Bookshelf Tank – Three More Weeks Growth

January 22nd, 2013

Below is a picture I snapped today while working in on my tanks. It’s been three weeks since I posted a picture of this aquarium, and as you can see, the Lilaeopsis is growing in very nicely. I’m getting a few leaves with fuzz algae, largely in areas that aren’t getting a ton of flow. That’s definitely one of the problems with this tank size. I have to used nano-sized powerheads, so they don’t push a ton of water. If I upgrade to the next size, the powerhead disturbs both the substrate and the water surface.

33g Update

So, I’m going to simply re-position the powerheads I have to try and fix the problem. I’ve also dimmed the LEDs just a tad to slow the growth a little bit. I have to say that I love that this is possible with many LED fixtures! Let me know if you like how it growing in. (Or if you don’t!)

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33g – Getting Closer…

August 13th, 2012

I did some water changes this evening, and snapped a photo of my 33g as it stands today. The Elatine triandra is responding well to a trim that I did last week, and the rest of the plants are growing in well. I had to trim off a few leaves with black brush algae (BBA), since I got a little bit lax in my dosing over the past week or two, but it didn’t get out of control.

33G - August 13th Update

I’d love to hear any suggestions to refine the scape even more.

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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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Fish Room Update

April 8th, 2012

I was a good aquarium keeper this weekend, and did my weekly water changes, trimmed several plants, replanted others, and generally spent some time tank-watching. While, I wouldn’t equate my fish room to an ADA gallery, I’m slowing getting most of the tanks to a point where they’re generally pleasing to me.

75G Aquascape for Angels

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The 75G (my angelfish tank) is really looking wonderful. The bits of black-brush algae that had crept up on the hardscape are receding little-by-little every week thanks to more consistent dosing, water changes, and feeding. It probably doesn’t hurt that I added a few extra Amano shrimp and zebra nerites either. The angelfish are majestic, and are truly beautiful fish to watch. No fins get injured, but the seven large angels take and cede territory regularly throughout the day. Of course, when it’s feeding time, all seven crowd the front glass.

33G - Two Weeks After Rescape

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The recently rescaped 33G cube is in a mixed state right now. I think the fresh Aquasoil and tannins from the wood have made the tank pretty acidic. Some of the more delicately leaved plants like Didiplis diandre and HC have melted a little bit due to this. On the other hand, Rotala sp. ‘Yao Yaihas grown well, but I know the nitrate levels in the tank are elevated since it’s bright green without a tinge of red. None of the fish seem any worse for wear, but I’ve pulled out the test kits a couple times to monitor, and will do extra water changes if need be.

50G - Two Weeks After Rescape

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The other recently rescaped tank, my 50G has been growing well. I didn’t replace as much Aquasoil in this aquarium, so I don’t seem to have the same problems as in the 33G aquarium. All of the stem plants have grown in size. Unfortunately, the Blyxa japonica seems to be dominating the scape a little too much. I’m going to pull some of it out once the Ranalisma rostrata grows in, as it’ll provide a similar look without as much height.

40G Farm Tank

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Truth be told, one of the tanks I’ve gotten the most pleasure out of lately has been the jungle of my 40G farm tank. It has a little bit of thread algae in it, but the plants are looking stunning. I’ve been diligent about my trimming to keep any one plant from shading out the rest. I also recently (within the past six weeks) moved all ferns/anubias/etc to the left side of the tank, leaving the right side solely for stem and other desirable plants. In addition, I’ve been feeding the Pseudocrenilabrus nicholsi blackworms, which has made the dominant male absolutely stunning. He patrols the tank all day long, trying to court females into depressions in the substrate or thick bushes of stem plants. There’s enough hiding places for the other fish to hide if they get tired of his aggressive behavior, however, so everyone’s happy.

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Two Rescapes

March 26th, 2012

I finally blocked out about 12 hours this weekend to properly rescape my 33G rimless cube and my 50G aquariums. Both had become Blyxa farms, and could no longer be repaired without totally breaking them down. Therefore, I decided to try to put together two Nature Aquarium style aquascapes for our local club’s annual aquascaping contest.

33G - One Day after Rescape

33G - One Day after Rescape

For the 33G cube, I pretty much followed ADA’s formula for aquascaping: slope the substrate, place the hardscape, plant Anubias along the edges of the substrate, wrap moss around the the hardscape, plant everything else, and fill tank with water. What you can’t see are Hemianthus glomeratus, Didiplis diandre, and Ludwigia arcuata, which I hope will grow into nice bushes just over the top of the Malaysian driftwood.

50G Rescape

50G - Immediately after rescape

The 50G uses Malaysian driftwood as well, but I couldn’t bring myself to throw away two full buckets for of Blyxa, so I decided to reuse them in this scape. Unfortunately, I haven’t received the Ranalisma rostrata in the mail yet, but that will be my foreground plant here. I took photos during my rescape process, so let’s go through it.

50G Rescape

I always try to do some preliminary hardscaping outside of the tank before I start. This allows me to quickly realize if I have enough hardscape materials, the right pieces, and pre-plan what types of plants I’ll need to pull from other tanks.

