The Farm

December 24th, 2014

After weeks (months) of neglect, the farm tank is finally looking good again. This isn’t meant to be aquascaped, but there’s something about a collectoritis farm tank that keeps me glued to it.


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New Aquavas Aquarium

December 23rd, 2014

I want to introduce a new aquarium that I brought back with me from the Chicago Aquatic Experience show. It’s an Aquavas system with mostly plants from Aqvainnova, who hopefully will soon be selling in the USA.


The scape is made up of spiderwood and some local quartz rocks. I’ve got cardinal tetras and Corydoras melini in there currently. There is still some new tank algae that I’m combating, but overall it’s growing in nicely.

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33G and 50G Updates

July 28th, 2014

I previously posted pictures of my 33G and 50G aquascapes. Both are growing in pretty nicely. The 50G started to get some BBA on the wood, but a combination of peroxide treatment and adding additional algae eaters seems to have eliminated most of that problem. It did, however, harm some of the foreground Monte Carlo plant, slowing it’s growth. I’m sure that it will rebound.

50G - July 28, 2014 Update

I’m still figuring out the exact amounts to dose this aquarium, slowly increasing the dosage as the plants have been growing in. The LED lights are quite bright and are actually dialed back slightly to slow things down.

33G Update - Two Weeks In

Two weeks in, the 33G cube (above) is doing okay as well. I have been getting some algae on the Blyxa japonica especially, but I think that it’s just a matter of all of the bacterial colonies stabilizing to help me with some of the organics. The foreground is starting to grow, but definitely has a ways to go. The most prolific plant thus far is the North American native, Heteranthera dubia, which is growing up behind the peak of the hill. Comments/critiques welcome!

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33G New Aquascape

July 13th, 2014

This weekend I rescaped another one of my aquariums, the 33g cube. Previously, this tank had several iterations of my Bermuda-inspired aquascape. This time, I wanted to reuse some Africa Bogwood that’s been sitting idle for awhile. This wood is pretty chunky, but it sinks well, mosses attach to it well, and it stacks nicely without too many obvious gaps. As proof, you hopefully can’t tell that there are actually about a dozen different pieces of wood in the new scape that are woven together with the intention of making it look like one comprehensive stump.
33g New Aquascape

In terms of plants, I reused most of the plants that I had in the previous aquascape. In the foreground/midground, I have Micrantherum umbrosum “monte carlo”, Staurogyne ‘Porto Velho’, Ludwigia sphaerocarpa, and Riccardia chamedryfolia. Surrounding the wood I use Blyxa japonica, and in the background there’s a mismatch of Syngonanthus ‘Madiera’ and ‘Belem’, Ludwigia simpsonii, Ludwigia octovalvis, and Dioda virginiania. Once the stems are more visible I’ll pick which ones I’m actually going to keep. The fish are the same that have been in there for awhile, highlighted by the trio of blackbanded sunfish. Comments/suggestions welcome!

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50G Aquascape

June 7th, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, I rescaped my 50G aquarium and setup a new scape with some new Rosewood and Activ-Flora substrate — two things I’ve never used before. The Activ-Flora substrate is chose is a mix of their Floragems and Lakegems varieties, which basically look like river pebbles. I used a quartz-based rock that was locally collected that has slate and other veins marbled through it.

50G Aquascape

The rosewood is a very unique wood that branches in many different directions. Most of the branching is actually root material. It floats initially so I needed to weigh down my pieces for about a week, and the wood went through the normal fungus phase which was quickly consumed by snails. I did get some brown algae that I remedied by blasting the tank with 6 different powerheads and some extra filtration to clear it. Currently, I think the scape is a bit too bright due to the substrate, but I’m hoping that once the Monty-Carlo foreground grows in, it will look better. I may need to adjust the heights on the rosewood pieces to create a bit more distinction and visual pathways. At this point, however, I’m happy to just get the plants growing and algae-free. Comments welcome!

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Bermuda Scape Progression

January 17th, 2014

A few days ago I introduced the Bermuda inspired aquascape in my 33g cube. Here is a bit more of a progression from hardscape to more/less completion from July to October.

33g Bermuda Inspired Aquascape

Hardscape – July 6, 2013

The hardscape is quite barren, but I really wanted the represent the sandy beach.

33G - Bermuda Scape

Just Planted – July 6, 2013

After planting, the original goal was to continue to leave a lot of exposed sand, with just minimal scrubby plants lining some of the rocks.

33g Bermuda Inspired Aquascape

A few weeks of growth – July 27, 2013

I added more varieties of plants to provide lots of different textures from the plants. This seems to be fairly representative of the dunes that have lots of different flora.

33g Bermuda Inspired Aquascape

Several months of growth – October 13, 2013

The plants all grew in, reclaiming most of the sand. While this is not necessarily the original intent of the scape, I like how it’s evolved and like the mixture of different plants. I never completely groomed the plants to create that final photo, but enjoyed it nevertheless. It is still up and running today, but is even more overgrown. I’ll post an update soon.

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Bermuda Inspired Aquascape

January 14th, 2014

Back in April I had the pleasure to travel to Bermuda to speak to the Bermuda Fry-Angle Aquarium Society. While I was there, my wife and I took some time to site see, walk the beaches, etc. I noticed that the beaches are all lined with a gray sandstone, with scrub brush and palms above them. Many of the scrub is mixed in with dead underbrush, bleached white by the sun.


Up close, the sandstone really looks similar to basalt and the underbrush looks a lot like sandblasted manzanita. I had all of these materials in my fishroom, so I decided to put together a Bermuda-inspired scape. I mainly used Syngonanthus anomalous ‘Madiera’ with some Staurogyne ‘Porto Velho’ in the foreground.

33G - Bermuda Scape

This picture was taken back in July. In a future post, I’ll show how it’s evolved and grown in…

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50G Update

January 5th, 2014

After battling BBA for a couple months, I think it’s finally starting to subside as the plants grow in my 50G aquarium. Shortly after setting this tank up, the combination of intense lighting, too few plants, and a couple CO2 outages resulted in black brush algae to cover most of the rocks, and many of the plant leaves. I also had a brief bought with green algae, which I believe was due to an insufficient bacteria colony to help break down the organics in the tank.

50G Aquascape

Recall that this aquarium was basically started afresh, removing very old Aquasoil and replacing it with Seachem Flourite Black. I also made a couple of equipment changes, adding an inline CO2 atomizer on my filter outflow and a surface skimmer on the inflow. This has helped a longtime problem with surface scum. I’m planning to keep up on the manual removal of BBA until it’s gone. Let me know what you think of the aquascape in the comments.

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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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