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Old 06-28-2006, 01:19 AM   #1
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12 gal tank: Overhaul

Hey everyone! Here again with my latest attempt at conquering my tank with an aquascape idea derived from some others I have seen, hopefully you guys can give me your takes on this idea and possibly good sites that might offer what I am looking for if my sites intended are not the best offers. On with the show!

Ok, here is the scheme in mind. I plan on using a near white sand from the majority of the front of the tank and trailing it back towards about back center of the tank like a winding trail. Then I will have some jagged like rocks off on the sides overtop of eco complete, a ground cover of some type will be placed near those rocks to some time cover them, leaving a nice piercing formation, with tall stalk plants to the far sides and back corners, hoping to grow out and create a jungle effect and some cover for my tetras.

As for the initial idea, sound alright? I plan to keep plant species to a minimum here since too many and I would forget what I had amidst the jungles ^^

Now for the details, your input is needed sorely here. For the jungle effect, I am thinking of using Rotala "green". I have seen it used in small tanks before and it looks very nice, but not overwhelming. I suppose I will have to worry about pruning it, but that should be simple enough. Another choice is possibly Micranthemum, either micranthemoides or umbrosum. Limnophila aromatica is also a choice for its nice little purple/pink like tipping, since all the green might be too much, but I am worried that it might conflict with the big focal point of the sandy path, although that might slowly be overcome by the ground cover. Possibly should I use more than just one jungle stem plant or just stick with one species?

The ground cover I am thinking will be Riccia fluitans since I am really keen on the pearling images I have seen with it. I thought of glosso at one time, but I don't like its larger leaf size, but I am not too big on hairgrass or moss either for its non distinct shaping, hence why I like Riccia, for being kind of middle ground. What kind of luck have you guys had with it?

Ok, onto the heavy hitting stuff now ^^ For rocks, I am thinking something with very noticeable edging, although not terribly sharp to prevent any injuries on my fish. What kind of hard, smaller sized rocks would anyone recommend?

I know that for the plants I have in mind, I will need to increase my lighting to get enough growth from them. My tank is about 18" long, so I was looking at the lights from here:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Produc...&N=2004+113345

I am assuming I will have to put a glass plate down since the light would otherwise fall into the tank, but then it also raises the issue of my filter possibly being in the way. I've already mentioned possibly doing odno, but to be honest it sounds a bit more in the expert realm of electric and fiddling. Any suggestions?

I currently have 9 neon tetras in my tank and 1 yo yo loach, the latter I plan to move to my mother's 100 gal when she gets it set up, and instead getting shrimp to clean through the plants since my loach would get way too big for the small tank. I am considering Amano shrimp since I wouldn't have to worry about getting a massive bunch of fry all of a sudden, but I also noticed something on cherry shrimp. Any opinions on this species or any luck anyone has had with them?

Well, thats pretty much all for now on this little escapade. Any suggestions or help is greatly appreciated, even suggestions on sites to visit to get any plants or supplies for the tank, since everyone here has already been of so much help already ^^ You guys have no idea how often you've saved my hide and inspired me in aquascaping to this magnitude.

Hopefully at some point I will be able to finally get pictures to everyone to show how it looks as I slowly move along on this.
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Old 06-28-2006, 10:09 PM   #2
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Rotala rotundifolia "green" is really neat but kind of grows weirdly for me. For whatever reason it is slower growing than R. rotundifolia or "colorata" in the same tank with rich nurtients and high light, and seems to prefer being shaded. Was it Norbert Sabat's use of it that you liked? IIRC he doesn't use really stong light. Travis has said it grows kind of squirrely for him in high light. Something to keep in mind. Regular R. rotundifolia is much easier to find (often erroneously called R. indica), and is a great plant to learn trimming with, if interested. You can keep it green to orange depending on nutrients and light. H. zosterfolia aka "Stargrass" is a good one for the forest look, easier to find (though a poor shipper), undemanding, and very shapeable/adaptable.

