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My planted tanks


10 Mar 2016
Can't really tell how much time I have spent on this

I started setting up this tank with no idea at all. With some helps I finally had

Then next was planting

But it did not last long. I was not completely happy with it. Moved out some rocks, plants


Then I thought maybe change layout by adopting Iwagumi


and this was shot after 01 month


and a couple of months later


and this was the last result before I changed it completely in the last two weeks

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looks like you have mastered growing carpets if nothing else. I think all of your tanks looked good. Oh and welcome to the forum.
Thank you Jamie. I hope everyone is enjoying UKAPS Aquascaping Experience 2016 so far.

I was happy with plant growth. However something was not right. Fishes were healthy but the limitation of spaces did not show all of their beauty. In addition I had some rocks and driftwood which were from my second tank project. But hey change tank layout completely was hard especially for a tank with fishes. Before doing it, you have to think:

1. Fishes. Move them to another tank or give them away? How to prevent shock?
- I like fishes and I don't think I am going to give them away. My second tank (300 liters) is in very good and similar water condition and it has bigger spaces. Why not moving them to this tank
2. Should I keep existing plants or have new plants?
- Remove plants (Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides, java fern, green and red rotala), keep existing plants and add several species
3. Will algae show up? How to control it?
- It will. Guppies, otto, siamese and longfin pleco and platies will help 🙂
4. New substrate or reuse?
- Reuse

Frankly did it at mid-night was a very very enjoyable experience

Right after layout change


11 days later

I am pretty happy with tank condition so far. No algae, bigger space for fishes and plants are growing. Below are several pictures I took last night



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Tank info:
Custom: 80x40x42
Subtrate: ADA Amazonia
Lighting: Metal halide 150W (8 hours/day with 1 hour off at noon)
CO2 (24/7)
Bucephalandra: three different species
Anubias nana
Pogostemon Helferi
Staurogyne repens
Cryptocoryne beckettii
Cryptocoryne prava
Cryptocoryne undulata
Elsa sp. "Vietnam" - Could not really find exactly name of it
Vallisneria Nana
Cryptocoryne spiralis
Hygrophila pinnatifida
Microsorum pteropus v. 'narrow leaf'
Bolbitis Heudelotii
Echinodorus opacus
Thanks folks. I believe I have spent too much time for Tank 1 and Tank 2 is being abandoned. It is very hard to take care two tanks at the very crucial time during the first to third month. I cleaned the T2 last night, trimmed some old anubias leaves. Took some pictures today but mostly fishes (Rainbowfish) in T2. Plants are not growing healthy. I think I will trim more leaves and use more fertilisers. Btw I would very welcome any idea to make this tank better



I hope you all had a good weekend. As promised this is my T2 story.

I started thinking about new project for T2 around November last year. Of course it is because Holiday was coming and I would have more time to prepare and take care of it. Also T1 at that time was fully mature and I could say it needed less touch from me.

Strategy was very simple with a 120x45x55 tank that fit a space next to T1. Hardscape is a combination of drifwood, rocks. Plants are all slow growing with several types of crypt and anubias. I started ordering my custom tank by mid December and looking around for plants, filtration system and substrates as well as other additives, ferts... It was fun and useful times. I visited few local stores, talked with the owners about my ideas, concerns and received a lot of useful suggestions. Even one of of them was willing to setup hardscape for free 🙂 By the end of December everything was ready for setup. Setup started by first week of January.

The result was not bad all. Two minds are always better than one.


I believe for most of scapers planting should be done right after hardscape. However I don't want to do that way. To prevent algae and to have a better water condition, an extra step must be done. I did fill water and run the filter in a week without plants and light. I did 100% water change every 2 days during that week. Planting only happened a week later.

Don't look at the rock 😀
T2 planting finished. I left everything untouched, and did 30% water change every 2 or 3 days. No Co2 and ferts were used and no fishes either. In the third week I bought around 40 fire red shrimps and started using ADA Brighty K (15 pushes daily) and Step 1 (12 pushes daily) and Co2 (5 - 6 bps). Around 4th week I bought 50 platies, 8 ottos and 40 orange shrimps. And in 5th week I added 10 Siamese algae eaters. These fishes and shrimps are very helpful until today. I rarely see the sign of algae. Just only few signs of spirogira that could be easily removed by hand. I also trimmed all old anubias and bucephalandra leaves. In conclusion during this period from 1st to 2nd month all I did was to do water change frequently, and try to maintain balance by all things that come from nature.

Visited one local store today to buy Crypt for T2

The owner is an old man in the middle of his 60s. He is very knowledgable and he sells only aquatic plants and nerita. It was a fun buying experience. Because he showed me not just only his knowledges about aquatic plants but also his love for planted tanks. The crypts I bought from him are only available in some part of local provinces, in several fountains at shallow water areas with strong currents. The black colour on the leaves are the result of rich magnesium water. He said that the black colour will disappear after a few weeks planting in aquarium. And they will show their green leaves and if you use additives well enough you will see purples. Can guess how much does it cost for three?


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It's spring time now at local town. It often has light rain days and nights which causes high humidity (80 - 90%). Temperature is from 21 to 28oC. Pretty bad weather condition for us, human, but it is a great time for plants to grow and bloom. Even mosses are growing at the cracks of pavements


Type of unknown plant (to me 😀)




Centella asiatica. Very useful herb. I have an idea to use it for first W-K


Is this worth for a layout?


Bought this plant last Wednesday. Probably It is a member of Nymphaeaceae family. Really don't know its Latin name. Anyone could suggest?


Latest update on T1 and T2. I am happy with T1's condition. Decreased its Co2 to 1 - 2 bps




Well it's time to remove the current carpet and start with Crypts prava as planned before 🙂

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Got some time today to start with first W-K. I did few layout with 5 stones. But my wife commented that I should turn back to 3 stones. 5 stones are too much.

Stone is local stone and it is from T2 project. And we call it yellow-bee stone.





Btw do I need to add more substrate? I plan to have a small carpet of Glossostigma Elatinoides in the front, hair grass at the left back side, and on the right hand side has yet been decided

Do you like the old T1?

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Plants are in.


I am going to place it outdoor to take advantage of sun lights and high humidity. Let's see how it's going 🙂