Jasons Learning Curve

Joined
13 Feb 2020
Messages
100
Location
Wexford,Ireland
Aquarium: Roma 125 80x35x50
Filter: Betta 2000 external
Lighting: Chihiros A801
Co2: 15kg Cylinder with inline diffuser
Substrate: Tropica soil 18l and Tropica powder 9l
Ferts: EI from APFUK

Hi everyone,

This is my first real attempt at a planted aquarium. I know i will make mistakes and things will not go as i plan but i plan on learning as much as i can from this aquarium to hopefully kickstart myself into a long and enjoyable hobby.

My number one focus and goal at the start is to learn how to grow healthy plants successfully. I feel like once i get the hang of the plants i can move onto other things like scaping etc. So as you can see from the photos the so called "scape" is pretty terrible but i am ok with that for now and further down the line when i am more confident with plants i will delve into the art of scaping. Saying that though, if anyone has any recommendations or changes to the "scape" i am all ears.

I am waiting for my lighting to be delivered so i can not really go any further until it arrives. So i will be mainly trying to decide on what plants to go for. These are sort of what i have in mind for now.

Micranthemum sp. 'Monte Carlo’
Eleocharis sp. 'Mini'
Alternanthera Reineckii 'Mini'
Cryptocoryne lutea 'Hobbit'
Cryptocoryne Wendtii


I do not know what stem plants or what mosses/epiphytes i should go for so any recommendations or advise there would be greatly appreciated. This is where i will be buying my plants from, so anything from this list would be preferable
https://www.aquaview.ie/en/section.php?name=Plants

Jason
88973747_218414876226747_3010763531806048256_n.jpg
89029966_593293441222422_3688854252693749760_n.jpg

 
Joined
13 Feb 2020
Messages
100
Location
Wexford,Ireland
If been thinking about what inhabitants to stock the tank with when the time comes.
Thinking of Ottos and some Crystal red shrimp but i sort of have a problem regarding the shrimp. Thing is i have a pretty big fear of spiders and i can't help it but associate the shrimp to spiders and i am nervous that if i buy the shrimp i could end up being afraid of them which would make tank maintenance that bit tougher. It also doesn't help that i am seriously creeped out by prawns. Yeah i know i am a bit of a strange one lol.

Also how do people trim stems with shrimp in the aquarium? I would be nervous that i would end up cutting one in half with a scissors.

For the main inhabitants i was thinking a group of either-
Kubotai Rasboras
Long Tailed White Cloud Mountain Minnows
Endlers

Jason
 

Tankless

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6 Jan 2020
Messages
171
Location
London
You should avoid amanos as they look like prawns. The smaller shrimp species should be fine. I use the fluval spring scissors which are quite small so I can see what I'm cutting. It requires getting your arms wet however my tank is only 36cm high.
 

Sammy Islam

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12 Mar 2019
Messages
456
Location
Hertfordshire
If been thinking about what inhabitants to stock the tank with when the time comes.
Thinking of Ottos and some Crystal red shrimp but i sort of have a problem regarding the shrimp. Thing is i have a pretty big fear of spiders and i can't help it but associate the shrimp to spiders and i am nervous that if i buy the shrimp i could end up being afraid of them which would make tank maintenance that bit tougher. It also doesn't help that i am seriously creeped out by prawns. Yeah i know i am a bit of a strange one lol.

Also how do people trim stems with shrimp in the aquarium? I would be nervous that i would end up cutting one in half with a scissors.

For the main inhabitants i was thinking a group of either-
Kubotai Rasboras
Long Tailed White Cloud Mountain Minnows
Endlers

Jason

Waft the area with your hand before trimming, the shrimp should move away fairly quickly if there are some around you. Plus if you do touch one with your hand or scissors they usually jump/flick themself away - they are very fast when they need to be.
 

alto

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,992
Micranthemum sp. 'Monte Carlo’
Eleocharis sp. 'Mini'
Alternanthera Reineckii 'Mini'
Cryptocoryne lutea 'Hobbit'
Cryptocoryne Wendtii

A R m - the Green Aqua abbreviation ;) is a midground plant, it does grow shorter but still has quite large leafs (don’t be fooled by those miniatures in vitro leafs!)
C wendtii - green I assume, is also midground though can be trained smaller I suppose
C lutea Hobbit - can struggle sometimes from in vitro culture, it’s naturally small and much slower growing than wendtii
“but the submerged leaves get an intensively violet-brown coloration, good lighting provided.”

