Aquascape Noob Needs Help!

little257622

Hello all...….I've been lurking around reading different post in reference to aqua scaping my tank. I have your standard 125 gallon with a Malawi universal rock background in along with some fake plants & some random rocks I've collected along the way. I need some help with ideas for my tank. below is a pic. i plan on adding more peacocks as i am understocked at the moment. What I would like to do is get the fish swimming more towards the mid/top of the tank if possible

substrate = bdbs from tractor supply co

any ideas would be helpful.....im just don't have a designers eye or vision. I was told that I should go with something that gives depth since my tank is already long but I don't really understand what that means ( I assume make it look deeper) but i have no clue as to what does that.
 

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carsonsgjs

Not an expert in aquascaping at all but with malawis you should probably add a lot more rockwork than you already have - give them places to explore by piling them up although make sure they are secure in case the fish start digging around them! A lot of people use egg crate beneath the substrate to protect the tank from falling rocks.
 
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JeremyW

Here's a really good video that goes into great detail with visual examples. Its quite long, but it covers nearly everything, and he uses a lot visual examples. Some of what he covers is more advanced than most hobbyist need, but he spends a fair bit of time on the fundamentals as well. I really enjoyed it.

 
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Ouse

What is the pH? Peacock cichlids originate from a lake in East Africa with a pH above 8.0, so if your pH is on the acidic end, adding rock such as limestone and/or seiryu stone will benefit.

Rift Lake cichlids like rocks. Lots of rocks. You can mix spiderwood in without having to worry about a drop in pH, as long as your KH is high.
 
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JLAquatics

Hi there! I wouldn't quite call myself an expert either, but I do know the fundamentals. Here are a few things you should consider before continuing with your design;

1. What kind of environment do my fish need? With Malawi cichlids like carsonsgjs suggested they appreciate a lot of rockwork and hiding places to feel secure and happy. In other words, research the fish you have and build the aquascape around their needs first. Since the African Cichlids you plan to keep come from high ph and kh waters, you may be a bit more limited in plant choices but that is not to say you cannot aquascape a tank with hardscape only.

2. Most fish will follow a more set swimming habit with a few exceptions. Building an aquascape with different kinds of swimmers will make the best display. This is categorized as top and mid water swimmers and bottom dwellers. A few fish like Goldfish will explore the whole tank however. (just a few examples, I do not recommend a community tank setup with rift lake cichlids).


"any ideas would be helpful.....im just don't have a designers eye or vision. I was told that I should go with something that gives depth since my tank is already long but I don't really understand what that means ( I assume make it look deeper) but i have no clue as to what does that."

3. In other words, this person is telling you to make your tank appear a lot larger than it really is. This is achieved by positioning plants, rock, and wood in a way to make it look much larger than its true size. In other words, how large and deep does this example aquarium look to you?

0725211306_2.jpg
If it looks larger than 10 US gallons, then this aquascape has a lot of depth.

4. What aquascaping style are you planning on going for? This will make designing the hardscape much easier knowing where you intend on placing the focal point and surrounding points of interest. If you do not know what I am talking about with styles, feel free to check out my simple article pertaining this subject right here;
Aquascaping Tips and Tricks for a Beginner

5. Do you have a light on this tank? I think the tank will look nicer design-wise if you have a nice decently bright LED light strip illuminating the tank.

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any more questions and don't forget to check out the other good advice posted by my fellow members. Happy Scaping. :)
 
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little257622

Thank you very much.....going to do some research now. But to answer some of the question above

My ph is kind of low at 7.6 so I can see how certain rock with actually help me raise the ph....i just have to make sure they look good with the wall.

What aqua scaping style are you planning on going for? I'm really not sure but I am going to watch a few videos & do some reading to figure that out.

Do you have a light on this tank? I do have an led light on it (just didn't have it on when pic was taken)
 
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Ouse

That pH is too low, so you’ll need rocks that harden the water. An LED light is fine. It’s cheap, and is all you need.

Rift Lake cichlid setups usually have a big rock structure throughout the tank, creating a wall that divides the front between the back. Overstocking Rift Lake cichlids helps “dilute” aggression, especially when combined with the rocks.
 
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little257622

Im leaning toward a rectangular concept due to that back wall…I am gonna play around with making the separating wall maybe sloped & ive stayed away from love plants for the most part but once I get the rock work going I will give some live plants a shot (most likely anubias due to the peacocks)
I now also think the black sand takes away from the natural look that the rock will create…don’t get me wrong I think the black makes the fish color pop more
 
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