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Rescaping/Restarting a 54L. Stepping up from novice level

MMonis

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19 Mar 2021
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37
Location
Aalborg, Denmark
Hi UKAPSers,

So I am planning to completely rescape my 54 litre (60cm x 30cm x 30cm) low-tech, lightly planted tank to something better.

Existing tank:
  • Substrate : Tropica Subtrat topped/capped with gravel
  • Filter : Fluval 106 cannister and Eheim Pickup (used this only temporarily)
  • Lighting : Customized with led strips. Has 2 white strips and 1 blue & red diodes strip (Not sure of the PAR it delivers, but I think )
  • Fertilizer : Liquid fertilizer from Begreenm8
  • CO2 : None
  • Hardscape : 2 Locally collected rocks (left), 2 pagoda rocks (center), Malaysian driftwood (center).
  • Plants: Amazon Sword, Rotala Rotundifolia, Anubias Nana, Limnophila sessiliflora
  • Fish : 7 Amano Shrimp, 7 Cardinal Tetras, 6 Harlequin Rasboras
The tank at the moment looks like this:
IMG_20201231_154849.jpg


Future tank plans: I am aiming for a nature scape which should be better than what I have above :D
  • Substrate : Use the existing Tropica Substrate (if in good condition) and add additional 9 litres Tropica Aquarium Soil
  • Filter : Fluval 106 cannister (existing)
  • Lighting : Fluval Aquasky 2.0 LED (new)
  • Fertilizer : Liquid fertilizer from Begreenm8 (existing)
  • CO2 : Pressurized cylinder 2kg CO2 setup (new)
  • Hardscape : Red Moor wood (new). Not sure if I should add rocks as well and whether to reuse some existing wood I have mentioned above.
  • Plants :
    • Carpeting : Lilaeopsis brasiliensis and Marsilea hirsuta
    • Midground : Staurogyne repens, Alternanthera reineckii 'Mini'
    • Background : Rotala rotundifolia (existing), Ludwigia palustris
    • Others : Anubias, Bucephalandra sp., some crypts, mosses
  • Fish : Existing stock and will add Red Cherry Shrimps later.
Although I am super excited to start on this project, I am a bit skeptical about the following areas:
  1. Will the lighting of Fluval Aquasky 2.0 be sufficient for the plants I have listed ?
  2. Do I need some rocks to go with the Red Moor wood ? If yes, should I resuse the existing rocks or buy new ones (thinking of Dragon Stone).
  3. Should I switch to stainless steel lily pipes instead of the stock Fluval 106 inlet/outlet for better gaseous exchange ?
I hope I learn a lot from this new little project and do a better scape based on all the feedback/advice I receive ;)
 

OllieTY

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20 Jul 2020
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Location
Birmingham
  1. Will the lighting of Fluval Aquasky 2.0 be sufficient for the plants I have listed ? I'd say so, youll just have to balance the CO2 and Ferts to match the rate the plants are using them up
  2. Do I need some rocks to go with the Red Moor wood ? If yes, should I resuse the existing rocks or buy new ones (thinking of Dragon Stone). That's personal preference!
  3. Should I switch to stainless steel lily pipes instead of the stock Fluval 106 inlet/outlet for better gaseous exchange ? And so is this!
 

MMonis

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Thread starter
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19 Mar 2021
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37
Location
Aalborg, Denmark
Purchased some Red moor wood and could think of the following 3 ways to lay it out after playing with it for a few hours:
Followed the Rule of Thirds to get an idea of placement.

Layout 1 : This may need some wood trimming of the top left branch. Also I feel there isn't much happening in the area highlighted by the arrow
Red Moor Layout 1.jpg


Layout 2 : This will need some more cutting of the wood to fit the aquarium dimensions. Maybe tie the cut parts to cover the area in the arrow.
Red Moor Layout 2.jpg


Layout 3 : This one seems to be a good layout as it seems to give a good flow. Maybe need to do something in the area shown in the arrow.
Red Moor Layout 3.jpg


Initially I thought to have only driftwood and no rocks. But I think it may need some rocks to give a good skeleton and structure.
Which rocks would complement this wood ? Dragon stone / Grey Mountain rock / Lava stones / something else.
I would like to keep the driftwood as the main highlight of the scape and the rocks should only be supplementing the driftwood.

Regards,
Mel.
 

