Could really use some help with aquascaping

Leeman75

My 29 gallon clown puke decorated tank (not my original creation) is finally rid of inhabitants that kept the neon theme going. So, the transformation began today to make it into something much more natural looking. It is now a blank slate. Gone is the hideous neon gravel, live plants, and rocks and in place is black sand. I have placed some rocks and a couple of pieces of decor in there only to make the 2 Pearl Gourami in there a little more comfortable. My desire is to have a combination of rocks, driftwood, and plants. But I cannot come up with a combination or design to go with.

I think I'm a bit overwhelmed with the many directions and would like to solicit some ideas...

Here is the old tank:
Clown Puke.jpg

No more of those awful decorations:
Clown Puke No More.jpg

A totally blank slate (don't mind the settling dust from the sand. I did clean it extensively, but it's impossible to fully remove the dust):
Clown Puke 2.0.jpg

None of these decorations are needing to be in the final product:
Clown Puke 2.0_1.jpg
 

Demonskid

I think if you go with what you have right now, a piece of spider wood would look nice right there in the middle.
 
Upvote 0

Bruinfishkeeper1

It really depends on what your looking for.

Do you want a jungle looking with plants like java fern, Amazon sword, Vallsneria and pogostema.(one of the easier ones, and you can really have your tank look lush and filled up

A blackwater biotope tank with just hardscape and botanicals. This helps recreate the natural environment of fish but can get a little techincal (pretty easy though)

A dutch style scape with plants like rotalas, bacopas, ludwigias, and other stem plants. This is more uniform with a specific plant setup and specific trimming (harder for a larger tank)

Iwagumi scape: where you have a carpeting plant like monte carlo and dwarf baby tears, to carpet the tank. Then you use a bunch of standing rocks to depth the scape

Theres a number of others but those are just some
 
Upvote 0

JLAquatics

Maybe my article about aqua scaping may help you out some?
Aquascaping Tips and Tricks for a Beginner

Anyways, before you consider any tank design concept, make sure you fit the needs of the fish above all else. Use what you know about the species and work that into your new design. Since your Gouramis like tall dense plant growth towards the surface of the aquarium, doing a densely planted jungle styled aquascape may look and function the best for the fish you have.

For further assistance, check online for 29 gallon aquascape ideas and pick a few that you like. Is there any similarities between these designs that you are drawn to? Maybe a type of wood? A specific plant? This may also help in narrowing down your possibilities towards creating something you and your fish will enjoy.

Good Luck with the change, Leeman75. :)
 
Upvote 0

Leeman75

I should have mentioned that my centerpiece rather than the Pearl Gourami will be 3 Keyhole Cichlids that I currently have in my 20 gallon Hex tank. I'm planning on ordering plants this weekend and then moving them into the tank next weekend, likely once I have installed the plants.

I have a hard time really distinguishing between different types of looks. I like so many variety of plants, but have had a difficult time with stem plants. It's a low-tech tank, so no CO2, which it seems is what is needed to have carpeting plants really thrive. I've never really had any luck with any mosses. I LOVE swords, but I've only really been successful with one or two. The rest don't even really make it past the first melt.

My South American Cichlid tank is more of a blackwater and I think I'd like this tank to not be quite like that.
 
Upvote 0

SouthAmericanCichlids

An easy but beautiful one is iwugami. It is beautiful in its simplicity.
 
Upvote 0

MickSG

A good rule of thumb is to restrict yourself to at most one type of wood, and at most one type of rock. Mixing species is challenging to while keeping things natural looking.

Another thing to keep at the front of your mind during scaping is how to use the vertical space. This means raising the substrate up in places, and using large rocks or wood, or potentially stacking.

Equally important is negative space. Visualize which parts of your scape will be open for fish to swim, but be deliberate about it.

Finally try and scape around a single main focal point, which might be s big rock, a stand out plant, or perhaps an area of negative space.
 
Upvote 0

Leeman75

A good rule of thumb is to restrict yourself to at most one type of wood, and at most one type of rock. Mixing species is challenging to while keeping things natural looking.

Another thing to keep at the front of your mind during scaping is how to use the vertical space. This means raising the substrate up in places, and using large rocks or wood, or potentially stacking.

Equally important is negative space. Visualize which parts of your scape will be open for fish to swim, but be deliberate about it.

Finally try and scape around a single main focal point, which might be s big rock, a stand out plant, or perhaps an area of negative space.

