Just Add Sand!

Silister Trench

Hardscape-only tank. Just add sand!

Title: An End - Prelude to a Beginning
By Silister Trench

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I needed another temporary tank just to house some more aggressive fish, but hey, even a temporary home can still look pretty cool, right? Sure... gave me a reason to play with some local driftwood & stones we gathered back mid-summer. Lighting is a $15 50watt flood light I have about 4 feet above the tank because, man, is that thing bright. It makes plants pearl better than a $150 planted tank light. Background is dark frosted window film.

All the hardscape was disinfected with bleach and scrubbed vigorously. It's been laying around just waiting for me to play with it, so there it is. The stone resembles elephant stone (texture-wise) and is light grey with veins of browns and reds. Pretty neat. Once the sand is added and the tank is filled I can take some more shots if you guys want.
 

Igor95

I don't say this often, but that's a really nice scape. The planting possibilities are endless.
 

Gypsy13

Wow! Just, wow!
 

Silister Trench

I don't say this often, but that's a really nice scape. The planting possibilities are endless.

That definitely makes it all the more complimentary, then. Thank you! It was one of those rare moments when you start just playing with some sticks and stones, and you keep finding that one good piece again and again. Before you know it a few hours go by, the floor is littered with all the wrong pieces of hardscape you dug through. Despite the mess, when you step back and look - really look - there's something rather interesting in the rubble. Then there's the title "An End -Prelude to a Beginning", which I kept playing with while fiddling with the driftwood. I've been playing with forest-style layouts, looking at many different works and noted that in many, but not all, there is a very realistic and natural detail missing: they lack realism because they're a still-frame portraying too clean an environment with too much life, depicting only life, but not the cycle of life. I've never seen an actual forest that isn't littered with dead things like fallen trees, branches, old stumps, leaves... etc... so I decided somewhere while working that I just wanted to make a dead-thing, something trapped at an end of a cycle - void of any life of its own, solitary. The dead-thing isn't going to spontaneously come back to life if I add plants to it, because it can't. The end of the cycle, awaiting for the beginning of a new, different one - to be overgrown and lost in a scene should I ever choose to plant it. Prelude to a beginning.

Sorry for that lengthy thought, but when you wrote the planting possibilities are endless I just had to write it up. Haha! Cheers!
 

aussieJJDude

I would love to know how you plan to not add any plants to this thing.... asking for a friend.
 

Silister Trench

I would love to know how you plan to not add any plants to this thing.... asking for a friend.

Well... that's a good question!

If I plant the tank it would have to be low-tech at the moment because my Co2 tanks are designated to other tanks and ideas, which would mean buying another $60 Co2 tank, $50 - $80 regulator, $20 inline Co2 reactor, tubing, etc. Buying all of that, or using a splitter and running a shared system off my 10lbs Co2 tank.

I don't mind low-tech tanks despite my limited patience, however, three medium angelfish need to go in this tank for a while because they'll either kill or be killed if housed in other tanks whiled I juggle and move flora and fauna. Because I dislike snails and they love eating every single shrimp they see, even picking at ottos once in a while the tank lacks a very foundational group of algae eaters/scavengers to keep it clean and polished-looking long enough for low-tech growth to fill in. So to make it look as good as I would like it Co2 injection (as an algae-preventative and growth-time reducer) would be the easiest method to achieve the look, along with non-asexual snails to prevent an unstoppable population growth and being eaten.

So there are a few technical issues in there. I also have plans to make a more unique rimless aquarium in time, repurposing this particular tank to my emersed growth tank, which it was supposed to be housing right now. It really comes down to a question I had to ask myself: "If a fully planted Aquascape is going to take a long time with very marginal results, is it worth bringing an idea to life by planting it, one which I know could have been better, or should it be standalone pretty without plants. Maybe, just maybe, if I really wanted to see it through I could always revisit the idea under better conditions."
 

Silister Trench

The lighting was adjusted to reveal a bit more detail. It's better, but not great. There's a portion of the hardscape on the left side shaded by the larger piece and virtually invisible against the dark background.

Also, a very fine layer of sand was added. It's just enough to cover the bottom pane of glass, and if you look close there's still glass visible. It's so shallow for two reasons: 1.) I wasn't sure the color worked well, but it's really easy to replace since it's not actually holding any hardscape in place. A quick shop vacuuming or siphoning and it's gone. 2.) There's no real way detritus can collect, reducing dissolved organics and algae outbreaks while allowing more usable water volume for the fish.

Title: An End - Prelude to a Beginning (w/natural sand)
By Silister Trench


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Kind of hate the sand, kind of don't... yup... anyone want to place some bets on whether I secured the structure well enough for it to remain intact when I fill it with water. Three possible outcomes -

1.) Shoots like a rocket ship to the surface followed by me accidentally breaking the front glass.

2.) We discover that when I redid the silicone on the tank I didn't do a very good job, which leads to failure of one or more seams - water everywhere - and complete tank failure when the glass gets broke, accidentally.

