Aquascaping Tips And Tricks - Page 4

Silister Trench

To elaborate on what you say about finding rocks, rocks are everywhere. Lots of them are just fine to use in fish tanks. But, I've found what really helps create a good aquascape, is take a good look at where you found the rocks. Is it a rounded streambed? Mabye some granite wedged on the side of a mountain. Either way, take a picture. Its already the perfect aquascape because its nature. Then, try and emulate, at least to some degree, that setting.

Excellent point! Thanks for that addition. This is great because I almost always note the geography surrounding areas I look for stones, but it's more subconscious note taking. It's a great idea to take a picture of the landscape.

Sil, I love your rocks. They're gorgeous! I've got a question though, about how you've created height. Looks like you've just used foam and eggcrate. But, how do you get that angle when its resting on a hard surface? What if you don't like the way its sitting, and in substrate, you can just dig it a bit deeper and get the angle you want. Is it just a matter of experimentation with different rocks? I've tried using that method before, but it never works for me. What I usually end up doing is getting a mesh bag and filling it with lava rock, as I can still manipulate that enough, and it won't bother plants.

I fully understand the blood boiling struggle of positioning angles. Haha! It's a real pain, however, the problem exists only because we're trying to make a stone rest where it doesn't want to rest naturally. While it may look like I'm angling stones they're actually just sitting on their own natural bases - how the stone wants to rest in balance with it's shape. I'm using foam and acrylic containers just as a means to raise it's height in this case.

I mimic a lot from the process and design of Aqua Design Amano, in this case ADA Power Sand. Power Sand is essentially lava rock substrate for BonsaI Trees. With that being said, I know lava rock substrates (Seachem Eco-Complete) doesn't compact or shift much over many months, which makes a very good foundation for building altitude. I've used mesh bags of lava rock, but don't care for it because it's harder to manipulate how a stone sits when you have to shift mesh bags of other stone around to adjust it. Small gravel-sized substrates like Eco-Complete, Floramax,or just smashing lava rock to gravel size makes it easier to adjust how stones sit, or their height, then filling in behind them with a planted take substrate.

Okay, so what happens in my own process. On the glass bottom of a tank I place a thin sheet of acrylic just to protect the glass before setting what I think of as foundation stones - most of which are just sitting how they want to. I just adjust where they sit, not actually how they are sitting. These stones won't be able to be adjusted without ripping a good deal of the tank up, but that's okay since how they are positioned doesn't matter as much as you may think. While any stone I set I want to be visible and noticed, the foundation stones are stone sitting directly on the cardboard in my picture. They're usually %70-%90 buried in substrate later, acting as fill and substrate supports that help keep substrate in place until plants developed intricate root systems to do that job.

With ADA powersand I often use a lava rock substate poured highest in the back, sloping downward to the front, but staying back from the front panel 3-4 inches. This usually buries the base of foundation stones. The foundation stones keep the substrate from moving, while the substrate keeps the foundation stones in place. On top of the base substrate I will place the stones that are raised higher. These are usually more detailed stones that would be angled or adjusted, set on the base substrate or on a thin layer of the planted tank substrate that will be visible to build more height. By holding the stone in the position you want you can dump the visible substrate behind it, which will hold it in that spot. Since I usually use fine substrates to plant it's a matter of placing the second set of stones and filling/adjusting until you have altitude. After the substrate has built higher I add the third set of stones, which are usually small and detailed a top the substrate layer and brush substrate around them. There's a fourth set of stone, very small, that are added months later.
I tend to plant carpets heavier around stones because their roots anchor the substrate from leveling. If I notice a stone isn't sitting how I want I wait for the carpet to fill in before adjusting it. It's easy to adjust later when mats of roots are preventing caving. All the stones, aside from foundation stones can be adjusted after roots are established.

Genius idea on the emersed. Can I just stick it in a window with no light and just mist it like a dry start? Will heat affect them?

Definitely isn't my idea. I either read about it, heard about it, watched a video on it, then just did it. And you bet you could stick the emersed containers in a window. There's no need to mist them. The easiest is to buy clear Tupperware containers with clear tops and fill it with at least an inch of potting soil (2 inches is better), then fill it with water so it's soggy, but the water isn't standing above the soil surface. Toss in some plants, place the lid on them tightly, or wrap the top with plastic wrap tightly. You want it sealed so moisture collects on the inside of the container, which tells you humidity levels are high in the container. Humidity is needed for adaptation from submersed to emersed growth. It also keeps moisture longer so no need to water it frequently at all. As far as heat it's very important, but even in winter the ambient temperature of the house was okay. The plants definitely do better in higher temperatures and humidity levels but I never had any problems. Shortened periods of sunlight was probably a bigger hinderance to growth.

I have two gorgeous pieces of MopanI I got for free. I've never worked with DW but now I'll try. I'm thinking probably a nature scape.

I have a love-hate relationship with the 20 long. For one thing, it has tons of footprint, so great for CO2 and plants, and not too tall, which also makes it easy to scape, even though somtimes it can flatten a scape. But, I hate hate hate the depth. It has next to none, which really makes it a struggle. I really want like a tank that's about 30 inches long, 15 inches high, and 18 inches deep. The sense of depth you could get with such a tank. Oh its my dream tank. Will you do a series on picking the right tank? Not sure if there's enough for a post, but mabye a side?

I think most problems with hardscape you encounter is the lack of depth in most standard tanks. Tanks I have recently purchased are 18 inches wide. those extra six inches are the difference between making something very cool without crowding, and a lengthy, time-consuming headache.

If your LED sized to a 20 Long correctly it's a smart idea to upgrade to a 40 gallons (36L x 18W x 16H approximately). Adding a second canister filter to the opposite side is probably a must-do of the bat, and for high-tech you'd need more lighting, but the dimensions are more appropriate to dimensions of tanks very detailed aquascape champions own So yeah, you'd need to buy more equipment eventually, but plants keep well in emersed setups until you have appropriate light for them, and a 40 gallon is a little over $40 when petco runs their $1 a gallon sales. A second canister filter is about $50 for a very large SunSun, and the cheapest and cleanest way to high-light a 40G I've put together is about $120.

Edit: From one person who started Aquascaping in a 20 gallon long to another these are very awkward dimensions to work with. After successfully Aquascaping in one in only gets easier when you work in larger areas.


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