I'll walk you through what I done did in and elaborate, overly wordy manner, as is my want.
Confessions up front, the rescape wasn't exactly voluntary.
The last month or so I crashed both of the tanks... lets describe the technicalites of it as "health issues".
The chain of event goes as such: The 45f I ripped all of the rotalla out and replanted with blyxa which I ripped out from the faux 45p. It promptly over grew the entire rear of the tank, choked the flow, hair algae showed up and I checked out calling the whole thing a lost cause. If I'd pulled my finger out, yeah, two or three rounds of hard trimming would have fixed it but I left it too late and we all know the whole "ounce of prevention..."
Only I'm on the continent these days so "= 28.3495231 grams of prevention" which isn't so catchy which probably explains why it slipped my mind.
The 45p has been, lets generously call, "A'reet blahblahblahblahblahblahblah".
It never really got out of the algae phase. It's hardscape shifted, the super glue wont so super, plants melted, co2 was all over the place due to a crap inline diffuser that was so binary in operation it was laughable. Soil leaked everywhere and the plant choice was just... Bad. As was the fish choice, me oh my I love those Microrasbora kubotai but they need a bigger tank so back to the shop they went. I was extremely unhappy with the whole affair and I just couldn't be bothered because every day was a new sinking feeling and a sense of what's going to go wrong now set in, the scissors sat by the tank waiting to cut and never getting the pleasure until it was just too far gone. That wall of noise stem background I lusted for proved just too much of a tightrope to walk and the whole "slow burn" classic nature scape just never appeared.
That brings me to now.
Some vacation time showed up on the calendar and given that travel isn't something sensible, what with the world and all that, I used it to take stock and see what could be done.
1 new scape and the barebones of an okay scape that with some work and taking stock of the lesssons learned could be something. Now, I'm somewhat the old gaurd here and remember a time before Ukaps was even founded and dioramas aren't where I'm at just yet, out came the nature aquarium world and I did the whole compare and contrast and tried to put my finger on what I want.
The 45f, classic iwagumi, no gimmicks this time, just some plants I've never cracked. This will be the gamble tank and that means, utricularia graminifolia, queue kalxons.
So with that one, I figured I'll throw the kitchen sink at it: mature filter -tick, old soil capped with new soil and then cycled for 2 weeks before planting - tick, purigen int'filter - tick, less rich substrate - tick, bacteria kick start products, oh yes 3 kinds, tick tick tick. So lets say I did everything I can and if it works, grand, if not I'll just plant hc and give everyone rug envy down the line. I recycled some tiny buces, mini needle leaf and "velvet blue" since you asked, I over purchased on, added some hygrophila lancea "araguaia" and pogostemon helfri for some darker green texture, same with the coral moss. We suck it n' see.
Now the 45p, I wish I'd known that there was a new optiwhite ScapersTank available 'cuz I'd have bought that and started a fresh with a bit more front to back, but I digress.
This one, I'll explain my poor choices the tl:dr is too many plants, no plan.
The staurgyne - too big, too muscular a bush that made the tank look really small and just dissappeared into a meh wall in such a small space.
The blyxa much the same, beautiful plant, but when used without a plan except to act as a transition it similarly just got lost.
Rotala wall, on paper, great, in practice, way too dense when trying to make it work with two midground plants that in tanks this small ought best be used as background.
Buces I bought too many of and too many types and it made the tank look like a fruit stand because not knowing where to put them I just chucked them everywhere.
Mosses, fissidens, on paper, great, pretty, well growing, shrimp favourite. In practice, got way too dense, ended up everywhere, then became an algae magnet because it collects detritus like a kebab shop attracts a drunk.
Hardscape, poor construction and missing something to balance the top and bottom and give real estate for all the epiphites.
So fixing it, off to the shop I go for more wood, (poppi osterbro, Jack and Nicolai are my kinda guy).
Stuff some sponge in everywhere it'll fit, zip tie, glue and pray to the good lord below it stays put and no soil spills.
Give the midground breathing space so tiny tiny plants as a transition.
Relocate as many buces as I can to the midground and to the crooks of each branch, everything left over will just have to live somewhere else (more on that later).
Scrub every bit of fissidens from the tank I can and replace the moss with mini christmas which is far easier to pull back and keep thin.
The bolbitis can stay put, i'll just let it re-establish itself and then will thin super hard.
All the moss at substrate level was removed for ease of maintainance.
All of the anubias and larger leaved plants moved to the very front of the tank and if possible placed to create over hangs and add shadow.
The wall of rotala's can stay but this time it has room to breath and will be given a roughly triangular composition. The twinstar I'll run at 50% to help keep things in check, they're not fussy plants so running a small sun over the tank makes little sense.
I bought a tonne of stems because I can't help myself so I plant what I can until I run out of space, because yeah, of course I did, I had enough plants to easily plant a 90cm tank. (aquasabi - 10/10).
I never really cracked C.helfri so on a whim I put some of that in because it's such a classic Amano plant it's hard not to.
