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Old 09-04-2013, 08:21 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Fresh2o View Post

No prob. Did that earlier today!
The DW in khuligirl93s tank looks like Malaysian. I've seen it at local pet stores (not Petco/Petsmart). I have seen Mopani DW at Petco on occasion.
PFS is pool filter sand. It differs from regular play sand; I think it may be more uniform in grain size and settles faster (less cloudy) and takes less prep work (rinsing).
You could try black sand from Petco to get the dark substrate look. I would hold off on removing the background until you see what the tank looks like with a different colored substrate.
Good luck with this.
I think a black substrate wouldn't go well with my background. I think a more kind of white substrate would go better with it. Is there Eco complete substrate that's a light color? I like the idea of live plants. And yes, the last thing I want to have to do is remove the background.
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:37 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by YoungGuppy View Post
To give you an idea, I got white sand, real driftwood from the beach, and bought live plants. Also I really like black backgrounds with white sand. Here are my tanks.
The second one is a rock I found on a hike and some natural looking gravel from petsmart.

If you get real driftwood it's fine, but you have to clean it with a brush really well, boil it, soak it for a couple weeks or until it sinks, then boil it again and it will be safe for your tank.
I like the white sand. I'd like something maybe just not as light colored though.
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:52 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by azmodan View Post
Here is my low tech ten gal from a year or so ago (it looks much different now). This was my first real attempt at a natural looking aquarium and there was not a lot of overall maintenance that went into it on a daily basis. Nothing regarding this tank was particularly expensive, but it did take a little research (which in itself was a lot of fun ).



If you want to go the nature aquarium route I'd suggest reeeally going natural. No fake driftwood and no fake plants. Ditch the bright gravel and go with something more natural like sand or EcoComplete (great for live plants and my recommendation for sure). The truth is, live plants can be pretty easy as long as you go with plants that are appropriate to your lighting. Once you go live you can potentially go oh-so-far into a crazy world of high lighting, CO2, ferts, ridiculously expensive plants, and so forth. It's incredibly addictive, but the beauty is that you can also have wonderfully beautiful tanks with really hardy and low maintenance plants too without worrying about all the other complicated stuff too much. In regards to the fake driftwood if you're really feeling the pull of a natural aquarium the artificiality of something plastic or not real wood in your tank will eventually bug the hell out of you, especially when you begin to discover the truly one-of-a-kind pieces of real driftwood that make our tanks unique. Malaysian, mopani, and manzanita (as in my 10g) can often be found cheaply (relatively) online or at certainly other places if you look hard enough (craft stores, thrift stores, garden/landscape stores, etc). Ebay is a great source for WYSIWYG items.

Finally... I know you put a lot of work into putting that background on but I'd definitely recommend replacing it with a solid color like black or maybe even like a frosted tint like Bill's TOTM from a few months back. Backgrounds with patterns just pull attention away from the actual aquascape you're creating and do not aid in creating negative space, which is very important in nature aquariums in regards to perspective.

Just a few friendly suggestions.
I will definitely get real drift wood and most likely get live plants. I want to get a sand or EcoComplete substrate. I would really hate to have to remove that background after that 5 frustrating hours of getting it on right with ClearView. I guess I might have to though. I wish there was a way I could see how a certain background would look before I remove the one I have :/ I think a black background would be good. Would a black background go with black substrate, or should I get a different background for black substrate? I'll look around in stores and online for some driftwood.

Oh, and your tank looks very nice!
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:54 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Fresh2o View Post
I got a nice piece of manzanita DW for $5 at Marshall's (they don't always carry it ). Petco was selling 20# EcoComplete for $9. Plants I got online, however, the plants in gel from Petsmart are fine. Oh, the background on one of my tanks is a black trash bag. DIY CO2.
Thanks for that info. I'll have to check for that next time I go to Marshals or HobbyLobby. I've heard of people using a black trash bag for their background, but I think I'll prob get a background online or something.
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:59 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by wyatt_o View Post

I think a black substrate wouldn't go well with my background. I think a more kind of white substrate would go better with it. Is there Eco complete substrate that's a light color? I like the idea of live plants. And yes, the last thing I want to have to do is remove the background.
EcoComplete only comes in black and red/brick colors I believe. You could try play sand; PITA to clean but not quite so white. Or PFS (depending on the color).