3.) Everything works out just swell and Murphy's Law finds someone else to toy with today.

- I give it a %70 success rate with a %30 chance of failure, personally.
 

aussieJJDude

Good luck with the fill...


Honestly, I couldn't go hardscape only even if I tried... I would eventually bring one plant into it, and there is goes. Next thing I know, there's 20.
 

Silister Trench

Submersing & a few closeup shots of the stone. Really wish I had a mountain of this


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I really wish I had a mountain of this stone nearby. When we found it I almost passed it by, but in the end we loaded a good 60+ lbs of it.

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It wasn't until we brought the driftwood home and I was scrubbing it that I noticed it has a subtle but very pretty hue of purple/violet throughout it. It only becomes noticeable when wet.

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The submersion -


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Silister Trench

Title: An End - Prelude to a Beginning
By Silister Trench

100% locally sourced hardscape and a $15 light in a $20 tank


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Silister Trench

I wanted to move that hanging cord, but any time I get close they hide behind the tree.
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Gypsy13

I wanted to move that hanging cord, but any time I get close they hide behind the tree.
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Sounds awesome! Thank you for sharing.
 

dojafish

I'm jealous, it's so beautiful. I have the artistic skills of a walnut when it comes to hardscapes... I need to stare at nature more than I stare at a screen or my fish tanks.
 

Silister Trench

I'm jealous, it's so beautiful. I have the artistic skills of a walnut when it comes to hardscapes... I need to stare at nature more than I stare at a screen or my fish tanks.

Thanks! Haha!

Personally, I think aquascaping is more a learned adaptation of art than it is a form of innate artistic prowess/skill. I have yet to see any first-timer attempt turn out a figurative block of gold that couldn't be ruthlessly torn apart by someone with more experience.

I stare a lot at screens when playing with an idea. Sometimes i'm looking at someone else's tank, sometimes I'm looking at Google s of places, sometimes just at plants for ideas. For me it's a matter of trial and error.

But... No one ever gets better with hardscape by looking at hardscape, only by playing with real hardscape that they can touch and move around.
 

Fashooga

That is pure hotness right there. What a wonderful scape. It's gonna look great once some of the algae forms up.
 

THRESHER

Looking wicked nice!!
 

BettaMaxx

Wow, this is great looking. Glad it all held up for you in the end! Please update us if you ever go to plant this beauty.
 

Crazycoryfishlady

Thanks! Haha!

Personally, I think aquascaping is more a learned adaptation of art than it is a form of innate artistic prowess/skill. I have yet to see any first-timer attempt turn out a figurative block of gold that couldn't be ruthlessly torn apart by someone with more experience.

I stare a lot at screens when playing with an idea. Sometimes i'm looking at someone else's tank, sometimes I'm looking at Google s of places, sometimes just at plants for ideas. For me it's a matter of trial and error.

But... No one ever gets better with hardscape by looking at hardscape, only by playing with real hardscape that they can touch and move around.

Wonderfully said.
Looking at this I can't help but pull you away from your beauty and ask you if you could help me with mine!
I know my tank will look a lot better when it's full of plants, but now I feel like it's no where near where I want it to be.
New Jurassic Rhombo Barb 29g
I like the theme, but I know it's a bit corny, and sort of hard to work with.
I'm hoping you have some criticism or ideas on how to rearrange my scape to be more pleasing.

I'm honestly thinking about tearing it all down now and starting over just to get better placement of plants and rocks/decor.

Maybe after a hike today I'll be full of new ideas and crystal rocks once again...

Beautiful tank. Truly inspiring. Makes me want to try really hard on my brackish paludarium.
 

dojafish

Thanks! Haha!

Personally, I think aquascaping is more a learned adaptation of art than it is a form of innate artistic prowess/skill. I have yet to see any first-timer attempt turn out a figurative block of gold that couldn't be ruthlessly torn apart by someone with more experience.

I stare a lot at screens when playing with an idea. Sometimes i'm looking at someone else's tank, sometimes I'm looking at Google s of places, sometimes just at plants for ideas. For me it's a matter of trial and error.

But... No one ever gets better with hardscape by looking at hardscape, only by playing with real hardscape that they can touch and move around.
That makes a lot of sense. I should have figured... I draw digital art. If I stayed on top of it I would probably be pretty skilled but I don't so I'm not that great lol. But it did take me about 15 years to get to where I'm at now. It makes sense for this to be a 'practice hands-on' kind of skill development and drawing inspiration from other's works. Thanks for sharing this with me! I'm truly inspired.
 

Silister Trench

1.) I'd remove the sticks. In the photo there's really nothing they add [for me] that is interesting. They look out of place, like they were added as a way to add height, which driftwoods does very well, but the pieces just aren't interesting.

2. If you remove the wood then the rocks and the Jurassic pieces compliment each other. I'd focus on the left side as a focal point, similiar to it is now, but with the downed-helicopter incorporated better with the Rocky structure.