Looking at some of the plant names I wonder if these are Hortilab plants - you might enquire ;)
If so, there are some photos on the website (that hopefully are aquarium representations of their plant stock)

The XL cups look to be a good buy

I suggest some fast growing stems, worth the purchase price even if you remove them once tank is established (eg, gradually over the 3-6 month period, assuming everything has gone as expected)

You might check tap water parameters from your water supplier (should be online, with individual sample data, averages, seasonal variation etc)

E vivpara - as it’s one of my favorites :p

H micranthemoides - it’s a lovely fast growing weed in soft water, though may be more difficult in harder water???
It can be shaped as a mid ground carpet as well, small delicate bright green leaf
Many of the listed Rotala and Ludwigia species will have pink,orange, red tones so I’d include this for certain

Proserpinaca palustris - another all time favourite (devastated when Tropica dropped it from their NA collection)
Unique leaf shape

Maybe link some aquascapes you like, then it’s easier to suggest suitable plants
- or describe what you’re wanting
 

alto

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,992
Can you visit the shop?
Easier to decide about shrimps if you see them ... at some point, they’re likely to try grazing on your hand/arm
(feels like lots of tiny tickling feet)

No shrimp cut during the ‘making of’!
 

Keith GH

Member
Joined
28 Aug 2017
Messages
817
Location
Melbourne Australia
Jason
This is my first real attempt at a planted aquarium. I know i will make mistakes and things will not go as i plan but i plan on learning as much as i can from this aquarium to hopefully kickstart myself into a long and enjoyable hobby.
Mistakes can be avoided if you do all the correct research first and listen to the plant experts.

My number one focus and goal at the start is to learn how to grow healthy plants successfully. I feel like once i get the hang of the plants i can move onto other things like scaping etc. So as you can see from the photos the so called "scape" is pretty terrible but i am ok with that for now and further down the line when i am more confident with plants i will delve into the art of scaping. Saying that though, if anyone has any recommendations or changes to the "scape" i am all ears.

Growing plants is easy providing you select the correct plants for your tanks conditions.
Eg start with a low tech tank first by doing that you can concentrate on the plants not all the High tech details.

Where to start.
Research
Get a full tap water test done this will certainly help with the plants and inhabitants.
Filtration buy the best you can afford it will be the cheapest in the long term
Select the inhabitants.
Select the plants to suite the inhabitants.
Forget about Aquascaping until you can grow plants successfully.

You Substrate is it the correct one for your plants.
As you want to learn about growing plants you do not want an Aquascape at all.
Now you are ready to start learning

Now while you are learning about growing plants it's time to start on your Aquascaping research and practice and practice using a Mock Tank. The substrate can be garden soil or sand.

0A%20A%20Box%20Aquascape%20mock%20Tank%20_edited-1.jpg


Keith:wave::greenfinger:
 

alto

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,992
My favourite “Cobble” aquascape - in case you’re interested in alternate cobble style ;)

https://alperkurt.blog/2017/06/26/aquascape-freeride/

Yours are obviously more varied in shape and color, but it might be an arrangement to play on

If you’re definite on the “Path” I’d move it so it’s less centred, make your cobble zones more asymmetric

You wood pieces look nice but I’d try making their arrangement more natural, if you want to keep the wood more separate, perhaps place some supporting stones (that the woods lean on)
Perhaps a third piece of wood so that the tank is not divided into “two”

Watch more George Farmer Aquascaping videos ;)
- placing the hardscape in a supporting (backbone) role, won’t restrict your ability to learn to grow plants ... but it will give you something you love looking at during the times when you’re frustrated with plants/algae
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Wexford,Ireland
Wow, thank you so much everyone for your advice regarding the shrimp/plants/aquascaping. Its a lot to take in so i will research everything that yous have mentioned.

Scaping wise, i do not have much hardscape materials on hand and with the spiraling cost of everything to set up the aquarium i will just have to work with what i have for the time being. As it is just the hardscape and soil in there at the moment it is very easy to change stuff around. I am not particularly happy with how it looks as it is,nor do i really have any sort of vision as to what i would like it to look like so i guess i will just start moving bits around till i am somewhat happy with it.

Proserpinaca palustris- i actually really like the look of this plant. Was it removed from the Tropica NA collection for being invasive or just not very popular? And yes i do think that they are Hortilab in-vitro plants.


