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Green Ravine

TOO

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Joined
4 Jul 2012
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406
Location
Aarhus, Denmark
Finally, the journal can start. With some great help from Tropica: Thanks guys!

Basic specs are are as in my previous journal, Alpine Gardens: 75x45x25 optiwhite, Natural Aquario cabinet, ADA Solar 2x36w, Cascade glassware, pressurized CO2.

The basic idea from the outset was to create a scape without soil, i.e. a scape made up only of epiphytic plants and mosses. I had wanted to try this for a while, partly as an experiment to see if it could be done in an attractive way (jury is still out…), and partly to create a less work heavy scape (a nice thing is definitely not having to change 80% of the water every day for three weeks because of ammonia leeching from the soil).

The main challenge was: if not soil, then what? After many half sleepless nights and half good ideas I ended up with lava stone in pieces of aprrox. 1-2x1-2 cm. This is a product that is normally used for filters in garden ponds. It has the advantage of being porous and easy to shape. Porosity is a key as it creates a good surface for bacteria as well as a opportunities for mosses and epiphytes to attach. Overall I found it real easy to work with. Because of the rather large size of the stones and their rough surface it is possible to build relatively steep slopes, which was especially useful at the front where I was looking for this effect.

Drawback of the lava is that it makes the water rather cloudy, even after washing it several times. As you can see, though, after a week it is becoming decently clear, so not a big issue. It also creates a bit of a dusty film on the surface, but this should go away in some weeks.

In terms of plants I have been fortunate enough to have them sponsored by Tropica. I had an initial plant list, but this was kind of blown to bits after two hours in the greenhouses at Tropica. I got what I came for and lots more, hard not be inspired when you are surrounded by gorgeous plants on all sides. This has allowed me to plant the aquarium rather heavily from the outset, a nice thing given that most of the plants are slow growers. In there now: Microsorum ”trident”, Anubias ”petite”, Hygrophila pinnatifida, various kinds of Bucephalandra, mix of mosses (christmas, willow, weeping), and Lomariopsis.

The mosses and Loma provided a challenge in terms of planting. I went for a technique were I placed the mosses on the hillside and then covered them with a single layer of lava stone. The vision is that over time the moss will grow out and up and slowly green the hill. This is a bit of patience project for me as this is not going to happen any time soon...

At the outset I am having full blast on CO2 and fertilizers and light reduced to one bulb for the first weeks.

The pictures should give you an idea of the construction and plant placement. I thought this would be an easy set-up as it was all clear in my head to begin with. But ideas and structures I thought would work did not. Day one was pure frustration and disappointment and kicking of cats and kids (not wife, too risky), the second day, with a clearer mind, was a bit better and ended up with the result you see below. Aquascapes may be pure zen, but getting there is everything but…Well, I know this all looks quite unattractive at the moment, but I hope you can envision it some months from now. I am still in the tweaking and twisting phase, so all thoughts are welcome.

Thomas

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aliclarke86

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21 Mar 2013
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Well congrats on the sponsor and also on the very unique layout. I am quite excited for you as this is something I have considered in the past, well not this exactly more an anubias only tank. Anyway good luck and keep us posted :)

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Joined
23 Sep 2013
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Poor Tom's cat! :)

That layout looks very promising for me, I just wonder if you can add a small bit of wood at left 1/3 of tank on the slope in addition to existing big branch, maybe that increases perspective...
 

zanguli-ya-zamba

Seedling
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6 Oct 2012
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911
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Democratic Republic of Congo
Very nice Thomas !!
I really like the idea of the moss under a layer of lava rocks. It will take long time for the moss to cover that hill, but I am sure that when it will cover it, it will be stunning !!

I keep an eye on this thread !

Cheers mate
 

TOO

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Thread starter
Joined
4 Jul 2012
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Location
Aarhus, Denmark
Well congrats on the sponsor and also on the very unique layout. I am quite excited for you as this is something I have considered in the past, well not this exactly more an anubias only tank. Anyway good luck and keep us posted :)

Thanks, yeah Anubias are lovely plants and quite dominate this scape, although they are mainly in the back part.

Really nice Thomas! Good photography as well.

Thanks, Ian. Especially for the comment on the photography :).

That looks pretty cool.

Thanks mate.

Poor Tom's cat! :)

Why don't you pity the kids? They can't hide under the sofa. About the extra wood, it is something that I am thinking about. Can't decide. Want to keep it simple, but also add some extra dynamism (like life...)...unsolvable.

by "ravine" do you mean that kind of landscape? Ravine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Actually, the title more reflects my original idea than the current scape. But I think I will maintain it. After all, for me, a ravine is about sloping sides with rocks and plants that lead to a river or dry riverbed. A far stretch? Anyway I like the ring and rhyme of it.

Very nice Thomas !! I really like the idea of the moss under a layer of lava rocks. It will take long time for the moss to cover that hill, but I am sure that when it will cover it, it will be stunning !! I keep an eye on this thread !

Thanks mate, I am glad you can follow the vision. Good to see you back in action.

