Help with scape and planting

Monkfish

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Posted this on Facebook earlier, but thought I’d post here too to glean any advice from you brainy lot.

I have to take my scape apart to move my bristlenose so was I might have a rescape in my aquarium. I have become a little bored of the layout and want to create a bit more an open swimming area.

I would like to use the plants I have which are:
rotala bonsai, macranda and I think rotundifolia,
hydrocotyle verticillata and tripartita mini,
hygrophila pinnatifida,
some small cryptocoryne x willisii,
alternanthera reineckii 'Mini'
various buce and anubias,
eleocharis acicularis 'Mini'
Ludwigia reopens Rubin (not fussed if this doesn’t stay)
And some fissiden fontanus and Christmas moss.

At present I have two piece or redmoor root stacked on top of each other, but am thinking of just using one of them on it’s own so the wood isn't so high, not sure which yet. And then I have some more seiryu stone that someone is giving me that I would like to stack to create the gaps to plant the buce and anubias in as I really like that look.

The thing I am struggling with is where to place the other plants (I’ll keep the eleocharis where it is as that is well rooted and took ages to take!) for them to be in the best place visually and growth wise. I know it’s going to be a struggle as the tank is only a 45cm cube, but I was hoping someone on here might be able to guide me on how to optimise it all, or have similar setups to share. Pic is how the tank is at present.

Thanks in advance and sorry for the long post!

 

Ady34

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Hi,
Lovely little cube scape, looks great to me but I guess when you fancy a change you fancy a change.
Regards making more open space I believe you may struggle unless you seperate each wood piece to opposite sides on top of the seiryu stone as a base, leaving more central space. Alternatively as you suggest just utilise one piece of wood on top of a more biased rock base. Your rotala bonsai and hydrocotle could be used in the mid ground as a transition between the stems at the rear and the eleocharis in the foreground with your epiphytes squeezed in where you see fit. I think really your plants kind of dictate a more jungle feel whereas an iwagumi would offer you the more open feel you desire. I think nano cubes are very hard to scape as you need to add height and balance which you have achieved nicely in the current scape. An iwagumi would need really to utilise one main stone to add height but again this would tend to fill the tank more than you want.
 

alto

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It’s been almost a couple weeks since your post so perhaps the rescape is already done ...

I think what’s lacking is a visual line leading you into the back distance
(I’m assuming this is a 45cm x 45cm x 45 glass box so you have a decent front to back depth to work with)

Your plants seem to occur in “clumps” rather than triangles or “lines/paths”

The Buces, while healthy, seem to alternate green and red - I’d try placing them so that the darker reds indicate shadow and the brighter greens suggest light

The above water plant growth doesn’t seem to have any connection with what’s happening below (color, leaf shape, no transition)

Any previous lines from rock or wood are obscured by the plant growth

You also have some larger leafed plants, try replacing these with finer leaf stems
eg,
- alternanthera reineckii 'Mini' (when thriving it has a much bigger leaf than suits most small tanks)
- R macrandra (there are some finer leaf versions of this but they are less common and often more difficult to grow as a thriving plant) - out of these 3, I’d keep this one but perhaps moved with some finer leaf plants
- L repens (though I’ve seen excellent use of this as a plant that occurs both under water and above water)

E mini carpet is fine but might benefit from extending deeper into the tank on 1 aside (perhaps it does so irl, photos tend to flatten the perspective - except when tanks are scaped for future photos - Jurijs mit JS mentions this in his videos)



If you’ve looked at Filipe Oliveira Home tank’s, the kitchen is 60 x 45 x 40cm (high) so that might give you some inspiration (space is also effective in providing the distance perspective)

 

Monkfish

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Thank you both for the replies!

@Ady34 thank you for suggestions on splitting the wood and using them separately. I had only thought about using one piece and not trying to utilise with as I do like the shape of each of them. A jungle style (but maybe a bit more styled and in control) is the look I want to go for, so that's good. Thanks. :)

@alto not had the time to do the re-scape yet. Picked up the stones yesterday so will be doing it sometime soon. Planting has never been my strong point or knowing where best to place or arrange, so any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated.

I agree about the above water plant, was just there to add a bit of height, but won't be reusing it when I re-scape.
Didn't think of arranging the Buce like that so that's really helped! I will be interspersing some Anubias mini coin and nana petite that I already have too.
In terms of the larger leafed plants I won't be using the L repens, but do like the colour of the AR Mini (which yes, is big!) do you know anything that has smaller leaves but with a similar colour that I could swap it out for? I will be keeing the Macranda as you suggest.

With the E Mini carpet is there a way it can be trained to grow in other places or is it a case of just waiting for it to spread or pull up some and replant?

Will check out those vids too thanks!

I looked back at my first scape in this tank and do regret changing to what I have now! For Fauna I still have:

Sparkling Pearl Gouramis
Ottos
Ember Tetras
Neon Green Rasboras
Red Cherry Shrimp
Female GBR
Corydoras Habrosus
and just temporarily housing some Harlequin Rasbora for a friend.

I did get the Apisto Tri pair but they were very weak when I got them and didn't eat, so was very sad they died within a week. parameters were spot on for them!

Will update when I finally get round to doing all this!
 

