Hello from London!

shangman

Member
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
74
Location
London
Hello!

My name is Rosie, I'm from South London. I think I was meant to begin with a post here, but in my haste I signed up and immediately jumped in to my new tank syndrome problems!! Luckily, with some advice from lots of members here, things are perking up.

It's lovely to find such an active and helpful community, it makes joining this hobby even more exciting and engaging, especially as I don't know anyone else who has a tank irl.

My dad had a tank when I was about 5, which I remember very fondly, though I now know it was full of all sorts of dodgy stocking choices! Things have got a lot more educational and interesting since then! My aim is to make heavily-planted community tank(s!?) with a naturalistic/biotope feel. I'm the daughter of 2 professional gardeners, so I do love a good bit of planting. My first tank is a 60L.

Looking forward to learning much more here. :)
 

Putney

Member
Joined
26 May 2020
Messages
68
Location
Putney, London
Hey SW London here too. Its really unfortune that all the nice Aquascape stores are located north of London :confused:. Aquarium Gardens, Scaped Nature and Riverwood Aquatics are all 2-3 hour drive. Most things can be ordered online but getting hardscapes is a little tricky without seeing it with your own eyes. The only decent store is Aquaitc Design center in Balham but not geat for hardcapes, nice fish and they have a few plants but not a huge selection.
 

shangman

Member
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
74
Location
London
Hey SW London here too. Its really unfortune that all the nice Aquascape stores are located north of London :confused:. Aquarium Gardens, Scaped Nature and Riverwood Aquatics are all 2-3 hour drive. Most things can be ordered online but getting hardscapes is a little tricky without seeing it with your own eyes. The only decent store is Aquaitc Design center in Balham but not geat for hardcapes, nice fish and they have a few plants but not a huge selection.
Hello!

Yes I had a similar problem finding nice aquascaping material - so I decided for my first tank to use some stones and dead oak twigs from my garden and alotment to get started, and will do something more special for the upgrade next year. This first tank is my experiment to learn everything and get a feel for it first... though I'm only a month in and already planning a lovely big one! I suppose when that's set up a big drive to get the fancy stuff is worth it.

I went to the Aquatic Design Centre and the fish quality looked amazing, and I got a few nice plants, but I was disappointed in the aquascaping options too (particularly the rocks). It's a shame as ATM I can't use public transport, and it's a massive blahblahblahblah driving anywhere North of the river! I wonder if there are any good garden centers that have good rocks instead? My LFS Crystal Palace Aquariums/Reptiles seems to have a few more nice rocks and wood than Aquatic Design Centre, but I only had a quick glance as I was buying some fertiliser and had already set everything up, trying to be very quick and not browse ATM.

Where do you go for your fish? I'm still cycling, but would be good to know.
 

Putney

Member
Joined
26 May 2020
Messages
68
Location
Putney, London
Good idea. Try whatever you can find as long as it does not effect the water too much. Can always leave it in a bucket of water for a few weeks.
I have also heard that landscaping stores may also have nice driftwood and hardscapes (which are much cheaper than pet stores) but I've yet to find one.

I usually get my Fish from ADC ( Only 15mins away from me), Also at local Pet Shop in Fulham as well as some Pets at Home also have a nice selection of fish. ( I did take some Cardinal Tetras on my bike from Fulham branch once :))

One of the main issues I had was to decide what direction the tank design should be. Biotope or Diorama, I would suggest to pick one of them. I think with Diorama, mistakes can be easily visiable and therefore does not look good while Biotope is for forgiving when you dont get it perfect. This vid by Josh Sim is a great way to understand the art form of this hobby. If you go biotope then Riverwood Aqautics has some amazing tanks for insperation.

In any case, enjoy the new little adventure of aquatic plants:D
 

kishan313

Member
Joined
4 Jun 2020
Messages
112
Location
London
Welcome to the forum - I'm north London myself! Your gardening background will certainly help with goring aquatic plants :)
Look forward to seeing pics of the set up.
 

shangman

Member
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
74
Location
London
Oh yes, here are some photos of the aquarium right now, about a month in. Sorry for the quality of the photos, my camera seems to find it very difficult not to make everything super yellow.

At the moment the light is sitting on the top because it's not super strong (it sits in the middle, and the back + very front arne't really getting everything they need, and the floating plants don't all get light), I've ordered another light which should come at the weekend, and I'm going to hang it above the aquarium (there's a perfectly placed shelf above it!). Also, it needs a clean, but I'm waiting to do that with my water change on Sat.

The tank was second hand from a friend (free!), and sits on one of my dad's many pieces of nice eBay furniture... this one luckily fits almost exactly (with ply on top). Because it's not a aquarium-built bottom, I have to have the filter in the tank. Currently waiting for my rotala to grow a bit more to hide the filter a bit! It's got a soil substrate, then sand (mostly gravel at the back with a bit more height). It's no CO2, but I have started adding ferts as my stem plants were struggling. I have a bit of algae, but nothing too bad (it crept in when the plants were suffering without ferts, and seems to have slowed down completely since adding them and the plants started growing again).