Here is a water test results. Its just one of the test strips that i know can often not be very accurate
GH 8
KH 20
PH 7.2
NO3 10

Is it worth buying a ph-tds pen like these? https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B078NJR692/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A2QXK5N6SI0N0O&psc=1 as i have now clue what my tds is.

Jason
 
Joined
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Messages
100
Location
Wexford,Ireland
I have moved the stones and wood around. I think i prefer it this way, its by no means any "good" but i think it is better than before. I am just trying to imagine it with a MC carpet growing up through the stones.
88001903_1082760992069144_4674673131162435584_n.jpg


Flow. After reading Cegs input on the flow sticky i decided to have a spraybar running along the entire length of the tank. The filter is rated 2000lph but with filter media etc i would imagine its probably going to be more like 1300-1400lph. That will cover the x10 flow that is recommended. I do have some Hydor powerheads on hand though if needed.
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Bryce

Member
Joined
27 Feb 2020
Messages
51
Location
Phoenix Az
Looking good. My only advice would be plant in heavy right from the start. If your budget won’t allow that right now, no big deal the tank isn’t going anywhere. Save and buy lots of plants not hardscape. You will reap the rewards. You can always hardscape later. This will benefit you in many ways. I feel to many setup a new planted tank with far less plants then they should. Many concentrate to much on the hardscape for there first tank. Learn to grow the plants first, everything else will fall inline later. Many fail and and become discouraged and lose the fun and relaxing side of this hobby. My 2 cents
 
Joined
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Messages
100
Location
Wexford,Ireland
Looking good. My only advice would be plant in heavy right from the start. If your budget won’t allow that right now, no big deal the tank isn’t going anywhere. Save and buy lots of plants not hardscape. You will reap the rewards. You can always hardscape later. This will benefit you in many ways. I feel to many setup a new planted tank with far less plants then they should. Many concentrate to much on the hardscape for there first tank. Learn to grow the plants first, everything else will fall inline later. Many fail and and become discouraged and lose the fun and relaxing side of this hobby. My 2 cents


Thanks for the advice. The remaining money that i set aside for the aquarium will be all spent on plants, i feel like it should get me pretty heavily planted from the get go. Also think i will get some H. Polysperma to put in for the 1st few weeks as a fast growing stem plant
 

Tankless

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Messages
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Location
London
Sorting the hardscape out when the tank is flooded and has inhabitants is difficult. Its generally better to wait until your happy with the hardscape before planting.
 

Keith GH

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Messages
817
Location
Melbourne Australia
Jason

The only thing I like about your Aquascape are the two small pieces of DW. They are too small to give you any height at the rear of the tank. Rocks not what you would call full of character. With the placement it looks like you have carefully placed them in rows certainly not natural looking at all.

Keith:wave::greenfinger:
 
Joined
13 Feb 2020
Messages
100
Location
Wexford,Ireland
Jason

The only thing I like about your Aquascape are the two small pieces of DW. They are too small to give you any height at the rear of the tank. Rocks not what you would call full of character. With the placement it looks like you have carefully placed them in rows certainly not natural looking at all.

Keith:wave::greenfinger:

Thanks Keith, that is a totally fair comment. What type of approach would you take or be aiming for if you only had these materials to work with? Its very easy for me to move these bits around so fire away with suggestions.
Regarding the rocks, you are right that the look carefully placed. I am finding it hard to have it look like anything else. I do not know if that is down to my pure inexperience, lack of creativity or just due to the style of the rocks. Either way i am fully open to suggestions.

Jason
 

alto

Member
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24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,992
It is much more difficult to create an aesthetically pleasing scape with smooth cobbles - contrast their uniformity of size, texture, light reflection vs the stone used in most aquascapes

Green Aqua Aquarium Layout Tutorial
- the perception of aesthetics would be very different if different sized cobbles had been used
(but you should still consider much of the “rules” presented)

George Farmer has a cobble scape (biotope aquarium as part of his PFK series) short video - just select “oldest” first on his YouTube channel :) - and a more recent one done with Tai Strietman (note that by having the stone outside collecting algae etc, the cobbles immediately looked “different” and “more interesting” ... yours will aquire this patina over time as well)

Have you looked in garden centres (or local quarry where you may be able (to pick though loads of rock) to find a few minimal cost stones) for hardscape materials

