Another 2.5G Aquascape

May 21st, 2009

After doing my last 2.5G aquascape with Riccia fluitans, I decided to try it again with some leftover Riccia, but this time, also use Blyxa japonica as a grassy background plant. Please ignore the unnaturally white patch in the front-center as some of this Riccia had been sitting in a container away from light for a week or two. Opps!

2.5G - Another Riccia Scape

I’m really enjoying some of this slate that I found last month with a couple of GWAPA members. We found some pieces with pretty good character, which make it perfect for a small tank like this. In any case, in scape with just two plants, there’s not much to say. What do you think? Comments/critiques welcome!

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2.5G – A Few Corrections

May 3rd, 2009

After looking at the last aquascape, and sleeping on it overnight, I decided to change a few of the rocks in front. Let me know what you think…

2.5G - White Background

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Quick 2.5G Riccia Scape

May 2nd, 2009

GWAPA’s 2.5G aquascaping contest is well underway, and I wanted to try my hand at a riccia rockscape as it would be quick to put together, and would hopefully get me used to working inside this small of an aquarium. So, I looked through my “rock box” for some smallish pieces of rock, built up a slope, and then covered the whole substrate with Riccia fluitans, which I had been growing out for months in my 75G for this very purpose.

2.5G Riccia Scape

What do you think of the result? It really couldn’t be any easier of an “instant-scape,” as the look is virtually complete immediately after planting. Now only that, but Riccia is a floating plant, so it’s unlikely that all pieces will stay down on the substrate forever, making this a very short-term aquascape.

2.5G Riccia Scape

While others have used hairnets, fishing line, string, and other implements to keep the Riccia inplace, I started with large mats of Riccia, so all I needed to do was hold down the center with strategitically placed rocks. That’s the benefit of growing it as floating mats in another tank first, before trying to use it as a foreground plant — the mats are already tightly interlocked. Comments/critiques welcome!

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2.5G – Suggestions Used + Photography

September 2nd, 2008

Two weeks ago, I posted a rather pathetic version of my 2.5G aquascape. I got some great comments from everyone, and have updated the scape in a few areas. It’s amazing the difference that the Blyxa japonica, in particular, makes in this scape in the back left. Otherwise, I added some Anubias barteri var. ‘nana’ and moved all of the Java Fern to the right side of the tank. What do you think?

2.5G - 08-31-2008

I also decided to practice some of my photography skills for this picture. With these smaller tanks, you really have the luxury of being able to flash the heck out of the whole tank evenly, using just a couple of strobes. You can see my setup below. I sat one flash on top of the light fixture pointing upward into a domed piece of computer paper. The dome reflects the flash down the back of the tank, illuminating the white paper background sitting about 3-4 inches behind the aquarium.

Photographing the 2.5G

Then, I have a second strobe suspended, using an improvised snoot to focus the light into the tank, which illuminates the front of the scape, which would normally be shaded by the rocks. Of course, the aquarium light itself provides pretty decent light as well, so these strobes are really just for a bit extra refinement. Any suggestions?

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2.5G – Not Quite There

August 21st, 2008

I last posted about my 2.5G tank about a month ago. Since then, the HC has really taken off, but it’s getting kind of out of hand, actually. The one thing I don’t like about HC is that, unlike Glossostigma elatinoides, it doesn’t trail the substrate as tightly, growing upwards a bit more instead. Of course the benefit is that HC has much smaller leaves than glosso.


2.5G - Click for larger image

It’s pretty obvious to me that the Malayan aquasoil has run out of umph. This isn’t entirely unexpected because the tank has been setup for almost 2 months now. That means that I’ve had to start dosing some Seachem fertilizers to keep things going. From the algae on the glass, you can tell that I haven’t been as consistent as I should be in this respect. The downoi has all but melted for me — again. This plant dogs me for some reason every time I try it in a nano. I suspect it’s the inconsistent dosing, or possibly the higher temperatures that the light produces in this tank. Overall, I’m kind of underwhelmed by this scape. Hopefully I’ll be able to spruce it up a little bit before October 1st when the photo is due. I love to hear suggestions for what to put on the left side.

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2.5G Aquascape – 3 Weeks

July 20th, 2008

Three weeks ago, I setup this 2.5G aquascape, and if you compare it with my previous update, you can see that some progress has been made. The HC has grown tremendously, largely due to the injection of pressurized CO2. The java fern in the background as stayed largely the same, but that’s about how I want it to be.

2.5G - 3 Weeks

Aquascape, 3 weeks after initial setup.

