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'Scaping suggestions?


QandD

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Hi all, 

 

I'm a little embarrassed to ask for suggestions about further planting my tank, since it's not as nice as many of them here, but I would like to improve upon it. I have giant hygro growing to the left now, and I'm not sure when to prune/replant it to make it "bushier," as I hear it can do. The lower leaves haven't started shedding yet--some are still growing--so I think I am OK for now. 

 

I have crypt spiralis in the background and dwarf onions to the right. Plus one crypt balansae. Then I have the crypt wenditii/tropica in front, two bananas, and two reluctant dwarf lilies. 

 

Someone has suggested that I put more tall plants in the back, so making the hygro "bushier" would reduce height. Plus, the crypts have bigger root systems and I don't want to upset them since they've been doing quite well. Maybe more onions to the right? Are there other tall plants that do well in my tank conditions?  I have a lower-light (30-40 PAR LED) tank with an 8 hour photo period and dose EI pre-mixed ferts (macro/micro) and Excel 2x per week after testing for nitrates. The nitrates are always 5 at the most, it seems, so I think the hygro and bananas are hungry. I keep the tank at 71 degrees when it is not hot outside, and then it goes up to around 76 naturally. Thankfully summer is passing here, though. 

 

Otherwise I was thinking of putting in a crypt parva toward the front and maybe trying a couple of marimo balls. I don't know if they like to eat marimo yet, but it might be fun for them.

 

I used to have some driftwood with anubias, but Duchess is clumsy and bangs into things; plus the anubias died during a long trip I took :( The girls like to kill vals and sagittaria a lot. Otherwise they don't seem to eat these plants unless they haven't been fed for a long time. So anything that looks grassy seems to signal "let's eat that right now!" Pennywort and creeping Charlie absolutely refused to take root before and made everything look stupid.

 

Thoughts? I know it's kind of lame-looking, but everything's looking healthier so far if slow-growing. 

 

http://s1164.photobucket.com/user/Lompoc727/media/Mobile%20Uploads/20151004_110948_zps1uyvqzj2.jpg.html

 

For some reason the subforum will only let me post a link rather than the image itself. Sorry.

Edited by QandD
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A good rule of thumb is tall in back, short in front. Apart from that I don't follow many aquascaping rules and just put things together that I find appealing.

In a high tech tank I tend to trim stems once they reach the surface, or when the overall look is disrupted (a bit hard to explain because it's more of a visual thing). Low tech can be difficult because growth rates are slower. I would definitely trim them if they reach the surface, but really it's up to you when to trim. A good trick is to let them grow to the height you want, cut in half, plant the cut portion if you want and be patient. The idea is usually to trim stem plants back far enough so they reach your desired height by the time you have to trim the tank again. A lot of aquascaping is knowing how plants will grow both by themselves and in relation to other plants, and so, until you know how different species grow, observation is important (the idea is to not have to trim each plant species at a different time -- that would be a pain).This is one of the reasons you find a lot of how to articles and videos suggest newcomers try lots of different plants so they have knowledge for future tanks. :)

Echinodorus (sword plants) are always pretty good for the mid/background. You could try some other hygrophila species; polysperma or polysperma rosanervig perhaps?

Edited by dan in aus
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A good rule of thumb is tall in back, short in front. Apart from that I don't follow many aquascaping rules and just put things together that I find appealing.

In a high tech tank I tend to trim stems once they reach the surface, or when the overall look is disrupted (a bit hard to explain because it's more of a visual thing). Low tech can be difficult because growth rates are slower. I would definitely trim them if they reach the surface, but really it's up to you when to trim. A good trick is to let them grow to the height you want, cut in half, plant the cut portion if you want and be patient. The idea is usually to trim stem plants back far enough so they reach your desired height by the time you have to trim the tank again. A lot of aquascaping is knowing how plants will grow both by themselves and in relation to other plants, and so, until you know how different species grow, observation is important (the idea is to not have to trim each plant species at a different time -- that would be a pain).This is one of the reasons you find a lot of how to articles and videos suggest newcomers try lots of different plants so they have knowledge for future tanks. :)

Echinodorus (sword plants) are always pretty good for the mid/background. You could try some other hygrophila species; polysperma or polysperma rosanervig perhaps?

