Taking the plunge at last.

chris521957

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Hi all. Been a member here for about 5 years, but due to circumstances, not been able to do a tank until now. Just moved into a new house and doing that up at the moment, so i should be ready to begin doing the tank in a couple of months. In the meantime it will be questions and researching. Due to time and me being basically bone idle, i will be looking at doing a Walstad method tank, but not too heavily planted. No Co2 injection and as little extra fertilisation as i can get away with. I would like to end up with something like a iwugami tank, with stones and maybe some red moor wood, as i will be wanting a couple of small plecs in there. I have my tank, its a Fluval 140, 800x350x500 (lxwxh).The lighting in this tank is 2 x 24watt T8's. I have a 900 ltr per hour cannister filter and a 150 watt heater. I want to use an aquatic soil as my base substrate with gravel over the top, both at approx 30mm depth in the planted areas, with a white or pale coloured sand in the more open areas. I have been looking at woodstone for the main features, but will also consider other natural rocks. In the planted areas i am wanting a good size lawn area, with some taller plants in the background, but not all the way along the back of the tank. The tank came with a black poster? on the back, but i may change to pale blue or white. The plants i want to use will need to be from the easy list of plants as this is my 1st planted tank. Not decided on a fish stocking list yet, apart from a couple of small plecs ( love them). I hope i am not being too ambitious with my aims for this tank with it being my 1st tank of this kind. If anyone has any ideas or criticism of my train of thought, please let me know, i can take it, and i dont really want to fail with this. I am prepared to take longer and wait till i have enough information before i begin this new adventure. Thanks in advance for any ideas or help. Chris.
 

Tim Harrison

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A low-energy iwagumi is very ambitious, and especially for a first tank and for someone who is self-confessed bone idle ;)
You'd stand a much better chance at success with a heavily planted jungle style scape.
 

chris521957

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Thanks Tim. I did think i was aiming a bit high, but i had to ask. So, jungle it is then. I have a pond in the garden which is going to be filled in(new parking area for my mx5). There are some large pieces of green lakeland slate around it and i was thinking of breaking them into smaller bits to use in the tank, has anyone else used this in a planted tank and if so, was it safe?
 

chris521957

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Its what i have to hand and if i use this then i can spend more money on plants and other stuff. I will probably tear it down after a year and try something a little more difficult, but just for now i want to get used to keeping the plants alive and getting them to grow, but the tank will be in the living room so will need to look decorative. Just looked at the link you provided. Most of the slate on there is flat, mine is in large chunks, one of which weighs in at over 30 kilo.
 

Tim Harrison

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I'm sure it'll be fine, there are some fairly inspirational scapes there too...:)
 

chris521957

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Anyone have any idea how to break the slate into smaller pieces?, should i just cover it with something and knock the hell out of it with a large hammer or maybe get my sds hammer drill out?
 

Parablennius

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Thanks Tim. I did think i was aiming a bit high, but i had to ask. So, jungle it is then. I have a pond in the garden which is going to be filled in(new parking area for my mx5). There are some large pieces of green lakeland slate around it and i was thinking of breaking them into smaller bits to use in the tank, has anyone else used this in a planted tank and if so, was it safe?
Can we not steer you into keeping the pond? A pond is singularly one of the most productive elements for all kinds of wildlife. you'd get a lot of fun from it, kept fish free. I'm having to leave mine, been an amphibian sanctuary for over 30 yrs, lots of dedication and it's breaking my heart.
cheers
Steve
 

papa_c

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Hey Chris, slate is a layered rock and is generally split using a bolster and hammer. I would split it first they hit with a hammer to make smaller pieces.

I remember a journal from I think a Dutch/Belgian member who built a rather impressive hardscape in the form of terraces and walls. Looked for it but can't find it.

Maybe somebody else remembers who's journal it was?
 

chris521957

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i was actually thinking of a few pieces standing up. I may get a grinder on it and try to make tall, chunky pieces. Plenty of time to think about it anyway, still got the kitchen/dining room/ conservatory floors to tile before i dare start on the tank. Thanks for all the replies and advice upto now. Cheers. Chris.
 

Tim Harrison

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Slate has a basal or "slaty" cleavage and naturally splits in to smooth flat sheets ideal for roofing tiles, for instance. That's why most of the slate hardscapes in the link above are composed of several flat slates and why it's not always the most inspirational of hardscape materials. If you can get appropriately sized lumps of the stuff, however, it can work well.
 

chris521957

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Preston, Lancs
Can we not steer you into keeping the pond? A pond is singularly one of the most productive elements for all kinds of wildlife. you'd get a lot of fun from it, kept fish free. I'm having to leave mine, been an amphibian sanctuary for over 30 yrs, lots of dedication and it's breaking my heart.
cheers
Steve
I am afraid my beloved MX5 needs to be parked where the pond is. We only moved here in oct last year and the pond was leaking then, so it would need a complete redoing to get it up and running again. The filter is also in a sorry state.
 

chris521957

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Preston, Lancs
Ok, so i got 15kg of woodstone and 3 large pieces of bogwood, too much for my tank really, but some will come in handy for the next tank!!. Also picked up 10 kg of potting grit from the garden centre, lime free and washed for 4.99. I will be using this in the wifes tights (i will get her to wash them first), this will be used for banking up the substrate. I am leaning towards getting quite a bit of Elodea Densa? and filling the planted area with this till i get the tank cycled then replacing it with other plants as i get them. The reason for this is that i know it is a very fast growing plant and it would help with the start up preiod. It is also relatively cheap. I cut some cardboard down to the size of the tank and will be using this as a scape box till i get round to making something out of wood. Obviously i wont be able to put my substrate into this but it will help to sort out where i want my rock and wood to go. I am still on with the conservatory so still not really got time to sort anything else. I will post pics as soon as i get the chance and will be asking for a critique and advice on the best layout for the tank.
 

chris521957

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Preston, Lancs
So this week I have been playing with the hardscape and have ended up with this. I began with a pair of the wifes tights and made a couple of gravel bags for the back corners. I then covered these "mounds" with about 20mm of John Innes no3, then 20/30 mm of gravel on top of that as a cap. The area to the front and the path have no soil underneath, just sand. My lighting is 2x 18watt T8s. I still cant decide whether I will use this as the final scape and am open to any criticisms or suggestions anyone can come up with. Not decided on the plants yet, I will probably go with a jungle collection from Aquarium Gardens. Please be gentle, this is my first planted tank. Thanks. Chris.
D26097A6-6D59-4031-8A6D-AF3EDC0D7A88.jpeg
 
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A couple of suggestions for you... won't be offended if you don't agree, as there is something to be said for personal taste too!

Does look like there is much space for planting on the LHS? Could one of the larger stone be moved to the right to fill in some of the space that side?

Wood doesn't look very natural to me personally, try and cascade it down the rocks or make it look like it fans out from a single point.

Great that you have a setup you can play around with until you get it just right :)
 

chris521957

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Preston, Lancs
Thanks for the input. I see what you mean about the space behind the rocks on the left and also the wood. This was just a quick play tbh, so any suggestions will be taken into consideration. I don't need to have as much stone in there, so I could take a large piece out from the left side and try to get the wood to look as if it is all coming from that corner. Back to playtime now and will post again when I have moved things about. Thanks. Chris.
 
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