75G: Rescape

November 19th, 2013

This week I rescaped my 75G angelfish aquarium. I wanted to open up the tank a little bit, while still preserving some of the classic anglefish biotypes by including sword plants as key focal points to the scape. I reused several plants from the previous scape, namely the Cryptocoryne pontederiifolia and Anubias barteri var. ‘nana petite’.
75G - Nov 2013 Rescape

This is the first aquascape that I’ve done using Brightwell Aquatic’s FlorinVolcanit substrate. I completely emptied the aquarium of all of the previous substrate, leaving only the eggcrate to prevent rocks from directly contacting the glass bottom.


Then, I placed the hardscape into the aquarium. I choose to use several pieces of manzanita laying over quartz/slate rock, to simulate a fallen branch in the river, wedge between a rocky riverbank. I wanted to simulate a stream bed where the dying tree branches gave life to other aquatic plants, namely the Kleiner Prinz Sword plants.


Lastly, I filled in the foreground with white pool filter sand. I did plant some Staurogyne sp. ‘Porto Velho’ in the sand that I hope will break it up a bit, but hope to keep most of the plain foreground intact, as it provides a nice contrast to the darker wood. Overall, I’m looking forward to seeing how this new aquascape progresses as the plants grow in. Comments welcome!

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50G – New Aquascape

October 31st, 2013

I rescaped my 50G aquarium this weekend, replacing a lot of wood from the previous scape with some new rock that I picked up from another GWAPA member. The main things that I wanted to achieve with this aquascape were to try out Seachem Flourite Black and to feature Gratiola viscidula, which is planted all throughout the rocks.

50G - New Aquascape

Obviously, the plants all need to grow in now to make the whole thing look more natural. The plants are Ranalisma rostrata, Gratiola viscidula, Staurogyne ‘Low Grow’, Juncus repens, Hygrophila ‘Araguaia’, Blyxa japonica, Ludwigia arcuata, and Hygrophila odora.


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Bermuda Home Show

May 4th, 2013

Recently, I was honored to be invited by the Bermuda Fry-Angle Aquarium Society to speak to their club about planted aquariums and judge their home show. On Friday evening, I gave a presentation on keeping planted aquariums and the basics of aquascaping. Then, on Sunday, I went house-to-house with several members to judge their home show. In their home show, they have two categories: designer tanks and planted aquariums.

Sinder's Design Tank

The tank above is Sinder’s aquarium, who is a teenager that is wonderfully inspired by aquarium keeping. He entered two tanks and this is his designer tank. I like the idea behind the hardscape, and but thought that overall it just needed a little more growth and polish.

Michele's Design Tank

Michelle had a very nice Anubias tank that flowed very nicely from one side to the other. Overall I liked the tank, but was hoping for a small amount of intrigue from a background or from some pieces of wood jutting from the main section.

Nyon's Design Tank

Nyon won the designer category with his aquarium. He had several pieces of driftwood suspended and hanging into the aquarium. He had incorporated some Amazon Swords to add a splash of greenery to the tank, which I liked.

Sinder's Planted Aquarium

On the planted aquarium side, Sinder had a very nice Aponogeton 10G aquarium that included mostly South American fish and represented a nice biotope-style aquarium.

Scott's Planted Aquarium

Scott had a beautiful cluster of Cryptocoryne wendtii in his 75G aquarium. He had started to planted dwarf sag across the foreground, but it hadn’t really filled in yet. The plants looked very nice though, and I’m looking forward to seeing the finish aquascape once everything grows in.

David's Planted Aquarium

David had a 180G aquarium in his kitchen with and really nice hardsacpe in place. He used lacerock, mixed with wood to a simple minimalist scape using just C. wendtii, Val, C. lutea, and some Anubias. It is a stunning aquarium to sit in front of, and had a lot of activity going on from a nice selection of fauna.

Robert's Planted Aquarium

Overall, I judged Robert’s 75G aquarium to be the winner. He had really nice plants, and while he did had some wood in the tank, he basically pulled off a nice planted aquarium without much hardscape visible. The Marsilea still needs to fill in a little bit in the foregroundbut his plants were not showing any deficiencies, and he had them nicely groomed. I had a wonderful time in Bermuda mingling with the local aquarium-keepers, and was very encouraged by the planted aquarium talent present on the island.

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33G and 50G Aquascape Updates

June 12th, 2012

The two recent aquascapes are coming together. The 33G cube is finally starting to grow in. I had a couple bulbs die on me that went unnoticed for several weeks. I couldn’t figure out why the foreground was growing in so slowly until I looked up and sure enough the front two HOT5s were dark. Once I replaced them, the Elatine triandra and HC started to take off. The rest of the plants are growing really well too.

33G Aquascape

I’ve started to get a little bit of BBA, so I’ve been spot treating and have adjusted me dosing scheme slightly. The 50G aquarium (below) is also growing pretty well. I removed the Blyxa aubertii because it was too overpowering. In it’s place, I’ve planted a row of Syngonanthus sp. ‘Madiera’, which I hope will fill in nicely. I need a little bit more color in this scape, as well, but the Rotala macrandra variant I have in there isn’t really thrilling me.

