Advice On Arranging My Hardscape

redman77

I'm cycling a 75 gallon. While I wait, I want to try to make the hardscape look as nice as possible (plants will be an on-going project). I have two pieces of driftwood and one long piece of dragon rock.

Below are pictures of the tank (the only difference is the far-left wood has been flipped. Also, ignore the grey slate - just there until the driftwood sinks).

I would really appreciate any tips on how I can make the hardscape look better. Thanks so much!!


Tank 1.jpg
Tank 2.jpg
 

kallililly1973

Great looking setup... I would maybe try to intertwine the 2 pieces of driftwood to make the eyes flow either left or right and maybe incorporate the dragon stone kind of under and in between the two pieces. Maybe have the thicker parts of the wood on the substrate and the thinner branches flowing around the middle of the tank. IMO it also wouldn’t hurt to try to incorporate that slate into the picture somehow... you may be able to take it out and take a hammer to it and make a few smaller pieces for caves n houses n such with some moss growing on them... endless options with that footprint . Good luck!!
 

redman77

Great looking setup... I would maybe try to intertwine the 2 pieces of driftwood to make the eyes flow either left or right and maybe incorporate the dragon stone kind of under and in between the two pieces. Maybe have the thicker parts of the wood on the substrate and the thinner branches flowing around the middle of the tank. IMO it also wouldn’t hurt to try to incorporate that slate into the picture somehow... you may be able to take it out and take a hammer to it and make a few smaller pieces for caves n houses n such with some moss growing on them... endless options with that footprint . Good luck!!

Thanks so much for your advice! Interesting idea. So if I understand what you're saying, I should basically try to place the two pieces of driftwood and the dragon stone together so there would appear to be one primary mass and not three separate ones? Do I have that right?
 

kallililly1973

That’s how I would make it as a centerpiece yes... and down the line if your plants aren’t too big by then u may actually be able to drop a couple more solid stump type pieces to flank the center.. keep us updated it’s gonna look sweet no matter what your final design is.. just with those nice pieces of driftwood... is that spider wood?
 

Giul

Does the left piece support itself? I would try turning it on it’s side so it goes up and out. It looks like it may concave inward and that could be cool if the driftwood comes towards the front
 

Algonquin

This is going to be a lovely tank.. nice pieces.
The 2 pieces of wood and the rock look a little too evenly spaced... so not very 'natural'. I'd follow the advice given by kallililly. Another option would be to move the rock a bit closer to the smaller wood - maybe behind it a bit on the far left. Just mess with the spacing a bit and see what looks good! Will love to see how this looks once it's done!!
 

Nick72

Looks very nice. You've made a good start.

I've found its better to overload a scape.

I would add at least one more big piece of driftwood and two or three more stones.

Try using smaller stones in the foreground and larger stones in the background.

Best of luck
 

redman77

Does the left piece support itself? I would try turning it on it’s side so it goes up and out. It looks like it may concave inward and that could be cool if the driftwood comes towards the front

The left piece is kind of awkward. There isn't a great way to get it to stand up. I've actually been considering cutting off the stick on the far right in the first picture (far left in the second picture) to see if that makes things easier to arrange.

The piece is interesting, though. The part facing the substrate is actually dug out and forms almost a natural cave.

Here is a better picture of it from the site where I bought it:
 

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kallililly1973

Before u cut anything if the substrate is deep enough U may be able to bury a bit of it and sink a small piece of rock on it to keep it held up in the formation your trying to get
 

Dawn Michele

Hello. I have found it is a lot easier to arrange everything outside of the tank especially if it is set up already with the water in the tank.
 

kallililly1973

Could u share the site and or the type of wood it is? Thanks!

Hello. I have found it is a lot easier to arrange everything outside of the tank.
That’s a great way to do it and also you can drop your water level down quite a ways and set it up like that also ... if it stands the way u want it emerged there is a good chance it’ll stay in place once the water is added providing the wood is plenty water logged
 

redman77

Hello. I have found it is a lot easier to arrange everything outside of the tank especially if it is set up already with the water in the tank.