3.) The biggest problem I see is lack of hardscape material. You either need more stone to build larger structures, or more interesting wood. A 29G has a good deal of height, which makes larger plants such as Val or tall crypts a good option. For mass cryptocoryne wendtiI are large and fill in empty space. Java ferns of all variety are great for a tank like this - trident and narrow being two variety I would consider.

4.) Best starting point you can give yourself is to disreguard anything I said above and search Oliver Knott's Aquascape works. He's a German aquascaper that has quite a few photos that are combos of nature aquariums with modern decorations. I think it's similiar to Taiwan Style, but only a few that I've seen. I think you'll notice a strong likeness between Oliver's tanks and your own. From there you can try to mimic something he has done. It's 100% okay to mimic a tank done by someone else. In fact, its a great way to start aquascaping. Even if every detail is similiar there's virtually no chance the end result will be the same.
 

Crazycoryfishlady

1.) I'd remove the sticks. In the photo there's really nothing they add [for me] that is interesting. They look out of place, like they were added as a way to add height, which driftwoods does very well, but the pieces just aren't interesting.

2. If you remove the wood then the rocks and the Jurassic pieces compliment each other. I'd focus on the left side as a focal point, similiar to it is now, but with the downed-helicopter incorporated better with the Rocky structure.

3.) The biggest problem I see is lack of hardscape material. You either need more stone to build larger structures, or more interesting wood. A 29G has a good deal of height, which makes larger plants such as Val or tall crypts a good option. For mass cryptocoryne wendtiI are large and fill in empty space. Java ferns of all variety are great for a tank like this - trident and narrow being two variety I would consider.

4.) Best starting point you can give yourself is to disreguard anything I said above and search Oliver Knott's Aquascape works. He's a German aquascaper that has quite a few photos that are combos of nature aquariums with modern decorations. I think it's similiar to Taiwan Style, but only a few that I've seen. I think you'll notice a strong likeness between Oliver's tanks and your own. From there you can try to mimic something he has done. It's 100% okay to mimic a tank done by someone else. In fact, its a great way to start aquascaping. Even if every detail is similiar there's virtually no chance the end result will be the same.

Awesome criticism, and you're kinda right I don't have much driftwood around or in stores, so I try to find what I can to make things interesting.
I saw a vampire crab paludarium and wanted to try to mimic the very sticky environment of something like the bottom of a forest river or something. Roots dripping down or a tree growing out.
The pieces of wood I got were from as gnarled a tree as we could find, but I still didn't like them much. They were indeed put there to add height and a visual in general as the tank will be lacking until I get some more plants.

I planned on gettin bacopa, anacharis, a handful of dwarf sag for the bottom, and... Ludwigia repens.
I have many crypt starts planted, about 10 or 14, just not visible at this moment as they were only recently propagated.
Also got the obvious swords, some java ferns and fern starts, and other ferns I could move over as well.
Will probably take all of them and make a nice bushy spot in the front corners.

The more I look at the tank, the more I see the flaws I was limiting myself from seeing before.
I knew I was adding things just to add things, but it looks quite messy with each glance.
There was an idea there at first, but I strayed from it and kept moving when I didn't have the right pieces.
I definitely need a lot of larger pieces, I was trying to limit what I was carrying because the hike is quite intense with a lot of weight on you.

Totally rethinking this.... The new ideas are going to be less "here's stuff in the tank for fish to hide in" and more thought out as if it's an actual place I could find if I just dunked my head into the water...

I hope it works out well.. Thank you so much for the advice, criticism, and ideas on how to move forward! It was well needed.

First video I looked at is his Star Wars themed tank, while It's not decor themed, and just legos, I do like it.
I think having my rocks on multiple levels will give me not only the added height that I want, but also a lot more interesting view, and this way, I can make the copter the center piece of that like I wanted.

Since my tank is slightly bigger than this one, I might do it all the way across the back, or almost like multiple shelfs in one corner.
I'm leaning towards multiple shelfs on one side just so I'm not lining the entire back, and so I can have a bit of an open space on one side.
Ah! It's really coming together in my head now. I can't thank you enough!
 

Silister Trench

Totally rethinking this.... The new ideas are going to be less "here's stuff in the tank for fish to hide in" and more thought out as if it's an actual place I could find if I just dunked my head into the water..

Not having nearly enough matching rock, wood, substrate and plants that not only visually compliment each other but do well in the same provided environment, is definitely the #1 problem anyone trying to Aquascape or decorate a tank will have.

Reading your above comment made me remember trying to place everything I had in some of my first tanks for the fish or as a way to visually fill in empty space, which - (*cough-cough*to anyone reading this, having an over abundance of "filler-hardscape" until plants grow in is a terrible habit, which can often block light, decrease good circulation and stunt the would-be growth you're waiting on to fill in *cough*) - which makes a photo of my first attempts look the way a child's room might when they clean it by shoveling the mess in the closet and under the bed. The sort-of-clean-mess looks is hard to bypass without lots of tank choices to choose from, though.

