75G – 1.5 Months In

September 21st, 2009

It’s been about a month and a half since I rescape my 75G aquarium. As you can see, the plants are all grown in pretty well across the board. The Glossostigma elatinoides in the foreground has reached critical mass, and has carpeted 95% of the area in front. It won’t be long before it has fully filled out. The background plants are all growing very nicely, as well, but I still need to yank some of the some between the two mounds to make them more distinct. (Sometimes, I have a problem holding onto plants I like, even though they’re cluttering an aquascape.)

75G - Aquascape at 1.5 Months

75G - Click for larger image

I could probably stand to add a few more fish to this aquarium that would occupy the upper regions of the water. I have catfish and cichlids in there, which occupy the lower regions, but only a few remaining rainbowfish swim freely up above. The easy solution would be to add all of the zebra danios which have been breeding outside in my pond now that the weather is getting a bit cooler. We’ll see if that happens or not, as I don’t want them picking off any Nannacara anomala fry should the parents breed. Comments/critiques welcome!

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50G – Goodbye Old Scape, Hello New Rocks!

September 17th, 2009

I finally got past my resistance and tore down the “Fallen Tree” aquascape in my 50G. I really wanted an aquascape where I can use some nice stem plants, but the manzanita hardscape seen below really just needs a simple low-to-the-ground type design on the right side. The stem plants I had in there looked okay, but didn’t really work with the hardscape.

50G - Last Shot Before Rescape

So, Wednesday evening I tore out all of the plants and hardscape, and made myself a new rockscape using the new rocks I collected from my friend’s backyard. In his neighborhood, construction of the homes sometimes involves dynamite to dig out for the foundation, which conveniently leaves mounds of quartz-based rocks all over the place. I thought a rock-dominated aquascape would allow me to use the stem plants more effectively because the rocks would hide the bottoms, allowing nicely trimmed tops to pop out from behind them.

50G - Rescape

Above, you can see what I came up with. The foreground is still all Eleocharis sp. ‘Japan’, with a midground almost 100% comprised of Blyxa japonica. Blyxa aubertii is in the back-left with Limnophila repens var. ‘Mini’, Rotala sp. ‘Araguaia’, Ludwigia senegalensis, Pogostemon erectum, and Rotala mexicana var. ‘Araguaia’ making up the background. Comments welcome!

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Limnophila sp. ‘Wavy’

September 14th, 2009

One of the newer plants I’ve been growing was sold to me as Limnophila sp. ‘Wavy.’ It is a larger, bright green, version of the Limnophila aromatica whose leaves grow in slightly twisted and wavy. When handled out of water, L. sp. ‘Wavy’ has a smell similar to rosemary like L. aromatica. I would not be at all surprised if we learned that Wavy is really just a variant of L. aromatica.

Limnophila sp. 'Wavy'

I am currently growing Limnophila sp. ‘Wavy’ in my 75G aquarium to provide a bright green background to my hardscape. Since it is a slightly larger plant, it probably isn’t very well suited to any aquarium smaller than 40G-50G. So far, it has been an incredibly prolific grower, requiring a trim more frequently than L. aromatica, which is also growing in the same aquarium.

Limnophila sp. 'Wavy'

It accepts trimming well, and eventually branches at the spot of the cut. Therefore, if you have a larger aquarium, I would recommend this plant as an excellent addition to provide bright green coloration with a unique leaf shape.

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20L – Aquascape

September 13th, 2009

Back in July, I converted my quarantine tank into something of an aquascaped quarantine tank. Then, after rescaping my 75G, I had lots of extra Bolbitis, which I incorporated into this scape. This tank is really just a holding ground for plants and fish, with no CO2, minimal dosing, and a crappy light. Nevertheless, there’s no reason why it can’t look somewhat presentable.

20L Aquascape

20L - 9/12/2009, click for larger

Above is what it’s looking like currently (despite the poor picture). The Sagittaria subulata is slowly creeping to the right to fill in that side, and the crypts on the left side are gradually filling that in. The Bolbitis easily filled up the space in the back right, and behind the rock on the left. Overall, it’s coming along. There’s definitely an appeal to this low-tech tank because they grow so slowly that you only need to trim a couple times a year. Comments welcome!