You might check with World of Pets to see if they can order DW. Otherwise, you are limited unless you go online. There are quite a few sites offering decent DW.

When I was on vacation in the Outer Banks of NC I found this gift shop with tons of DW at very low prices. A fellow from GA filled up a van with $400 worth of it (shop owner say that the buyer can sell it for 3x as much). Bins of $1 pieces. Here is a shot of the yard:
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:59 AM   #26
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One question that's still gone unanswered is how would I change substrate? I have fish in this tank. How would I change substrate with out over stressing the fish or harming them? How would I get the stuff out? By hand or a big net? When adding the new substrate will it cloud the water? Should I unplug the filter during that process so it won't get clogged with floating sand or EcoComplete? Will this upset the bacteria in the tank? I want my fish to be safe when I change substrate.

Thanks!
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:46 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Fresh2o View Post

EcoComplete only comes in black and red/brick colors I believe. You could try play sand; PITA to clean but not quite so white. Or PFS (depending on the color).

You might check with World of Pets to see if they can order DW. Otherwise, you are limited unless you go online. There are quite a few sites offering decent DW.

When I was on vacation in the Outer Banks of NC I found this gift shop with tons of DW at very low prices. A fellow from GA filled up a van with $400 worth of it (shop owner say that the buyer can sell it for 3x as much). Bins of $1 pieces. Here is a shot of the yard:
I'll probably try to get my DW online. I went to the Outer Banks earlier this year but that was before I had this aquarium. Is PFS good for plants? I might change my background and get EcoComplete.
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:13 AM   #28
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If it was me I would strip this tank down and start again

Dump the blue gravel
Dump Camelot
Dump the plastic plants

You can go sand or a fine natural gravel
Drift wood or rocks

Real plants look ok but you need to pick your fish carefully they are just unneeded work in my eyes

It's personal taste at the end of the day
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:36 AM   #29
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In my experience with both white sand, black sand, and Eco-complete is that my fish were MUCH more comfortable and no longer skittish. In addition, my plants grow as well in my black sand tank as my Eco-complete tank. And the black sand stays cleaner after a water change.

When I changed over from dark blue aquarium gravel to black sand I did the following;

1. Fill " fish water only " bucket with the tank water as much as is carry-able.

2. Take out all fake plants ,decorations , and filter media and put in a bucket of tank water and lower the water level about 1/3 full and scoop out each fish with a net and place it in your bucket. Move your buckets out of the way.

3. Finish taking out as much water with your siphon as you can then scoop out the gravel with a scooper. A clean milk jug cut out to scoop works perfectly as you keep the handle and it'll be big. Wash or recycle when done.

4. Wipe out remaining with paper towels. Clean glass with vinegar as needed. Rinse WELL and wipe dry with paper towels. Take off and add new background now as desired.

5. Fill with a few inches of your new substrate (I put in about four inches and that seems to be deep enough for my plants' roots.

6. Place a clan diner plate on the sand and fill the tank 2/3 with DE-CHLORINATED water. The plate keeps the water for making a mess of your sand and stirring it up too much.

7. Place plants (with your root tabs if you're using them) and wood pieces as well as any other decorations. (I like brand new and rinsed terracotta pots - broken or not for fish caves and darting through. But that's a matter of preference. I use them because they're cheap. Rocks would be more natural, though. )

8. Finish filling your tank with de-chlorinated water. Use the right temperature to get all the tank water the right temp for your fish. Put filters back on.

9. Put your filter media back in your tank and turn on filter(s). Put your air-stones and heater (s) in and one. Gently add each fish back in. (Some might re-acclimate them first.)

10. Clean up the mess you've made.
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:51 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by jen31972 View Post
In my experience with both white sand, black sand, and Eco-complete is that my fish were MUCH more comfortable and no longer skittish. In addition, my plants grow as well in my black sand tank as my Eco-complete tank. And the black sand stays cleaner after a water change.

When I changed over from dark blue aquarium gravel to black sand I did the following;

1. Fill " fish water only " bucket with the tank water as much as is carry-able.

2. Take out all fake plants ,decorations , and filter media and put in a bucket of tank water and lower the water level about 1/3 full and scoop out each fish with a net and place it in your bucket. Move your buckets out of the way.