M. umbrosum and/or H. micranthemoides would be real cool.

FWIW, balancing tall plants in a small tank gets old fast. I have not grown L. aromatica but have grown other similar plants (P. stellata variants, L. "Cuba"): fun and educational, but I just don't think we can ever fully appreciate them with small tanks. I think orangish R. rotundifolia may be the best replacement. If you like fine leaves, Rotala sp. from Vietnam or R. wallichii are more size-appropriate.

I dislike Riccia because it is too messy. JMO. You might like Elatine triandra, which can creep over rocks easily if you trim runners often, and piles upon itself. Color-wise ET is similar to Riccia. Will allow you keep the jagged tops of rocks visible, too.

HTH
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Old 06-29-2006, 11:55 AM   #3
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What size tank is this?? I would probably agree with czcz that L aromatica would be best in a large (or at least tall) tank. I have some in my 55, it is beautiful, but it reaches the top very quickly in my high light. I think the Rotala wallichi would be a perfect replacement for a smaller tank.
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Old 06-29-2006, 02:29 PM   #4
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Newfound, my tank is a 12 gal, so size is definately an issue for me here ^^

Yeah, Norbert's tank I thought was really impressive and actually was the reason for my inspiration. I am kind of trying to copy that design with some minor changes, like the rock not being in the middle. I am still debating on whether I should try and do a direct copy and use the same plants or just go with the plant choices below.

czcz, thank you for all your input on these plants! It really helps to hear from someone else who has tried the plants before. Judging by your response, I am starting to think for the forest I will narrow my choices down to H. micranthemoides. It seems to be the best for shaping as well as not too demanding for light, and although the other choices are nice, I don't want too much color in my tank because the focus will be on the rocks, sand, and my neon tetras. As for the groundcover, thank you for suggesting Zosterifolia, but for some reason its leaves are just too similar to micranthemoides that I would feel like its just blending one to another. I was looking more into other choices, and I agree Riccia probably would be too much of a hassle keeping under control since I want the sane exposed. However, I did spot Hemianthus callitrichoides, and its also a medium lighting plant like micranthemoides. What do you think of that for a ground cover instead?

One last thing, for that white sand, does anyone know of a place to buy some? My lfs doesn't seem to be able to carry it.

