Mjenner's Juwel Rio 125 Planted Tank

mjenner

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Hi Tony,

Yep West Horsley's my "local" mAQ store for most day to day things.

I didn't see much when I popped in there a couple of weeks ago (was looking at substrate prices, but they only had Red-Sea Florabase, which turns to claylike mud over time (I've got it in my cube tank)).

They've just revamped to add marines and they'd taken the baskets away from the middle in-between the tanks where they kept most of their aquascaping materials, they used to have a fairly impressive range, but all I could see on my quick look was some rather ropey looking bogwood.

They also used to have some nice stone, I'dve thought they'd have some more particularly as they're trying to push their nano cubes at the moment.

My other mAQ I tend to visit is over towards Weybridge, it's got a better range of planted equipment and it used to be my closest decent marine store when I kept marines.

Generally though, I tend to find most fish stores I've visited in Surrey woeful in terms of planted tank knowledge and equipment (mAQ are some of the best I know of here, but they've got a LONG way to go before I'd call them a really good source for planted tank equipment).

mAQ in West Horsley is generally fairly good for buying plants themselves (if a bit expensive,particularly in comparison to online), and they've got an interesting range of planted tank shrimp and nano tank fish at the moment.

Buying online has a lot going for it, but for some things,like aquascaping materials, in my opinion you need stores, if they had a better range, with some more choice in planted materials, I think I'd probably use them a lot more.

I've not investigated the Morden mAQ yet, I'll have to give it a try at the weekend, cheers for the advice. :)

Matt
 

Tony Swinney

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No problem Matt, good luck with the search. I agree its a shame West Horseley have got rid of their stone baskets. The larger redmoor roots are now kept in the large tanks which are at your feet level in the tropicals section, just ask and they'll fish them out for you.

The new manager Richard is gong to be pushing the planted side of things, with a display tank he's putting together, but he's a bit limited with the old weir tank system for plants that they're stuck with. He can get Tropica in to order if you want it, and says they'll match others prices.

Tony
 

mjenner

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Aha, cheers for that advice, I shall rummage through their larger tanks cupboards at the weekend! :)

I was kind of hoping that they were going to do something more with planted tanks when I saw the shrimp tanks they'd just put in, but I was a bit disappointed by the lack of choice in substrates and aquascape. I didn't know the management had changed recently, I guess it happened about when the Marines came back in? It'll be interesting to see how things evolve over the next few months! :)

I might take him up on placing a Tropica order if I find a couple of plants hard to get elsewhere, but for initial stocking at least, Java Plants looks to be much better value for money so far. But I do admit that Tropica plants are pretty much the best quality I've seen anywhere.

I wonder if Squires* has much in the way of rocks, I might take a look and see if they've got any decent tank-safe stuff there, you never know?.

Cheers,

Matt

*the garden centre where the mAQ is based in West Horsley in-case non-locals were wondering :).
 

LondonDragon

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mjenner said:
Just seen this thread (http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1690&start=50) about Limnophilia Aromatica, I think I'm definately going to try and get this in my tank if I can, looks amazing! :)
I have this in my tank and its a great plant :) I promissed my next cuttings to someone else so if you haven't got any in 2-3 weeks time send me a PM and I will send you some. ;)

Here a photo taken a few minutes ago:
 

Tony Swinney

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Lovely plant LD :D

I was in the "shoots" garden centre in Cobham this afternoon. Their aquatic centre is generally fairly average, and less than average on the planted side of things. However as I left, 3 boxes of new Aquafleur plants were delivered - I had a sneak peak and they look really good - lovely and fresh ! They'll be on display by tomorrow lunchtime so I might pop along and have a look - only 5 mins off the A3 if your heading down this way Matt. :D
 

JohnC

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mjenner said:
Just seen this thread (http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1690&start=50) about Limnophilia Aromatica, I think I'm definately going to try and get this in my tank if I can, looks amazing! :)
Hi,

This was the best stem plant i had (when i had stems) in an old scape. Lovely colour when it gets near the light. I've just read the first page of that link, i never knew i could have just eaten mine rather then give it away! :D

Best Regards,

John
 

mjenner

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Wow cheers Paulo, I'll definately take you up on that if I haven't managed to get it with my plant order! :)

Speaking of which, I'm still planning, I haven't really had much time to think, let alone actually sit down and look at pics of plants, wedding stuff has reared it's head which needed planning first, and whilst I can sometimes post at work in downtime whilst waiting for stuff to run (thanks to the wonders of notepad for composing in), it's a bit more obvious looking at pics of plants. :)

Cheers Tony, but I won't be heading that way till Sat, I'll pop in on the way past though if they've got any left! :)

I'm going to look at plants tonight and get a better list together.

