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Hi guys and gals, I'm GreenNeedle. Remember me (Not a journal) Journal.


19 Jul 2007
Lincoln UK
Hi guys and gals. Remember me?

I kinda lost interest in aquascaping and aquariums in general. Not just aquariums. Virtually everything. Maybe a little bit of depression or feeling down.

I ditched the aquatics business side of things in 2018 and had been fighting a complete lack of interest probably since 2014 or so but I always kept 1 aquarium after all I still had fish. Luckily I know from all those silly experiments I did all those years ago that an aquarium and fish will survive with complete neglect so I've kinda been letting it get to the point where the front glass is too dirty and then do a full clean up. Look away now the OCD types because that probably means 4 water changes / general cleans a year!!!

I have been looking at the aquarium a little bit more the past couple of weeks though and for now got a little bit of interest back :D Can't promise how long that will last but hopefully I will get inspired a little.

Definitely not going hi tec routes. Anyone who ever read my posts knows that doesn't really interest me and I guess I followed that route to be "one of the gang." Not going to rescape the tank at all. This is how it was setup in about 2019 and how it still is.
EDIT: Looking at a previous journal this setup was transferred from the larger tank in 2021. Not exactly the same as it was but pretty close.

So what are we looking at here at the start of this (so not a) journal?

The tank itself is a custom 80cm x 40cm about 35cm depth from floor to water level. This was originally one of my shrimp breeading tanks and had a glass panel down the centre too so there is a visible line front and back in the glass. It also used to have sliding lids so where those supports were also have a bit of a line but hey. I wasn't gonna buy a new one and I wanted something smaller than before after I smashed up the (sorry I was really disinterested) Optiwhite I was using.

Lighting is 3 Ikea floorstanders adapted so that its just the top halves attached to the back of the cabinet for that industrial look. Always been a bit keen on the interior design aesthetics.

Equipment - Filter. Yep thats it. lol. Eheim Professional 2 (2224 - had to look that up its been so long) with original media puchased in about 2010?? Have replaced the sponge once and the wool several times in the decade+ I've had the filter. No CO2, No heater. Ambient 20-23C temperature.

Cabinet is still one of the ones I built back when. About 10 years ago.

Substrate is the Tropica black stuff about 5 years old now and transferred from the Opti-white

Hardscape is cobbles of various sizes and Manzanita that was from the very first Tom Barr Import!!!! How long ago was that? It keeps losing bits it is that rotten. lol.

Sandy bit is ...... I really can't remember. lol.

Anyways. I will try and remember what plants are in there and post some "state of play" photos in the next post. I have a vague idea of which ones are still in there. I just ordered some more as well to sort out some aesthetically annoying "spaces" (to my eye) that need something but this really will be a low maintenance (maybe a bit more than every 3 months) setup. Hopefully will show people that tanks can stay pretty healthy without the constant maintenance.
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So what are we looking at? Glass cleaned and she's not in bad shape. Pretty natural really. I haven't done much here at all. Just pulled out a couple of long stringy algae and removed the dead leaves from the mess of Needle Fern. This "scape" is about 3 years old I guess. Literally had about 10 water changes / maintenance sessions. Some ferts added on water change day and then forgotten about again for a few months other than fish food being dropped in each night. The lights btw are normal LED bulbs. I think they are 8W each? normal household globe types. I see I forgot about cameras and light as well. The front shot makes it look a bit darker in there because the lights above are messing with the camera settings. Will have to try and black them out in future. We'll see. Jack Russell is called Pearl. Another dog that likes to bomb my photos.


I have some more pics to add in the next post. Distance hides the nasties in the above. lol
Left side: This is how light the tank is naturally without the lights making the camera adjust it all. Its not high light, not even moderate but it is enough and detail is good at this level for viewing purposes, just the camera doesn't like to show it.

First off we can see Crypt Balansae dominating the picture. I used to struggle with this plant. Maybe it likes being ignored. lol. Then there are a selection of other Crypts in this tank and I can't remember which is which but I have Wendtii Green, Brown, Mi Oya, Tropica, Lucens. There is a bit of Needle Fern there down on the front left which shouldn't be there. Must be a stray from the right so I'll be removing that.