50G Rescape

This substrate was previously ADA Aquasoil Amazonia on top of a mixture of 50/50 sand and worm castings with 100% pool sand in the foreground. I scrapped out all of the sand foreground, and while I was at it, decided to remove the top layer of Aquasoil, as well.

50G Rescape

I recapped the base level with fresh ADA Aquasoil to help get my aquascape off to a fresh start. All of the muck that was removed is going outside to my pond for this year’s potted pond plants.

50G Rescape

Next, it was time to place the hardscape. Since I had previously designed the hardscape outside of the aquarium, I simply transplanted the driftwood from my floor to the tank. I still spent about 20 minutes adjusting the angles and placement of the pieces. I finished the process by working in a little bit of extra Aquasoil throughout the hardscape to better integrate the wood into the landscape.

50G Rescape

Next, I planted the aquascape. The midground is mostly made up of Blyxa japonica, with a background of Blyxa aubertii on the left hand side. I also added several stems from my farm tank, namely: Hygrophila pinnatifida, Rotala macrandra ‘narrow’, Syngonanthus sp. ‘Madiera’, Didiplis diandre, and  Hygrophila odora. Finally, I softened the hardscape with Fissidens moss.

50G Rescape

It’s hard to see the difference in this picture, compared to the one above it, but I added a few moss-wrapped pieces of wood around the perimeter of the foreground. I like adding these little touches to make the environment a little bit more natural looking.

50G Rescape

Lastly, I filled the tank with water. I will post updates as the water clears, and after I plant the foreground. Initial feedback welcome!

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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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33G – Aquascaping Update

September 20th, 2010

It’s been two weeks since my last update on this aquascape, so I wanted to post a nearly finalized version to see what everyone thinks. I finally replaced the Myriophyllum mattogrossense on the right side with more Blyxa japonica. I think this really improves the overall look of the aquascape. Do you agree?

33G Aquascape - 09/20/2010

The Ranalisma rostrata is continuing to fill in nicely, with a few strands of Echinodorus tenellus var. ‘micro’ mixing in, which is actually a good thing. The E. tenellus provides a slightly longer leaf than the Ranalisma which creates a nice transition between that and the longer leaved Blyxa.


Otherwise, I’ve had to start dosing this aquarium to prevent algae from creeping in too much. I guess the ADA Aquasoil has started to deplete, but that’s to be expected after a few months. Comments/critiques welcome!

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33G: A Few Adjustments…

September 8th, 2010

I made a few adjustments to my 33G aquascape since the last post. For starters, I still haven’t removed the Myriophyllum mattogrossense from the right side, as my other tanks are currently full of other plants that I don’t want to get overrun by the fast-growing Myrio. I really think you could see this stuff grow if you sat and watched it! I’ve had differing opinions from folks as to whether or not they like the Myrio. Please let me know what you think in the comments.

33G Rimless Aquarium

Otherwise, I did remove the rock that was in the front-right, directly in front of the large rock. I felt that the previous one was too big and detracted from the large rock. What do you think of the smaller rock there? I also raised one of the rocks in the back, just left of center, so that it would be slightly more visible, rather than being buried by the Blyxa japonica.

33G Rimless Aquarium

One of the reasons I love this porous mossy rock is that many pieces have small caves in them. The large rock, for example, has two caves, one directly on its peak, with the other on the backside of the rock. In previous scapes, I’ve had both Apistogramma and Ancistrus spawn inside of these tunnels.

33G Rimless Aquarium

I’m really amazed by how quickly this aquascape is shaping up, and filling in. I guess fresh aquasoil, combined with good lights and lots of CO2 are a winning combination. The only problem I’ve had so far is some diatom algae, which was easily gobbled up overnight (literally) by four baby bristlenosed plecos I added from another tank. While they grow to about 6″ in size, right now these plecos are about 1.5″ inches, or similar in size to Otocinclus, so they were the perfect remedy. Comments/critiques welcome!

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33G: New Tank, New Aquascape

August 31st, 2010

A few weeks ago, I posted some pictures of the new aquarium stand I had built for my GLA 33G rimless aquarium. Well, I finally got around to actually setting up and aquascaping this tank. One of my goals was to keep this aquascape fairly minimalistic. Therefore, I originally planted the entire tank with only one plant, Ranalisma rostrata. Then, after looking at it a few days, I decided to add Staurogyne repens around the base of the rock.


After another few days, I thought the background needed some taller grass sloping up to the large rock, so I added some Blyxa japonica. Then, I went too far, and planted some Myriophyllum mattogrossense to the right of the rock. I’m going to pull out this plant, as I think the aquascape will be more striking with clean rock lines there. I may stick a little bit of Blyxa japonica there so that just a few grassy tips are visible, but I will need to experiment with how that looks.


Now, I’m just waiting for all of the plants to fill in and bush out. I really like the dimensions (25″x18″x18″) of this particular aquarium, as it’s basically like aquascaping half of a 75G. I have always complained how it’s easy to get one side of a larger tank looking great, but it’s hard to design an equally awesome second half to complement the first. Well, with this tank, I can simply worry about one side. What do you think of the aquascape so far? Comments/critiques welcome!

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