Rio 240 Journal - Journey of a Newbie!

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Laffers83, 21 Jul 2008.

  1. Laffers83

    Laffers83 Newly Registered

    Hi all. Second attempt at writing this journal out. Got a long way into it and my computer decided to crash! Oh well, 2nd time lucky I hope!

    This journal is going to be a little bit different to the average journal that you see here in that at the time of writing, there are very few plants in my tank and very little ability is the person planting them! I am though, very willing to learn and I'm sure that after scanning the forums for a couple of days, I'm not going to find more knowledge anywhere on the net. Thanks once again for directing me here LD. This is also my first proper fish tank so I'm on a little learning curve all the time.

    Right, onto the tank! I decided to go for as big a tank as I could realistically has as I knew it would open up a lot more options when it came to my stocking list and being new, I read that it would give me a bit more room for error when it came to my water parameters.


    As you can see, this was more of a chuck a few things and see stage. A George Farmer lookalike it isn't! I did like the way the slate was broken up and showing layers so this did give me a few ideas to have a bit of a play and change it around a little bit. They were far to 'clumpy' though so there was only one thing to do - go get a hammer and chisel. Not really the most dainty way to do it, or even the most practical looking back.

    From the start, my stocking plan didn't really change too much apart from the odd species. You have to appreciate here that I am also trying to keep my girlfriend happy when it comes to fish choice and didn't really want a tank full of guppies so had to adjust slightly to keep her happy.

    After having a bit of a play with the chisel, I smashed up the larger piece of slate a bit to try and make it look a bit less in your face. Looking back now, it really didn't make much difference to the tank. I did also try to move the plants about a bit to make it look a little more organised. At this point though, it was only really a 'put it in and it'll do for now' effort. Fishless cycling is more of a test than I thought it would ever be!


    After this, I went to my not so local fish shop (Swallow Aquatics, East Harling) and saw that they had a nice collection of large sized bogwood. I'd always liked set ups based around a large, interesting piece of wood so I didn't need to spend to long convincing myself that I needed to get some. I did have a scare when I got home when I suddenly stopped to wonder whether it would fit in the tank!


    The pics shown here really do not do the lump of wood justice. There are so many caves and crevices in it that you cant really see from the picture and my fish seem to love it. I do have some plans for it now, but I'll come to those later on in the journal. My only regret here was that I soaked it for over a week before putting it into my tank - never thought I would say this but I really did like having the tannin in my water to give it a bit of colour.

    The next update on my tank was with the bogwood in. I had spent quite a bit of time moving the bogwood/smaller bits of slate trying to get something I was happy with and ended up with this. I think it was a massive step up from where I was before but I still wasn't pleased with the way it looked. I think it's going to get worse the further I deepen myself into plants, but I'm already learning that scaping is all about ripping everything up and starting again until you get something that your happy with.......and then deciding you like the first layout more!

  2. Laffers83

    Laffers83 Newly Registered

    Have to excuse me for going over into a second post here but was getting paranoid that I would have another computer crash again and lose everything I had typed.

    As stated in my previous post, I ended up having a quick look at a few planted tanks that had based there set up around a large lump of wood to see how they were doing it. The most successful tanks seems to have it just off centre so I though I would give it a go and see how it came out.


    As you can see from this pic, I had also added some Java Fern at this point. The one thing I didn't know when buying these were they they should come with a rhizome. As you can see from the pic below - mine didn't but thankfully, I have new leaves growing off these ones so hopefully I'll get something out of them before they die! In future though, I know not to get my plants from the same supplier.

  3. Laffers83

    Laffers83 Newly Registered

    Now onto the fun part - Stocking the tank! It took me just under 5 weeks to fishless cycle it and another week so it could stabilize which is a bit of a patience tester but I wouldn't do it any other way if I could go back.

    Before I start posting, I am only using a little hand held digital camera so I thought it would be a good idea to get my excuses in before I started ;) LD I am not!!

    One of my 2 Bolivian Rams


    My Female Krib


    Julii Cory


    Finally managed to get a half decent pic of one of my B. Rainbowfish. How do you get good pics of fast moving fish??


    My Angels - Absolutely love these fish and took me ages to get this first shot.


    Gold Stripe Cory (Cant remember the proper name!)


    And finally - the best pic I've been able to get of my Galaxy Pleco so far - beautiful fish though.


    Finally, this brings me onto the last full tank shot that I took. The elodea had just unrooted as I took the pic so please excuse that. I would like to take all of this out sometime soon and possibly replace with some Vallis as I am currently not running Co2 and they seem to be quite easy to look after. Im currently using the nutrafin plant gro, but am intending on moving over to something else (recommendations appreciated). Co2 is something i would like to possibly look into at some point though.


    This pretty much brings you up to date with how my tank currently stands. What I would like to do is get some moss growing over the top of the slate and have a thin layer covering my bogwood. I would also like to get rid of some of the background plants I currently have and plant with something else and a bit denser.

    At this stage I'm not really sure where I want to be going plants wise so I'm greatful for any feedback that I can get. As I said at the start, I have a lot to learn still but I'm confident I am in the right place to do so :)

    Thanks for reading so far!

    *Edited to sort out the links for my golden corys
  4. Superman

    Superman Member

    I really like your rocks. Really well placed out.
    Maybe some foreground plants to cut the sharpness at the front?
  5. Mark Evans

    Mark Evans Expert

    newark notts.
    cracking bits of wood! :D
  6. san-ho-zay

    san-ho-zay Member

    Otley, UK
    I think it looks great! Even without the plants growing in you've got an element of height into the aquascape which I think is one of the big differences between tanks where people have just put a few plants in and tanks that are well scaped.

