Advice And Tips On Aquascaping

  • #1
This is my 45 gallon planted tank.

1483363635648.jpg Everything in it is all natural except the pirate skull lol I've just had a hard time figuring out what plants to put where, or if I have too many different species of plants. I don't know what to keep or get rid of either. It's just not all that attractive to me as a tank right now, I don't even know the species of half the plants I have because they were either given to me or bought at my lfs where they have no labels.
My goal is to have something break up the tank so that my female gourami has better hiding spots from the male, and have my plants in optimal spots for growing.
Any suggestions of what to move/take out would be great. If you need close up photos or specific plant photos to identify I can do that!
This has been bothering me for a while and it's hard to find help!
  • #2
I like the natural look you've got going on. But I can see you wanting to clean it up a bit. Try grouping plants by size. Tall in back, shorter in front, etc. I love the driftwood up front.
Silister Trench
  • #3
You're suffering Multi-Specie-Overload I think. Haha! You have as many different plants in that tank as I probably have in two tanks! Just what all do you have in there?

I like the right side but my brain keeps telling me the piece of driftwood with java moss on it needs to be moved left about 3 inches and back about 3 inches with some of the Small stones on it's left and in, putting the driftwood more in front of the bigger red plant (I think it's Rotala sp. Rotundifolia?) which you should propagate into a large bush in the back just where it is on the left and slightly behind the large green plant far right.

I'm not 100% on the plant far left in the back but I'd trim 2 inches of it and replant the tops behind where the driftwood would be now and in from of the red plants.

(So far)

Empty Space is -
R - Bigger red plant
g - green stem plant on left
G - green plant on right
DW - driftwood


I'd then cut another 2 inches of the g plant and replant right next to it to fill in that hole. I'd move the bigger Amazon Sword to the left in front of it and to the right, sliding the moss covered driftwood to the right in it's same position and move the curved piece that's angled up to the right where the other driftwood is, cover it in moss and bury some of the wood and the little amazon sword on the right of between that piece and the first driftwoods new position. If that grass is real on the eat I'd put it behind the piece of darker wood that's laying down, on the front right of the small red plant (know idea what it is..). If that red plant in front of the big sword is different from the other I'd place it on the left.

g - green stem plant on left
AS - big sword
as - small sword
rr - red plant inback left
Dw - driftwood
dw - curved wood
fr - front red plant
M - grassy plant


Finally if it's Pennywort floating at the top I'd fill in the fret left and right sides with it and keep it short, leaving the space in the middle sort of open until moss overtakes it.

P - Pennywort


And I guess you then have something like a Dutch Aquascape.
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  • #4
I'm going to have to re-read that one a few times to understand it fully lol but thanks a ton!! I know a few species of plants that I have. And under the substrate on the left side is a large piece of what was a white crumbly piece of coral. It was too ugly to use in the tank so I used it to make the left side higher than the right but I can't plant much right there because of it, and when I placed it I was unaware that I would alter the ph of my tank if I moved it. So it has stayed there, nothing has been wonky with my ph since I put it there so maybe it's inert but o am also scared to take it out even though I badly want to. I just don't know how to go about it at this point.
My plant species that I know of are:
What I think is moneywort or pennywort
1 stem of jungle val (might just toss it)
Spiky moss on a rock
Red narrwleaf ludwigia
Red broadleaf ludwigia
Java moss
Amazon sword
Dwarf sword ( I think)
Water wisteria
Then there's the ones I'm not sure of... red myria possibly? It's bushy and soft to the touch and it grows pink and has a green stem. There's a tall stem plant that has narrow leaves that grow pink in my tank but green in my friends, it looks like a way thinner version of red ludwigia when it grows pink.. I can take a better picture. Then I have the weird grass-like plant, it looks like it's from a desert and my snails love being on it lol
Silister Trench
  • #5
That's quite the collection! Haha!

Instead of rereading what I wrote 10x (knew I should have just drawn a picture...) you could just check out Dutch Aquascapes because with your variety of plants it'll provide arrangement ideas as I think you already own 7/10 of this particular styles most used plants, however -

- I'm going to assume you aren't injecting Co2? With the amount of fast growing stem plants you have the more the plants fill in the higher chance you're going to run in to Co2 deficiency later on.

I think I sat for about 10 minutes trying to identify plants and gave up, so thanks for the list! Red Myria! I was trying to remember the name for your plant when I saw it and kept thinking Red Mary... the tall stem plant with narrow leafs is probably some Rotala Rotundifolia - usually red tips with as it grows taller and the light intensifies, and iron in your water (if you aren't dosing it) helps some. I saw those in the back of your picture and thought it was all that, but now I saw the Ludwigia. I did think that sneaky green strip in the back was a Val, but thought it was weird there was just one long strand.