50G Aquascape

At this point, it’s still a little bit of a work in progress. The bristlenosed plecos are making it difficult for me to establish a foreground as well. All in good time I suppose!

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Mini-S Update

February 13th, 2012

I snapped a photo of my Mini-S nano aquarium this morning. The Hemianthus callitrichoides is growing in well, however, I’m scratching my head a little bit regarding the difference in appearance of the HC on the right side verses the left side of the tank. The left side looks fantastic, with lush, green growth. The right side is growing, but many of the leaves are brown or even decaying. There’s definitely more flow on the right side of the tank, but usually that’s a good thing.

Mini-S Update

The stuff on the right side probably doesn’t have as much substrate to root itself into as on the left, so I’ve added a little bit of powder-type ADA Amazonia on the right. We’ll see if that helps improve the help. Otherwise, comments welcome!

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New Mini-S Aquascape

January 19th, 2012

Over the holidays, I decided to fill my Mini-S aquarium back up, and implement a new aquascape. It had been sitting dry for several months, as the room it once resided in got renovated, and I didn’t want to fiddle with the tank elsewhere during those renovations. This time, I decided to do a simplistic iwagumi-style aquascape with HC as the only plant. It took me about a week of tinkering to find the right collection of rocks, and to position them as seen below. I ordered 4 pots of Hemianthus callitrichoides from Green Leaf Aquariums, and planted it a few days later.

Mini-s Iwagumi

I snapped this picture a few minutes ago while feeding the fish in the rest of my aquariums. This is about 2-3 weeks after planting, and the only thing I’ve been dosing is Seachem Excel for a carbon source. Otherwise, I’m currently relying on the nutrients in new ADA Aquasoil (regular Amazonia and powder forms). I’d love to hear some feedback on the hardscape arrangement as it stands now.

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75G – Riccia Scape!

July 6th, 2011

After months of neglect, the previous aquascape in my 75G had gotten completely overgrown. What started as a few strands of hitch-hiker Riccia fluitans eventually covered the water surface in totality, shading out most of the plants below it. So, I decided to turn lemons into lemonade, using that pest of a liverwort as a foreground in my new aquascape.

75G - Riccia Scape

I reused much of the same bogwood for the hardscape, but rather than showing the knobby side of the wood, I kept everything smooth-side-up to look like tree roots weaving up out of the Riccia lawn. I had lots of Cryptocoryne pontederiifolia in the previous scape, which I spread out as my background plant. The gaps were filled with Anubias barterii var. ‘nana’. Obviously, it needs to fill in a bit, but I’d love to hear your initial comments/critiques!

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New Aquascape, Updated Aquascape…

March 1st, 2011

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted my Mini-S aquascape. I’m pretty happy with how it’s turning out, although I can’t decide whether to let the Blyxa japonica grow tall like it is, or to keep it shoved down behind the rock more. Suggestions on that? I also added some livestock in the form of Phoenix Rasboras, Orange-Eyed Blue Tiger Shrimp, and a few horned Nerite snails.

ADA Mini-S

A couple weekends ago I found some time to rescape my 50G aquarium. I’m not entirely thrilled with it in its current state, but I’m hoping that the plants will grow in a bit, and minimize the size of those rocks a little bit. I was also hoping that my plecos wouldn’t dig, but that seems to have been wishful thinking.

50G - New Aquascape

At least it’s looking way better than it did prior to my rescape. In case you’re curious, I’m trying to do a themed series of aquascapes in my fishroom, using the pool filter sand, and fairly minimalistic look. Now I just need to keep this and my 33G going while I find time to rescape my 75G!

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33G: New Aquascape

February 10th, 2011

I finally took a break from my on-going home improvement projects to rescape my GLA 33G rimless aquarium. Being inspired by Ghazanfar Ghori’s aquarium at the last GWAPA meeting, I wanted to setup an aquascape with a sand foreground, using some of the same type of rocks he used. I also wanted to utilize a pile of branches I had laying around.

33G New Hardscape

As far as plants go, I wanted to use the Hygrophila pinnatifida that I got at the AGA auction last fall. I’ve been growing it out from tiny plants straight out of tissue culture, so it’s taken a little while to get enough for an aquascape. My goal was also to keep the aquascape fairly minimalist, using only 3-4 species of plants, any heavily relying on the hardscape.

33G New Aquascape

After planting, the tank’s water was quite cloudy, but it’s looking pretty good this evening. To supplement the H. pinnatifida, I used lots of Trident Java Fern. I also placed a number of Fissidens covered rocks around, and planted some Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides, which I hope will cascade up and over the rocks to soften the cracks between them.

33G New Aquascape

All in all, I’m pretty happy with how this aquascape has started out. I’d love to hear and comments/critiques you may have.

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Video: Amano Aquascapes

February 1st, 2011

Frank over at ADG posted a great video of Takasi Amano aquascapes on their Facebook site. It’s easy to see why Amano is recognized worldwide as an aquascaping pioneer.

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