Cheers Guys
 

mjenner

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Hardscaping Connundrums

Well, as promised, I've been taking a look at hardscaping my tank. I managed to get some wood from mAQ in West Horsley, they were fairly helpful, although they didn't have much wood in, I did get a really nice piece, but I had size issues, and it's a little bit bigger than I thought it was in the shop :oops: but I did manage to get it to fit in the tank:

Front_View_Web.jpg


This is a photo with it in, with some rocks and a bit of sculpting of the substrate. It's still jutting a bit too far to the front I think, but Ithink there's potential there somewhere. I think I might need to do a bit of chopping about to get it to fit properly.

Looking from the top, I can see about 10cm of wood that I think I could safely remove to allow me to push it back a bit:

IMG_7576_web.jpg


Views from the left and right:

Wood_left_right.jpg


An angled view:

IMG_7582_web.jpg


I'm also thinking the biggest branch is too long as well, I might cut that off somehow and mount it in the rockpile/stump so that that section looks a bit denser? I've set it up with it like you see it for now and I'm just living with it for a little bit to get a feel for how I'll like it.

I also bought some sand, I'm thinking about having sand at the very front-right, tapering off towards the left (I won't put it in till I'm sure I'm going to have it, as it'll be a devil to get out cleanly), then I can grow either HC or glosso towards the sand in a finer carpet, and build up to some Pogostemon Helefri (I think I've typed it right?) in around the rock cluster and roots, then have some taller bushy stem plants behind, but I think the idea might have changed a bit from my earlier jungle-type idea, at least initially :).

I think it's true that once you get some wood/rocks in there you start to rethink what plants you're planning on putting in, I kind of like the island of rocks/roots idea, but I just need to work out how I can make it work with my wood and then go through the left a bit/right a bit thing that most people do on here .

Anyway, I've got to go to out to dinner now, if you've got any comments/advice/criticism, I'd love your input if you've got five minutes to spare this evening.

Cheers,

Matt
 
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im really interested in what you have done for the lighting, now you have the two juwel light bars, what have you done about flaps? can you post pics?
 

mjenner

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Jack middleton said:
im really interested in what you have done for the lighting, now you have the two juwel light bars, what have you done about flaps? can you post pics?
Hi Jack,

I've only got the one lighting bar, I swapped the T8 Lighting bar that came with my tank for a T5 High-Lite lighting bar. The flaps fit exactly on the new lighting bar as it's a drop-in replacement. I'dve liked to have got a luminaire but for the sake of keeping things civil at home, my Fiancee didn't want the light spilling out of the top of the tank or the sound of water, so I had to go for an option that left the top of the tank as it was before.

It's not the cheapest, or some would say best option, but I think it should hopefully allow me to grow most types of plants without too much trouble (providing I keep up with the CO2 and maintain a high enough flow rate).

Hope that helps,

Cheers,

Matt
 

mjenner

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Tourney said:
Love the wood on the left there, it looks great, but personally I would'nt bother about the rocks on the right :rolleyes: They just don't look right to me. Just my opinion :)
Cheers Tourney,

I think you might have something there about the rocks. But I'm a little worried that if I don't have something that side it'll start to look a little too lopsided? I know some people like their aquascapes to go be heavier one side than the other, but I think it might look a little wrong? Anyway, I'll have a play tomorrow and see.

I think I will take off that 10cm bit at the back of the root though as the front of the root is only about 5cm from the front glass, at least then it might not look quite so imposing?

Any thoughts on the sand at the front? Good idea or bad?

I might photoshop one of the pics and add some sand in tomorrow to see what people think..

Cheers,

Matt
 

LondonDragon

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you can actually add a tube to each flap if you like and make it a total of 4, i did this in my juwel before i got the luminaire ;)
 

Tony Swinney

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Hi Matt

Pleased you got a bit of wood you like - as you say they dont have a huge amount of redmoor, but they do tend to have a few really nice pieces.

I had a similar issue a while back, with a bit of redmoor which would only just fit in the tank. Its very limiting as you cant move it around so much. I think chopping some of the 'trunk' away is a good idea, it'll give you more freedom to play around, but I'd do it in stages - you can't stick it back on :lol:

At the minute I find the main branch cuts the tank in half diagonally a bit much, but once you make it a bit smaller you'll be able to address that.

I like the sand idea, moving the right hand rocks out of the way, maybe replacing them with smaller ones on the sand 'shoreline'. You could have the bulk of the scape and plants over on the left (and your heater :D ), with a more open space on the right for the fish to swim in - what fish are you having ?

