50G – Aquascape for the Fish

July 18th, 2011

There comes a time when you have to chose which is more important to you, the fish or the aquascape. In the last scape I had in my 50g aquarium, I didn’t provide enough caves for my bristlenose plecos to occupy, so they took it upon themselves to dig underneath the rocks, building their own caves. After walking into my fish room enough times, only to witness muddy water, I decided that the fish have made their point, and a new aquascape was in order.

50g Rescaped

I pulled out the rocks, replacing them with hollow pieces of African bogwood. I also elevated enough pieces to provide small caves without digging. Replanting with just Blyxa aubertii, B. japonica, and Narrow-leaf Java Fern, I kept the scape pretty simplistic. I reused the sand path in the old scape, purposely allowing it to become contaminated with aquasoil, to achieve a more natural look. Overnight, so far no digging! Comments welcome!

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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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Moving Around the Fishroom

August 4th, 2010

On Monday, I spent a very long overdue 7.5 hours working in my fish-room. The problem is that I have neglected my tanks for too long that duckweed and algae had taken them over. In addition to cleaning them up, I also decided to swap the stands the my 40G and 50G aquariums were sitting on to provide better light to my aquascaping tank (the 50G).

40G and 50G Side-by-side

As you can see above, the two tanks sit side-by-side. That doesn’t mean it’s an easy job to swap their positions. I still had to drain the water, remove the plants, remove the rocks, remove the fish, remove the driftwood, and finally get help to physically move them. In other words, it was nearly the same amount of work as if I were moving to another house.

50G Hardscape

After getting the aquariums into their new resting places, I decided that it was time to re-aquascape the 50G. I didn’t want to change too much from how it was before, but I definitely needed to make some changes. So, I repositioned the wood countless times until I came up with what you see above.

50G Rescape

Then, I replanted the Blyxa aubertii on the back left and added Hygrophila sp. ‘Guinea’ to the back right. Hopefully with some time, everything will fill in and look a lot better than it did previously. I’m still toying with the idea of adding the branches back into the scape to give the feel of a riverbank, but I’ll let the plants grow in a bit before doing that. Comments welcome!

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50G – Riverside Disaster…

June 28th, 2010

I’ve long had the desire to simulate a steep sloped riverbank aquascape with tree branches hanging down into the water. After finally securing the branched manzanita that I wanted for the tree branches, I rescaped my 50G aquarium using those branches, as well as, manzanita stumps to create the sloped hardscape. Unfortunately, my idea has been very slow to materialize, with the manzanita stumps radically altering the water chemistry of my aquarium resulting in a few fish deaths and lots of algae.

50G - June 28, 2010

I think I’ve stabilized the chemistry issue, but am still dealing with some of the resulting algae. Now, I need to let the plants themselves grow in. I’m not 100% convinced that the plants I have (Dwarf Sag, Blyxa aubertii, Rotala sp. ‘H-ra’, and Ludwigia senegalensis) are the plants I ultimately want in this aquascape, but if they can defeat the black-brush-algae, I can go from there. Honestly, I should probably adjust much of the hardscape itself while I’m at it. In any case, I just wanted to share what I was up to, and prove the point that an aquascaping idea doesn’t always work out exactly as you expect; sometimes for the better, sometimes not so much… Suggestions welcome!

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Apistogramma baenschi ‘Inka 50’ Videos

February 10th, 2010

Since there’s multiple feet of snow outside, I’ve been sitting inside trying to come up with creative things to occupy my time. Today, I pulled out our old video camera and headed into the fishroom. I lucked upon some interesting activity going on in my 50G with the colony of Apistogramma baenschi ‘Inka 50’ . First, I have a video of a female in full bright yellow coloration guarding a little patch of territory she’s carved out underneath some Blyxa japonica stems.

Next, I caught two males displaying to each other, with the largest, most dominate one eventually chasing the other away. This happens all of the time, and doesn’t usually end up with anyone getting injured. It’s interesting to me how in both of these videos, the Apistogramma only cares about other cichlids. They never chase away the other tetras. (This would change if they were actually protecting fry.)

Finally, after the male-to-male domination display earlier, his female approaches him doing a kind of odd-looking dance to indicate that she’s not a threat. Recognizing this, he lets her go into their patch of Blyxa that he’s protecting.