To make "An End - Prelude to a beginning" -


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- what you don't see is a few dozen pieces of wood and a sizable pile of matching stone that I've collected most of the summer and passed up in place of hardscape I did use in the tank. Two years ago I watched an aquascaper on YouTube (probably The Green Machine) create a huge Aquascape, using huge stone as hardscape. He used a dozen or so stone, but the stone he had to choose from was spread out over a ten foot by twenty foot area of the floor. I kept that visual in my head, finding myself wondering if the artistic success of a layout and tank is more due to large volumes of pieces and variety someone has to choose from, and much less to do with artistic ability. A gorgeous piece of manzanita wood that fills a tank well is going to look great no matter how it's placed, so is there any difference if a professional drops it in or an amateur? Maybe?

I've really wanted to try an experiment for a while now -

1.) Take seven nano pieces of new manzanita driftwood and seven seiryu stone with as much of a substrate like Aquasoil as desired - no limit.

2.) Canvas is a 10G.

3.) 3 different people use all 14 of the same pieces and as much substrate as they want in the 10G. Every piece must be used, and every piece needs to be inside of the tank or at least touching it if used outside of the tank. None of the hardscape can be altered. Person #1 has a good deal of experience. #2 has very little experience but lurks in Aquascaping forums. #3 has none.

4.) 1 hour time limit.

--- my theory is persons #1 & #2 will be similar in this stage with neither being "better". Limited hardscape in a limited tank size, limits any real possibility one outshines the other. Person #3 is simply a control, and a wild card at that.

1.) Repeat, but now they choose seven of each from a selection of a dozen pieces of wood and a dozen stone - different hardscape from the first round.

--- I still don't think either persons #1 or #2 will have enough diversity to prove #1 has more experience and greater skill than #2. With no knowledge person #3 is really only there to show a design that's terrible in both cases, a control with very lack-luster results no matter the hardscape. I also think even if the test was repeated with - I dunno - 30 stone and pieces of wood with the same factors and limitations in place as the first two tests either person #1 or #2 would show much, if any, artistic superiority.

This test really is only viable to see if placing limitations on someone who is a "good aquascaper" handicaps that person enough so unknowing people trying to determine which tank was done by what level of experience and artistic skill are guessed incorrectly - if artistry actually comes into play or if the level of skill is more centered around availability of hardscape that can be used.

--- I thought of this using only hardscape and not planting the tank as well because a comparison photo from an experienced hobbyist's tank and beginners planted tank would be obvious to just about anyone because of plant care, grooming and just overall plant-layout.

I think the only factor that would separate someone with experience from someone with little experience is I didn't say that the hardscape needed to be used ONLY inside of the tank. Someone with a more creative edge might catch onto that and use the tank inside and out as the canvas.
 

Kathryn Crook

Not having nearly enough matching rock, wood, substrate and plants that not only visually compliment each other but do well in the same provided environment, is definitely the #1 problem anyone trying to Aquascape or decorate a tank will have.

Reading your above comment made me remember trying to place everything I had in some of my first tanks for the fish or as a way to visually fill in empty space, which - (*cough-cough*to anyone reading this, having an over abundance of "filler-hardscape" until plants grow in is a terrible habit, which can often block light, decrease good circulation and stunt the would-be growth you're waiting on to fill in *cough*) - which makes a photo of my first attempts look the way a child's room might when they clean it by shoveling the mess in the closet and under the bed. The sort-of-clean-mess looks is hard to bypass without lots of tank choices to choose from, though.

To make "An End - Prelude to a beginning" -


IMG_0698.JPG

- what you don't see is a few dozen pieces of wood and a sizable pile of matching stone that I've collected most of the summer and passed up in place of hardscape I did use in the tank. Two years ago I watched an aquascaper on YouTube (probably The Green Machine) create a huge Aquascape, using huge stone as hardscape. He used a dozen or so stone, but the stone he had to choose from was spread out over a ten foot by twenty foot area of the floor. I kept that visual in my head, finding myself wondering if the artistic success of a layout and tank is more due to large volumes of pieces and variety someone has to choose from, and much less to do with artistic ability. A gorgeous piece of manzanita wood that fills a tank well is going to look great no matter how it's placed, so is there any difference if a professional drops it in or an amateur? Maybe?

I've really wanted to try an experiment for a while now -

1.) Take seven nano pieces of new manzanita driftwood and seven seiryu stone with as much of a substrate like Aquasoil as desired - no limit.

2.) Canvas is a 10G.

3.) 3 different people use all 14 of the same pieces and as much substrate as they want in the 10G. Every piece must be used, and every piece needs to be inside of the tank or at least touching it if used outside of the tank. None of the hardscape can be altered. Person #1 has a good deal of experience. #2 has very little experience but lurks in Aquascaping forums. #3 has none.

4.) 1 hour time limit.