These are some really great tips! Thanks!!
Maybe my article about aqua scaping may help you out some?
Aquascaping Tips and Tricks for a Beginner

Good Luck with the change, Leeman75. :)

It's a great article! Thank you!!
 
Upvote 0

Leeman75

I treated myself to a few new pieces of driftwood and some rocks today for Father's Day. I have boiled the wood and also poured hot water over the stones to wash them. I now have them all in the tank. The talllest wood is being weighted down by a stone structure that ultimately won't be in the tank. These are not the final resting places for things, but I am happy that other than the plants, I now have everything (I think) that I'm going to use to decorate this tank.

Here's a pic:
20210620_183801.jpg

What do you think? How should I set this all up? I feel like the tallest piece is a little taller than it looks in this picture.

I'm ordering the plants tonight so that they will come and I can get them into the tank this week so that hopefully, I can move the Keyholes to the tank next weekend when I do the WC.
 
Upvote 0

Teahaus

Iguysscape.jpg
I would try for a more triangular scape. Either left or right.......pic shows high point on the left. Also you seem to have some nice dragon-stone on the right and I would stick to one type of stone. Your fish look great and they would really pop with some large java ferns and/or jungle val. A black background would also make everything pop. You can easily paint the back of the tank with simple acrylic paint. I've done it recently and it looks great, dry it with a hair dryer and you'll have it done in no time.
 
Upvote 0

Leeman75

IView attachment 797373
I would try for a more triangular scape. Either left or right.......pic shows high point on the left. Also you seem to have some nice dragon-stone on the right and I would stick to one type of stone. Your fish look great and they would really pop with some large java ferns and/or jungle val. A black background would also make everything pop. You can easily paint the back of the tank with simple acrylic paint. I've done it recently and it looks great, dry it with a hair dryer and you'll have it done in no time.

That triangle is a really great visual and makes a lot of sense! I will move the driftwood over to the left and probably remove one of the 3 pieces. Then, lose the non-dragon stone and put the DS more in the middle. Would it look weird of I put some small rounded stones on the right to kind of create almost like a stone path on the far right of the tank? Or should I just leave it at the DS in the middle?

I just ordered my plants and will have some Jungle Vals for the back along with some smaller plants like Dwarf Sag and Repens in the front area. Some Crypts and a Sword may fit in as well. All should be on their way this week.

Will definitely get a black background. I actually need to do that on many of my tanks. Don't know if I'll get to that this week, but will do in the next couple of weeks.

Thank you for the suggestions!
 
Upvote 0

tabbycatfish

I'm no expert but I aspire to do this someday... There are a bunch of high quality aquascapers video to get ideas. I think the most important thing I never considered and learned with those videos is to add perspective to the tank, like a painting.

 
Upvote 0

MickSG

I treated myself to a few new pieces of driftwood and some rocks today for Father's Day. I have boiled the wood and also poured hot water over the stones to wash them. I now have them all in the tank. The talllest wood is being weighted down by a stone structure that ultimately won't be in the tank. These are not the final resting places for things, but I am happy that other than the plants, I now have everything (I think) that I'm going to use to decorate this tank.

Here's a pic:
View attachment 797364

What do you think? How should I set this all up? I feel like the tallest piece is a little taller than it looks in this picture.

I'm ordering the plants tonight so that they will come and I can get them into the tank this week so that hopefully, I can move the Keyholes to the tank next weekend when I do the WC.

tabbycat mentioned perspective, and I think that is something your layout would really benefit from. There are a few ways to achieve this. First dramatically raise the height of substrate at the rear of the tank. This will give the illusion of increased depth. Next consider placing bulkier hardscape items near the front of the tank, and smaller items near the back on the raised substrate. This will over emphasize the perceived distance between the rear and the front of the tank. See if you can identify strong lines in your hardscape layout that run from foreground to background, rather than just left and right. Finally try to create layers of different textures / colors from back to front using multiple different plant species when you come to planting. These suggestions can all be consistent with the triangular layout suggested above.
 
Upvote 0

Leeman75

Perspective...got it! Those are 2 really great tips. I will do add the height and put the bulkier pieces up front. I get the layers concept, I've just never been able to actually do it. Taking those first two steps I think will really help.

I'll watch that video later when I have the alone time to be able to focus on it.
 
Upvote 0

Latest threads

Top Bottom