Need advice on my 75g aquascape

Rgtx

I just finished my cycling of my 75g tank and now it's time to move on to making my tank look nicer. As you can see, I have plants and a big piece of driftwood in there but after seeing pics of members tanks on the forum mine pales in comparison. I don't know if the substrate needs changing but I'm not feeling the color and shape of my gravel. If I didn't drop 30 or 40 bucks on my current driftwood, I would definitely have gone with spiderwood. Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated, thanks.
 

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Cue

letting stuff grow in helps a lot, but I think I can see what you are talking about. I’m assuming the rock on top of the driftwood is to hold it down?

I would rotate the driftwood to either be upright or with the ‘roots’ to the left of the tank. I would also get a bunch of petrified wood for rocks and just have the pea gravel as a transition from the rocks to sand substrate.

The plants are easier when you have a solid hardscape. I like to trim the tops of my stem plants off at a relatively consistent height and shove the tops back into the substrate. The tops will grow back, occasionally they’ll be a bit lopsided though.

overall I can definitely see what you are going for, I think you just need a lot more plants to achieve it quickly. It will probably turn out in time though, plants tend to be pretty reliable like that. I’d recommend SerpaDesign’s videos to get some ideas and techniques too. Scape it.com is also a good website for looking at a general layout but it can be a pain to use.
 

Rgtx

Thanks for the advise, yea the rock is to keep the driftwood down. I it has been water logged for atleast 8 weeks now, since I was preparing it before even starting the actual tank. I tested the driftwood upright before filling the tank with water but I would need to trim alot of the smaller stems for it to sit flush on the bottom. I do agree it would probably look better off center more. I have considered trimming the big driftwood smaller so I can add a spiderwood on the opposite end. I really do look the look of spiderwood. I'll check out those sites.
 

tragikmuse

I have all nano tanks so i'm not working with the room you have but i can definitely see what you mean.

I would go with a black plant substrate like eco complete or something like that. Your current substrate blends with the wood and makes it lack impact. I think thats why many aquascapers use darker substrates, it makes the other colors pop but may not be best for you if you are going to have more dark critters in there. (pic included as a note on impact, dont judge the overgrowth and keep in mind some of them are meant to be viewed from the other side)

The driftwood is a neat piece and like the above, i would stand it up and make it look like a tree with roots. You can put it on either side of the tank, perhaps you could use the "trunk" to hide the filter. You could also glue/tie moss to some of the "trunk" or plant some taller plants around it to make it green or appear as foliage. If it doesn't sit exactly flat thats ok, you can always plant some low growing plants to make loose ends blend in or have interesting rock under the roots.

Using some stone would also be a good add. There are a bunch of different types of rocks you can use but some affect the pH so again, it will matter what you are stocking and what parameters they need. There are plenty of rocks that wont affect the pH as well so don't feel limited, just be aware.

Some people will say everything tall at the back, middle sized in the middle and short in the front. Know that you can build high and low areas in your tank or go densely planted to lightly planted. Its all about what looks good to you. And dont be afraid of a well placed ornament to take up space and provide visual interest. It can be a cheaper option than plants and can also give you a theme to build around if you need a starting point.
 

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Rgtx

Thanks, I do like that statue on ur fish pic,I have seen some at stores and it looks cool. I have about 13 bucks in PFS and 9 bucks in gravel in the tank cuz I disnt want to spend lots of money on aquarium substrate. Considering maybe getting lighter pebbles to cover the top of the gravel and removing some of current gravel for lighter color. Don't think I want to go black substrate since I feel that my light and my background color doesn't illuminate the tank bright enough for me. Definitely need to look into some rocks to add more character to the tank. How do you guys suggest I hold down the driftwood if I were to stand it up?
 

ProudPapa

Add some more plants.
 