--- my theory is persons #1 & #2 will be similar in this stage with neither being "better". Limited hardscape in a limited tank size, limits any real possibility one outshines the other. Person #3 is simply a control, and a wild card at that.

1.) Repeat, but now they choose seven of each from a selection of a dozen pieces of wood and a dozen stone - different hardscape from the first round.

--- I still don't think either persons #1 or #2 will have enough diversity to prove #1 has more experience and greater skill than #2. With no knowledge person #3 is really only there to show a design that's terrible in both cases, a control with very lack-luster results no matter the hardscape. I also think even if the test was repeated with - I dunno - 30 stone and pieces of wood with the same factors and limitations in place as the first two tests either person #1 or #2 would show much, if any, artistic superiority.

This test really is only viable to see if placing limitations on someone who is a "good aquascaper" handicaps that person enough so unknowing people trying to determine which tank was done by what level of experience and artistic skill are guessed incorrectly - if artistry actually comes into play or if the level of skill is more centered around availability of hardscape that can be used.

--- I thought of this using only hardscape and not planting the tank as well because a comparison photo from an experienced hobbyist's tank and beginners planted tank would be obvious to just about anyone because of plant care, grooming and just overall plant-layout.
Add a couple of plastic vultures on top that dead tree and you have a perfect desert scape! . No, j/k. That tank will look awesome when finished.
 

Silister Trench

Add a couple of plastic vultures on top that dead tree and you have a perfect desert scape! . No, j/k. That tank will look awesome when finished.

Hmmmm... is not a bad idea!

I wonder if eBay would have, and if I can pass this as my idea later in the thread when it's long enough people don't want to flip back to read pages of old comments?

You may have been joking but I think we can all agree this thing I found when I typed in plastic vultures on eBay would be pretty sweet.
 

Kathryn Crook

Hmmmm... is not a bad idea!

I wonder if eBay would have, and if I can pass this as my idea later in the thread when it's long enough people don't want to flip back to read pages of old comments?

You may have been joking but I think we can all agree this thing I found when I typed in plastic vultures on eBay would be pretty sweet.
Haha! No doubt! That would be awesome!

Actually what came to mind when I saw your scape were the Beatles/Stooges vultures from The Lion King movie, lol.
 

Silister Trench

Sooooo... This is a first?

Never (ever, ever, ever) have I had this happen, or seen this happen before. I was carrying out the maintenance and noticed something weird on my driftwoods. When I took a closer look I saw this -


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Jocelyn Adelman

Gotta love hitchhikers

Really like the frosted black... haven’t come across it before, pops in a very different way then the standard black
 

Wraithen

I looked through, did you explain how you did that background?
 

WTFish?

Absolutely gorgeous....I’m also in love with your wall!
 

Silister Trench

I looked through, did you explain how you did that background?
No I didn't. It's frosted window film. Most times when people use frosted window film on a tank we choose a mostly transparent film, which under good lighting has a white, ice reflection. This is usually ideal, but in this tank I used a dark grey frosted window film applied directly to the back glass panel.

I did this to give the tank and hardscape a darker, more lifeless appearance.
 

Wraithen

I wonder if I have enough space to get behind my tank and do this... I will see.
 

Silister Trench

I wonder if I have enough space to get behind my tank and do this... I will see.

I've managed to apply it to tanks with less than 8 inches of space. It's 10x harder, but I managed. Do yourself a favor and purchase 'static cling' film, instead of the adhesive type. You'll thank me, and you won't end up like a fly stuck to those dangling adhesive traps of so-much gross. You know, 'cause if that adhesive film gets tangled and wrapped around your head during application it's pretty scary - said a friend.
 

Wraithen

I've managed to apply it to tanks with less than 8 inches of space. It's 10x harder, but I managed. Do yourself a favor and purchase 'static cling' film, instead of the adhesive type. You'll thank me, and you won't end up like a fly stuck to those dangling adhesive traps of so-much gross. You know, 'cause if that adhesive film gets tangled and wrapped around your head during application it's pretty scary - said a friend.
That gave me a good chuckle. The more annoying part will be removing the old background. I used petroleum jelly because I was in a rush and it didnt come out well. Ill have to throughly clean that. Ill just have to break down and buy an extendable squeegee.
 

-Mak-

Howww do I keep missing your threads. Beautiful hardscape, I actually think this would look amazing as a blackwater.

Do you still have any kind of mushroom in there? I think the first true aquatic mushrooms were recently discovered in some river somewhere.
 

Silister Trench

Howww do I keep missing your threads. Beautiful hardscape, I actually think this would look amazing as a blackwater.

Do you still have any kind of mushroom in there? I think the first true aquatic mushrooms were recently discovered in some river somewhere.

It really turned out much better than I could have expected. It's one of those instances where it started out as me playing with some hardscape we had gathered on vacation in a tank I have every intention of ridding myself of (a cheap Petco tank I de-rimmed) and when I stepped back after some time I decided not to bury the tank in a dumpster quite yet.

