TM 600 My First Attempt Aquascape

Chris PP

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Joined
11 Jun 2020
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44
Location
Droitwich
Must admit this forum is a fantastic place for info ! So far I have learnt so much in a few days I have had the pleasure to be a member of.
Thought I would document my initial stages as I hope it will help others who are new to the hobby and view the good and sad times I encounter.

First of all I have got a secondhand TMC Signature from @Onoma1 everything I needed to start. Great guy and a pleasure to meet. Already had a Twinstar LED V2 600E in readiness. So apart from the hardscape more or less ready to get going.

First obstacle is the availability of the Tropica Aqua Soil where can I get some ? If any one can point me in the right direction I would be grateful.

My dilemma is however my initial purchase of some wood, is it too big ? :(

I would appreciate any feedback on my numerous photos below and their thoughts ?

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Possible shadow ?

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Again shadow ?

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A contender ?

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Another contender?

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Top 3

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Shadow again

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Top 3

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Top 3

Must admit I do like the last two as the wood will be outside of the aquarium. I am loving the endless choices I have already come across. I can see the appeal even more now.

Do you think I should look for something smaller but longest that I can have both submerged and outside etc ?
Thanks again all for your kind welcome already and I look forward to spending a lot of time really researching on the forum.

All the photos were taken on my iPhone so apologies for the quality. I’ll get my Fuji sorted and see what they come out like.

Take care

Chris
 

Onoma1

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Joined
12 Aug 2018
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443
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Rochdale
Aquarium Gardens @Aquarium Gardens has the soil you need and would also suggest it as a one stop shop for just about everything else you need. You may be able to pick up bits a pieces elsewhere slighly cheaper but you won't get the same level of customer service and aftersales suport. They are so helpful.

Before you go full on for a tropica substrate you may want to read the thread on how to develop a dirted tank in the substrate section ( it's one of the stickes' ...I found reading it transformed the way I approached tank management.

Love the hardcase BTW!
 

cbaum86

Member
Joined
24 Jan 2019
Messages
79
Location
Leeds
My dilemma is however my initial purchase of some wood, is it too big ?
I don't think so and it's got a really interesting shape. It will make a great focal point of the hardscape and with some supporting pieces of either more wood or rock you could really enhance it's size. Or, if you preferred even make it feel smaller, but I prefer to other approach, make it really stand out.

My preference is photo 2, maybe one of the last 2 but would like to see it with more hardscape to really get a feel for it. Interested to see what you come up with.
 

Chris PP

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Joined
11 Jun 2020
Messages
44
Location
Droitwich
I don't think so and it's got a really interesting shape. It will make a great focal point of the hardscape and with some supporting pieces of either more wood or rock you could really enhance it's size. Or, if you preferred even make it feel smaller, but I prefer to other approach, make it really stand out.

My preference is photo 2, maybe one of the last 2 but would like to see it with more hardscape to really get a feel for it. Interested to see what you come up with.
Thanks for your comments, interesting. What do you think about the shaded area on the second picture ? I’m not sure if any plants would grow ? That’s putting me off a few of the suggestions.
 

cbaum86

Member
Joined
24 Jan 2019
Messages
79
Location
Leeds
What do you think about the shaded area on the second picture ? I’m not sure if any plants would grow ?
There are a few plants that prefer the shade or lower light areas. The obvious choices would be to look at some of the crypt species you could plant into the substrate or if you put some rock work in and in front of that shaded area annubias and/or buce could be wedged into the crevices.

You could just not plant there and in fact make it a more intense shadow. Create a cave like area, it can be really dramatic to have a nice shadow area.

Some examples:
Green Aqua cave build - Intagram & YouTube
Annubias in shade of rock from Dave Chow Green Aqua build.
Siege Hardscape Content entry

Oh and I would be tempted to move the wood to the left slightly to give you better access to cleaning the glass on the right.
 

Ray

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31 Oct 2007
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676
Location
Switzerland
Thanks for your comments, interesting. What do you think about the shaded area on the second picture ? I’m not sure if any plants would grow ? That’s putting me off a few of the suggestions.
I think once you have substrate and other wood/rocks around it it will be diminished plus if you have a small cave or overhang it’s not a problem. Could even be a focal point. Some fish actually like that, and you can have some shade loving plants like Anubias peaking out of it or Fissidens or weeping moss hanging over it, or just screen it off...
 

Chris PP

Member
Joined
11 Jun 2020
Messages
44
Location
Droitwich
There are a few plants that prefer the shade or lower light areas. The obvious choices would be to look at some of the crypt species you could plant into the substrate or if you put some rock work in and in front of that shaded area annubias and/or buce could be wedged into the crevices.

You could just not plant there and in fact make it a more intense shadow. Create a cave like area, it can be really dramatic to have a nice shadow area.

Some examples:
Green Aqua cave build - Intagram & YouTube
Annubias in shade of rock from Dave Chow Green Aqua build.
Siege Hardscape Content entry

Oh and I would be tempted to move the wood to the left slightly to give you better access to cleaning the glass on the right.

This is great information! Thanks very much. You have given me loads more to think about.
Now you mention the cave it’s opened up another host of opportunity
 

Chris PP

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11 Jun 2020
Messages
44
Location
Droitwich
I think once you have substrate and other wood/rocks around it it will be diminished plus if you have a small cave or overhang it’s not a problem. Could even be a focal point. Some fish actually like that, and you can have some shade loving plants like Anubias peaking out of it or Fissidens or weeping moss hanging over it, or just screen it off...
Ray, this is great information. It’s really positive that members are more than happy to assist. I like the idea of hanging something over the entrance. Loads more research for me !
 