Monkfish

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Seen a few more plants today I like the look of and wondered they'd be suited to my size tank:

Lagenandra meeboldii Red
Ranunculus inundatus
Hygrophila Araguaia
Bolbitis difformis

I'd probably put my plants I won't be keeping (L Repens, bolbitis heudelotii, AR 'mini' and some hydrocotyle verticillata) on the sale forum to make space for any new plants and also hope some kind souls might have cuttings of the others above ;)
 

Monkfish

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Ok so I can’t get the angle right to show what I have done, but this is where I got to with the hard scape this evening. It is higher than it looks too!

My plan for planting is:

Purple - verticilata
White - crypts
Light blue - mix of taller rotala. This will also go along the back too.
Pink - rotala bonsai
Dark green - mosses
Red - Buce and anubias. With the dark and light for the Buce is it best to do dark lower down the rocks and light towards the top?
Peach - hygrophila pinnatifida

I don’t think I’m going to have any space left for the Bolbitis or java fern I forgot I had!

Any help with where I should be planting and how will be gratifying appreciated. And also any tips on if I should change the hard scape too. Took me ages to get to this point this evening haha

I’m hoping to plant it tomorrow at some point so I can get the fish back in there.

 

alto

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As the tank has water it’s somewhat difficult to really assess the scape (so based upon what I think I see :angelic:)

The right and left foremost stones seem to create a relatively straight line - I’d remove the stone on the left (it’s mostly hidden beneath the water etc ... and may be naught but my imagination) and add to the right to extend that stone peninsula further into the corner

If you’re still hoping to add some dwarf cichlids, I’d also separate the stones for decent crevices - maybe that’s not possible, but I think if you angle/tilt stones it may work ... this would also increase the “chaos” factor for that stone plain
(it may be much more interesting irl)

I feel you’re still wanting to place the plants in very discrete clumps, try for some intermixing, eg dwarf hair grass that appears here and there throughout most of the tank - you can lift a section of the established grass (cut the edges with a straight blade) and separates this into small pieces that are placed here and there (the leafs may melt back after this transplant but new leafs should form)

E mini isn’t very “trainable”, though if you see runners you can direct them where you’ll like them to go (I’m not sure what triggers above ground runners) but generally just lift some established grass and split and replant

I suspect if there’s an open area, the E mini (like most plants) will tend to colonize this bright space more readily than a deeply shaded area


As for where to position the Buce, that’s subjective - I’d likely place the darker (red) Buce in areas I want to look shaded or to emphasize darkness (eg, at the base of the wood, and on the wood)
I’d also place some moss in amongst the red Buce (on the wood areas) to interconnect this area with the mossy area (and I think plants look so cool when they’re rising out of moss ;))
 

Monkfish

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Thank you so much.

I couldn’t remove anymore water so it’s hard to view it properly.

With regards to the left stone do you mean the red or blue circled ones in the picture and move it to the green area?

I’ll have a go at angling the stones too to create crevices too. Not sure about dwarf cichlids at present as I have a female GBR, so not sure they’d get on.

With regards to the clumps would there be a better way to plant them than what I had planned? This is where I feel I can’t get it completely right.

I’ll break up the e mini and intersperse a bit more.

And I love that idea for the Buce!

 

alto

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I suspect moving either stone would create more asymmetry (and defined curve) - I’d try placing the stone a bit more toward the front glass than the green circle ... though it’s always difficult to tell from a photo how much space there is

For planting go back and watch Jurijs video of his #60 x 50 x 40 (it has a Playlist)
(It’s also worth watching how this tank changes over time (& neglect) & then makes IAPLC 2019 Fine Works list)

 

Monkfish

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Thank you again. Not much space closer to the glass but I can shift them a bit to make space.

Will check out the video too. Thank you.
 

alto

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Unless you have contest ambitions, it’s far more important how the tank looks irl rather than in a photo
 

Monkfish

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Haha. Yeah that’s true, definitely not interested in competitions haha

When I do these re-scapes or move bits around I really

1. How amazing everyone on here is
2. This is a lot harder than it looks
3. I wish I had a different tank to a cube haha.
 

alto

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I’m not sure how well/easily this applies to cube tanks, but Amano felt it was important to the whole for the same plant (or very similar plant) to appear on both sides of the scape, but asymmetrically

I’d not worry about doing this for every plant, but try to have this L/R reflection for some of the plants ...
or see how it looks skipping this altogether - I must admit, looking at my massively neglected overgrown 30cm cube, I actually did this for some of the plants ... and it has been my favourite cube scape to date, so perhaps this is relevant
 

alto

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Cubes do need a rather different approach than rectangles
But every new scape is a great learning experience
- and you can change portions as the tank develops
 

alto

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Not sure about dwarf cichlids at present as I have a female GBR, so not sure they’d get on.
Sorry I’d forgotten her - in this size tank, definitely only one dwarf cichlid
Assuming she’s well established (and seems happy), I’d not try to introduce even another ram
 

alto

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With regards to the clumps would there be a better way to plant them than what I had planned?
I’m slightly confused - what is the pale green/yellow scribble on the right?
(more crypts or???)
 

alto

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Filipe Oliveira is one of my favorites for planted rock scapes

He hasn’t released the YouTube video yet for his newly rescaped 90 x 60 x 45h tank yet, but you can watch the FB versions
https://m.facebook.com/FAAOAquascaping/

(Unfortunately he knocked the cable and it stopped recording so we don’t get to see the complete step by step)
 

Monkfish

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Oh I forgot that. That was going to be where I’d try and replant some of the E Mini so it went round a bit more. But having thought about it it might be good to put crypts there too.
 

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