And yeah... there always seems to be 2 or 3 mushrooms growing from it. I scraped them off once but they returned to that same spot.

"First true aquatic mushroom" Alright! Haha! Now I have to find out more about this.
 

Kathryn Crook


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It really turned out much better than I could have expected. It's one of those instances where it started out as me playing with some hardscape we had gathered on vacation in a tank I have every intention of ridding myself of (a cheap Petco tank I de-rimmed) and when I stepped back after some time I decided not to bury the tank in a dumpster quite yet.

And yeah... there always seems to be 2 or 3 mushrooms growing from it. I scraped them off once but they returned to that same spot.

"First true aquatic mushroom" Alright! Haha! Now I have to find out more about this.
That tank is spectacular. Can I pick your brain for what you think of my new tank too? Mine must be seen on both sides since it sits on a kitchen bar. The HOB will be removed once its finished cycling.
 

-Mak-

It really turned out much better than I could have expected. It's one of those instances where it started out as me playing with some hardscape we had gathered on vacation in a tank I have every intention of ridding myself of (a cheap Petco tank I de-rimmed) and when I stepped back after some time I decided not to bury the tank in a dumpster quite yet.

And yeah... there always seems to be 2 or 3 mushrooms growing from it. I scraped them off once but they returned to that same spot.

"First true aquatic mushroom" Alright! Haha! Now I have to find out more about this.
Amazing, I think it was this:

Mushrooms underwater
 

Nappers

Sooooo... This is a first?

Never (ever, ever, ever) have I had this happen, or seen this happen before. I was carrying out the maintenance and noticed something weird on my driftwoods. When I took a closer look I saw this -


PSX_20181110_205222.jpg
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You couldn't find a bit of life that complemented the morbid undertones better.
 

Silister Trench

Amazing, I think it was this:

Mushrooms underwater

Thanks for providing a link!

For some reason in my head I was imagining something else entirely - maybe a species that looked dissimilar to mushrooms as we known them, something that could be introduced to a certain type of layout design, but as I started reading my strange fantasy of introducing an aquatic fungus - or any fungus, for that matter - intentionally into a closed ecosystem of a tank is a bad, very bad, idea.

I definitely don't know very much about fungi, but if I remember correctly they propagate by releasing spores, and don't require much in terms of their needs. The mushrooms on my driftwood are happy with the moisture the wood wicks up to them from the water don't have any real light on them. The only light they receive is from the other tanks in the room.

Now imagine a fungus that is aquatic with very minimal needs releasing spores into the water column and that water being turned over 10-15x times every hour by a canister filter with clear or semi-transparent hosing. When I thought of this logically, envisioning an unstoppable spore release that quickly circulates into every aspect of the tank, it quickly became more nightmare than fantasy.
 

Silister Trench


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That tank is spectacular. Can I pick your brain for what you think of my new tank too? Mine must be seen on both sides since it sits on a kitchen bar. The HOB will be removed once its finished cycling.

Honestly, I'd just let it grow in and mature before worrying too much how it looks. I like the idea of what you're trying achieve, especially the branches spread towards the other side.

I can point out a few technical issues, however, which will likely be the cause and effect of problems over the course of its life.

1.) Substrate sloping - low tech. Whenever I create a design in a low-tech tank I almost always leave the substrate thin and level across the design. If I want height I build it with rocks, driftwood, or plants. I do this because slopes need to be held in place by rooting plants for the best results, and in a low-tech system plants often don't grow in fast enough or dense enough to prevent the substrate from leveling out anyways.

2.) I'm not a fan of Eleocharis Parvula outside of Co2 injected systems, but I'm very biased because I have it in several tanks that are high-tech, so if I used it low-tech it would be a side by side comparison of it's patchy and stale growth vs it's dense and very beautiful high-tech carpeting growth. Regardless, when I have seen it do well in low-tech environments it's in large part due to placement and using a nutrient rich planted tank substrate.

3.) The arrangement of your plants and where they are located within the tank may look the best, but their selection based on their plant demands has their placements flip-flopped as to where they should be. TakashI Amano's tanks are often a brilliant example of how plant Selection and placement in the nature aquarium is much more important than artistic choice. Generally, if a species has greater demands such as lighting it should be placed in an area that lighting is stronger and more direct. Plants that are less demanding when it comes to lighting should be placed in areas shaded by hardscape or other plants because higher light demanding species planted in those shaded areas often have unhealthy appearance and growth because their needs are not being met.


Basically, you have bucephalandra (a less demanding plant) as well as a lily ( low demands and fast light shielding growth) in places that will soon shade a much higher demanding species such as eleocharis parvula. E. Parvula is also in places shaded by hardscape, and most likely will not do well right away.
 

Kathryn Crook

Honestly, I'd just let it grow in and mature before worrying too much how it looks. I like the idea of what you're trying achieve, especially the branches spread towards the other side.

I can point out a few technical issues, however, which will likely be the cause and effect of problems over the course of its life.

