How would you aquascape my 20 gal?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Aquascaping' started by FLGirl, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. FLGirlWell Known MemberMember

    Hey yall. This is my first tank but I'm pretty convinced that live plants are the way I want to go...Iv got lots of great help here... but I was wondering if anyone wanted to share some ideas? What would you do if you had my what would you put where basically? It doesn't have to be super detailed or anything Id just appreciate a few ideas. ;D Ya think I should get like a whole lot of plants or just start with a few. (right now I'm still cycling I also want to make sure I get the decor I really want an fish or future fish need since some of the plants I think I might get attach to things, and do you just stick the other plants right in your gravel?) Right now I 3 fake plants in there. Actually when I look at all yalls beautiful tanks it makes my 3 lil fake plants look awfully sad and lonesome . lol :;f
  2. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    I'm a fan of natural tanks, and avoid plastic/synthetic because I find they fade/discolour quickly, and also seem to attract algae.

    That said, it's up to you, I always like the idea of a 'centre piece', whether it be a rock, wood, a large plant.

    It also depends on where the tank is to be positioned and the viewing angles. i.e. if it is in viewable from all sides, then I'd probably go with some thing like:

    Small plants around the edges (such as crypts), with a larger sword or something similar in the middle with rocks around the bottom, and a "moat" of maybe a 'carpet' of moss around the edges of the rocks. leaving a space of substrate (probably earth coloured) in between the moss and the glass.

    If the tank is butted up against the wall, I'd go with some larger plants at the back, separated well with smaller plants etc and maybe some moss and rocks. Something that creates interesting areas for fish to swim, hide and draws your attention.

    Live vs Fake Plants
    Let's start with live plants.

    1. Provides oxygen during daylight hours
    2. Fin friendly; won't tear fins
    3. Helps filter the water
    4. Provides another food source for the fish
    5. Grows
    6. Helps keep algae in check

    1. Produces CO2 during nighttime hours
    2. Grows - needs regular pruning
    3. Require fertilisers
    4. May require CO2 injection
    5. Require correct lighting in order to grow

    Now for plastic plants.

    1. Doesn't produce CO2
    2. No pruning needed
    3. Will always look the same, doesn't grow
    4. No need to invest in CO2, fertilisers, lights.

    1. Doesn't produce O2
    2. Just another surface for algae to grow on
    3. Always looks the same, not dynamic
    4. Not fin friendly, could possibly tear fins if fish gets too close
    5. Doesn't filter water

    Have a look at   for some great ideas.

    PS - here's some pics of my tank

    Last edited: Apr 13, 2010
  3. peacemaker92Well Known MemberMember

    Hi FL Girl,

    ryanr has provided a great list of pros and cons of live and fake plants. Very interesting and nicely done!

    In my opinion, it really depends if you have the cash. Live plants will really consume and eat up alot of your cash because you'll need to spend loads on the C02 if you have a lot of plants in there, and more cash for the plants itself. But for fake plants, you'll only need to get the plants itself and normally in most LFS, they're quite affordable. For me, I don't really have a job yet so I planted my 55 gal with all fake/silk/plastic plants and some java moss. I tried to make it as realistic as possible by finding and buying green fake plants and it turned out better than I expected.

    So yeah, it all depends on how much cash you're willing to spend. I'd suggest fake plants because it doesn't consume so much cash and you can make it beautiful depending on your creativity and time spent into it. :)

    Best of luck! :;hf

  4. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Good point Peacemaker! :)

    Live plants do require looking after, fertilisers, CO2, lighting, so there is a budget aspect to it, and depending on what plants you go for, some can be expensive.

    BTW - just on the CO2 side of things, there's numerous DIY CO2 tips on these forums.

    If you're interested, let us know, and we can point you in the right direction.
  5. harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

    Low light plants do not require CO2, ferts, or many times even special lighting... especially for a 20 gallon. I've had some killer planted tanks with just stock lighting and regular gravel as substrate. Crypts, anubias, java ferns, java moss, bolbitis fern, etc. are about as easy as it gets for planted tanks. :)
  6. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    I'm with Harpua. Having live plants need not be costly to set up or to maintain. The reality is that fake plants will probably cost just as much or even more than live plants & a suitable light anyway so the set up costs are quite similar. As for maintainance costs, they depend on what sort of set up you have. As Harpua stated, many low light tanks don't need co2 or ferts so there is really no cost involved in maintainance. Even on high light tanks that do need ferts & co2 the cost isn't very high if you use a diy co2 rig. I run 4 planted tanks for under $20 per month & 3 of those would be considered med-high light tanks that run co2 & fertilisers. I would pick the low light live plant set up every single time over fake plants.

    Tank layout is a different story. With the number of choices there are available & not knowing your personal tases i can't really say what would look good to you. I prefer natural tanks that only contain natural items like rocks, wood & live plants. Some people like to have fake ships etc & some people have full on themed tanks with ship wrecks, anchors, treasure chests, little pirates & all sorts of other ornaments. The one thing that I have learnt is that it is often better to under decorate a tank than to clutter it up with heaps of stuff. You could have one large rock or piece of wood just off from centre to create a focal point & then have a bunch of live plants growin all around it or you might like to have only plants with a large feature plant as the eye catching focal point. It's really hard to recommend for other people. Maybe google some aquarium pics & see if any of the results take your fancy. Many of the tanks in my profile album were inspired by pics of other tanks.
  7. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Hey FL,
    I'd go with Nutter on whatever he says about plants ;) The man is the undisputed king of plants on fishlore (and Nate isn't too bad either) :;hi5

    But I hope we're giving you an insight, and some of the considerations. Good luck with it all, and keep us informed.
  8. NutterFishlore VIPMember

  9. FLGirlWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks so much everyone, you all are definetly helping! :) I think some of the fake plants are really pretty but I think I'm going to go live of course it will be low light least maintinence plants for me :D right now I have a fake plant that looks kinda like elephant ears plant one that looks like a java fern and a pink one they all have some of that brownish dia stuff. I also have the decor that the tank came with a couple little critters holding signs a coral cave and a sunken ship but I want to go a dif direction. I might have to keep them awhile though since I'm cycling. If I added new decor after I'm cycled how long would I wait to take out the old? I'm going to write all these plants down and see if they are in the Lfs . Thanks again everyone all your input helps!
  10. harpua2002Fishlore VIPMember

  11. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    here's a couple of ideas that kind of explain what i'm talking about:



  12. FLGirlWell Known MemberMember

    Wow, those are all beautiful!

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