Aquascaping Advice

  1. BHK3 Member Member

    I finally set up my 55 gallon tank this past weekend and I'm hoping to get some aquascaping constructive criticism.

    I currently have a 24" light on the tank, but my new 48" light should be coming in later this week. I don't have co2. I use root tabs, Flourish, Excel and one or two other Seachem plant supplements. Temp is 75º, ph is approx 8.0.


    I was kind of going for the rambling stone wall (a bit like this: From left to right the plants are Cryptocoryne wendtii Bronze, Ludwigia repens and Jungle Vallisneria. I was thinking about carpeting the lower foreground with Drawf Four Leaf Clover (Marsilea Hirsuta or Crenata). I have an Amazon Flame Sword plant on order but I haven't decided if that will go in this tank or the betta tank I'm going to be setting up soon. I like the looks of it so far but I think it needs a bit more to fill the top half and something to cover up the filter. And just something special to bring a bit of interest to it in general. I had been thinking about doing a driftwood tree on the left, but none of the pieces of wood I have would work well for it.

    Thanks in advance for reading and for any advice!
  2. maggie thecat Well Known Member Member

    It's really nice, but you're right, it could use some height. I would consider propping a gnarled piece of driftwood in front of the intake, and adding some floating plants to finish things off.

  3. CraniumRex Member Member

    Well I am no aquascaper (... yet!) but I think this is beautiful. Question: Is there any reason you can't move the filter to the far right, behind the Jungle Val? Or should filters be roughly in the middle? Newbie here!

    Those bronze crypts are going to have a lovely contrast with the ludwigia and you've created some very nice depth with the wall and built up area on the left. Can't wait to see how it progresses.

  4. Discusluv Well Known Member Member

    Great idea, but need to change the perspective. See how in the picture you can clearly see where the path begins and then it circles off into the distance. Try to duplicate this with your rocks. A curve in the path that starts at the front of the tank and curves off behind the Val into the back of tank.. Right now it lacks depth.

  5. BHK3 Member Member

    Thank you! And great question! I actually took that picture before I put in the second filter. So in reality there's that black filter to the left and also an Aquaclear 50 filter behind the Val. Seeing the difference between the two filters really makes me appreciate how unobtrusive the Aquaclear is. Maybe I'll ditch the black monstrosity of a filter and get a second Aquaclear. Hmm....
  6. Florian Pellet Well Known Member Member

    I agree with @Discusluv, try and get some depth here. In addition to his suggestion, try and have the biggest rocks in the front and the smaller ones in the back, this will add to the illusion of depth. One more thing you could do (and is still feasible at that stage of the build) is to slope your substrate towards the back (like 1" of substrate up front and 5" in the back).

    If you're going for the rambling stone wall style, there are a few things you could change as well. Try and find very small versions of the rocks you already have and position them as "fallen bricks" as if the wall was degrading. Also, you could add some small amounts of moss in between the cracks so that it looks more taken over by nature.

    And finally, but that's just me, I like things that are more organic / nature-made. So here you have your walls that are man made of course, but some small pieces of driftwood in one corner could represent trees (without mimicking them: don't go planting vertical thin twigs, it'd look weird) and give a more wild appearance.
  7. Thunder_o_b Fishlore VIP Member

    You are on the right track. I agree with you on the driftwood. Add that and more plants and I think you will have a winner here.
  8. BHK3 Member Member

    Great idea!!! Thanks!
  9. Florian Pellet Well Known Member Member

    Also, I forgot to talk about plants. Right now I feel that they are too segregated. To add to the impression of depth, you could try and have smaller plants in front of taller plants. Going carpet => bush => stem will really add to your tank.
  10. Discusluv Well Known Member Member

    Yes, the line of the rocks looks too contrived, the natural materials ( trees leaning, even plants planted and obscuring part of the rock wall to the viewer) will break up the look of a purposeful placement. That is why its so hard to duplicate nature and natural materials, our minds are much too "orderly". LOL!
  11. AngelTheGypsy Well Known Member Member

    Even if you leave it as is, it's going to look great! It's hard to wait for the plants to grow in, but when they do the ludwigia should get tall for you, adding height.
    The curve in the wall points directly at the filter intake, making it a focal point. The rocks point to it, so you see it, if that makes sense. If you adjust it just enough to where it ends just to the right of the intake I think it would be less obvious. Of course, when your longer light comes in you won't have a spotlight shining on just that spot either.
    Driftwood would be a great idea. Maybe a piece that could look like a fallen tree, to go along with a decaying man-made wall? It always adds interest to a tank, and something for the fish to swim around and through. I love watching mine swim all around it!
    You could try a taller stem plant in the back left corner behind the crypts. Wisteria would look great once it's grown in! Once it's nice and tall, it will also give the illusion of a tree. The sword you mentioned would also eventually give you height. Some rosette swords or grass-type plants along the front of the wall will look great too. The fallen bricks and moss idea Florian mentioned is great too, maybe an Anubias nana stuffed in a crack too.
    You're off to a great start and have a great foundation! Will love to see how this grows!
    The scape is great, these are just little tweaks.
    Edit: I should work on my vocabulary...I used the word great a lot...
  12. BHK3 Member Member

    For some reason I didn't get notifications of any of the replies since my last comment, so I apologize for not thanking you all for your feedback!!!

    After letting my previous layout simmer for a while I decided I much preferred a more natural look and scrapped the stones in favor of driftwood. The layout of the driftwood can't be changed because I'm a terrible judge of size and the pieces actually had to be trimmed to fit in my tank to start with. This was the only way I could fit them in. . Here's how it looks right now (there's stone weighing the wood down temporarily until they stop trying to float):


    I'm looking forward to the center part growing in and spreading out because it looks a bit too symmetrical right now, and in front of the drift wood is too bare. I have a much smaller piece of driftwood that I'm planning on putting in there once I attach a plant to it. Any thoughts on where that could go? I was thinking maybe in the front just left of center, next to the crypts. Maybe that would help the middle area look less symmetric?

    I plan on adding some moss (type TBD) and anubias nana to the driftwood as well. I also have an Amazon Flame Sword on its way. I haven't decided if that'll go in this tank or in the betta tank that I'll be working on next. I'm not sure what else though. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! I definitely want to get more plants. I also have a variety of rocks (flat like slate, or rounder river type rocks) that I could put it.

    PS: I wasn't planning on getting a pleco for this tank, but it feels like a darn shame to have all this driftwood and no pleco around to enjoy it. ;)
  13. Discusluv Well Known Member Member

    I like this so much better, very natural and the placement is great. Beautiful!
  14. BHK3 Member Member

    Thank you so much! I can't wait to get some more plants in there, not to mention fish. Right now there are just a couple corys, eight Otos and a few Amano Shrimp. Over the next few weeks I'll be adding more corys (Metaes), a shoal of Rummy-Nose Tetras and eight Honey Gourami. I'll probably also get some more Amanos and some Nerites.
  15. Discusluv Well Known Member Member

    Rummy -nose tetras are my favorite!