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Old 01-11-2007, 06:16 AM   #81
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Absolutely outstanding man! Rarely do I see A. reineckii look so good and so red. All of your plants are perfect specimens. Wow, what else can I say. You do dang good work

The Apo's are incredible but will be the death of you. Gah! But I have to say I've never seen a prettier lace Apo than that one. I am truly impressed.
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Old 01-11-2007, 10:19 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by dapellegrini
I am not that happy with the scape right now... for a few reasons. For one, it seems a bit empty. Secondly, there seems to me too much red, and finally, I am not happy with the mid-groundÖ
I think you can solve all of these issues with the same action. Add some nice green plants to your mid ground. This will help to hide the red plants in the background making them less dominant, and fill in both the tank and the midground. You've got such nice fine leave plants, that perhaps some broad leaved plants would be nice. Perhaps some Anubias on driftwood would do the trick.
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Old 01-11-2007, 11:32 AM   #83
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Purrbox - I think you are right. I am thinking of perhaps adding some Blyxa japonica and maybe some Hydrocotyle verticillata to add some more texture in there... Bolbitis is another one that I would like to try... Oh and perhaps some riccia, around some rocks... (like a kid in a candy store)...

Travis - Thanks! Now if I could just get a better scape together... I am thinking of maybe swapping out that large apon for a crinum at some point (when I find some locally I guess). For a large plant it is a lot easier to remove leaves and keep under control than my val was, but it is on my top three most annoying plants right now.

Glen - Right on. I think I was always drawn towards red plants as well. Where I used to have a problem getting rid of any plants, today it is really just the red ones that I have a problem separating with.

Well, as soon as I get my last few bags of Eco I will be completely redoing this setup... Not looking forward to trying to get all of the fish shrimp and snails out of there though...
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Old 01-11-2007, 10:03 PM   #84
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what an awesomely gorgeous tank. i love it. i am ordering some of that alternanthera for my tank, though i don't expect it to loo at good as yours, i don't have the light. i also have problems with mid-ground. all my plants tend to be really low crypts, or really high stems plants... ihave trouble finding a happy medium.
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Old 01-11-2007, 10:08 PM   #85
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WOW!

I love the red! It's a nice change of pace. Something to aspire to...
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Old 01-17-2007, 12:38 PM   #86
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Lovely looking tank!

Aren't dwarf puffer's supposed to be species tank only though?

I love those lace plants! There looking really good. I'd like some but i'm not sure that they'll work in a 20gal long 3footer.
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Old 01-17-2007, 12:55 PM   #87
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Sorry to hear about your ailment, hope you are feeling better, and everything is ok.

Now the tank: Absolutely Gorgeous, always love seeing your tank.
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Old 01-17-2007, 02:39 PM   #88
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Thanks. IME, the DPs work very well in a community tank, provided they have plenty of room to create their own territories. They are only ever aggressive with each other... and with the nerites... They tend to hunt for snails in groups, and do not seem to even realize that the other fish or shrimp exist...
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Old 01-28-2007, 01:42 PM   #89
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*********************************
CHAPTER 3: Hitting the Reset button
*********************************

Ok, Chapter 1 was my foray into the world of hi-tech planted aquariums. Chapter 2 was slow removal of fast growing plants, and several realizations about plant types, environmental variables, and maintenance.

Chapter 3 starts with the complete teardown of the tank to replace the old 50/50 gravel/flourite mix with Eco-Complete. I considered AquaSoil, but do not feel ready to deal with the effects it has on the water column and settled on Eco as a good, hi-end alternative. Next substrate (hopefully not any time soon) will almost definitely be AS.

Some of you may have seen some of my posts about maintainability with aquascapes. I have been doing a lot of research and thinking through exactly how I could start things off. The following is a photo log of the tear-down and rebuild process, along with some thoughts and reflections throughout the process.

For the teardown I figured I would need a 30-gallon tub for the fish and plants and perhaps a 10-gallon tub for the old substrate. With those items collected, and finally enough Eco-Complete (9 bags) to feel good about moving forward, Saturday was the day. Clock: 9:30am.

Here is the tank just before tear-down. It was getting very overgrown again, and I was kind of letting it, anticipating this whole thing.








Ughhh.... If I wasn't doing a tear-down, I would still be looking at a 4-hour trimming session. OUt come the goods:






Apologies for the blurry pictures. I left the camera on the custom mode for tank shorts and I didn't realize it until the exercise was well underway... Just the same you should see what I am doing here.

Next step, siphon 25-30-gallons of water off into the temporary fish holding pin. Then start pulling plants so I can get the fish out.




With the fish, shrimp, snails and plants out of the tank (about a 2 hour process), i moved all of the substrate to one side so I could suck the water out with my python. Man, that is a lot of substrate! I always knew I had too much, but never wanted to tear it all down, so I just kept adding sacks of fluorite... I obviously underestimated and had to find some more buckets to house all of it...






After a scrub down of the glass, in goes the Eco-Complete.