MMonis

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Thread starter
Joined
19 Mar 2021
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37
Location
Aalborg, Denmark
So after some playing around I could put up some designs:
1. Only driftwood (red moor scape)
Scape with only driftwood.png
Planted Scape with only driftwood.png


2. Red Moor with Dragon Stone
Scape with dragon stone.png
Planted Scape with dragon stone.png


3. Red Moor with Mini Landscape rock
Scape with mini landscape rock.png
Planted Scape with mini landscape rock.png


Based on my goal of achieving a triangle layout with the most focus on driftwwod, I think option 3 seems the best. Though I am sure this can be done in a better way :D. Open for feedback and opinions.

Regards,
Mel.
 

MMonis

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Aalborg, Denmark
Playing around with the final hardscape of red moor wood and lava stones, resulted in these 3 layouts.
The plan is to have a triangluar layout with main focus on the drfitwood.
Layout 1: Seems subtle and a geniune contender for a traingular layout.
Layout1.jpg


Layout 2: Seems like a lot of negative space in the left.

Layout2.jpg


Layout 3 : This one seems nice as it gives a good coverage and like the longer wood
Layout3.jpg
 

MMonis

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19 Mar 2021
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Aalborg, Denmark
Rescaping day arrived. Took down the complete aquarium. Temporarily homed the livestock in an ikea box with the old hardscape, heater and filter running.
IMG_20210502_165733.jpg

And because of my stupidity, I forgot to partially cover with the lid, resulting in 1 dead harlequin rasbora who decided to jump out of the box and land on the floor. 😔
 

MMonis

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Location
Aalborg, Denmark
New tank setup starts with a small layer of Tropica Aquarium Soil, then added Tropica Nutrition Capsules (10 nos.) to the soil.
IMG_20210502_140400.jpg

Topped again with Tropica aquarium soil. Added the hardscape of lava stones and red moor wood using my knowledge of aquascaping principles and rules, by following the Golden ratio and keeping in mind the negative space for my triangular layout.
Couldn't find any tape in my house to mark the lines, so used some bright dark pink ribbons instead 😂.
IMG_20210502_161901.jpg
 

MMonis

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19 Mar 2021
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Aalborg, Denmark
Planting Day. List of plants that I planted are
Carpeting: Eleocharis Mini (grids 1, 2 , 3, 4 , 5, 6 and 7) and Micranthemum Monte Carlo (grids 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7)
Midground: Staurogyne repens (grids 5, 6, 8 and 9) and AR mini (grids 8, 5 and 6)
Background: Limnophila sessiliflora (grid 9), Cryptocoryne crispatula (grid 9), Heteranthera zosterifolia (grid 6 and 9), Ludwigia repens 'rubin' (grid 8), Rotala rotundifolia (grid 8)
Epiphytes: Anubias barteri var. nana (grid 5), Anubias sp. ‘Petite’ (grid 5 and 8) and Vesicularia dubyana 'christmas' moss

Decided to plant the following plants later after the tank has stabilized:
Blyxa japonica: grid 7
Bucephalandra sp. 'Red': grid 5
Bucephalandra 'Kedagang': grid 6
Hygrophila pinnatifida: grid 5
Bolbitis heudelotii : grid 5 (will plant this as soon as it is available in stock. Alternatively will plant Microsorum pteropus 'Narrow'.)

Planting in grids.jpg


A bit confused about the planting of Heteranthera zosterifolia (grid 6 and 9). I would like to keep it low like a bush, so maybe just keep it in grid 6 and not in 9.
Once the overall growth of the plants has been achieved and hopefully algae free, will think of taking out the Limnophila sessiliflora (grid 9) and/or Cryptocoryne crispatula (grid 9).
 

MMonis

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So I totally underestimated the hours it would take to plant the aquarium based on how quick the experts do it in the numerous videos I watched, only to realize I am a novice :joyful:.
Gluing, spraying, sticky fingers, separating in small plantlets, wiggling around the aquarium, floor cleaning, mopping,...was like a full day job and exhausting.
The time came to fill the tank, and although I could not find George's famous red colander, I used what was lying in the kitchen cabinet (don't think it will get the same fame :snaphappy:)
Used the plastic air-filled bubbly things to avoid the splash when filling with water.
IMG_20210502_225136.jpg


And perfect execution :thumbup: with no plants disturbed or cloudy water.
 