Good luck with it

Tony (all that said, I'm a complete novice so feel free to ignore it :lol: )
 

mjenner

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Tonser said:
you can't stick it back on :lol:
Heh, true! :)

The guy in the shop didn't know what I was talking about when I mentioned redmoor wood, this was JBL Mangrove Wood, but I noticed that they had a variety of different types of wood in there under the same brand name, one of which looked suspiciously similar to redmoor wood, and a decidedly different texture to my old bogwood, so I thought I'd give it a go.

The diagonal of the main branch is a little distracting for me too, it reaches right into the right-hand powerhead!

Taking 10cm off the back won't address this though, that will only allow me to push the whole root back a bit. I might have to take slightly more drastic measures and cut some off the main right-hand branch, I'm thinking of adding some moss to the branch so it should (in theory) hide the cut, and I'll sand it off to smooth it out a bit too.

I'm thinking of making the cut just after it curves towards the horizontal, possibly 5-6cm afterward, so that the main branch would finish pretty much over where the rocks are now. Once I do that, I'll also have to trim the other large shoot that aims up and towards the front of the tank to bring it back into perspective.

|'ll do a mockup in GIMP (free-photoshop) and see what everyone thinks before making the cuts.

I'm not too worried you're not an expert, just bouncing ideas off like-minded people is good, as much as my Fiancee loves my tank, she can't envisage what I'm aiming for at the present moment in time, she says that she trusts me, but that it looks more like a good home for her Leopard Gecko rather than my fish! :lol:

That said, I'm more than happy for other points of view, so anyone else can feel free to chip in their comments! :)

Cheers,

Matt
 

mjenner

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Inspiration and Ideas (AKA: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery)

When I got the wood, I knew that the idea reminded me of a few of my favourite tanks, I thought I'd post the links to these pages so that people knew where I'm coming from with my ideas:

David Airey's creation, really nice looking, but maybe a little too minimalist for me at present, I'm not sure I'm quite disciplined enough to maintain a limited number of species! :) This is where I got the idea for the hardscape though:

http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/pfk/pages/readers_tank.php?upload=1319

Peter Kirwan's 2007 AGA entry:

http://showcase.aquatic-gardeners.org/2007.cgi?&op=showcase&category=0&vol=1&id=198

More relaxed, but a kind of similar look to Peter's entry, still only green though, and possibly hard to pull off.

Finally, Buccarra Emanuelle's 2007 AGA entry:

http://showcase.aquatic-gardeners.org/2007.cgi?&op=showcase&category=0&vol=1&id=77

I know that this is a lot livelier than the other two, but it's one that I've come back to time and again for ideas and it was the initial inspiration for the current tank revamp.

It's got a lot of the elements I like, the sand-river element, the bed of low-growing plants and the jungly look that I also like, but it was in a much larger tank, so I'm not sure if I have the space to pull something like this off. I also want some where for Pogostemon Helefri in the tank, as I think they look really nice, could possibly add them at the transition between the low-growing plants and the jungly area at the back? I'm also a bit worried that the wood I've got is a bit too large to pull off something like Buccarra's design in my tank. It's also the only tank I think I might be able to get away with adding Limnophilia Aromatica to :).
 

mjenner

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The Patient is Out of Surgery

Well, after looking at the root stump all day I finally decided it did need a trim, I've taken roughly 5cm off the back of the root (as-per the green line on my earlier top-down pic), and I also shortened the two longest branches in as natural a manner as I could (cutting and splitting the wood to make it try and look like a natural break), after I've got some fern/moss on them they should look ok I think? :)

I've taken the rocks on the right away, and shifted the root to the right a bit, it looks a bit more balanced now.

I've taken some pics, but due to my PC chkdisking for over half the day (it's not very well, writing this from my fiancee's laptop at the moment) I've not been able to prep and upload them, I'll try and put them up tomorrow at some point, hopefully people will like my new layout (fingers crossed, but it's not too different from the old one :)).

Once we're happy with the hardscape, I've just got to finalise my plant list for this layout now, then I can FINALLY put the water back in (feels like it's been so long since I've had water in the tank! :D).

Comments and criticism welcome as always.

Cheers,

Matt
 

mjenner

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Post-Surgery - Tank Hardscape Pics (take 2)

Well, here's my latest re-hash of the hardscape with the trimming of the wood, I've also shifted the wood right slightly to move it more towards the focal point to make it a little more balanced and I've got rid of the large rocks on the right:

IMG_7586_web.jpg


LeftRightPostSurgery_web.jpg


IMG_7589_web.jpg


Comments and Criticism welcome...

Cheers,

Matt
 
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