 

Thanks, Dan. 

 

I think I am going to switch back to my T5-HO light, but I've decided to write to the manufacturer of my T5-HO light (AquaticLife) to ask what the actual PAR is so that I can figure out the best fert/CO2 schedule before adding (or killing) more plants. I hope this will also help with growth so that I can play with trimming. Today I actually trimmed my giant temple and replanted the cuttings in an attempt to make it "bushier." I hope this will work. Otherwise I am thinking of getting swords as you suggest. The polysperma doesn't seem readily available to me, but it is very pretty! 

 

Also, in case anyone is curious, I'll post what AquaticLife has to say about the PAR of the dual-lamp Marquis. They told me that they don't make the information "public" (?) but will check based on my tank depth (21-22").  :idont

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Regarding design, there are lots of information out in cyberspace on aquascaping. I like the "golden ratio" and the "rule of thirds" when determining a layout for the hardscape and plant elements in a tank.

 

From http://aquascapinglove.com/basics/getting-started-aquascaping/

 

The rule of thirds refers exactly at how we can use imaginary guidelines so that we know how to place certain elements within our scape in such a way that we are able to control what the eye of the viewer sees. In order to understand how the rule of thirds works, try depicting an image as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines.

 

The purpose of these imaginary lines is actually to locate the intersection points of the grid, where you can establish the focal point of the image, a specific mark which anchors the viewer’s gaze first and from which the viewer’s eye can glide towards other points of interest, making the viewer’s experience more interesting, captivating, relaxing and pleasing. Placing the focal point in the middle of your tank would take away from what is happening around.

 

The golden ratio is a number obtained by dividing a line into two parts in such a way that if you divide the longer part by the smaller part the result is equal to the whole part divided by the longer part.

 

In both art and mathematics as well as in nature, the golden ratio is strictly connected with the creation of a focal point. In aquascaping, this would be the point the eye is directed towards at a first glance.

 

The focal point functions as an anchor for the viewer’s mind. It basically tells him where to look at first and where to go from there. Every aquascape should have a focal point. In the case of smaller tanks, there should be only one focal point and several secondary points of interest. When it comes to larger aquariums, it is necessary that you create more than one focal point, out of which one should still remain the main attraction. It is very important to avoid stressing the eye, so having too many points of interest of the same importance wouldn’t be a good idea.

 

The most renowned styles of aquascaping make use of the rules described above. Whether we are talking about the Nature Aquarium, Iwagumi or Jungle style, they all start with the creation of focal points by implementing the golden ratio rule.

 

I think some people have a natural sense of these aquascaping techniques. I don't, so I have to rely on information like this. I also have to take into consideration that I have a goldfish who is visually impaired. I try to give him a lot of space to roam without running into anything. He freaks a bit when running into a plant leaf he can't see. My tank looks a bit different than the picture below. I basically have the driftwood element in the middle of the tank. Short anubias to the left and taller anubias to the right. My visually impaired goldfish hangs out on the left. He doesn't venture too often on the right side of the tank. So I'm using the rule of thirds here with the driftwood element as the focal point in the middle with plants on either side. That is one way I'm interpreting the rule of thirds.

 

I'm thinking with the plants and hardscape (rocks) you have in your tank, using the golden ratio would be interesting.

Edited by LisaCGold
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The rule of thirds makes sense to me, but since I've taken out the driftwood (Duchess being clumsy), I'm still not sure how to accomplish it. I wish I had a larger tank--or could have a larger tank--since I feel as if it would make all of this easier. I think part of the problem is that I tend to group types of plants together in an overly orderly fashion, so perhaps I'll play around with that. 

 

I wound up ordering an Amazon sword, a crypt retrospiralis (I like the crinkly leaf thing), and a crypt parva. So maybe I'll try to create some height on the right side of the tank and go for a 90 degree triangle effect? Blah. I'm usually good at art things!

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