Ady34

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Hello,
thought it about time i started my new journal....title tbc.

After recently purchasing a 100cm x 50cm x 50cm Natural Aquario rimless, braceless optiwhite tank with light unit and stand from fellow member Radik via the forum sales section, i thought id share my experiences.
Many thanks to Radik, the sale included some lovely maui sand which will be a unique substrate choice for me.
The tank is really impressive, its been a long term plan to eventually get an optiwhite and this was an opportunity too good to miss. The stand too is very nice with shelving on runners for easy access to filters and equipment. There is also a very nice drawer in which you can place easily to hand any number of tools, and also tool holders and a small shelf on one of the doors.....all handy for us planted tank keepers. The pre cut power and filter hose access points give a quality finish and are additional features which make this stand very aquascaper user friendly. The 'Movel Elite' stand doesnt have pre cut filter hose slots on both ends which may be an issue for those who want options depending upon room positioning, but its worked out well for me :).

The only issue with the stand was that it was a high gloss light oak finish which unfortunately doesnt fit with the decor in my living room so that had to be changed. Luckily i work in a car bodyshop so spray painting the already sealed and well finished stand offered no problems :) Gloss black may not be exciting, but it works for me so thats what i did.

I decided not to paint the inner cabinet, a lot of extra material would be needed, and besides, the lighter colour makes it brighter in there :p I removed the NA logo during painting but left the steel detailing strip intact in fear of bending on removal or not being able to fit it back in after painting. Excuse the phone photos:

9j22.jpg


Basecoat added:

6osg.jpg


and finished:

94sw.jpg


And finally in position at home after moving the Studio tank which once sat here. There are some wall plugs in the wall behind the tank from the old lighting brackets...if i can find some wallpaper offcuts ill plug them to disguise, or maybe hide them completely with a large background sheet for the tank:

slj6.jpg


The above picture shows the 4x 9w led lighting which gives a nice glow, the light unit also has a 150w metal halide and 4x 36w pc bulbs, each lighting type on a different power source for seperate timing....plenty of options but a little scary tbh hence being hung at the top end. Radik told me that at this height both the halide and the flourescents each give a substrate par of 50, it wont be coming down in a hurry :nailbiting:
This is a nice light unit, but in an ideal world id like a dimmable function for the fluorescents, then it would be perfect ;) The new range is an improvement as it ditches the led in favour of two independant sets of 2x 36w flourescent lights which gives more versatility :thumbup:

Whilst collecting the tank from London, i thought it would be a great opportunity to visit the Freshwatershrimp Gallery...thanks Ed, really nice set up you have, and very good of you to accommodate me at short notice :thumbup: I couldnt resist adding to the hardscape collection while i was there and bought some driftwood pieces.
My initial thoughts for the tank were of a twin island theme seperated by a 'central' sand bed, inspired by a quality scape from Jason Baliban. I tried a layout with some of the rocks i had been given by Radik, but i wasnt sold on it so resurrected the seiryu stone from the garage and changed my plan.
Using such large rocks, i wanted to be safe and place a protective layer onto the base glass. I opted for a thin clear poly sheeting from a hardware store, a bit like acrylic. It was very thin and unobtrusive and is just what i wanted, you can see how thin it is here:

uuk.JPG


Anyway, the plan changed to a single island type layout, and i think the seiryu rocks work well with the unipac maui sand, and are a good contrast to the driftwood.

