Journeys In Aquascaping - a noobs tale

Matthew Baines

New Member
Joined
14 Apr 2019
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7
Location
Chester
Hi all,

So recently joined the group and looking to take on my first aquascaping project subject to an upcoming house move which should see some space to actually house a tank.

Looks like i'm settling on a Roma 90 complete with accompanying stand as there are offers on at the moment. Plus my thoughts are the filtration, lighting and heat system all comes with the package allowing me to keep things simple.

It been a tough decision between the Roma 90 or a Spec, however the Spec doesnt come with a stand that satisfies the brief from the long haired general. As this will be a feature in a main living space its got to get that seal of approval.

Other factors in the decision have been the requirement to ensure there is a lid so our 4 legged family companion doesnt decide to go for a swim if and when fish are in the aquarium.

So with aquarium set choice made, i now wait till house move in a the next few weeks and upcoming birthday to go out and get the tank.

In the meantime the research continues, plan is a low light, no CO2 injection to start. Easy care plant selection and simple hardscape design.

My thoughts are get the basics right, learn how to take care of plants, test adjust and then consider livestock further down the line.

I've picked up a digital copy of The art of aquascaping and watched numerous youtube vids and avidly absorbing content on the forums here.

Pics will follow as the project progress and i hope to share my highs and lows (warts and all).

I welcome constructive feedback and criticism and look forward to sharing this project with every on here.

I've picked up a digital copy of The art of aquascaping and watched numerous youtube vids and avidly absorbing content on the forums here.

Spend to date
£12 - Art of aquascaping digital copy
 

Filip Krupa

Member
Joined
13 Oct 2016
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578
Location
Liverpool
Exciting! Good luck!

In the meantime the research continues, plan is a low light, no CO2 injection to start. Easy care plant selection and simple hardscape design.
IME aquascaping a low tech is a lot more challenging.

Have you ever tinkered with Co2?
It has spoiled low tech tanks for me.

Fil
 

Matthew Baines

New Member
Joined
14 Apr 2019
Messages
7
Location
Chester
So a couple of amends on the horizon. I’ve decided to change the tank for a Dennerle Scaper 55L as I prefer the look of the tank over the Roma. Seems we can still get the cabinet separately so that keeps the wife happy.

Exciting! Good luck!


Have you ever tinkered with Co2?
It has spoiled low tech tanks for me.

Fil
Never tried with or without CO2 as this will be my first ever tank. I’d be open to using it in the future but just want to see how I get on initially.
 

Matthew Baines

New Member
Joined
14 Apr 2019
Messages
7
Location
Chester
So after a bit of a wait my birthday finally came round and my shiny new tank arrived on 10 May, all set up waiting to get started.

Day 1 - the tank is set up with the hardscape and has been filled whilst awaiting plants.

Day 2 - The water has gone cloudy which I’m assuming is a bacterial bloom. Thinking I will just need to wait it out. Plants ordered so will plant up when arrived.

Day 4 - planted the tank up. I’m sure it’s not been done as the most aesthetically pleasing but I’m happy with my first ever layout. Made some mistakes when planting and have struggled with the plants to attach to the hardscape as I haven’t got any superglue to use. Log that one down to experience. Hoping with plants now in the tank can start to cycle and hopefully reduce this bacterial bloom.

Will post plants used later in the week as it’s getting late here.

Constructive criticism welcomed.
 

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Keith GH

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28 Aug 2017
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817
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Melbourne Australia
Mattthew

I moved two rocks reason being it looked like you had very carefully planted them in a very neat row.
The smaller rock being placed in the back corner gives you a slight effect of distance.
You will have to rotate the two rocks plus the front LH rock to show off their best features
Matthew%2015.5.19%20%20_edited-2.jpg


Keith:wave:
 

Matthew Baines

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Joined
14 Apr 2019
Messages
7
Location
Chester
Mattthew

I moved two rocks reason being it looked like you had very carefully planted them in a very neat row.
The smaller rock being placed in the back corner gives you a slight effect of distance.
You will have to rotate the two rocks plus the front LH rock to show off their best features

Keith:wave:
Thanks for the feedback, I made the changes today and I think it greatly improves the layout. Bacterial bloom ongoing, time to leave the tank for a while.