Unfortunately, the downoi has all but melted. I suspect that the combination of the buffers in the ADA Aquasoil and the added CO2 has made the water a bit too acidic for its taste. I think the tops have started growing again, so hopefully in a few more weeks it will grow back, obscuring the ugly CO2 reactor on the left side. (Sorry, I don’t remove equipment when taking incremental shots. Note, however, that if you ever enter a contest to do so because some judges view a perfect aquascape, but see a filter intake, and act as if a mortal sin has been committed. End rant.) Comments welcome on what I can do to improve this scape.

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2.5G Scape – 1 Week In

July 7th, 2008

My 2.5G aquascape is now planted, and a week old. I haven’t really seen a ton of growth yet, but I’m hoping that the plants are just getting themselves acclimated to the conditions. I am running pressurized CO2 into the aquarium in hopes that it will speed things along.

2.5G - 1 Week

The plants are pretty bread and butter type plants for a nano tank. From left to right, in the back I’ve got Downoi, Narrowleaf Java Fern, and Java Fern ‘Trident/Fingers’. In the foreground, there’s Hemianthus callitrichoides (HC) and Anubias barteri var. ‘nana petite’ in the midground. I’m going to need to thicken up the downoi a little bit, and let the HC grow in, but otherwise, if those two things happen, I’m pretty happy with this aquascape. As always, I would love some comments/critiques.

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2.5G – Start of a Winner!

July 2nd, 2008

I’ve finally gotten around to setting up my 2.5G tank for the GWAPA MemberĀ  Nanoscape Contest. I tore down the soil experiment tank, and loaded it up with a small 3L bag of ADA Malaya Aquasoil that I had on the shelf for over a year. I ordered a bag of Malaya and Africana awhile ago to compare them to ADA’s Amazon, but haven’t had the opportunity to until now.


Malaya is a bit lighter in coloration than that of Amazonia, and has little flecks throughout. For the hardscape, I’m sticking with a porous mossy rock only composition, largely because I don’t have any pieces of driftwood small enough with the amount of character that I’d like.


This is my first attempt in terms of positioning the rocks. I haven’t fully determined what plants I’m going to use yet, so I’m going to have to update this more once I figure that out! In any case, any suggestions on the hardscape?

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Wormstrate/Soil – Winners and Loser

June 30th, 2008

I am concluding my comparison of the soil and worm-casting-based substrates. The picture below sums it all up — neither tank met or exceeded my expectations. Now, in this case, the winner appears to be the wormstrate, but in truth, there is no winner, and the biggest loser is me.

2.5G Soilstrate/Wormstrate Aquraiums

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to really conduct a fair experiment for these two tanks. I rarely dosed any Excel, and the lights themselves probably made the tanks too warm to successfully grow many plants. Factor in my travels recently, and it adds up to a lot of neglect. I’m amazed that the wormstrate was able to maintain a growing carpet of Marsilea quadrifolia. The soil tank on the other hand, saw nearly all of the plant life disappear. The only plant that really did well in that tank was Limnophila aquatica (now removed), which grows in just about anything. I want to make clear that this is not an indictment of soil substrates because I know many GWAPA members who have absolutely amazing results with soil. It’s only a failure of execution on my behalf. So, I’m tearing down the soil substrate tank, and am finally going to set up my 2.5G aquascape for the GWAPA contest. I have until October 1st to make it into something fabulous!

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Soil/Wormstrates – 9 Weeks

May 15th, 2008

It’s been a little bit more than 2 months since I setup my side-by-side comparison of soil substrate (left) and worm casting substrate (right). Both are looking kind of pathetic, but the wormstrate appears to be doing a little bit less pathetic than the soil. Admittedly, I’m not convinced that these results have much to do with the substrate, however.

Soil/Worm Substrates - Update

I still need to split out my CO2 lines to feed CO2 directly into this tank. I just don’t think that Excel cuts it in this case, even though I’ve been slightly more consistent in my dosing than I was previously. Some plants are starting to grow, however, such as the Marsilea quadrifolia below.

Marsilea quadrifolia

But, despite the growth, I think I may be missing some other vital nutrient. Many of the stem plants are starting to stunt on their new growth. Check out this pathetic looking Hygrophila polysperma from the wormstrate tank. Usually this plant grows moderately well in any conditions! It’s also possible that heat may be a factor as the 2x13W lights over each of these tanks put off a ton of warmth.

Deficient Hygrophila polysperma

The Didiplis diandre has all but died out of the soil tank, but I must say that the soil substrate is growing the fullest stem plant — Asian Ambulia. The compact growth of this stem looks almost healthy!

Asian Ambulia

It’s really interesting to see how specialized some of these plants are, where one can thrive in conditions that melt other plants. I’m not considering either of these tanks a bust (or a success) yet, but I’m definitely looking for suggestions on what I should be doing to turn them around.

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