2015 tanks are over (still have a final picture and video for post on Dark Land)!!! Holidays are over… just like I read on Facebook today: “September is the Monday of the Year” … so let’s start to work on something new. For me it’s really something new: a Dutch Tank by the rules… or so i think/wish/… only the future will tell. Thanks for Tropica interest in sponsoring the tank with their excepcional plants and Tropica Soil. I hope to make good use of there products. Thanks also for Aquaeden in Portugal, kind of the portuguese "home" of Tropica - it was where i started to get to know the products and learned a lot with Rui. Like you’ll see there’s some problems, yet. Many of you have done it and I hope to have good advices. This is a project for some months. I will probably feel the "need" to go back to NA in March/2016 or something like that... but that depends on the success of this one (if it's like i wish by that time). I like to have a sort of "schedule" so that goals are clear. I have this wish since the beginning of the year and although i made Dark Land in the meantime, this was already planned at that time. Why? Because i love this kind of tank! Because having to comply to certain rules gives be some challenges that Aquascaping doesn’t have. … and because they’re lovely tanks when they’re well done! I also want to continue to learn good trimming techniques regarding large bunch of stem plants and many different species at the same tank. Plants have different growth rates and having a tank with so much different plants, should be a challenge having it looking nice and balanced most of the time. … and a Dutch Tank is really about the growth and arrangement of aquatic plants!!! On the last months i read some stuff about Dutch Tanks. Since the end of August i read some of those sources again. At the same time i’ve been having some other precious advices from a experienced aquarist. One of the best readings was from UKAPS: http://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/crash-course-dutch-style-aquascaping.8713/, a very nice post from Marco Aukes. I’m not reapeating that post and other sources, but as most of you should know NBAT (Dutch Society for Aquarists) founded Dutch-style Aquarium (1930s) and wrote the rules. Their contests were great (they’re over?) and NBAT had a large number of members. It’s pretty good to know that those contests were jugded live, judges went to people places to see how everything was setup: room placement, electrical connections, aquarium healthy, plant related rules, etc. Thank God that i don’t need to comply with some contest rules! For starters I don’t have a “closet” like the ones used on Dutch Aquariums - you might remember seeing aquariums on closed closet with only the front glass visible, even the lighting was hidden away (today we have these sexy led lightings It was interesting to read that most of the aquarists used bottom fertiliser even on those days. I obviously will use it. So, what do I want? I want a tank with a good first impression, great plant contrast and a nice perspective and depth of field, knowing that this can only be achieved with… plants! I’ll probably won’t achieve some of these goals From my readings and talks with someone used to this type of aquarius, I made a small rule list: - Tradicional focal points / rule of thirds. Red plants should be placed accordingly. - No two plants of the same color (similar colors shouldn’t also be placed next to each other) - No two plants with the same leaf shape should be placed next to each other - Plants should be placed in “streets”, wider at the front, narrow at the back, hiding away behind other plant preferably. This way a better depth of flied is achieved. - Plants can’t be repeated - Aim for good contrast but also simplicity. It’s obvious that a great number of plants are needed for making a Dutch on 120cm. The rule of one plant for each 10 cm (with ~50 cm depth) should be respected. Could have more, but not for much. I’ll have a little more then 12 -> It's a problem! Controlling all those plants is a must or there is a chaos waiting for me! One of the things it was more difficult to me was to get down from more then 20 plants i had listed and then to place them on the diagram. One of the most important rules are the plant placement and the colour and leaf shape. For this dimension i shouldn’t have more then 2 or 3 red plants and place them on focal points (following the rule of thirds)… and that must be achieved at the same time of other rules (no two identical plant colors and no similar leaf shapes should be next to each other). I can tell you that following the leaf shape rule is much more easier then the color rule! (strange but it was what i felt). Then we have the height of the plants that should also be different for plants next to each other. And finally we have fore/middle and background plants… and having these possible three rows knowing that plants should be placed forming “streets” of plants that will get smaller to the back of the tank... I think you see the difficult in planning a Dutch tank. Difficult for me… I suppose that other aquarists can make it easily. For fish what i think right now is a school of tetras and a small school of larger fish (i’m thinking of some rainbow fish). But there are other options (larger fish, etc). So this is the diagram: Tropica plants: 1 - Murdannia Keijak 2 - Rotala Macrandra 3 - Pogostemon Erectus 4 - Limnophila hippuridoides 5 - Myriophyllum mattogrossense 6 - Ludwigia Palustris 7 - Heteranthera Zosterifolia 8 - Crinum calamistratum 9 - Cryptocoryne Petchi 10 - Lobelia Cardinalis 11 - Bacopa caroliniana 12 - Taxiphyllum 'Flame' 13 - Staurogyne Repens 14 - Utricularia graminifoli 15 - Alternanthera reineckii 'Mini' 16 - Pogostemon Helferi Focal point: Rotala Macrandra and Ludwigia Palustris… red althernathera at the front can lead to Ludwigia at the back but this can also collide with the rule of two color plants next to each other (although they’re separated by Flame Moss) -> Opinions? Other Problems: - Limnophila hippuridoides will be behind Lobelia and close o Myriophyllum mattogrossense and Pogostemon Erectus... It’s a purple plant, that is a colourful plant, could be a problem for the two focal point made by Rotala Macrandra and Ludwigia Palustris? Or can make some kind of “connection” between both of them? - I'm seeing up to 4 strong colors in some well known dutchs, but they're 1,40m or 1,60m... so i could have a problem because i have four also on 1,20m - Lobelia behind UG… same kind of green?… and UG next to Bacopa caroliniana… almost same kind of green? - Finnaly(?) Staurogyne Repens in front of Crinum calamistratum… same kind of darker green? Any suggestions on growing Murdannia Keijak? Never done it! For now it's "only" this! Waiting for any good suggestions. Would really like to start the next week. Pedro.