1.) Substrate sloping - low tech. Whenever I create a design in a low-tech tank I almost always leave the substrate thin and level across the design. If I want height I build it with rocks, driftwood, or plants. I do this because slopes need to be held in place by rooting plants for the best results, and in a low-tech system plants often don't grow in fast enough or dense enough to prevent the substrate from leveling out anyways.

2.) I'm not a fan of Eleocharis Parvula outside of Co2 injected systems, but I'm very biased because I have it in several tanks that are high-tech, so if I used it low-tech it would be a side by side comparison of it's patchy and stale growth vs it's dense and very beautiful high-tech carpeting growth. Regardless, when I have seen it do well in low-tech environments it's in large part due to placement and using a nutrient rich planted tank substrate.

3.) The arrangement of your plants and where they are located within the tank may look the best, but their selection based on their plant demands has their placements flip-flopped as to where they should be. TakashI Amano's tanks are often a brilliant example of how plant Selection and placement in the nature aquarium is much more important than artistic choice. Generally, if a species has greater demands such as lighting it should be placed in an area that lighting is stronger and more direct. Plants that are less demanding when it comes to lighting should be placed in areas shaded by hardscape or other plants because higher light demanding species planted in those shaded areas often have unhealthy appearance and growth because their needs are not being met.


Basically, you have bucephalandra (a less demanding plant) as well as a lily ( low demands and fast light shielding growth) in places that will soon shade a much higher demanding species such as eleocharis parvula. E. Parvula is also in places shaded by hardscape, and most likely will not do well right away.
Thank you for the very valuable knowlege! I did have to look up the latin terms for some plants like the dwarf hair grass, I have excuses, mostly low tech and lack of a load of money to do better then what I have now. I'm not sure what I have flip flopped. I am new to buce, so did the best I can. I would love to know more.
I will look up TakashI Amano and try to learn more! This is technically the first tank I tried to put some thought into. I was bound to make a million mistakes. I appreciate your thoughts! Thank you!
 

Silister Trench

Thank you for the very valuable knowlege! I did have to look up the latin terms for some plants like the dwarf hair grass, I have excuses, mostly low tech and lack of a load of money to do better then what I have now. I'm not sure what I have flip flopped. I am new to buce, so did the best I can. I would love to know more.
I will look up TakashI Amano and try to learn more! This is technically the first tank I tried to put some thought into. I was bound to make a million mistakes. I appreciate your thoughts! Thank you!

I wouldn't worry about anything I noted, really. They're really just issues we don't think about immediately. The substrate slope is just a pet peeve I have personally, and as long as you are careful when changing water it keeps its slope longer. If you've never used a species of aquatic it's impossible to know how it behaves and what it requires, and one of the best experiences you can afford yourself is observing healthy vs unhealthy growth and then trying to determine why plants did well in one spot or tank, but not another.
 

Kathryn Crook

I wouldn't worry about anything I noted, really. They're really just issues we don't think about immediately. The substrate slope is just a pet peeve I have personally, and as long as you are careful when changing water it keeps its slope longer. If you've never used a species of aquatic it's impossible to know how it behaves and what it requires, and one of the best experiences you can afford yourself is observing healthy vs unhealthy growth and then trying to determine why plants did well in one spot or tank, but not another.
Great thanks. It is true this tank is one grand experiment. I expect to learn a lot from it.
 

Pescado_Verde

Nice tank and an interesting concept. It reminds me to some extent of the sort of thing you might find while out hiking. I think you've probably spent enough time slogging thru the woods to have stumbled across a very old pond, one that was abandoned long ago and mother nature has taken over and the pond is near the end of its lifecycle. What I would call a "deadwater" pond. Very little life left, the edges are slowly creeping in towards the middle as gravity and silt reclaim what some farmer scratched out of the earth many decades earlier. Very, very clear water, black leaf litter bottom, almost mirror like. Just my thoughts, it seems like as a static piece it would be best to use RO water to preserve the "deadness" and sterility of such a piece. The mushrooms/fungI is very much the sort of thing that one would find on dead and decaying vegetation so very appropriate here as well.
To bring it to life gradually I would think would be an interesting next step if you desired to do so. Adding mineralized water, small amounts of fertilizer, etc... and let nature take its course.
Sorry for the rambling, I do like the piece as it is. Preserving it as is could be challenging. Life as they say, finds a way and I suspect that given enough time your attempt at a "dead" environment would prove to be folly. Maybe put a lid on it?
 