Now for the hard part... Deciding on a Hard-scape... Unlike those folks you see in competition, Amano, etc, I do not have tons of materials to play around with. I have been making frequent trips down into the wash next to my house for rocks, but I do not have boxes of identical rocks and driftwood to choose from. So in the end I had to make do with the materials I had... A little frustrating from a purely artistic standpoint, but certainly more practical for now. Here is what I ended up with:






While the rocks seems pretty big when I had to carry them home, they sure are small in the tank. Out of somewhere around 100 rocks I collected only a small handful looked roughly similar under the tank lights. Really quite frustrating... I also decided that I needed to use all of the driftwood that I currently had, as most of it has small patches of moss growing, etc. Not the best pieces for a dramatic setting, but again, I made do with it all.

Next was deciding how the plants were going to go in. Now that I have had some success with my foreground, I wanted to plan things out a little better. The HM/Pearlweed grows too tall for a good foreground, so I arranged some mid-ground areas for it and plan on trimming it into submission, perhaps using it for some nice hedges.

As I was pulling out the close to 3-square feet of pearlweed from the tank, I found TONS of clover and a small amount of glosso all tangled in the mess. Spending about an hour unraveling the largest portions, I found enough clover to cover the lower area in the tank. What I like about the clover too, is that it will grow well in the less bright areas, and tends to stay very low to the ground.




As I got things setup, I did my best to layer the plants in a way that will support the grow out. So the foreground clover and some glosso (left corner) should not see any shade (assuming they stay where they are supposed to). Neither should the HM/Pearlweed in the front mid-ground, and if it does get a little shade with should just grow slightly taller.

Next layer was crypts, java fern and lace plant, which will all do fine in some shade, and finally the background stems (probably my biggest mistake in visual presentation). The idea is that as the background grows out, it should be able to shade the background and portions of the mid-ground with no issue. Ideally I might have used some fine, long grass plants in the back to tie it all together, but I just don't have the heart to trash all my red plants just yet.

I am not really happy with it right now (will I ever be??) but perhaps I will be happier in a couple weeks when it is grown in.




The HM should find its roots pretty easy in the Eco, and I will need to trim it down when it does:




Perhaps you can see what I am doing with the driftwood, a small wash/ravine with somewhat isolated mid-ground areas for the HM:




I will see how the gloss works out (right now just in the left side there), perhaps to eventually replace parts of the HM...




I finally finished around 7:30pm, clocking in at 10-hours total project time. As of this morning, 0-casualties, and all is looking happy. Tank is starting to pearl earlier than usual...
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Old 01-28-2007, 02:17 PM   #90
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Oh dapellegrini, every time I look at your tank - in any chapter of its life - I die a little inside, because it is not mine.

Gorgeous. I can't wait to see where you take it with your sustainablility ideas.
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Old 01-28-2007, 02:30 PM   #91
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Very nicely done. I especially like the driftwood that you were able to use. It has a lot of character and was arranged quite nicely. Hopefully it won't get lost as the plants grow in.
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Old 01-28-2007, 03:12 PM   #92
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question why so much substrate in the front covering all those inches of glass?
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Old 01-28-2007, 03:18 PM   #93
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Thanks Mosiac and Purrbox. I tried to plan the plants so that they will not cover the DW and rocks too much when grown out, or at least that with some trimming it will be easier to control...

Kaz - Going for levels and layers a bit. It is stacked too deep in the corners in anticipation for a good amount of settling back towards the center. If I was doing this for a photo shoot, I would not be posting pics for a couple more weeks at least.

I may end up pushing more to the back of the tank to maintain a low glass foreground... That's actually a good point. Always playing with things...
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Old 01-28-2007, 04:01 PM   #94
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Nice layout. I think it going to grow in wonderfully. I am looking forward to updated pictures.
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Old 01-28-2007, 04:35 PM   #95
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Love the new hardscape. Good luck on the sustainability. Your tank always looks great.
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Old 01-28-2007, 11:19 PM   #96
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looks fantastic! i bet i can pick a few tanks you were inspired by
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Old 01-29-2007, 12:47 AM   #97
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Nice work Dan. This is the stage I am at as well. I am dreading the tear down and rescape with a better substrate.
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Old 01-29-2007, 01:22 AM   #98
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ah understood just throughing questions here as I am a noob with plants thanks for the response and I do have to say awsome freakin setup you got going.
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6 Rummy Nose, 9 Ottos, 2 Yoyo Loach, 1 Golden Nugget Pleco, 2 Julli's Cory, 4 Angelicus Botia, 1 Chocolate Kuhli Loach, 3 Ghost Shrimp, 1 SAE, 1 Black Mollie, 1 Redeye Swordtail Mollie, 1 C-Pleco, MTS, Guppy's
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Old 01-29-2007, 02:08 AM   #99
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Gorgeous tank. The plants look great.
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Old 01-29-2007, 12:29 PM   #100
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CAn you post a list of everything you bought for your CO2 Setup?
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