Then there are some Buce. I think the long leaved one at the front there is Catherine? Bit furry black algaed but alive and thriving. Then there are a mix of standard Anubis Barteri v Nana and some petite too. As usual algae magnets. This side is the one I have problems with in terms of its visual and the one I will be working to correct.

OK to the right side. I am and always was pretty happy with this side. It has a nice shape and looks "correct." I just want to get the left side like this. Might require putting the filter the other side, maybe it is a flow thing why I always struggle on the filter side of the tank.. There are some other Buce in this side which I can't remember the names of but maybe you guys will know them. As with the left side the furry black algae has enjoyed itself here as well. but other than that everything looks pretty healthy.


Some closer shots to come in the next post.

Fish in there at the moment are some Gold Mountain minnows (about 5) 1 cardinal and somewhere I saw 1 Oto about a month ago. No shrimp anymore. I think fish ate them and I'm not getting any more until I'm fishless to let them colonise for a while.
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Welcome back @GreenNeedle 🫡

You still in the industrial ferts business.
No. As per the first post. I stopped everything like that. I returned to normal work. If I use ferts it will be Tropica Premium or Specialised as that is whats been in the cupboard for the past 5 years.
Looking through my last "journal" and the change to this shallower tank was mid '2021 :D
So to identify these Buces.
Right in the centre of the photo about half way from front to back is 1 tallish Buce sticking up which I think is one of these 2; Bucephalandra Super Blue Central Kalamantan or Bucephalandra Lo Black.

Just peeking out from behind the oversized Crypt on the right there is I think Bucephalandra Alamanda VI Blue or Bucephalandra Godzilla (Kedagang Red)


At the front here I'm pretty sure this is Bucephalandra Catherine and there are a couple of pieces of this in the tank as it grows quite well, although as you can see the algae loves this one.

At the very back just left of the "path" is either Bucephalandra Super Blue Central Kalamantan or Bucephalandra Lo Black. Its slightly different to the one on the right with less crinkled edges to the leaves so whichever one this is then the one on the right is the other. There are also a few little stones with some Buce on them which will either be Bucephalandra Mini Black Carpet or Bucephalandra Red Mini

This is another of the Buce Catherine and just shows how much algae this plant has ignored and kept growing on.

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So plans going forward? Using the bad photo of the front again. I've crudely adjusted the brightness and contrast to something closer to what you actually see in real life:
IMG_0002 - edit.JPG

There are 2 things that immediately stand out to me. Firstly of course is the Cryptocoryne Balansae which I have always had an obsession with for some reason. It doesn't fit. It never grows the direction I want so that will go.

The second is the oversized Crypt on the right which is quite forward in the scape. This will be moved.

What I want to do is get the left to look a bit more like the right hand side so some depth of plantmass behind the large boulder there and feeding nicely into the path as well as getting something midground to fill out a little.

I think the right is perfect other than the oversized Crypt there so not much to do on the right IMO.

So I have bought my first plants since 2020:

All Crypts because Crypts are ace:
Walkeri which I hope will peak out just above from behind the large boulder
Wendtii Brown as an easy filler between midground and background
Flamingo (yes I know) because it stood out and we'll see what colours it ends up in my conditions. I have no problem with "Olive" if that is how it ends up.
Becketti as another that will blend with Wendtii, maybe just behind it to add some different heights in there
Red....simply because the red edges looked cool.
Undulatas again for the background to add some height but not too much.

When all that arrives I'll start planting it up and await the inevitable melt and then a couple of months of waiting for it to fill out a bit.

I might use some Easycarbo for the first month just to try and help some of the plants fight that furry algae. I seem to remember the Buces looked really nice and sparkly before. lol
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I'm reading through my past journals so here's a timeline of some things that are relevant.

Colorado - I started this scape in Nov 2013 and I made a post in Oct 2014 saying:
"After another 10 months of laziness this aquarium was left with just the substrate and hardscape until today, when I finally decided to force myself to get on with it. Motivation has been a huge problem for me over recent years due to many things as well as general finances being tight since the recession hit."