3. Finish taking out as much water with your siphon as you can then scoop out the gravel with a scooper. A clean milk jug cut out to scoop works perfectly as you keep the handle and it'll be big. Wash or recycle when done.

4. Wipe out remaining with paper towels. Clean glass with vinegar as needed. Rinse WELL and wipe dry with paper towels. Take off and add new background now as desired.

5. Fill with a few inches of your new substrate (I put in about four inches and that seems to be deep enough for my plants' roots.

6. Place a clan diner plate on the sand and fill the tank 2/3 with DE-CHLORINATED water. The plate keeps the water for making a mess of your sand and stirring it up too much.

7. Place plants (with your root tabs if you're using them) and wood pieces as well as any other decorations. (I like brand new and rinsed terracotta pots - broken or not for fish caves and darting through. But that's a matter of preference. I use them because they're cheap. Rocks would be more natural, though. )

8. Finish filling your tank with de-chlorinated water. Use the right temperature to get all the tank water the right temp for your fish. Put filters back on.

9. Put your filter media back in your tank and turn on filter(s). Put your air-stones and heater (s) in and one. Gently add each fish back in. (Some might re-acclimate them first.)

10. Clean up the mess you've made.

Cover the bucket with the fish

My tanks are in my profile pics.
Black sand, black background, live plants, real wood, happy fish.

Super easy plants ?
Java Ferns , I have 5 or 6 types
Swords ( add root tabs ~ every 4 months if you use sand )
Ludwigia ( most types grow well )
Crypts !!! Love my Crypts. Root feeders like Swords. Root tabs as needed. I add them every 4 months.

What light do you have ? Java Ferns will grow under almost anything
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Old 09-04-2013, 12:17 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by wyatt_o View Post

I definitely will get real driftwood if I can find some. I like black substrate, but I like the white/yellow substrate too. I think white/yellow would go better with my background. Some pond stones would go very well with this background!


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I have the same background and I used plays and and I love it I'm on the same boat as you I want to go for a more natural look now lol
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Old 09-04-2013, 12:25 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by T1KARMANN View Post
If it was me I would strip this tank down and start again

Dump the blue gravel
Dump Camelot
Dump the plastic plants

You can go sand or a fine natural gravel
Drift wood or rocks

Real plants look ok but you need to pick your fish carefully they are just unneeded work in my eyes

It's personal taste at the end of the day
Yes, I am going to replace the blue gravel with something like EcoComplete or some other sand. I'm removing Camelot (lol) and replacing it with a driftwood piece probably. I think I'm going to get live plants, not sure what kinds yet though.
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:01 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by jen31972 View Post
In my experience with both white sand, black sand, and Eco-complete is that my fish were MUCH more comfortable and no longer skittish. In addition, my plants grow as well in my black sand tank as my Eco-complete tank. And the black sand stays cleaner after a water change.

When I changed over from dark blue aquarium gravel to black sand I did the following;

1. Fill " fish water only " bucket with the tank water as much as is carry-able.

2. Take out all fake plants ,decorations , and filter media and put in a bucket of tank water and lower the water level about 1/3 full and scoop out each fish with a net and place it in your bucket. Move your buckets out of the way.

3. Finish taking out as much water with your siphon as you can then scoop out the gravel with a scooper. A clean milk jug cut out to scoop works perfectly as you keep the handle and it'll be big. Wash or recycle when done.

4. Wipe out remaining with paper towels. Clean glass with vinegar as needed. Rinse WELL and wipe dry with paper towels. Take off and add new background now as desired.

5. Fill with a few inches of your new substrate (I put in about four inches and that seems to be deep enough for my plants' roots.

6. Place a clan diner plate on the sand and fill the tank 2/3 with DE-CHLORINATED water. The plate keeps the water for making a mess of your sand and stirring it up too much.

7. Place plants (with your root tabs if you're using them) and wood pieces as well as any other decorations. (I like brand new and rinsed terracotta pots - broken or not for fish caves and darting through. But that's a matter of preference. I use them because they're cheap. Rocks would be more natural, though. )

8. Finish filling your tank with de-chlorinated water. Use the right temperature to get all the tank water the right temp for your fish. Put filters back on.

