George's 120cm - Nature's Reflection v2

Discussion in 'Journals' started by George Farmer, 22 Mar 2010.

  1. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member




    I’m really pleased to be able to share with you all my latest aquascape. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera during the setting up stage so these are the first photos I could get.

    The aquascape is just 7 days old in these shots and it’s progressing nicely. Hairgrass and glosso sending out runners, and crypts adapting nicely. Vallis is another story, but more on that later.

    I know the fish selection may not be to everyone’s taste, but I’ve always liked Angelfish and perhaps more importantly, my wife loves them!

    The tank is a 120x45x45cm (240 litres) with black ADA-style cabinet. Supplied by Aquarium Ltd, it was used for the Festival of Fishkeeping 2008, and ever since has been with Dan Crawford.

    Dan was happy to loan the tank to me (thanks pal!), so after some hard work stripping down the existing set-up and moving it down a flight of particularly steep stairs, and a thorough cleaning, here we are.

    I’ve used only plants leftover from a TV aquascaping feature, after Dan and James Starr-Marshall took their share. Considering by this point, the plants had been in a box for around 4 weeks, they were in good condition – testament to the quality of Tropica.

    However, the vallis was in very poor condition (a 100% aquatic plant, it does not fair well out of water) and I’ve planted the healthiest bits. They’re still struggling with most of the leaves going transparent, but I’m hopeful that there will be enough new growth to eventually form a nice curtain-background.

    Hardscape consists of Sumatra wood and Seiryu Stone. Nothing groundbreaking and it’s stuff I had spare in the garage. Depending how I get on with the Java moss I have already, I would like to cover a lot of the exposed branches in the center of the layout, to soften the appearance.

    I’m happy with the design and over the months think it will mature into a nice aquascape. It’s been a long time since I had my own decent sized planted tank and I’m really enjoying realising a renewed passion for the hobby.

    Eventually I will stock a large shoal of Rummynose tetra and probably tinker about with more plants, as I see fit.

    I am considering swapping the black plastic piping for 17mm glassware, but I do like the indestructible and lower maintenance aspects to the plastic… Your thoughts most welcome!

    I look forward to sharing the journey with you all and will try to update with new photos every week or so.

    Tank specifications

    Aquarium – 120x45x45cm (240 litres), opti-white with gloss black ADA-style cabinet

    Lighting – Arcadia OT2 luminaire, 4 x 54w HO T5. JBL Natur (9000K) and Arcadia Plant-Pro lamps. Two lamps for 8 hours.

    Filtration and heating – 2 x JBL 1200lph externals with black plastic piping. 10x turnover. Hydor 300w in-line heater.

    CO2 – 2 x 2Kg pressurised systems with glass/ceramic diffuser under each filter inlet. Both with solenoids set to come on 1 hour before lighting, and off 1 hour before lights off.

    Substrate – From bottom-up, 5 litres Tropica Plant Substrate, Unipac Black, Seachem Flourite Black, Caribsea EcoComplete

    Fertilisers –Tropica Plant Nutrition+ (5ml per day), Easy-Life Profito (5ml per day),

    Water – NO3 and PO4 relatively high from tap. 50% water change every week.

    Hardscape – Sumatra wood and Seiryu stone

    Plants –
    Vallisneria spiralis ‘Tiger’
    Vallisneria nana
    Microsorium pteropus
    Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘Green’
    Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘Tropica’
    Eleocharis parvula
    Glossostigma elatinoides
    Taxiphyllum barberei
  2. Mark Evans

    Mark Evans Expert

    newark notts.
    looking good mate!

    I'm actually a fan of angels, so these, to me, look very pleasant indeed.
  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Leamington Spa, UK.
    Nice! When the vallis catches up it'll all tie together obviously :) I'm still on the fence regarding the angels, but if the wife likes them then they're perfect :lol: My LFS has some lovely looking angels in at the moment. They look a little like false altums. If I were to have angels, I'd go for them (or altums!)

    That seems like a high tech setup considering most of your recent scapes! Great stuff :)
  4. keymaker

    keymaker Member

    Budapest, Hungary
    I like your this tank a lot (fish selection too! :silent: ). There has been quite a time since somebody had a good glosso FG around. I am interested to see how this develops.

    - Your water looks really clear. What kind of filter material do you use in your JBLs?
    - Are the bubbles from your diffusers actually being sucked into both filters? I guess that is on purpose. ;) How do you think the filter performance (nitrification effectiveness and noise) are being affected by that?
  5. Mawgan

    Mawgan Member

    Congratulations, George, and thanks for the excellent photos.

    Do I detect the angels are regarded as being a little old-school or a bit of a cliché? Personally, I think those Koi angels are beautifully coloured and very graceful.

    On a technical point, as one about to buy a luminaire with 24w , could I ask about your choice of lamps, and how easy it is to specify your requirement when buying? Every online source that I have seen quotes the same Plant Pro. I quite accept that these may be the best, but I can't find their output spec. Could you explain your selection, please?

    Looking forward to more piccies..