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210G Aquascaping Photoshoot

September 8th, 2009

This past weekend I was asked by a fellow GWAPA member to come over and help them take pictures of their 210G aquarium for the upcoming AGA Aquascaping Contest deadline on September 15th. I hadn’t actually seen Michael’s aquarium before, but I had heard some pretty amazing things about it. For starters, it’s a 210G custom-built aquarium using starfire glass, and fully plumbed into his home’s water-supply.

Michael's 210G Aquarium

He has a constant drip trickling into the system, providing roughly a 10% water change every single day. This probably wouldn’t otherwise be required, but he really wants to keep his beautiful school of discus in pristine health. The plumbing is directly in the middle of tank, but he has aquascaped his tank, which is viewable by three sides, in such a way that all equipment is completely hidden.


The discus are phenomenal, being excellent stock from Discus Hans here in Baltimore. They did a pretty good job queuing up in a line while we were shooting the rest of the aquarium. If you’re wondering where the front-on aquarium shots are, I don’t want to post those until after the AGA contest is over.


It really is wonderful to be part of an aquarium club where you can learn so much stuff from the ways other folks have setup their tanks. Some day, I would love to have a large aquarium like this as the wall in-between two rooms, but that won’t happen anytime soon. It was a great opportunity to go over and see how Michael setup his magnificent aquarium. Thanks Michael!

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Aquafest 2009

September 2nd, 2009

On October 17th and 18th, three D.C. metropolitan area aquarium clubs, GWAPA, CCA, and PVAS, will host Aquafest 2009. Aquafest is a bi-yearly event in Laurel, MD where each club brings in an expert speaker to present on Saturday. In addition, GWAPA will give an aquascaping tutorial and competition and CCA is conducting a high-caliber fish show where some very prized fish will be on display. Top notch vendors will also be selling their goods and livestock. On Sunday, PVAS will conduct an all-day auction, which is open to the public, where just about anything fish, plant, or piece equipment imaginable will be for sale.

Registration for Saturdays lectures and events is only $15.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear veteran fish-keeper Ken Davis talk about the fishes of Uruguay. Jason Baliban, an award winning aquascaper, will talk about aquascaping and photography, and participate in an aquascaping faceoff with local GWAPA talent. Randy Carey, expert breeder and author, will discuss barbs, danios, and rasboras.

Aquafest 2009 Banner

There will be something for everyone. You will get to mingle with some of the top breeders, aquascapers, and aquarium keepers in the region. Don’t wait to register, as space is limited. I hope to see you there!

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Helping a Friend Rescape

September 1st, 2009

This weekend, myself and another GWAPA member helped a third GWAPA member, Paul, rescape his 90G aquarium. Paul has been in the club for awhile, but wanted to make an earnest foray into the high-tech world of aquascaping. He has a nice T5 fixture on order, CO2 rigged up, and replaced his old gravel mixture with several bags of Eco-Complete.

Paul's 90G - Rockscape

It took us longer than you would think to place eight rocks in the aquarium. We added a rock, stood back and looked, gave directions to the person closest to the tank to move a rock a little to the right or left, and ultimately ended up with the rockscape you see above. You can see a little bit of crayon on the front of the glass because we drew a very minor sketch on the tank beforehand. The crayon wipes right off.

Paul's 90G - Hardscape

After setting our rockscape, we added another two bags of Eco-Complete to mound up on both sides. Then, we added in a few manzanita branches that Paul wanted to use in the scape. After doing this, we were ready to start scaping. We wanted to to keep a relatively simple plant arrangement for the time-being, so we used a number of lower-maintenance plants, with a couple stems thrown in.

Paul's 90G - Aquascape Just Planted

We used Sagittaria subulata and a short Lilaeopsis species in the foreground, with Lobelia cardinalis and Crytocoryne wendtii in the midground, and on the right side background. There’s Echinodorus sp. ‘Vesuvius’ and Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillata ‘Cuba’ in the left background. Overall, I think we were all pretty happy with the scape. Obviously, it needs to do a lot of growing in, but it should fill out nicely. It’s definitely a lot of fun to aquascape with other people!

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