If anyone else can also comment on what kind of rocks would be best, my lighting issue, or the shrimps, it would be very much appreciated, and thank you czcz and newfound for your input, it helped me narrow things down a lot.
~~~~~~~~~
Edit: Actually, let me show you the two pictures that really inspired me the most for this design. Maybe that will give everyone a better idea of what is attracting me so much ^^ Please keep in mind these images are copyrighted to their owners, namely Norbert Sabat and his submittion to the AGA contest and the other a piece by Takashi Amano. Here are the urls if anyone is further interested:

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...-your-own.html

http://showcase.aquatic-gardeners.or...=0&vol=0&id=43
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Old 06-29-2006, 04:50 PM   #5
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Any kind of aquarium-safe rock that looks good to you should be fine. I really like the rocks that Glenc is using in his 10 gallon, they look like granite to me. I have some nice rounded beach rocks in my tank that I like. I'm not sure of the geology of your area; here in the Northeast pretty much any rock you find is safe for a tank but that's not always the case in other parts of the country. Granite, basalt, slate, shale, and sandstone are all safe rocks. If you find some rocks you like, post a pic and I'll try and ID it for you.

The lights look OK, the 12" model would give you 36 watts which would be 3 wpg or effectively a little less since it's a small tank and the wpg rule doesn't work as well. Only disadvantage is that the lights would "miss" the ends of the tank. The single 20" model with 1 40 watt bulb might be better in that regard, but it is a little longer than the tank is. Although that would eliminate the problem of the light falling in the tank! I remember reading somewhere that there are upgrades for the Eclipse hoods....here it is, I think the one that would fit your tank is 32 watts.

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Produc...&N=2004+113347

Too many choices, I know....but any of these would probably work fine, it's just a matter of what seems best to you. Fortunately they are all similar in cost and pretty reasonable, at that.

Good luck! I don't know anything about shrimp so i can't help you there...my fish would have them for dinner in 2 seconds!
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Old 06-29-2006, 05:33 PM   #6
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You might want to check into Pool Filter Sand. It comes in different colors depending on what area of the country you're in, but may be available in white where you are. This a good choice for planted tanks and is inexpensive.

As far as the HC goes, it's an excellant ground cover but very difficult to get ahold of right now. A few of us on this board have been lucky enough to obtain some, but most are still working on growing it out enough to be able share.
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Old 06-29-2006, 11:22 PM   #7
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Yoo! *hugs newfound* You just saved my lighting issue! That design will fit perfectly inside my hood and I don't have to worry about taking the hood away or issues with my filter anymore ^^ Thank you!

Pool Filter Sand? I've been hearing about that in various places, but I am not sure where exactly I can get it at. Do you think my lfs would be able to get it in if I requested or maybe the hardware store? And thank you for the warning on the HC Purrbox, I've been kind of noticing that lately on online stores. Hopefully I can get a bit of it to grow and also help give away to other members in time so it is more readily available, otherwise wait and be begger when it does come around healthy from the rest of you ^^

Thank you so much for both of your inputs though, this idea is finally coming around a lot. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do this project, but now its within my reach ^^
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Old 06-29-2006, 11:40 PM   #8
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I believe most people get Pool Filter Sand from either a Pool Supply Store or one of the bigger hardware stores like Lowes and Menards. I've never bought it myself, so I'm not entirely sure. You might want to try calling around to see who has it.
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Old 06-30-2006, 02:08 PM   #9
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Well, started for the push to get things done now that I have been recently paid ^^ I ordered a new CO2 diffuser, lighting, and substrate that should arrive probably late next week sometime, although I will have to wait thanks to the 4th of July -_- Darn holidays...

And after much debate last night over some pictures and quality of plants and such, I have actually decided to scratch the idea of Hemianthus since they are too close in appearance of a species. I was able to find a good dealer for Rotala and Taxiphyllum and am willing to take the plunge with controlling my lighting for those two plants. He will probably be shipping those plants not next week, but the one afterwards not only for the holiday, but also since he wants to wait until I have my tank ready and give him the ok to send the stuff.

Only thing missing is the sand, the rocks, and my shrimp pretty much, but that should be easy to fix with quick visit to stores.

*crosses fingers* Wish me luck and as soon as I am able, I will be getting pictures up.
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Old 06-30-2006, 03:57 PM   #10
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Good luck! Sounds like a nice and elegant aquascape.
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Old 07-01-2006, 12:31 AM   #11
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Yeah, I wanted to keep it simpler by trying to mimic Sabat's design since I am just trying to get a handle on dealing with chemicals and fertilizers and such, gotta take baby steps ^^ So hopefully this lower lit tank of his will give me a good boost in the right direction.
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Old 07-05-2006, 10:29 PM   #12
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Woo! I have received my lighting, co2 diffuser, and substrate today. Like Christmas all over again ^^ The sibstrate I am leaving to work with until after I get the pool filter sand, since I want to do all of this in one day. I did set up the co2 and lighting, however, and that proved an unusual feat. Diffuser was easy, the instructions were clear and it wasn't rocket science. The lighting....well....lets say I got to play electrician for the first time ever. It worked out well though, and I was very happy with the clarity and brilliance of the lighting when tested on my tank, although it has a blue tint to it for some reason. I am guessing because it is stronger and fluorescent.

My plants have been shipped today, so I am hoping to get them by Friday ^^ *squirms* This is soooo much fun.

Edit: Have it all now save my cherry shrimp, but I am waiting until the plants grow in the add those little guys in. My tetras hate me at this point and are hiding in the farthest darkest corner. The moss looks great and the Rotala is a little wilty for a long trip, but it should be fine. No white sand, still not sure if I want it now that I have the tank in place and it looks nice as is. Should be getting pics on Monday for everyone to see ^^
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