If limited to the present type of cobbles, look to get a few much larger ones, also a group of much smaller

Play with the cobble groupings on the countertop (you’ll eventually cause some crushing of the aquarium soil - not much of an issue except for a few more water changes after initial flooding) - if you still have some of the boxing from the tank, use those as your “scape box”
Create a “scape”, take some photos (all sides, and top down, even place markers on your stones if you like), leave it for a day or so
I’d work with the stones first, then introduce the wood variable

I feel you don’t have enough stones for a stretched out rockwork across the length of the tank, so try keeping them more close

Working on the floor, try placing the rocks quickly in a jumble rather than a more studied formation, stack them up and then give the pile a gentle push to see where they fall, drop a handful of smaller stones (if you expand your collection to include smaller rocks) etc

Note that the smooth surfaces of the cobbles makes them a poor attachment site for mosses (though once you have a nice covering of dense algae, try glueing a bit of moss (I’d try using Jurijs technique of chopping the moss and adding just a scatter))

Tropica Inspiration page

https://tropica.com/en/inspiration/layout/Layout21/4918

https://tropica.com/en/inspiration/layout/Layout51/5046
(I’ve always loved that initial stone arrangement (click on the photo series) - you can’t creat something similar with the cobbles you have but I’d use this scape for inspiration re the placement of the stones)

Juwel Set-up Inspiration page

A rather nice Juwel scape done with a few cobbles
- again your cobbles won’t look anywhere as “nice” initially re the color and slightly rough texture of the Juwel stones, but it’s an easy shape for inspiration

btw you’re right re your scape above, while it looks quite boring and unnatural in soil, it will be much more interesting cloaked in MC - which will begin to overgrow the stones and obscure those smooth curves and shapes

It’s also easy to add more plants later to give more definition to certain areas, or change up the scape over time
(Green Aqua, Filipe Oliveira, Jurijs mit JS show some examples of this in their videos)
 
Joined
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@alto
Thank you very much for such a detailed reply. I really appreciated it and the links you provided.
I do have access to more of these pebble rocks so i will take your advice and play around with adding more of a diverse range of sizes. Regarding the size of the gaps between the rocks i left them larger intentionally, my thinking behind it was to allow more space for the MC to grow. I have never grown MC before but by the sounds i should be okay to "tighten" up the gaps?

I am away for a few days now, but i will play around it some more with larger and smaller rocks, if i just can't seem to get it to work though my neighbour has some rock left over from doing some flowerbeds that i could try. I am unsure of the type of rock it is though so it might not be aquarium safe but it looks similar to this
pattern-on-wall-648511596-5b14b2f6ba6177003da6e583.jpg


I will check out everything you have linked over the next few days to see if i can get any inspiration. Thanks again Alto.

Jason
 

alto

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I suggest tagging @dw1305 re the stones

I suspect they are fine, especially if tap water is moderately hard, neutral to alkaline pH
These rocks will certainly provide more visual interest than the smooth cobbles

As for MC between the cobbles (as in your scape above) just make sure that the spaces between the cobbles are somewhat varied, include some elevation (camera flattens this aspect so it may appear somewhat different irl), you can certainly plant MC into very narrow spaces
 

alto

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24 Dec 2014
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5,992
Also think i will get some H. Polysperma to put in for the 1st few weeks as a fast growing stem plant
this plant is actually somewhat slower to establish than some other fast growing plants
Unfortunately there’s no H zosterfolia, but look at plants again using Tropica’s guide https://tropica.com/en/guide/get-the-right-start/supporting-plants/

Given your GH and KH, I’d not bother with a TDS pen unless you’re intending to adjust tap with RO
(you should be able to find many more water parameter details

I might monitor pH as that 7.2 value seems low for water with that GH (I recommend a Hanna Instruments pH pen for accuracy, precision, ability to check/adjust calibrations etc IF you’re interested) - a call to your local water board should give you information re is pH being adjusted, typical chlorination process etc
 

Keith GH

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28 Aug 2017
Messages
817
Location
Melbourne Australia
Jason

My advice has not changed forget about the Aquascape for a while, learn all about plants and, growing then in the mean time do a lot of research. Start looking for the hardscape materials and play around in the Mock tank and enjoy learning about growing the plants.

Members are often selling their unwanted hardscape bits and pieces.

Keith:wave::greenfinger:
 
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