Great idea I'm kind of kicking myself for not doing the arranging before I added it to the tank. I'll pull everything out and play around with it. Luckily none of the plants are attached to the wood yet (and this will give me a chance to attach them to the wood!). Thanks!!

Could u share the site and or the type of wood it is? Thanks!

Sure. This is spiderwood. I got it off of ebay from the seller club_reef

It was pricey, but I probably saved money and time in the long run because I didn't have to drive to a bunch of different LFSs to find pieces I liked.
 

Dawn Michele

Great idea I'm kind of kicking myself for not doing the arranging before I added it to the tank. I'll pull everything out and play around with it. Luckily none of the plants are attached to the wood yet (and this will give me a chance to attach them to the wood!). Thanks!!
Your welcome. You can also take picture's. That helps when putting it back in the tank.
 

Guanchy

I think your set up actually looks great! The only thing I would do different I would lay down the rock instead of standing it up. You already have two tall pieces of driftwood by laying down the rock you are giving the tank different levels, visually I think it'll look better
 

redman77

I spent some time last night rearranging my hardscape based on some of the advice given in this thread. I basically combined the two pieces of driftwood into one mass.

I'm considering breaking the rock up into smaller pieces or maybe getting another piece of driftwood for the left side of the tank.

I'm also considering moving the big driftwood to the left side of the tank to be farther away from the filter output, which is pretty strong, though I think I will be installing a spray bar soon to spread it out a bit more.

What do people think? Any comments, tips, etc. appreciated!


IMG_20190417_065804.jpg
 

Algonquin

Looks nice! I really like the 2 pieces of wood together, makes more of a visual impact I think.

Maybe stand the rock up like you had it originally, kind of tilted towards the centre of the tank a little? Or turn it slightly so it's a bit angled front to back, and push it into the sand a bit more? It looks a little bit like it was just 'placed' there (which I realize it was lol). It might look more natural if it's resting IN the sand, and not so much ON the sand. It's a nice big piece of rock, a good size for the tank - I wouldn't break it up. Maybe see if you can find some more similar rocks that are a lot smaller (or one that you can break into smaller pieces) and place them around the tank? Looking great!
 

Guanchy

Great looking tank! Love the arrangement. I like the idea of breaking the rock into pieces. It might give it a more natural look.

I'm not sure if you mentioned it already but what type of fish are you planning to keep?
 

redman77

Looks nice! I really like the 2 pieces of wood together, makes more of a visual impact I think.

Maybe stand the rock up like you had it originally, kind of tilted towards the centre of the tank a little? Or turn it slightly so it's a bit angled front to back, and push it into the sand a bit more? It looks a little bit like it was just 'placed' there (which I realize it was lol). It might look more natural if it's resting IN the sand, and not so much ON the sand. It's a nice big piece of rock, a good size for the tank - I wouldn't break it up. Maybe see if you can find some more similar rocks that are a lot smaller (or one that you can break into smaller pieces) and place them around the tank? Looking great!

Thanks! I originally had it standing up and went back and forth for a while. Here it is standing up:


Rock upright.jpg
 

Algonquin

mmmm no, looks a bit to monolithic maybe lay it down with one end kind of pushed into the sand? Are you able to get more of this rock? It's really nice.
 

redman77

Great looking tank! Love the arrangement. I like the idea of breaking the rock into pieces. It might give it a more natural look.

I'm not sure if you mentioned it already but what type of fish are you planning to keep?

Thanks!

I haven't mentioned it yet. Here is my current stocking plan, subject to change, and very much open to advice

Other potential additions:

mmmm no, looks a bit to monolithic maybe lay it down with one end kind of pushed into the sand? Are you able to get more of this rock? It's really nice.

Agreed, a little stone-hengy. Yes, I can get more of this rock (dragon stone). I'm lucky in that two of my LFSs carry a good supply. Which is why I wouldn't feel too bad if I broke this one up.
 