    That is one fabulous piece of bogwood! Why don't you shift that 6-8" to the right? I could make up some reasoning about golden ratios and such but I'm thinking more of it hiding the filter outlet pipe. ;)

    I agree with Superman - a few plants around the front will soften up the slate. Some moss maybe? I think I'd probably try and make the slate piles more random too - they look quite man-made at the moment.

    I especially like the last photo with the gargoyle! :wideyed:
  7. TDI-line

    TDI-line Member

    Yaxley, Peterborough
    Great journal Laffers.

    That must have taken hours to write up. By the way, there is a Save function on UKAPS, just look when you type out your next post, this can then be saved into Drafts in the UCP at the top of your screen.

    As for ferts, i use Tropica Plant Nutrition +, commonly known as TPN+.

    Good luck with your tank.
  8. Laffers83

    Laffers83 Newly Registered

    Thanks for the all of the feedback so far guys. I can assure you that it is all greatly appreciate and has already helped give me a few things to think about.

    Regarding the wood, I was lucky in that Swallow Aquatics had a really good selection of large pieces of wood. I could have walked have had about 4-5 pieces from there and been happy with either. After seeing the wood in the tank now though, I am really pleased with the one I chose - now just give me back my tannins!!

    Plant wise, I can appreciate there is a lot of work and time to be put in, but the wheels are in motion. I'm friends with a local fish breeder who can get me plants at trade prices - result! As at this moment I am not too sharp when it comes to what plants are good with what, he has said that he will get me a few types of cyrpts and another plant (name eludes me but he assured me its ok for non Co2) to get me going. Will be getting these next saturday so I should either be updating with a semi planted tank or coming here asking 101 questions!!

    I do plan to eventually convert over to Co2 but I would rather learn to walk before I can run at this point in time. When I originally started I intended on having mainly Rock and Wood with a few plants. How things change eh? Coming onto this site really hasn't helped me either in the sense that theres a lot of things I'm wanting to try now that I never did before :p
  9. Laffers83

    Laffers83 Newly Registered

    Been a bit of a while since my last update, but figured that since I hadn't really done anything with it up until now, it wasn't really worth posting about nothing.

    Since my last post I have ordered some TPN+ and looked through a few threads on here regarding dosing amounts and when to dose. Going to go with the 1ml per 10l rule as recommended in the instructions and it seems to be the general consensus amongst people as a baseline. Obviously over time, I will increase/decrease the amount dosed as per results. I'm currently dosing just before lights on - not sure if this is the best or not? I also have some of the '7 +13 balls' which are meant to sit in the substrate and work as root tabs. Not overly sure how they work but have spoke to people that have used them and they have been pleased with the results.

    I mentioned in my previous post that I had a selection of plants ordered for me. These came in last Saturday and were a selection of large, medium and smaller crypts with 8 overall. I had a go at planting them roughly to get an idea of what they looked like in the water and to try and help myself decide where I though they should end up. I'm planning on having another go at another 'rip and and go' session a bit later this evening, hopefully I'll get it looking a bit better than it is at the moment.

    Below are pictures of how the tank is looking at the moment. As you can see, plant positioning is yet to become my forte! I did have one quick change, but think I actually made it look worse!! I'm going to bring the smaller ones together to go in front of the wood and I might put a larger one to the left of the tank. I will probably have an updated post later tonight, but in the meantime if anyone could offer any advice in the meantime it would be greatly appreciated as always.


    Then changed it for the worse!!

    As I said, feedback much appreciated/needed!!
  10. Mark Evans

    Mark Evans Expert

    newark notts.
    i want that wood!!!!!! :twisted:
  11. ulster exile

    ulster exile Member

    Birmingham, UK
    Your corys are Corydoras sp. "Gold Laser" Not officially described, but Ian Fuller's site has given them a CW number of CW010. Beautiful fish imo (I have 6 and want more).

    I think your tank looks lovely - I can't give you constructive criticism as I'm not experienced enough, but I do like your choice of crypts and I love slate in a tank.
  12. Dan Crawford

    Dan Crawford Founder Staff Member

    Daventry, Northants
    You've done a great job on the tank so far, the hardscape is very well place.

    The only bit of advice i'd offer is to split those crypts up, you have loads and they will go much further and look much better if you plant them singularly.

    Great stuff. :D
  13. Laffers83

    Laffers83 Newly Registered

    Have had another go at playing with the scape. Not really changed it about too much but I do think I am stepping back in the right direction thanks to the advice I'm getting.


    Plans for the not so distant future.

    Should have my black background with me soon (Thanks Dan!)

    Going to look into adding another pleco - probably not the greatest idea for a planted tank I know but I have quite a nice selection of fish to chose from.

    Adding some Vallis into the background.

    Look into getting some moss for my slate/bogwood.

    Still looking for advice on which plants to put in at the moment or things I can do to improve. As stated earlier I do think I am getting there but still have a long way to go. Welcome to be as constructive as you like!
  14. Mark Evans

    Mark Evans Expert

    newark notts.
    maybe instead of vallis how about c helferi!. similar but alot nicer IMO :D

    oh, and WHEN do i get that wood? :lol:
  15. Laffers83

    Laffers83 Newly Registered

    Shall have a look into that and see what I think - is it easy to grow?? Thats another major factor in what I chose at the moment.

    In regards to the wood - you get my wood when I get a tank that looks like the rest of the tanks on the site! Not sure if they do mail order but the last time I went, Swallow aquatics had loads of different large pieces like mine (although I like to tell myself I got the best bit there!!)

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