MMonis

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Day 3:
Setup the pressurized CO2 system and placed the in-tank diffuser close to the intake of the filter. Setup a temporary spray bar (with some hacks for now) as filter outlet.
Will setup the spray bar once the parts are delivered in a couple of days :)

Regime:
Lights: Fluval Aquasky 2.0 LED configured @ 35% intensity of RGBW. Started with 30 minutes sunrise, then 4 hours daylight and 30 minutes sunset settings.
CO2: 2 hours before the lights come on (sunrise setting) and off 1 hour before the lights are off. Bubble rate approx. @1 bubble per second
pH measurement (using API liquid test kit) :
6.6 @ just before CO2 dosage​
6.6 @ after 1 hour of CO2 dosage​
6.4 @ after 5 hours of CO2 dosage​
I don't get a pH drop of 1, but the dropchecker turned green after almost 4 hours of CO2 injection., so not sure what I am doing right/wrong :nailbiting:
Fertilizer : Haven't dosed any yet.
Water change : Daily 50%
Tank pictures :
IMG_20210505_133734.jpg


Seems like a white to greyish film or fur growing only on the driftwood. I guess this should be easy to clean with a toothbrush during water change.

IMG_20210505_133857.jpg
 

MMonis

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Aalborg, Denmark
Looking good. I think the layout you decided on is the best one and like your choice of plants.
don’t worry too much about the wood. Red pot always gets that when it’s new. It’ll clear up totally in a week or so.
Thanks for the inspiring words ☺️. I did a lot of reading and binge watching videos to learn about this hobby, to an extent that my wife started complaining.🤣 If only aquascaping episodes were aired on Netflix/HBO like a drama series, it would make the significant other happy 😉
 

si walker

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30 Mar 2020
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uk
I always need a good 6 hours for a re scape. Guilty of watching too many YT Vids. Great that they are but with a lack of a timer! Also I get no sense of scale with YT. I think that every tank should have a can of coke next to it to give me an idea of how big/long stuff is? I do suggest this but falls on deaf ears:bookworm:.
Nice work!
 

MMonis

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19 Mar 2021
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Aalborg, Denmark
I always need a good 6 hours for a re scape. Guilty of watching too many YT Vids. Great that they are but with a lack of a timer! Also I get no sense of scale with YT. I think that every tank should have a can of coke next to it to give me an idea of how big/long stuff is? I do suggest this but falls on deaf ears:bookworm:.
Nice work!
Haha..I completely understand your situation. Been in the same boat. Every YT vid for aquascaping is like Woooaah... especially from the gurus like George, Jurijs, Felipe, Green Aqua guys and so on. I find their videos are so appealing that I just want to try everything they showcase 😂.
 

MMonis

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Location
Aalborg, Denmark
Day 34:
Added some amazon frogbit to see if it works as an indicator of plant growth and deficiency.

Regime:
Lights: Still following the old regime of Fluval Aquasky 2.0 LED configured @ 35% intensity of RGBW. Started with 30 minutes sunrise, then 4 hours daylight and 30 minutes sunset settings. Might look at increasing the light intensity to 40% with same hours or might keep the same intensity and increase the daylight part to 5 hours.
CO2: 3 hours before the lights come on (sunrise setting) and off 1 hour before the lights are off. Bubble rate approx. @2.5 bubble per second. I tried with 2 bps but the pH did not drop by 1 point by the lights came on.
pH measurement (using API liquid test kit) :
7.0 @ just before CO2 dosage
6.6 @ after 1 hour of CO2 dosage
6.0 @ when the lights come on.
The drop checker is almost yellowish during the light period. I am still not sure if I have got the CO2 optimized :banghead:

Fertilizer : 2ml of Aquaboost Compleat All-in-one fertilizer 3 times a week. 2 ml of Aquaboost Color & Strength fertilizer 3 times a week.
Water change : 50% every 3 or 4 days
Tank inhabitants: Added 4 Amano shrimps as cleaning crew.
Tank pictures :

IMG_20210531_220717.jpg


Plant performance:
Plant growth seems decent and no visible signs of any algae yet. The AR mini doesnt seem to get its reddish color, looks rather orangish-brown and the underside of the leaves look pinkish. Maybe its due to the 35% light intensity.
Am in a bit of a dilemna of whether to add the following plants or not right away or to wait a few more weeks for the tank to be established:
Microsorum pteropus 'Narrow', Hygrophila pinnatifida, Bucephalandra sp. 'Red', Bucephalandra 'Kedagang'.
I guess the buce's do better when added to a stable tank.
 
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