As for the midground, e hydropiper into H M, with buces planted for texture and soley to use them up, in the tank there's mini needle, deep purple, red, kedegang, velvet tricolor, cathrine,mini blue and at least 2 more I can't remember the name of and aren't sure where I got them to check. See what I mean by too many and no plan?
End up with enough spare plants to comfortably plant another tank, oh yessssss, off to the basement to get my 30l cube quarantine tank and a second hand eheim that was too good a deal to turn down, off to the shop to get a light, fluval nano, realy nice little light, god awful bracket, if someone wants to design and 3d print one that isn't total ass I will gladly take one. (photo tomorrow).
I'll add more photos tomorrow when lights are on and post water change so I can pretend everything always looks that good.
Them little skimmer things make the tank top down a bit of a revelation, having only ran the eheim skimmers periodically to deal with bad scum. I keep finding myself look at these views and day dreaming and I don’t even have any fish in there yet.
Some signs of melt with the ug, I’m still touching wood and crossing fingers.
Any aspistogamma nerds in here? I used to bare tank breed aspisto caucatoides in 45x30x20 tanks and it’s so tempting to get a pair again for the 45p but I’m torn, long term care I think they need something bigger.
Ug hasn’t gotten any easier of a plant, I bought 3 pots. All have melted.
I’ll get some hc in next time I’m by the fish shop.
I ordered an aspistogamma borelli Opal pair for the 45p, a local breeder assures me my tank would be totally fine for a pair and are okay on my harder tap water than the trifaciata I had in mind.
First big trim on the cube last week, first big trim and upped the light on the 45p. If the 45f was my only tank I’d be feeling sad that it’s not doing so well compared to my previous scape but we keep on the water changes and we hope it turns about.
Had a conversation with someone more in the know with ug than I and he seems to think I’m probably not giving it enough light running my lamp at 50%. That said, I will ramp that suckah up to full power and if it works: yay. If it crashes the tank… back to the hc plan.
I have also taken the shrimp back out and will nuke the tank with lethal levels of co2 to try and get things back on the rails. I’ll also keep the water change every 3 days rhythm ‘cause it’s pretty easy on this tank.
I’m bumping up the co2 too generally across the board. The cube has proserpanica palustris in it and it’s real easy to see how good the co2 is as a result.
I took in 20 raccoon shrimp for that tank so I’ll take pictures tomorrow and do the whole proud parent thing where only they really care but insist on foisting the photos of their ugly kids onto your eye balls. I didn’t intentionally add any cherry shrimps into that tank but at feeding time this evening I counted at least 6… typical.
Well. As we all know, Friday, is new fish day and as such it was with much anticipation that I waited for the postman to deliver my new aspistogamma…
Sadly however, mr postman it seems, was rather extremely heavy handed with the parcel and I received one half deflated bag of rather expensive smashed cichlid chowder. Sadly not a flavour I enjoy.
Nothing to do in the situation I hold a small ceremony and bury them in the garden.
As to not lose the Friday feeling totally, off to the fish shop I go and one empty wallet later I have 15 celestial Pearl danios, a trio of h.Formosa, 20 b.merah and some nerites of colours as yet unobtainable.
This one is looking great.
This one… ahhh less so.
Removed the floaters too soon and induced a massive stag horn bloom. I thought I’d turned a corner and was seeing small bits of growth from the ug here and there so added some amanos who didn’t much care for the co2 levels so I dropped the level and the stag horn increased exponentially compared to how fast the false start of the ug decreased.
I’m really not sure what to do. On one hand, the tank looks like dog eggs on the other I really want to crack the ug code before I give up and go with hc.
The Downoi doesn’t seem it’s best either… I have white tops which leads me to think that my hard water might be high in kh but low in mg.
The stag horn seems on its way out but I’m loath to trim the plants like I know I should for fear of losing more plant mass and making things worse.
A nod from the experts to point me right is in need I think.
Water changes are currently 50% every other day, reluctant to add excel to clean the algae due to tiny little remnants of ug and having Ricardia in the tank.
And this one which I refer to as the farm is somewhere in the middle. After the big trim I’ve got some staghorn to deal with hear and there but I’m pleased with it over all given I never intended to set it up at all.
This tank is much more stable so I’m going to pick out the old leaves that are horned and add some excel, there’s nothing sensitive in there.
Sadly the least killis seem extremely sensitive to co2 and we’re having a bad time in the 45p so I moved them to the cube thinking maybe it was the big ol amanos stressing them out but no, as soon as the co2 came on in that tank they started having a bad time so they are now in with the endlers in their pond which was set up for the lilys I have that stubbornly refuse to do more than survive.
Bit of a shame given that I am a small brown fish fan but we live and learn.
The galaxies are starting to get a bit less timid now they’re settled a bit more. I’m doing the if I go in or near the tank they get fed training hopefully that will bring them out more. I’d heard they need around 20 to bring out their best but I honestly think 15 in this 40l is pushing it a bit already so we just wait and see.