And if it were me I'd just yank that coral out and be done with it, vacuum up an debris with the gravel vac by digging it into the substate. Doing a partial water change at the same time since you already have the vac out would pretty much ensure no pH fluctuations. After a few days you could test to be sure. I doubt you'll see anything abnormal in a 45G and a single piece of coral.
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  • #6
That is so helpful. It's been a point of anxiety for me and also kind of a pain in the butt cause I can't plant anything there and I have to put root tabs where I do plant due to the levels of the substrate being so different and my fluorite not coming up high enough. It was my first attempt and parts of it failed obviously but this is super reassuring. And yes I LOVE the Dutch scape, ideally I want a groomed Dutch with some hardscape (even though that's cheating my pleco needs wood) and some of my rocks are pretty dang niicee. I just did a 50% water change yesterday and trimmed/replanted some. I was even thinking of removing the amazon sword all together because of how massive it is and it's growing in full of holes. I assume it's a phosphate or something deficiency but I still haven't had time to go to my lfs and get some flourish excel. It's the only dosing I feel comfortable adding. Co2 is way too complicated for me rn, maybe someday.
And yes that weird stem was 2 little stems of jungle val that I got ( most of the plants I buy are ugly to begin with and usually they come back to me.. most have) but some just don't do well, like the Val which keeps growing with some holes them a whole leaf or two will brown and fall off.. so I chopped all the ugly leaves off and replanted towards the front with root tabs and hopefully they take now. I want to save some varieties to add to my smaller tank when I get it which is part of the reason I have kept so many of my weird plants. Lol, next water change that crumbly coral is coming out! I can't wait and I honestly might do it in a day or two rather than wait.. while my water is still clean
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  • #7
Oh yah, I am very uneducated n the plant co2 and absorbtion, I want to avoid having a lack of oxygen in the water for my fish or having my plants alter the parameters negatively I should say. How do I go about that?
I do weekly about 40-50% water changes ( was thinking of doing 2 smaller ones per week just cause it's a long process all at once) and dose with regular flourish liquid and root tabs. Going to get some excel soon. My water parameters have been the same since I cycled my tank a few months ago, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, usually between 5-10 nitrates, my ph is between 7.4 and 7.6 ( the colours are right between regular ph and high ph so it's inconclusive every time.. but it's always the exact same inconclusive colour so at least I know it's consistent ) my fish all seem super happy, except my 1 guppy who I think is getting old. He's just been paler than usual on his front but his tail fin is still vibrant and not eating as much but has no other issues than that.
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  • #8
Did a major overhaul of the lft side today and some touch ups on the right!! super excited to say the ugly coral is gone and I removed 8 pounds of gravel from the bottom.
Still might need adjustments and any tips for grooming the plants would be helpful!
Hopefully everyone's a little happier now with more water space and swimming room.

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  • #9
Silister Trench
Silister Trench
  • #10
Wow! That looks like a whole new tank! You definitely did some very good work on it and turned it from randomly planted newbie tank into a very tasteful beginning of a Dutch Aquascape. I'm impressed!
Silister Trench
  • #11
Only tip I can offer while you let it all mature a bit is that your ludwigia and rotundifolia will always look their best when you trim the tops to whatever length, pull out the roots and older growth and replant the tops. It keeps them red and only newer growth is always to continue - this is however the opposite of what you were do when trying to propagate them and make a nice dense patch.
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  • #12
Yah, when I first got them they were dark red due to the LFS using co2 and so I planted it just like that to let the tops grow. Now they're starting to grow in a bit more and once they're a little longer I'll cut the new growth off the main plant and switch them out. Is it ok to do it over time? I just don't want a big bare spot with super low plants since the new growth is only 3 inches at this point. I did cut a few stems and replanted them in the front
Silister Trench
  • #13
Yeah, you can do it over time. If you want a thicker patch cut the tops off, replant, leave the base, and from the base it usually forks off into 2-3
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  • #14
Sounds good! That's sorta what I've been doing, the problem I've noticed is that the narrowleaf red ludwigia and my rotala are growing almost side ways now. I'm not sure why, I started doing daily with Excel though so hopefully that does something for those, I've noticed my other plants looking brighter since starting to dose but it's still too early to see much else I think.
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  • #15
Oh! And what do I do with the runners that my swords are shooting out? They're growing fast do I just let them and make room for them? Or cut them off I'm not sure, I've never had plants with runners. Lol
Silister Trench
  • #16
Stem plants grow sideways for 1 of 2 reasons in my experience, and they almost always do under most hobbists lighting. They're either growing towards the light, or they're directly under it getting high light and grow sideways in order to propagate along their stem, which you'll see in either case. They'll fork at each node as they grow horizontal.

You can tame this horizontal growth by cutting them at the point they bend, then they'll fork, grow more side-shoots, move upwards for a time, them repeat this pattern. You can also allow them to grow how they want for a while to see what they do on their own

It's normal, hard to understand for some why their plants aren't doing what they want them to, but a simpler idea when you consider this: the plant is living and moves in such a way that every direction it takes is a means to one single goal and that is to propagate and continue it's genetic line as often and best it can as conditions allow.

With your runners I'd simply leave them and see how they grow. You want your sword plant much bushier than it is now and it's runners will do this. Eventually you'll have a bushy sword plant and that's when you can either move them to a different tank, give them away, sell them, or throw them in the garbage can.

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