The behaviors of these cichlids provide unending fascination to me as I enjoy my aquariums during a  cold wintry day. Comments welcome!

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Baby Bristlenoses Update

January 7th, 2010

Sometime before the holidays, a pair of my generic bristlenosed plecos dug a hole under one of the rocks in my 50G aquascape and produced a spawn of 15-30 baby plecos. I knew they were nesting because I could see the parents initially fanning the ceiling of the rock where they dug their cave, presumably keeping the water fresh around all of their eggs. A couple of weeks later I noticed a slew of baby plecos clutching to the top glass all around the tank.

Baby Plecos

They hung around the glass for several weeks, but now they seem to have dispersed throughout the tank. In the picture above you can see three plecos cleaning the top of the largest rock in my aquascape. Obviously, the fish are still not huge as they are dwarfed by an adult Amano Shrimp. If anyone has any suggestions on what to feed these guys to grow them up a bit faster, I’d love to know. So far, I’ve just been feeding them algae wafers, and I feed the other fish in the tank frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp. Comments on anyone else’s pleco breeding experiences are welcome!

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50G Aquascape Update

December 9th, 2009

The holiday season has been really busy for me this year, so I haven’t been able to post near as much as I’d normally like to. Nevertheless, I did want to update everyone on the one aquascape that seems to be progressing along pretty well — my 50G Blyxa scape. I haven’t posted about this tank in almost three months, so if you were to look back at the last picture, just after rescaping, you’ll see that the Blyxa japonica has really taken over the scene, maybe too much so.

50G Aquascape - 12-9-2009

50G - 12/09/2009 (Click for larger image)

New additions to this aquarium include a colony of Apistogramma baenschi ‘Inka 50’, who I am hoping will breed. Speaking of breeding, the group of bristlenosed plecos have burrowed out a hole under the rock on the left side of the tank where there’s no hairgrass, and have already spawned once. The little black specks on the right wall of the aquarium are the baby plecos hanging out. They’ve survived for over a month now, so I’m hopeful that they’ll continue to grow to adulthood. Besides taming the monstrous Blyxa japonica, please let me know if you have any suggestions for improvement!

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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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50G: Updated Picture + New Shrimp

August 14th, 2009

It’s been a few weeks since I replanted the 50G, and as you can see the plants have been growing quite well. The tank is definitely due for a trim right now, especially the Ludwigia brevipes on the left, and the Limnophila repens var. ‘Mini’ in the back left. I do have two notable additions to this aquascape. In the back-left, I added a number of Blyxa aubertii plants which were previously in my 75G aquarium.


Also, I was fortunate to get in on a fantastic group buy that GWAPA conducted to add 15 crystal red shrimp, and 15 crystal black shrimp to this aquarium. Below is a picture of one of the red ones, which I believe is a “tiger-tooth” because the one red band looks like two teeth coming down. I don’t know very much about grading the shrimp, and really don’t care, as I just think they’re quite striking inhabitants in a planted aquarium regardless of the grade.

Crystal Red Shrimp

So, hopefully, these shrimp will start a little breeding population in my 50G! Elsewhere in the aquarium, the hairgrass is starting to spread in the corners where I transplanted a few plants, and I’m generally pleased with the direction that it’s headed. I’m waiting on the stems on the right side to grow out a bit more and multiply, so that I can really focus on trimming them into new compact bushes of plants. Comments/critiques welcome!

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50G: Same Hardscape Replanted

July 23rd, 2009

My 50G had turned into quite the farm tank, but I’ve finally been able to reclaim it as an aquascapable aquarium. I really like the hardscape, so I’ve decided to leave that in place, but simply replant it with some different plants. Previously, the aquascape was dominated by Blyxa japonica, where now I’ve only retained that in the middle to the right of the large piece of wood.

50G - Replanted

I’ve added a number of stem plants, and I’m hoping to trim them into bushes, kind of dutch style, behind the rocks to the right. I’m still deciding whether or not to keep the Eleocharis sp. ‘Japan’ in the foreground, or to rip it out and go with something more vintage like Glossostigma elatinoides. Comments welcome!

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