3bdm.jpg


Overall im pretty happy with the look. There does seem to be a large face of rock to the right, compromised of one main rock, but it fits so well with supporting the wood pieces i didnt want to break it up. There is a deep ridge that runs across the rock about 2/3 of the way up, which can be used to add a plant line to so will hopefully break that up. The plan at the moment is to have a lot of the rocks covered in mosses also which will help soften and disguise it.
Thats where i stand to date, the 50cm depth of the tank is great for scaping, especially with large hardscape materials like these.
Im going to be using epiphyte plants, with the possible exception of some vallis nana and perhaps the aponogeton red from the current set up to be positioned in the centre rear. Mosses, bolbitis, ferns and anubias will make up the rest of the planting scheme.....just need to give it some more thought and get a plant list together :D

Cheerio for now,
Ady.
 

sa80mark

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Wow superb job with the paint, as I carpenter reading that you were spraying that stunning stand I thought noooooo dont do it but looking at the pictures, well yes it works very well and honestly there are no words for the rock work that is unbelievable, in that last picture the rock looks like one huge piece not several, I cant wait to see this one evolve :)
 

Ian Holdich

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Ady, this is quite breath taking, it really is. My eyes actually lit up when I saw the scape!

It i was to critique anything, and this is only a small critique...the rock on the right side (the large one) could do with being 3-4 inches smaller at the top. This is only due to the bigger rock on the right looks to be in more of a natural position. Hammer time!

Really well done though mate...stunning.

Edit, I just read the last paragraph, sorry mate I got a bit excited.
 

Lindy

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It's a beautiful set up. That's what I want when we move house, only smaller. Can't wait to see it evolve. I'd be terrified of that light unit!
 

Joel S

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I think as soon as the rocks are softened with a little moss it'll look great. They're large but the ratios are really balanced. There are some lovely Amanos from the last batch that have large mossy rocks at this sort of scale (though I don't think Seiru) and the impact is nice. They use moss and often H. Pinnifitida (or however it's spelled) but there's one with hairgrass Parvula growing in aqua soil near the top and it sends runners cascading down the side, which is a lovely effect.
 

Gary Nelson

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It looks great Ady! You have done a cracking job on changing the colour of the unit (I know where to come for car work now lol) the scape is superb and I will be looking forward to more updates - well done.
 

tim

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Fantastic setup ady, the scape itself is superb you have a very good eye for hardscape placement and layouts. Look forward to your plant list, needless to say subscribed :)
 

George Farmer

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Hi Ady,

Congratulations on a great set-up, and equally impressive hardscape layout.

The combination of Seiryu and Maui is one of the best out there IMO. For me it gives the perfect balance of clean yet natural. You wood is lovely too, and very well balanced. I can see Ian's point about the large rock but if you're covering it partially with plants then it won't matter.

I like your planting plan. You may struggle a little with algae in the early stages until the epiphytes really get going. Vallis nana would be a perfect backdrop, and would also thrive on the minerals dissolved from your Seiryu (the stuff boost TDS like crazy!) Consider a big shoal of Sawbwa resplendens when you eventually stock display fish, as these prefer harder water.

I'm really excited to be following this journal and sure it will turn out to be your best aquascape yet. Welcome to the next level - no pressure. :)

Cheers,
George
 

LancsRick

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Ady, that quite literally got a deep breath of appreciation from me, amazing stuff.

How would a layman go about getting that sort of finish? It sure as heck couldn't be achieved with a spraycan!

Combating feelings at the moment of awe, jealousy, and irritation that none of my efforts have this sort of vision!
 

faizal

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Daaaaaaaamnnnn !!!! :wideyed: That is one sweet cabinet, tank,.hardscape,etc etc. I don't know where to begin. Awesome Ady !!!! Needless to say that you've got me sitting in the front seat.This is going to be a heck of a ride!!! Buckled up & all set to go !!!
 

Alastair

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Wow mate that is stunning. .. I too thought oh no spraying the cabinet black?? But it looks fantastic and the hardscape is beautiful and really bold. I love the chunky wood.
Like george said the sand compliments the stone so well. Your scaping skills are second to none.

Exciting stuff Im really looking forward to this mate. No pressure :lol:
 

Iain Sutherland

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Yep, I too had an image of you and a can of hammerite but no no you hit it out the park mate, the cabinet looks awesome!
I mirror what everyone else have said about the scape too, great contrasts and layout.
I found that bogwood really enjoyable to work with and no soaking is awesome.

