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Old 01-22-2017, 12:49 AM   #1
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Beginner Blues

Hi everybody. I was wondering. When you guys were starting out in the hobby, were you ever bummed by how "blah" your tank looked?

I'm nearing the end of my fishless cycle in a Fluval Spec V. Today I recieved some plants in the mail after having a few issues with the post office not delivering the package to my house.

I bleach dipped the plants, rinsed them in some dechlorinated water, then added them to my tank.

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I guess I'm a little bummed about how my tank looks at the moment. The plants I got in the mail were not as big as I was hoping. That's definitely my own fault, as I've had no experience with aquatic plants before. And while I haven't arranged the plants permanently yet (they're all over the place), I'm disappointed with how bare and naked the tank looks. I'm also not knowledgeable enough about these plants to know if they're in good shape or not.

Do you guys have any suggestions for how to make a tank look lush and green? I was thinking about ordering some java moss that can take up space and add some serious color to the tank.

I've got bags of ceramic rings hangin' out on the left which I've still gotta figure out what to do with. I put them in because I thought they'd speed up my cycle (and they did! I think). Now they're just kinda in the way.

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I planned to take the ceramic bags out of the tank and add them to a sterilite container with a sponge filter and dose some ammonia. Just to have a little insurance filter media in case there was an issue with the plants introducing snails into the tank. Of course, I totally forgot to do any of that.

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I did however set up the sterilite container and sponge filter. I'm thinking I might add the ceramic anyway. I'm just worried that taking the ceramic out will stall my cycle. Maybe I'll just take one bag out?

I guess now I just have to practice patience and get a little creative. Problem solving. Any words of advice or suggestions would be totally appreciated!

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Old 01-22-2017, 02:03 AM   #2
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Wisteria is a good plant to put in the back corners. Grows fast and you can plant the cut offs to spread it out a bit along the back.

It's going to take a bit of time to get the tank the way you like.

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Old 01-22-2017, 02:30 AM   #3
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Add a dark backdrop to the tank to make colours pop.
Corrugated plastic cardboard cut to size is perfect. Dark colours work best (compared to the white wall behind there now)
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Old 01-22-2017, 09:24 PM   #4
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^ What they said.

It probably just looks bare to you now because you haven't gotten anything into it yet. I'm sure once the cycle is finished and you have added your fish to the tank you'll find that your perception of the tank will change. I've always found that having stock in your tank will excite you a lot more than an empty tank.
Walking on Sunfish, WhooOOOOooo. I'm feeling good.
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Old 01-23-2017, 02:50 AM   #5
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+1 on the dark background.

You need experience when choosing the right plants and you need to know how they will look when a) fully transitioned to being underwater and b) fully grown. That takes time. Something I am still learning now.

As for the hardscape. Normally (generally) people follow the 'rule of thirds' when creating an artistic piece. Which is a concept that has been around for many many years. It is this rule that is believed to bring ore pleasure to the eye. You will need to google this. Ideally you will probably want to move the hardscape to one side and have one major focal stone and some smaller ones. You may be able to break your rocks up. Reducing the size of two of them will give a greater sense of scale.

Basically you would then need to plant heavier round the focal point and add a splash of colour.

This would be a good example of the rule:

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Looks like you have crypts and an Amazon sword. The sword (if grows ok) will change its leaf structure and the crypts would be better in the foreground or middle.

You're not going to get this straight away so don't feel too disheartened. I tinker with my tank daily.

Here's a tip: Seachems flourish EXCEL with help the plants to grow. You may need some other nutrients too.
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Old 02-17-2017, 01:21 AM   #6
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a sloping background will help with a dynamic look instead of a flat level one. don't be afraid to look up examples online.
java fern can get a real bushy look to it.
good beginner plants: bacopa, anubias, water wisteria (can look pretty tree like), moss balls, java moss, some crypts. i have had good luck with all of these and i'm a beginner i only have stock lighting that came with my fifty five. though i also add API leaf zone as a fert every water change.
I know its probably frowned upon but petsmart and petco have plants for sale. though some of them aren't actually truly aquatic but they have some basic ones. you can always look them up before you buy them. they shouldn't change their appearance too much. at least you know what you are getting when you buy them instead of gambling with online ordering. if you want moss balls petco sells three for a 10 dollars while petsmart sells one for like 8.

as for your media bags, if you have media in your filter then you probably don't need them. rocks and other surfaces as well as the pads in your filter host bacteria. so once your tank is cycled and you do everything else correctly you shouldn't have to worry. you can also buy some stability if you are worried. that stuff is just bacteria booster in a bottle. it even has instructions to basically fast forward the cycling process in your tank.

good luck!

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beginner, blue

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