  6. JamesM

    JamesM Member

    The BIG End, South Wales
    Nice to see an unfinished scape from you George. Looking pretty good too :)
  7. Dan Crawford

    Dan Crawford Founder Staff Member

    Daventry, Northants
    Looking good George! It's nice to see one of your journals again :D

    Cracking photography as always.

    Try and let them rocks get a bit dirty, no tooth brush action :thumbup:
  8. hydrophyte

    hydrophyte Member

    That looks lovely George. And I like those fish. It will be great to see it grow in.
  9. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Thanks for all the lovely comments, all! It feels great to get stuck into aquascaping journalism again! :D

    Thank mate! I like the angels, but they would look better in a 60+cm tall tank. I think a nice big shoal of Rummynose tetra will balance them out nicely though.

    Thanks mate!

    When you're married, compromising is a constant process! I do prefer the more wild-looking strains of angel, but I knew the wife would like these.

    Hi-tech? I guess so, going back to my roots!

    Thanks! Glosso is still one of my favourite carpeting plants. So lush and tight if you can get it right.

    Nothing special in the filters. The usual sponges and ceramic media, no chemical media.

    I'm not sure how CO2 can potentially affect the filter. I've done it in various set-ups for years with no apparent adverse effects. I have heard about it affecting the rubber seals, but these filters are about 4 years old now and have seen a lot of CO2! Noise isn't an issue. Towards the end of the photoperiod I do get occasional CO2 'burps' but it's very infrequent.

    Thanks, David!

    Not sure why some folk don't like angels - a member on here called these specimens 'minging', which I thought was a little harsh, but each to their own! :)

    Regarding lamps, I think new OT2 units by default is supplied with a combination of Plant Pro and the even pinker Original Tropical T5. The overall rendition is far too pink for my taste. I like the balance out the pinkness of the Plant Pro with the green/blue rendition of the JBL Natur, but the JBL need to be purchased seperately.

    To be honest, if I had to buy new lamps, I would get the cheap 4000K, 6500K or 8000K from Lamp Specs. I bought 6 x 39w 6500K T5 recently for around 20 quid total inc. P&P; they look great and grow plants just as well.

    Thanks, James! :thumbup:

    Thanks pal!

    Dirty rocks?! Never!! :lol:

    Thanks, Devin! :D
  10. Jase

    Jase Member

    Whoops, that was me :oops: :lol: There was no offence meant, of course - I just find them very artificial looking.

    I think the tank looks great and I'm sure it'll look immense once grown in, especially if your 'Mother Microsorum' is anything to go by.

    Your photos are sublime also, yours always seem so clean.
  11. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Thanks, Jase. :thumbup:

    And no offence taken mate. One man's artifice is another man's beauty... ;)
  12. Celestial

    Celestial Member

    Love it! Looks great :thumbup: I have the same problem with my Twisted Vallis, but I have seen good news as there are some shoots coming up next to it. Wish I had a tank like this! :lol:

    Thanks, Celestial.
  13. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

    Looking great George :) also not a fan of those Angels, but then again if they are not Altums I don't like them haha :)
    Looking forward to seeing how this grown in :)
  14. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Thanks, Celestial and Paulo! :D

    Here's a few more photos.



  15. tel

    tel Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Looks great George, :thumbup:

    Can I ask you why two Co2 bottles though?

    Also your lighting is that two tubes only for 8 hours?

    With the moss and future plans, possibly just small patches here and there to break up the wood, or some hanging/draping moss, kind of idyllic willow-esque feel, . . maybe :silent:
  16. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Thanks, Tel! :)

    I've used two seperate CO2 systems so I can have better CO2 distribution and so the CO2 lasts longer between me having to change bottles (4Kg should last a few months, especially with solenoids).

    I figured that one system on each filter (using the filter as a giant CO2 reactor) would work well, especially the way I've set up the inlets and outlets to promote a nice circular flow pattern around the tank.

    Yes - just the two tubes for 8 hrs. The 'tester' plant is glosso. If that remains low then there's no need for more light. I like to use as little light as possible really. Less energy consumption, less algae, less nutrient and CO2 requirement, slower growth and less maintenance. It's a no-brainer for me.

    I like your thinking with the moss. Thanks for the feedback! :D
  17. Mark Evans

    Mark Evans Expert

    newark notts.
    i used 2 co2 systems on my last 120cm for the same reason.

    the next tank shall be 1 x inline and 1 x diffuser.

    great pics!
  18. CeeJay

    CeeJay Member

    Surrey UK
    Hi all

    Stunning tank George.
    Your photography is quite exceptional.
    Great job.
  19. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Thanks, Mark. That's especially nice feedback from the UKAPS no.1 shutterbug! :D

    Thank you, Chris! :D
  20. Tony Swinney

    Tony Swinney Member

    Cobham, Surrey
    Lovely setup George, and I like your 2 CO2 tank method too. I'll be interested to see how it works out, as I've just changed my inlet and outlets to the same positions you have yours, for that circular flow around the tank.

    Great pics as always :D


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