I'll be watching for sure, can see this being the low maintenance tank you wanted with no compromise on looks.
Have you considered just using the tubes and skipping the halide to make life easier?
 

Piece-of-fish

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Lovely job Ady. Mangrove driftwood looks great and is way underrated in aquascaping in my opinion. Like Ian said no soaking is a big bonus.
I would be tempted to remove/add a piece of wood to make the number odd. Straight piece second from the left catches my eye.
With the light you can use just 2 PC bulbs with a halide midday burst. Running all 4 would not be necessary as they are only ferns. But yuo know all this anyway :)
Wooking forward for it to be planted now. :thumbup:
 

Ady34

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Only 1-word: Fantastic!!!!
Thank you.
Wow superb job with the paint, as I carpenter reading that you were spraying that stunning stand I thought noooooo dont do it but looking at the pictures, well yes it works very well and honestly there are no words for the rock work that is unbelievable, in that last picture the rock looks like one huge piece not several, I cant wait to see this one evolve :)
Thanks, 3 'xl' seiryu rocks fitted together really well....the little ones required a little more tinkering to get right! I know what you mean about painting the stand, it seemed a travisty to paint over the lovely finish, but needs must.
Ady, this is quite breath taking, it really is. My eyes actually lit up when I saw the scape!
:shy: Humbling to hear that Ian, and reallly nice of you to say.....
It i was to critique anything, and this is only a small critique...the rock on the right side (the large one) could do with being 3-4 inches smaller at the top. This is only due to the bigger rock on the right looks to be in more of a natural position. Hammer time! Really well done though mate...stunning. Edit, I just read the last paragraph, sorry mate I got a bit excited.
Paint job on the stand is spotless.
Scaping is looking good, but do agree with others on the right side placement.
Will be watching with interest.
Thanks Gill, seems i always have a bogey rock! It fits so well with everything else though, so im going to try and make it work :artist:
Nice spray room!
Ady, that quite literally got a deep breath of appreciation from me, amazing stuff.

How would a layman go about getting that sort of finish? It sure as heck couldn't be achieved with a spraycan!

Combating feelings at the moment of awe, jealousy, and irritation that none of my efforts have this sort of vision!
Ha, yeah, it is convenient to have access to the proper gear :D Unsealed wood is difficult to paint due to heavy absorption, it takes many coats to fill, and lots of laquer coats so is costly, luckily this stand was already high gloss so the hard work had been done, just a scotch off and paint.....thanks to my Dad, hes the spray painter :thumbup: You can polish paints to high quality finishes, so its not impossible for the 'layman' Rick, but can be a lot of work and really a machine polisher is the only way. I didnt polish this, its an 'off the gun' finish, which i wouldnt be happy sending out of the bodyshop if it were on a car...refinishing would be a must then, but with only a few dust inclusions i decided to leave it be, as de-nibbing and then machine polishing creates heat, which could effect the finish over wood as the paint could sink back into the original grain and possibly lose the even gloss finish. Also lighting within a home is much more subdued so you can get away with a little on finish quality....kind of deceiving the eye ;)
Fantastic setup ady, the scape itself is superb you have a very good eye for hardscape placement and layouts. Look forward to your plant list, needless to say subscribed :)
Thank you tim, i like hardscaping, growing plants i still need more practice, this maybe a tough one for me....moss is difficult i find.
So stunning, watching with interest.


Posted from the comfort of my iPhone...
:thumbup: much appreciated Curvball.
Hi Ady,

Congratulations on a great set-up, and equally impressive hardscape layout.

The combination of Seiryu and Maui is one of the best out there IMO. For me it gives the perfect balance of clean yet natural. You wood is lovely too, and very well balanced. I can see Ian's point about the large rock but if you're covering it partially with plants then it won't matter.