Thomas
 

TOO

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Aarhus, Denmark
Thanks a lot, Tim. It makes me happy when people can follow the basic vision. I hope this is for the long term (but I only have one tank, so let's see how far my patience goes...). But you are absolutely right, this is a scape that will take a long time to peak. Perhaps not 12 months, but at least 6...I run it high tech so growth should be fairly fast.

Thomas
 
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aliclarke86

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21 Mar 2013
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51 Facebook likes in 3 hours..... Not bad :)

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TOO

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Joined
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Location
Aarhus, Denmark
Time for an update :). I have been less active on this, which reflects its slooow progress. Should have named the scape PATIENCE. Anyway, I always knew this was going to require just that, so quit whining...But, finally, more than one month into the scape, I am beginning to see some progress, especially with regards to the mosses growing in the lava stone. Hygrophila p. is doing quite well and has already been pruned a few times. Microsorum trident is just beginning to shoot regularly. Buces are doing nicely, in fact added a few more. The idea is for the left corner to fill out to the height of the tank and then try and keep the gradual slope towards the sand. Light is still running at one bulb (36w) and co2 high. I envision that it will take at least 3-5 months more before the area in the front is fully covered. I am considering adding a few more thin branches to create some more dynamism. Not visible here, but the celestial pearl danios are a wonder to behold. Any comments appreciated.

Thomas


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Joined
23 Sep 2013
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Ukraine
Nice picture, I like slow scapes ATM. I wonder what's the plant with egg-shaped bright green leaves at the right back - is it anubias or some sort of buce?
IMO, would be nice to add more wood (couple of pieces) on central slope towards front glass to increase perspective and dynamism.
That left branch went straight to left side glass and does not play well for me, but that's what I see from picture, real view maybe different.
Also, I think top-front view is much more interesting for this scape, it should be very nice to look at it from the height of man standing in front of the tank. :)
 

Mark Green

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18 Nov 2008
Messages
185
Location
Israel
Great concept.

This will look fab when it's filled in. The Hygrophila pinnatifida looks great wish I could get mine looking like that. The black background really makes the green pop. Really nice work
 

Ady34

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27 Jul 2011
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Co. Durham
Really love the clean lines you create in your scapes Thomas, this one being no exception :thumbup:
Undoubtedly this will be a game of pinnatifida trimming and fern thinning whilst waiting for the moss to carpet. The anubias added in numbers like you have wont change much and the buces add a splash of colour variation which compliments both the wood, rubble and pinnatifida.
Id definitely try to look at the long term and keep lighting low and steady as too much light on exposed slow growers like the anubias may end in gsa...shrimp and ottos will help keep them looking spick and span :)
I like the additional piece of wood also, maybe a fraction upright but it helps create a little tension.
Cheerio,
Ady.
 

TOO

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Thread starter
Joined
4 Jul 2012
Messages
406
Location
Aarhus, Denmark
Nice picture, I like slow scapes ATM. I wonder what's the plant with egg-shaped bright green leaves at the right back - is it anubias or some sort of buce?
IMO, would be nice to add more wood (couple of pieces) on central slope towards front glass to increase perspective and dynamism.
That left branch went straight to left side glass and does not play well for me, but that's what I see from picture, real view maybe different.
Also, I think top-front view is much more interesting for this scape, it should be very nice to look at it from the height of man standing in front of the tank. :)

Thanks, Alex, I really appreciate how you always have constructive criticism :). The plant you mention is an Anubias "petite". The new leaves are quite bright green. Yes, I am planning to add some more thin branches, perhaps even some that go out of the water - what do you think? Even if I complain a bit, I am quite happy with the slow approach at the moment as things are quite busy otherwise - so nice lifestyle compatibility with this scape :).

Great concept.
This will look fab when it's filled in. The Hygrophila pinnatifida looks great wish I could get mine looking like that. The black background really makes the green pop. Really nice work

Thanks, mate. I have been unsuccessful with pinna before, so quite surprised at how well it grows here with relatively limited light. CO2 is high, though, so seems to confirm the low-medium light and high CO2 theory.

Really love the clean lines you create in your scapes Thomas, this one being no exception :thumbup:
Undoubtedly this will be a game of pinnatifida trimming and fern thinning whilst waiting for the moss to carpet. The anubias added in numbers like you have wont change much and the buces add a splash of colour variation which compliments both the wood, rubble and pinnatifida.
Id definitely try to look at the long term and keep lighting low and steady as too much light on exposed slow growers like the anubias may end in gsa...shrimp and ottos will help keep them looking spick and span :)
I like the additional piece of wood also, maybe a fraction upright but it helps create a little tension.
Cheerio,
Ady.

Thanks so much, Ady. Greatly appreciated. You are right about the light. In fact I am spotting some tiny algae on the rims of the Anubias, so probably need to cut a little more back on the light.

Thomas
 

Thom_Hardy

Member
Joined
25 Feb 2014
Messages
38
Love this scape! As a reasonably new member to planted tanks I find this very inspiring!!! And can consolidate with you on the cats and children issue! Having 3 cats a pug and a 4 year old is a on going battle!

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