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Old 11-02-2005, 02:06 PM   #1
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aquascaping live rock in my tank

I have a 125 gallon FOWLR tank with 90 lbs. of live rock, 45 lbs. of base rock, and 200 lbs. of sand. The tank has been setup for three months now and currently is home to a panther grouper (4 inches), a niger trigger (3 1/2 inches), and a volitan lionfish (5 1/2 inches).

I centered the rock in such a way that the fish have room to swim in front of and behind the rock. I have noticed from looking at most peoples tank pictures that they usually place their rocks against the back wall of the tank. Is there any pros/cons to having the rock centered as opposed to butted against the back wall of the tank? I figured that allowing my fish to be able to swim through the rock work and hide directly behind the entire wall of rock would make them feel more comfortable opposed to having just a few caves to hide in. The only problem I can see is that most of the tank is brightly lit with few dark hiding spots. So I guess my question sort of boils down to whether or not dark hiding spots are better than well lit hiding spots?

If any additional info would help please let me know. Thanks in advance for any help/advice.


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Old 11-02-2005, 02:38 PM   #2
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Well w/ my 210 gal. tank and 180 lbs. of LR I have a center Cave that my yellow tang and emperor angel share and I have several other nooks and crannies and the right and left side of it. I even have a over hang that my cleaner shrimp use as a cleaning station. My rock has about 4-6" of swimming space behind it to the glass.

It's just my preference plus I'd be afraid of the back bowing out if you have too much weight in one area if it's a older tank or an avalanche even tho that could happen in any setup. My rocks are pretty settled in tho and aren't moving any where.

In a 18'' wide tank i'd probably go w/ them towards the back so my fish have as much swimming room as possible. I have an extra 6" to play w/ the width so thats why I have space.

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Old 11-02-2005, 03:01 PM   #3
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I did not consider the stress the weight the rock could apply to the back wall. It is an old tank too so maybe I will push the rock as far back as I can without leaning them against the glass. Thanks for your help, its much appreciated.
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Old 11-02-2005, 07:01 PM   #4
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I don't see the weight being a issue because eits not supporting the entire weight of the rock.
Like they said mostly preference. Most reefers stack it in a way to make more places for corals to be placed. if the tank can be seen from both sides then stacking in the center is a great idea. There is not rule to aquascaping just what looks good to you is all that really matters.
I should also point out that having enough hiding places for all the fish is very important.
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Old 11-03-2005, 03:39 PM   #5
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I agree as long as it looks good to you that`s all that matter. Just leave enough nooks and crannies for the tanks inhabitants


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Old 11-03-2005, 03:59 PM   #6
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IMO it is totally based on personal preference. I stacked mine to create a drop off effect. I also used several large flat pieces of lace rock so there is plently of swimming/hiding places behind the rock work. I do not think weight on the back glass is an issue as the rock is stacked and only touches the back wall.

Here is an older pic:

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Old 11-26-2005, 12:40 AM   #7
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Preference, that's right. I used to have my rocks going towards the center to create this fun playground for them. Then I got tired of it. I switch-a-roo-ed it so many times and noticed myself just ending up in the center.

Finally, I set it up where my heavy rocks are in the bottom, my flatter and lighter ones going up top and it's flushed in the back. That gave my tank a much more swimmable look for the specimen.

I liked it eversince. It's easier to clean the sand surface too since more than eighty percent of the surface is exposed.

At the end of the day, though, it depends on what you want it to look aesthetically.
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Old 11-30-2005, 11:02 AM   #8
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I placed my rock more towards the back of the tank. It still has a small gap for water to flow behind. I did this for a number of reasons. The first reason is that it keeps most of my friends infront of the tank so I can view them. Secondly, it provides a greater swimming room in the front of the tank and also gives me a larger sand bed for things like brain corals, clams, etc. Lastly the small ammount of room in the back, IMO, provides animals such as shrimp, to molt and feel secure while waiting for their shells to harden. It also provides a nice dark place for animals such as serpent stars to hide during the day.

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