Silister Trench

Nice tank and an interesting concept. It reminds me to some extent of the sort of thing you might find while out hiking. I think you've probably spent enough time slogging thru the woods to have stumbled across a very old pond, one that was abandoned long ago and mother nature has taken over and the pond is near the end of its lifecycle. What I would call a "deadwater" pond. Very little life left, the edges are slowly creeping in towards the middle as gravity and silt reclaim what some farmer scratched out of the earth many decades earlier. Very, very clear water, black leaf litter bottom, almost mirror like. Just my thoughts, it seems like as a static piece it would be best to use RO water to preserve the "deadness" and sterility of such a piece. The mushrooms/fungI is very much the sort of thing that one would find on dead and decaying vegetation so very appropriate here as well.
To bring it to life gradually I would think would be an interesting next step if you desired to do so. Adding mineralized water, small amounts of fertilizer, etc... and let nature take its course.
Sorry for the rambling, I do like the piece as it is. Preserving it as is could be challenging. Life as they say, finds a way and I suspect that given enough time your attempt at a "dead" environment would prove to be folly. Maybe put a lid on it?

This is one of those times where I wish I could "Like" a post 1,000 times. Your writings paint a very surreal and lovely scene - painted well enough that I can very easily imagine several of these dead water ponds near me.

I can confirm that keeping it as it appeared in the very first photo does take a bit of work BUT where the tank sits in my home is ideal. It's in a room in the basement with no sunlight from any windows even close to it, and the tank doesn't have a light directly on it. The lighting is a 50W flood light mounted to the ceiling and directed onto the wall behind it mostly.

* No natural sunlight
* Very little artificial light

The two factors mentioned above reduce any nuisance algaes most often seen in the [plantless] fish tank, such as diatom and BBA from my experience.

As to using R.O. water, I think you're absolutely right when you say it might be best to use in place of standard tap water. It would - 100%. Because of the light that does hit the tank any available nutrients in tap water, or produced by fish waste, definitely leads to diatoms and a dirty overall look, which I sort of circumvent this problem by using 200ml Seachem Purigen (8x the directed amount) and phosphate absorbing pads. My train of thought, however flawed it might be, says: "no light, limited nitrate, non-existent phosphate - no problem, right?" Well... that's been mostly true.

Tank maintenance:

* 50% weekly water changes
* Every two weeks I manually wipe the interior and exterior of the glass with paper towels.
* Every month the filter is cleaned


- I've cleaned the hardscape twice since this thread started (diatoms) and replaced the fine layer of sand only once about a month ago.

Fish Tank Lids: I currently don't use lids on any of my tanks, preferring the more modern and open look we've come to expect from rimless tanks. However, I have recently been looking into designing a fish tank lid out of polycarbonate (the sheets of cast acrylic-like 3/8" Plastics and not the countless terrible looking DIY duel layer found on YouTube) because of a potential client wanting an Aquascape setup within an area of young children. I want this particular lid to prevent children from throwing anything into the water, as well as preventing fish from jumping out & water evaporation. I can't think of a worse scenario than a very young child picking up a jumper's jerky-like body and popping it in their mouth or showing it to mom.

My dead water tank is my prototyping tank for this lid. What I absolutely do NOT want is for condensation to accumulate on the underside of the lid, since this ruins the look for me.

Long-story short, you might see some lids on my tanks in the future.

---- >

I have also recently considered adding moss to this tank, and maybe minI bolbitis heudelotii. Moss is universal in a tank like these and bolbitis heudelotiI is what you'd expect, very Fern-like or even leaf-like.
 

Pescado_Verde

Thanks for the reply, I never know if my thoughts are worth a poop or not. After posting it got my brain to rattling around about the problem, such as it is, of keeping something like that "dead". Light, as you mention, is a consideration of course and then there's oxygen - air. Lots of nasties find their way into stagnant bodies of water and can live there and that is what prompted my inquiry about a lid. And then I took it one step further and thought "Why not use a lid with an inlet and an outlet?". Kind of like you might have on any fish tank, but they go THRU the lid so that the lid never comes off, it's sealed. And the gap between the water and the lid is filled with nitrogen. Fill the tank with degassed RO water and any void with nitrogen and at some point everything will come to a complete stop. The wood itself will stop deteriorating, the fungus will stop, the tank will just be there. At that point you pull the tubes and seal it up. Permanent dead water piece.

Yeah, I might have overthought this.
 

Silister Trench

Thanks for the reply, I never know if my thoughts are worth a poop or not. After posting it got my brain to rattling around about the problem, such as it is, of keeping something like that "dead". Light, as you mention, is a consideration of course and then there's oxygen - air. Lots of nasties find their way into stagnant bodies of water and can live there and that is what prompted my inquiry about a lid. And then I took it one step further and thought "Why not use a lid with an inlet and an outlet?". Kind of like you might have on any fish tank, but they go THRU the lid so that the lid never comes off, it's sealed. And the gap between the water and the lid is filled with nitrogen. Fill the tank with degassed RO water and any void with nitrogen and at some point everything will come to a complete stop. The wood itself will stop deteriorating, the fungus will stop, the tank will just be there. At that point you pull the tubes and seal it up. Permanent dead water piece.

Yeah, I might have overthought this.

An interesting idea, most definitely. Sort of a means to immortalize and still-frame a tank in it's current state, obviously no longer a tank at this point, but a framed underwater scene that has been frozen.

Very neat direction your head took on that one!
 

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