I like your planting plan. You may struggle a little with algae in the early stages until the epiphytes really get going. Vallis nana would be a perfect backdrop, and would also thrive on the minerals dissolved from your Seiryu (the stuff boost TDS like crazy!) Consider a big shoal of Sawbwa resplendens when you eventually stock display fish, as these prefer harder water.

I'm really excited to be following this journal and sure it will turn out to be your best aquascape yet. Welcome to the next level - no pressure. :)

Cheers,
George
Many thanks George,
the effect Seiryu has on water conditions is slightly concerning me, but from what ive learned here the higher TDS shouldnt be too much of an issue for plants, although im unsure whether to fight it with my soft tap water, or to go with it and remineralise tap water to a degree to prevent large fluctuations on water change days?....and then as you suggest choose the fauna accordingly. I know Victor has managed a soft water set up with large amounts of seiryu, but im not really wanting to do 2x 50% or more water changes a week long term. I also dont have any buffering at my disposal from aquasoils etc, so maybe going with it is the only course of action....
Moss hasnt been a strong plant for me, but fingers crossed :) Im hoping to get a head start on the algae by adding the water and mature filter from my existing set up, and heavily planting from the off.....but that light :eek:

Thanks everyone for the comments, its very encouraging and ill be keeping you all updated....most likely to the point of irritation :thumbup:
Cheerio,
Ady.
 

Ady34

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Yep, I too had an image of you and a can of hammerite but no no you hit it out the park mate, the cabinet looks awesome!
I mirror what everyone else have said about the scape too, great contrasts and layout.
I found that bogwood really enjoyable to work with and no soaking is awesome.

I'll be watching for sure, can see this being the low maintenance tank you wanted with no compromise on looks.
Have you considered just using the tubes and skipping the halide to make life easier?
:lol:, no hammerite mate, i couldnt have!
Thanks for the comments too, its reassuring to hear the wood doesnt float, that was my next concern, i was going to test fill to check, now ill test fill for leaks instead :shh: :wideyed: Did you run extra carbon or chemical filtration to combat leaching from the wood?
Hopefully this will be not too labour intensive, but white sand spanks of danger in that respect!! Im definitely not using the fluorescents and halides combined....100par at substrate would burn the sand and bottom glass i think :lol: , the plants would have no chance. I may use a combination of led as a start, then switch to fluorescents, then maybe switch to a little halide, back to fluorescent, then led to kind of alter it throughout the day alongside c02.....a complicated dimmer really...well see.

Lovely job Ady. Mangrove driftwood looks great and is way underrated in aquascaping in my opinion. Like Ian said no soaking is a big bonus.
I would be tempted to remove/add a piece of wood to make the number odd. Straight piece second from the left catches my eye.
With the light you can use just 2 PC bulbs with a halide midday burst. Running all 4 would not be necessary as they are only ferns. But yuo know all this anyway :)
Wooking forward for it to be planted now. :thumbup:
Thanks Ed,
it is a very nice wood with lots of surface interest and no pre soaking is a bonus, you had some very nice pieces to choose from :)
Id never even counted the wood, there are actually 7 pieces though, admittedly one is tiny and some of them look like one piece. Your right about that tall piece of wood, it is a little upright and straight, again a slight compromise to make things fit properly...but i like the emerged bit of it, i fancy a fern on there as emersed growth is something ive not tried in any scapes and i really like the look. None of the remaining pieces i have left are long enough.....i never even tried a smaller piece, that may have worked though and kept a nice balance....dont fancy pulling it out now, it goes right to the base and ive added a lot of sand back there.....but now may be the best time if im going too, ill have a think....moss will soften the lines though ;)
Can i just safely remove 2 of the pc bulbs then? I thought about this, but didnt know if there would be any issues with overheating ballasts etc?....that would really be ideal and offer more versatility.

Any suggestions to plants would be appreciated, should i keep it simple with only a couple of moss species, or mix it up a bit with a few pelias, fissidens etc? Im favouring mixing it up a bit, suppose that way i can see what works.

Thanks,
Ady.
 
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