Yep 11 months and I still hadn't done anything with it...ha, ha.

The relevance here isn't just the lack of motivation / depression issue. The Tom Barr Manzanita starts its life in my tanks here. So bought in 2013 and first flooded in 2014. Its been used in the main tank ever since and has reduced bit by bit. It is not far from just melting in 2023 it is so rotten.

Also I noticed this is where the current cabinet got its first outing in 2013 so the cabinet is now 10 years old.

This was a battle in itself. I had to continually force myself to get back to it, Kept leaving it and having to then work harder to maintain it. I wasn't in the best place to really be doing something like this at the time even though it still looked nice. It becomes a chore that you either keep up with or it goes bad and then you start to detest the whole thing because you don't want to put the effort in but you are forced to "or else" and it just becomes a sefl feeding spiral downward.

So the cabinet and the manzanita wood started life in this one:
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"Shattered Tree" This started in 2017 and uses the same manzanita wood but I see here are where the cobble stones / boulders came in so they are the ones in the current setup.
It is also where I went back to Cardinal Tetras so the lone Cardinal in the current setup is 6+ years old!! I also notice this is where I statred to use the little steel mesh attachment over the filter inlet. Not os much for shrimp because they survive in the filter but I would often find an Oto stuck to the inlet as they are very weak swimmers
Shattered Tree 2 - 2019 - This was just shattered tree reworked after I had moved house. A few changes but I remember this was really hard work as I had zero interest yet continued to try and force motivation to keep doing it which made me hate it even more.

This is where the Tropica substrate appeared so its 4 year old substrate in the new setup. You can see it is a transfer from previous scape because this is either daay 2 or 3 and looks like an established scape already:

Reading through I say "the LED luminaire went out last night" so I was using some floorstanders for lighting. The truth was that a couple of the LEDs had gone out over the space of the prior years and been replaced and I did not have the patience to colour match them in again so at this point there were a few different coloured LEDs in the luminaire and one day in a rage I took it off, smashed it up and put it in the bin!!! The scape was only 1 month since start so I was already in that position of hating it. Not the scape, it looks very nice to me. Hating the demand of the scape
Using the floorstanders was inspired by me looking at another user's hillstream loach tank. Can't remember who it was but they will know. Don't know if they used the same lights but it was a shallow tank like my current one abd I like the industrial look of them.

The Buces were introduced towards the end of this scape before I lost it again, took the fish out, took the plants out, saved everything and then smashed the OptiWhite up...............That was circa Dec 20 / Jan 21.

So the current setup must have been like it is from somewhere early on in 2021 and we are up to date. I must've either bought the sand at that point or already had it to hand somewhere.
p.s. The Crypt Balansae is coming out of the tank today. Any takers? I'll trim the leaves off so it will just be some very established crowns as the leaves will melt anyway.
I'm still spamming while the enthusiasm is there. I have been known to take photos and then take 3 months to post them up!!

Crypt Balansae is out. Anyone wants it they can have it for the shipping price. 2 days until it gets binned :D

And that means of course new tank photos. Water still a bit mucky but here goes. The larger Crypt on the right has been taken out and moved behind the boulder on the left. I want to fill out that left corner to a more triangular shape like the right side from right corner to midground.:

Looking pretty in the corner there. Looks much smaller in that pic but it is an 80cm long by 40cm depth. Height 35cm.
And finally the Buce was pretty much "plug and play" in that they are all tied to stones so I could remove them quite easily as their root structure isn't like Anubias. So I took them out and put them in a gluterhaldehyde bath for 5 minutes and then put them back. Here are some photos of the Buces






And this one is the star of the show. Abouut 6 inches tall now from the stone it is tied to and has 3 branches. Little flower growing on the top there I think.

Thats it for the photos for today. Plants are due next week and I'll plant them as they arrive. Dose Easycarbo daily when that arrives and hopefully in a month's time the plants will be in much better shape and the aesthetic will make it look more like a scape. And hopefully I can also wind down its needs so I can just revert to 10% water changes monthly or something like that with no more Easycarbo.
Hi, I would like the balansae if it's still available. I'll PM you when I work out how, it's been a while since I've done that. :)