Algonquin

another option would be to get another piece of the rock that is smaller/thinner and more pointy (less blocky or "stone-hengy ) and place it at an angle kind of leaning against the original rock, in front of it? and a few smaller bits around the tank as well.
 

Guanchy

Thanks!

I haven't mentioned it yet. Here is my current stocking plan, subject to change, and very much open to advice

  • 8 SterbaI corys
  • 2 x German Blue Ram
  • 6 x Cherry barb (all male)
  • 20 x rummy nose tetras
  • 20 x cardinals
Other potential additions:
  • 1 Angelfish
  • some harlequin rasboras
  • Otocinclus

Rummy nose tetras have to be some of my favorite tetras ever! I had a 30 gallon full of them and they look amazing. I'm sure the German blue rams will look great too with the black substrate and background.
 

redman77

Rummy nose tetras have to be some of my favorite tetras ever! I had a 30 gallon full of them and they look amazing. I'm sure the German blue rams will look great too with the black substrate and background.

Yeah the rummy nose are so active. The cardinals look nice but in the past I haven't been too impressed with their schooling. I'm considering getting harlequin rasboras maybe instead of the cardinals. I think I have the filter and space to handle cardinals + rummynose + rasboras, but I think that might be too many schooling fish. Anyone have thoughts on this?
 

kallililly1973

It looks great if you don’t end up breaking the gray slate piece maybe you can angle your dragon stone and lean it on the slate to make a cave and through way for your inhabitants and then ide do another branchy piece coming from behind the leaned dragon stone coming towards the front of your tank... nicely done
 

redman77

It looks great if you don’t end up breaking the gray slate piece maybe you can angle your dragon stone and lean it on the slate to make a cave and through way for your inhabitants and then ide do another branchy piece coming from behind the leaned dragon stone coming towards the front of your tank... nicely done

Thanks! I took your advice about the slate cave so I went to home depot and bought a big piece of slate tile ($5 for more than I'll ever use). At some point I'm going to break it up and see about fashioning a cave out of it using aquarium silicone. I really love your idea about putting moss on it to make it look more natural.
 

Guanchy

Yeah the rummy nose are so active. The cardinals look nice but in the past I haven't been too impressed with their schooling. I'm considering getting harlequin rasboras maybe instead of the cardinals. I think I have the filter and space to handle cardinals + rummynose + rasboras, but I think that might be too many schooling fish. Anyone have thoughts on this?
have you look into ember tetras? small little guys but beautiful bright red color and they are pretty small so you can have a bigger school of them! and they school pretty nicely.
 

kallililly1973

Thanks! I took your advice about the slate cave so I went to home depot and bought a big piece of slate tile ($5 for more than I'll ever use). At some point I'm going to break it up and see about fashioning a cave out of it using aquarium silicone. I really love your idea about putting moss on it to make it look more natural.
Cool! Glad I could give out some good ideas for you it’s gonna look amazing however u set it up!!
 

ForceTen

Seems I change the hardscape in my tank a few times a year. Same pieces just rearranged.
I try to take advantage of corners. Back corners where you can build out.
I would never place something alone in the middle.
Use what you have and try several arrangements until you are happy. Those plants would look much better directly next to, protruding from under the driftwood or rocks. Partially behind a solid object. I always go for odd numbers of decoration. Although my main deco is the two very nice shaped and natural looking rocks.
They mingle together so they look like one rock

My wife used to take care of the tank and now I do. She likes my arranging much better than hers. I agree. Intermingling objects seems to give the most natural appearance.
I only use fake rocks and one fake plant. But where that plant goes makes all the difference in the world.
 

redman77

have you look into ember tetras? small little guys but beautiful bright red color and they are pretty small so you can have a bigger school of them! and they school pretty nicely.

I haven't, but I'll look into them, thanks for the suggestion.
 

Giul

I think you should lay it down at an angle and then add some smaller pieces of dragonstone that go closer to the driftwood to tie the two together
 

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