 2022
Messages
36
Location
West Sussex
Had another change to the hardscape, mainly because of where I decided the tank would live and my normal viewing angle.

Plants arrived today and I got it planted up. Quite happy with it and have spent a lot of time just looking at it and getting lost in it. A few little things I want to change and might move a couple of plants when I do the water change tomorrow.
IMG_20220201_233822.jpg
IMG_20220201_233843.jpg
IMG_20220201_233849.jpg
 

erwin123

Member
Joined
4 Mar 2021
Messages
854
Location
Singapore
Putting Buces near the top of the tank where the light is exponentially brighter than at substrate level may cause issues. This is over and above the usual risk of Buce melt in a new tank. But once the tank settles down, Buces are a relatively easy plant to keep.
 

Smackbat

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Thread starter
Joined
27 Jan 2022
Messages
36
Location
West Sussex
Putting Buces near the top of the tank where the light is exponentially brighter than at substrate level may cause issues. This is over and above the usual risk of Buce melt in a new tank. But once the tank settles down, Buces are a relatively easy plant to keep.
What kind of issues could it cause? Thanks
 

arcturus

Member
Joined
6 May 2021
Messages
444
Location
DE
What kind of issues could it cause? Thanks
Plant melt. As @erwin123 said, Bucephalandra is not a difficult plant if planted in a settled tank, i.e., in a few months. But in a new tank it can easily melt, especially if exposed to strong light. They like shade. You can add more floating plants to help and relocate the Buce to the shaded areas beneath the wood pieces.
 

Smackbat

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Thread starter
Joined
27 Jan 2022
Messages
36
Location
West Sussex
End of day 1 and have moved some of the Buces as suggested to more shaded spots during the water change. Also moved the Microsorun so the roots were behind the wood and split the Anubias to give a fuller look.

IMG_20220202_181715.jpg
I thought it a good idea to list what I have used:

APS Tank 60x40x40
Pled 510 LED
APS 600IF filter
Aquael Heater
Fluval Stratum aquasoil
Hugo Kamishi Decorative Substrate
ADA La Planta Sand
Seiryu stone
Not sure on wood type, just looked good!
Limnophila aromatica x 4
Hygrophila Siamensis 53B x 6
Microsorum Narrow Leaf x 3
Bucephalandra Theia x 3
Anubias Nana Bonsai x 3
Hydrocotyle tripartita Japan x 1
Helanthium tenellum 'Green' x 4
Salvinia Auriculata x 1
API tapwater conditioner
TNC liquid fert
No CO2 (yet 🙂)

Lights are on 6hrs a day. Going to do a 50% water change every day for the 1st week, every other day 2nd week etc etc.......

Might get some Chili Rasbora and Corydora at the weekend.

Let's see how we get on!
 
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Smackbat

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Thread starter
Joined
27 Jan 2022
Messages
36
Location
West Sussex
I suggest not getting fish yet, it’s too early.

Add shrimp after 3 weeks, fish after 8 weeks minimum 👍😃
Seen so much on fish in cycles and have read up on how to do them. I have the time to pay attention to the water conditions as I work from home. It doesn't sound too difficult as long as you pay attention to what is going on in the tank? Happy to be told otherwise though
 

arcturus

Member
Joined
6 May 2021
Messages
444
Location
DE
Seen so much on fish in cycles and have read up on how to do them. I have the time to pay attention to the water conditions as I work from home. It doesn't sound too difficult as long as you pay attention to what is going on in the tank? Happy to be told otherwise though
There are plenty of very informative thread at UKAPS discussing cycling. You can start <here>, <here>, and <here>. "Cycling" will happen whether you want it or not and with or without fish. The only decision you have to make is if you want to expose livestock to toxic chemicals during the bootstrap of the tank, because the water parameters will not be suitable regardless of the attention you pay to the tank. You have a planted tank and therefore there is no reason to use better alternatives to fish cycling because (1) you will not be putting livestock at risk, and (2) the tank will be more stable in the longer term.

This tank will need several weeks to start settling down and months until it becomes stable. The aquasoil will leach ammonia into the water during the next weeks. The plants will need weeks to adapt and start growing and you might experience some normal melting in this process. More importantly, the tank lacks nitrifying bacteria, plant mass and the sustained plant growth required to help removing ammonia and other unwanted substances from the water. And since you are not using CO2, it will take longer for the plant mass to increase. On top of this, you will very likely experience algae (usually diatoms) and bacterial blooms in the next weeks - this is normal and a good sign that the tank is starting to mature. It is much easier to deal with the startup phase without any livestock in the tank. Adding livestock now will reduce the options you have to address the normal hiccups during startup. Livestock will create conditions that can trigger algae because the tanks is simply not prepared yet to deal with the bio-load that the fish will put on the system. So, I would advise you to wait at least until the startup algae are controlled and the plants start to grow steadily.
 

Smackbat

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Thread starter
Joined
27 Jan 2022
Messages
36
Location
West Sussex
There are plenty of very informative thread at UKAPS discussing cycling. You can start <here>, <here>, and <here>. "Cycling" will happen whether you want it or not and with or without fish. The only decision you have to make is if you want to expose livestock to toxic chemicals during the bootstrap of the tank, because the water parameters will not be suitable regardless of the attention you pay to the tank. You have a planted tank and therefore there is no reason to use better alternatives to fish cycling because (1) you will not be putting livestock at risk, and (2) the tank will be more stable in the longer term.

This tank will need several weeks to start settling down and months until it becomes stable. The aquasoil will leach ammonia into the water during the next weeks. The plants will need weeks to adapt and start growing and you might experience some normal melting in this process. More importantly, the tank lacks nitrifying bacteria, plant mass and the sustained plant growth required to help removing ammonia and other unwanted substances from the water. And since you are not using CO2, it will take longer for the plant mass to increase. On top of this, you will very likely experience algae (usually diatoms) and bacterial blooms in the next weeks - this is normal and a good sign that the tank is starting to mature. It is much easier to deal with the startup phase without any livestock in the tank. Adding livestock now will reduce the options you have to address the normal hiccups during startup. Livestock will create conditions that can trigger algae because the tanks is simply not prepared yet to deal with the bio-load that the fish will put on the system. So, I would advise you to wait at least until the startup algae are controlled and the plants start to grow steadily.
Like I said, happy to be told otherwise! Thank you.
 
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