CindiL

Hi, I like to divide my tanks into 2 or 3 visual sections so you could do the driftwood in the middle with a couple corresponding decorations (like coconut shell bridge with Christmas moss for example or other decorations) to the left and right of it. Or you can move it off center and do something else to the right. Because of it’s size that might be harder to do.

I’d turn it sideways I think and make it a little off center and you can superglue gel lots of rhizome plants on it like anubias, java ferns, buce plants, or wrap sections of it in Christmas or Java moss with thread or nylon thread.

Mostly I just think you need a lot more plants also. I also try and plant the same plants for visual appeal on either side of the tank but I really like symmetry and again thats just me.

Here are a few tanks I’ve had, I tend to like the division of 3 in my tanks but that’s just personal preference.
Just examples:
Tank 1, current 20g long.


A4C43D38-727A-4F91-B69C-D33EEFEECC6D.jpeg

Tank 2: 33g long

736015D3-FC22-4B11-B8D0-431E44A094B1.jpeg

Tank 3: an experiment with more emerged plants.

9F81D0B0-FB51-4D58-A164-CD7B84D18862.jpeg
 

Rgtx

CindiL, I like all 3 of your tanks. Definitely adding new plants, rocks and trying something new with the driftwood on my agenda. Also the substrate needs changing. I was trying to do backside gravel and didn't of tank PFS but I initially had sand as substrate when starting the tank and layed it all down all over. Added the gravel on top later which made it hard to shift the sand over to the front. Maybe on next water change I can get that fix.
 

Rgtx

Added some Italian vals and lutea and a new piece of driftwood. Have a Amazon sword and java Fern coming in soon. Maybe this weekend I can do something about the substrate and driftwood orientation.
 

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Cue

Ooo that looks a lot better already! The Vals will spread a lot when they get settled; so will the Java fern.
 

PBateman

a few things that will spice it up for sure. Think foreground, mid ground and background plants. You want to create visual depth and a focal point to make it look natural and draw the eye. Background plants money wort, water sprite etc. mid ground - hedyotis Salzmanni, Staurogyne Repen, Amazon Sword Echinodorus Vesuvius. foreground & carpet plants - Dwarf Baby tears, montecarlo pogostomon helfiri.

For the driftwood, i love adding moss for a natural look. get java or Christmas tree moss and use a knife to chop it up finely and then use superglue to paint it on to the driftwood (outside of the tank, and wear rubber gloves - trust me). it creates a much better growth pattern that looks natural rather than slapping it onto the driftwood like i did the first time.

Hope this helps. And run Co2 for plants!
 

Rgtx

Got Amazon sword, java fern and sponge filter from aqaurium coop today and added to the tank. Did a 50% water change and seemed to have brighten up the tank alot. I haven't had time to move the big driftwood but I did move gravel alot and it seemed the more colorful gravel on the bottom is now more visible on the top surface. The quikrete gravel is mostly brown and not as nice as the kolorscape from Lowes, I have both in there mixed in. Still need alot of work, just need to make the time for it. Didn't realize how time consuming aquascaping can be...
 

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Rgtx

Been busy but have added a few more plants to my tank and moved sand to the front when gravel vacuuming. Nervous of moving the driftwood orientation due to having to uproot all the plants on the left side. Any suggestions on a plant that won't sway or get to tall like the anacharis on the left side of my tank? They are growing like crazy but don't like how it's sways with the current to the front on the left side. Good with it on the right side. Also, what type of rocks you guys think will go good with my tank? I'm thinking of buying either dragon stone or mountain rock from PetSmart which they sell in 12 lbs bags.
 

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Rgtx

Update on the tank, plants have grown out since last post.
 

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Rgtx

Hey guys I added some river rock to my tank. I'm sure placement could be better.. any ideas or suggestions? Does the reddish one look ok in the tank? I can always get more any suggestions with colors etc I would appreciate it. Also planning on adding another 50lb bag of pfs once it becomes abvailable near me and I will cover most of the pea gravel with it.
 

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