9. Put your filter media back in your tank and turn on filter(s). Put your air-stones and heater (s) in and one. Gently add each fish back in. (Some might re-acclimate them first.)

10. Clean up the mess you've made.
This is just what I needed to know! Thanks a lot! I have several 5 gallon buckets I can use. I have 14 fish in the tank, would I need to use several buckets for the fish? How long will they be safe in the buckets? How long should I wait after adding all the new stuff and water before I put the fish back in? What are root tabs? (I have absolutely no live plants experience)
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:05 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Coursair View Post

Cover the bucket with the fish

My tanks are in my profile pics.
Black sand, black background, live plants, real wood, happy fish.

Super easy plants ?
Java Ferns , I have 5 or 6 types
Swords ( add root tabs ~ every 4 months if you use sand )
Ludwigia ( most types grow well )
Crypts !!! Love my Crypts. Root feeders like Swords. Root tabs as needed. I add them every 4 months.

What light do you have ? Java Ferns will grow under almost anything
Thanks for the plants recommendations! I'm not sure on what light I have. I'll check it later. I do know that's its something Aqueon that came with the tank. What are root tabs?

Thanks!
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:06 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Bettaorr View Post

I have the same background and I used plays and and I love it I'm on the same boat as you I want to go for a more natural look now lol
Very cool! What sand do you use? I like it.
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Old 09-04-2013, 02:22 PM   #36
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Root tabs ate little circles designed to bury in the sand next to the roots of your plants, particularly if they are root feeders. You get them at whatever fish store you frequent next to liquid ferts (fertilizer) and liquid CO2.

My understanding is that if you are going for low light plants, liquid ferts and CO2 work fine because the plants aren't going to be growing like gangbusters, unless you put in lights for high light plants. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.)

Plants that need a lot of light usually need supplemental CO2 systems.

By the way, lots of people on this forum get powdered/granule aquarium fertilizer from sources such as www.DrsFosterSmith.com. Some people even use some form of Osmocote granules in ice cubes. It's available at Home Depot and such. Perhaps someone can chime in with the correct Osmocote formula. It's a very inexpensive way to dose your ferts.
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Old 09-04-2013, 02:59 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by jen31972 View Post
Root tabs ate little circles designed to bury in the sand next to the roots of your plants, particularly if they are root feeders. You get them at whatever fish store you frequent next to liquid ferts (fertilizer) and liquid CO2.

My understanding is that if you are going for low light plants, liquid ferts and CO2 work fine because the plants aren't going to be growing like gangbusters, unless you put in lights for high light plants. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.)

Plants that need a lot of light usually need supplemental CO2 systems.

By the way, lots of people on this forum get powdered/granule aquarium fertilizer from sources such as www.DrsFosterSmith.com. Some people even use some form of Osmocote granules in ice cubes. It's available at Home Depot and such. Perhaps someone can chime in with the correct Osmocote formula. It's a very inexpensive way to dose your ferts.
What are CO2 systems? Again I have no experience in live plants in the aquarium.
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Old 09-04-2013, 03:01 PM   #38
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Like the amazon sword. I don't really like the hornwort. And by moss wall or carpet you mean like having moss on the back wall of the tank or covering the bottom?
The one on the ground. It have add a nice touch to every tank even a little moss carpet
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Old 09-04-2013, 03:26 PM   #39
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The one on the ground. It have add a nice touch to every tank even a little moss carpet
Ok. I'll look into it. Man, there are so many kinds of plants! It's overwhelming!
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Old 09-04-2013, 03:42 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Coursair View Post

Cover the bucket with the fish

My tanks are in my profile pics.
Black sand, black background, live plants, real wood, happy fish.

Super easy plants ?
Java Ferns , I have 5 or 6 types
Swords ( add root tabs ~ every 4 months if you use sand )
Ludwigia ( most types grow well )
Crypts !!! Love my Crypts. Root feeders like Swords. Root tabs as needed. I add them every 4 months.

What light do you have ? Java Ferns will grow under almost anything
Here is a pic of my light.


Click image for larger version

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Aqueon Full Spectrum 18''
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