I have a query for the community, should I be doing a maintenance water change 50% each week whilst the tank is cycling or should I just leave things to settle/stabilise before I start doing water changes?
7DDEDAB3-74D7-4213-BD30-1251A3D8CCCB.jpeg
 

Siege

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11 Aug 2017
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1,056
Location
Cambridgeshire, UK
Daily water changes for the 1st week, as big as you can.

It’ll help you to add more plants.the soil should be filled with plantlets.

I assume you are going with no co2. If so think about your carpet. Add more varying species to get the wild look maybe. Otherwise you’ll be waiting an age for the hairgrass to fill in if it ever does.
 

Keith GH

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28 Aug 2017
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817
Location
Melbourne Australia
Matthew

That is looking better already now just fill the space in with plants. NO pathway please as it would be too central and could divide the tank into two sides.

Big water changes are the secret. For the first week 40-50% every day then for the second week every second will certainly help once established two 35-40% twice weekly certainly helps in having a very healthy tank.
Buy a few cheap floating plants the more the better this will certainly help.

Keith:wave::wave:
 

Matthew Baines

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14 Apr 2019
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Keith

Thanks for the advice, what plants would you recommend to fill out the mid space.

Daily water change schedule now underway.
 

Keith GH

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Messages
817
Location
Melbourne Australia
Matthew.

I am far from a plant expert. I would be thinking of a mix of all the low plants you have already if done correctly it would bring both sides together if only one type used it would make it a very central planted tank.

Keith:wave::wave:
 

dw1305

Expert
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
10,472
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
Big water changes are the secret. For the first week 40-50% every day then for the second week every second will certainly help once established two 35-40% twice weekly certainly helps in having a very healthy tank. Buy a few cheap floating plants the more the better this will certainly help.
I agree with @Siege & @Keith GH, keep up the water changes and add a few more plants. Floating plants are really good, because they aren't CO2 limited and can make use of all the <"available nutrients">.

You can get Tropica tissue cultured <"Salvinia spp. & <"Limnobium">. If you can't find any for sale locally PM me and I should be able to send you a mix. If you have a lot of surface flow Hornwort (<"Ceratophyllum demersum">) works well as a sub-surface floater, you might be able to find it in the pond plant section of a garden centre etc as it doesn't <"transport very well">.
should I be doing a maintenance water change 50% each week whilst the tank is cycling
Are you just leaving the tank? or are you adding ammonia? If you are <"adding ammonia you can stop">. If it is a substrate with added ammonia (like ADA Amazonia)? You just need to carry out more frequent water changes.

cheers Darrel
 

Matthew Baines

New Member
Joined
14 Apr 2019
Messages
7
Location
Chester
Latest update - tank seems to have settled down now. Added more plants as advised by those above and it looks much better.


E64D1D95-9F18-4196-935E-54149FF28CAA.jpeg


Are you just leaving the tank? or are you adding ammonia? If you are <"adding ammonia you can stop">. If it is a substrate with added ammonia (like ADA Amazonia)? You just need to carry out more frequent water changes.

cheers Darrel
At the moment I’ve been leaving the tank but I’m not seeing much in the way of cycling, seems the ammonia levels are really low at present.

I’ve also noticed I’ve got really soft water and pH of about 5.4 which also seems low. Wondering whether these parameters will be ok for fish?
 

dw1305

Expert
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
10,472
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
At the moment I’ve been leaving the tank but I’m not seeing much in the way of cycling, seems the ammonia levels are really low at present.
No that is fine, less ammonia is a good thing.
I’ve also noticed I’ve got really soft water and pH of about 5.4 which also seems low.
You can get water values from your water supplier (United Utilities?).

You may well receive water from <"Lake Vyrnwy">, in which case it would be soft, high quality water. It is much easier to add compounds (which become ions) to water than take them away. If you want to raise the hardness you can use a soluble calcium carbonate source like <"cuttle "bone" or oyster shell chick grit"> or if you want a bit more precision <"James' Planted Tank"> has some options.

Recent research has shown that nitrification doesn't require the <"high levels of pH and carbonate that it was thought to require">.
Wondering whether these parameters will be ok for fish?
Fine for most <"S. American fish">, they come from very soft water.

Have a look at some of @Edvet's posts

cheers Darrel
 

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