Chris PP

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11 Jun 2020
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Droitwich
Well it’s day 3 and I am quite happy so far. All thanks to Aquarium Gardens for the plants and great advice ! Not sure if the planted scheme will work but for a first attempt I found it hard getting to know all the plants. Hoping to add some shrimps over the next week or so. If anyone could suggest some fish they think would be good it would be appreciated. Love to know your thoughts on if I have over planted or just about right ?

Thanks Chris

Ready for planting

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Day 3, dosing the water changes with Seachem Prime and a dosing of Seachem Stability. Daily dosing of TNC Complete.

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Chris PP

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11 Jun 2020
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Droitwich
Day 7 Nitrate is my issue
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My water straight out of the tap isn’t much better, but the plants are growing ! The Ludwigia palustris isn’t changing colour. At first I thought there was an issue but think not now.

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Chris PP

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11 Jun 2020
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Droitwich
Day 11 - growth is fantastic ! Think I may need to move a few plants as they are not as small as I first thought in the foreground especially the Sagittarius subulata. The carpet Eleocharis Acicularis is coming along nicely but think I may change this for something which won’t grow as high ? Any suggestions would be appreciated!

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Put a few Cherry shrimp on and they seem fine. My Nitrate test shows 40ppm and I am a touch concerned. Should I be ?
 

hypnogogia

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6 Apr 2017
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Oxfordshire
My Nitrate test shows 40ppm and I am a touch concerned. Should I be ?
No, you shouldn’t. What test are you using? Nitrate Test are notoriously unreliable, and given that nitrate is an Important nutrient for plants, they’ll use it up. Probably in part explains the food plant growth that you report. Do you fish seem happy and active? If yes, don’t worry about it.
 

Chris PP

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11 Jun 2020
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Droitwich
No, you shouldn’t. What test are you using? Nitrate Test are notoriously unreliable, and given that nitrate is an Important nutrient for plants, they’ll use it up. Probably in part explains the food plant growth that you report. Do you fish seem happy and active? If yes, don’t worry about it.
Hi, the fish and shrimps seem fine in all honesty. I am using the API freshwater tests. Everything else seems normal. I was just slightly concerned about the Nitrate levels.
 

dw1305

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7 Apr 2008
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nr Bath
Hi all,
My Nitrate test shows 40ppm and I am a touch concerned. Should I be ? ............the fish and shrimps seem fine in all honesty.
I think you are good, that looks a pretty healthy tank. All the time you have healthy plants and fish, I'd be tempted to go with "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

I'd agree with @hypnogogia, healthily growing plants are probably the single most important factor in <"maintaining water quality">. If you've got a TDS (conductivity) meter you could see if your <"TDS is creeping up over time">. If it does, then I'd change a bit more water.

I would really like to know the nutrient status of my tanks, but <"it is a difficult to test"> for NO3- and, even if it is accurate, the NO3- level <"may need some interpretation">.

If you just look at the maths., there are <"~17 essential elements for plant growth"> (including carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O)), which plants need in amounts differing by five or six orders of magnitude. That gives you 17^2 = 289 possible combinations, and if <"any element isn't available"> you don't get any growth. [UWSL]To add complexity many of the trace elements are essential for plant growth at the ppb (10^-9) level and toxic on the ppm (10^-6) scale, and some elements at high concentrations <"[/UWSL][UWSL]may effect the uptake of other elements">[/UWSL][UWSL].[/UWSL]

It was because of this <"myriad of possibilities and difficulties"> that I started using the <"growth rate, and leaf colour, of a floating plant"> to give me <"an idea about nutrient status">.

cheers Darrel
 

Chris PP

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Joined
11 Jun 2020
Messages
44
Location
Droitwich
Hi all, I think you are good, that looks a pretty healthy tank. All the time you have healthy plants and fish, I'd be tempted to go with "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

I'd agree with @hypnogogia, healthily growing plants are probably the single most important factor in <"maintaining water quality">. If you've got a TDS (conductivity) meter you could see if your <"TDS is creeping up over time">. If it does, then I'd change a bit more water.

I would really like to know the nutrient status of my tanks, but <"it is a difficult to test"> for NO3- and, even if it is accurate, the NO3- level <"may need some interpretation">.

If you just look at the maths., there are <"~17 essential elements for plant growth"> (including carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O)), which plants need in amounts differing by five or six orders of magnitude. That gives you 17^2 = 289 possible combinations, and if <"any element isn't available"> you don't get any growth. [UWSL]To add complexity many of the trace elements are essential for plant growth at the ppb (10^-9) level and toxic on the ppm (10^-6) scale, and some elements at high concentrations <"[/UWSL][UWSL]may effect the uptake of other elements">[/UWSL][UWSL].[/UWSL]

It was because of this <"myriad of possibilities and difficulties"> that I started using the <"growth rate, and leaf colour, of a floating plant"> to give me <"an idea about nutrient status">.

cheers Darrel
Thanks for taking the time to comment Darrel, all seems really well to be honest which has surprised me ! Lost a few shrimp to a black neon tetra ! I think though that I will change the Sagittarius subulata and the carpet Eleocharis Acicularis as they both seem too large for the carpet effect I was looking for.
Thanks again Chris
 

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