My approach to doing it was... instinctive .... I didn't base it on anything, I just wanted something a bit naturalistic, I didn't want to go for and do badly a more curated tank the first time around, partly because I'm skint and wanted to do this as cheaply as possible (except for plants!). I've put stem plants in a clump, but then added 1 or 2 stems in other areas to make it look more natural. The water lily I didn't expect to get so big so quickly, but it's very pretty so nevermind. The back right is a bit dodgy atm, my vallis isn't thriving yet, but I'm hoping it might come around, especially with the extra light... I'm hpoing that almost the whle back wall will be covered/hidden when everything's grown in. Currently planning to get another 1 or 2 stem plants, maybe just cuttings from something like rotala mini red and something else with very small leaves (pearl grass), which I think would look nice mixed in. Also decided that buce is GREAT and I really want more, ideally to go on the bigger rocks (currently waiting/saving for one of those lovely purple-y ones to be available + me to be able to afford it). I also maybe want some twigs in there, but the twigs I picked and soaked ended up being a bit big and I don't think they worked, so waiting for autumn to scope out something nice.

I say natural, but I did just shove in a few things like the crinum because they're nice, even if they don't go! I'm hpoing it won't stick out so much if the vallis growns more.

I currently have 1 amano and a few amalysian trumpet snails, after a mishap stocking my tank way to early... hoping it survives, and I can add some more lovely shrimp next month. Not sure which colour to go for, red, orange, yellow or blue!!

IMG_20200723_174813_1.jpg
IMG_20200723_174818.jpg
IMG_20200723_174916_1.jpg
IMG_20200723_174920_1.jpg


IMG_20200723_174936_1.jpg


On its stand


earlyIMG_20200626_153928.jpg


This last photo is of the tank about a week in, once all the plants I ordered came + were planted. I also moved out a giant stone and added 2 smaller ones to make a little cave and more planting space. Everything has grown a lot, I totally didn't realise how much until seeing it again, this is about 3 weeks ago.
 

shangman

Member
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
74
Location
London
Welcome to the forum - I'm north London myself! Your gardening background will certainly help with goring aquatic plants :)
Look forward to seeing pics of the set up.
I'm very much hoping it will! Although I grew up with mad plant experts, I've always cared more about the animal side of nature. With this planted tank though it's all clicked and now I'm obsessed with both!!


Welcome :)
Nice looking tank.

Thank you!! :D
 

shangman

Member
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
74
Location
London
Good idea. Try whatever you can find as long as it does not effect the water too much. Can always leave it in a bucket of water for a few weeks.
I have also heard that landscaping stores may also have nice driftwood and hardscapes (which are much cheaper than pet stores) but I've yet to find one.

I usually get my Fish from ADC ( Only 15mins away from me), Also at local Pet Shop in Fulham as well as some Pets at Home also have a nice selection of fish. ( I did take some Cardinal Tetras on my bike from Fulham branch once :))

One of the main issues I had was to decide what direction the tank design should be. Biotope or Diorama, I would suggest to pick one of them. I think with Diorama, mistakes can be easily visiable and therefore does not look good while Biotope is for forgiving when you dont get it perfect. This vid by Josh Sim is a great way to understand the art form of this hobby. If you go biotope then Riverwood Aqautics has some amazing tanks for insperation.

In any case, enjoy the new little adventure of aquatic plants:D

I'm very lucky to have some waterbutts for soaking. Thank you for the shop recs, I was planning on getting them from ADC so happy that they're reputable. Will have a look at the othes as well, can't wait for life to return to normal so I can just go and have a nice look around all the different shops.

Thank you for the videos! I've set up my tank already, which is (sort of) biotope. The diorama style looks amazing, I can see I need some experience first. Saying that, I'm already imaging a bigger tank in my future of that type - reading the journals here is very inspiring!!


Thank you! Very appreciative of your advice in my other thread :)

The cabinet is really nice :)
Thank you! I was super pleased that the tank fits with it so well, it had the tv on before but it was too perfect not to be nicked!! Luckily my dad is an obsessive collector so we had 2 backup cabinets!! I'm thinking that one day, when I get a bigger more showpiece tank, I'll have to get a siilar lovely cabinet (or fancier, there are some lovely painted Japanese ones that would look incredible) and gut it so it can take the weight + house everything inside.
 

Putney

Member
Joined
26 May 2020
Messages
68
Location
Putney, London
Love the plants in here. Very natural feel. Shops starting to open up again now so you can go to them, weekdays if possible to avoid any crowds.. BTW Just found another great shop down south that somehow I missed :oops:.
 

shangman

Member
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
74
Location
London
That will be your white balance setting. Nice looking tank.

Ahh , thank you, I'll see how I can adjust that! When everything' grown in a bit more I'm going to get out my boyfriend's cameras and have a go with that... I love all the journals people do here with the great quality photos, really makes it special.

Love the plants in here. Very natural feel. Shops starting to open up again now so you can go to them, weekdays if possible to avoid any crowds.. BTW Just found another great shop down south that somehow I missed :oops:.

Thank you! Ooh, they look perfect, I love that selection of wood especially. And just past my partner's hometown, so a perfect excuse too :D
 
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