Need help with aquascape

jkkgron2

I finished all the hardscape in my Fluval flex 15gal yesterday but I’m having some trouble figuring out where I want to put plants (and also what plants to add). It’ll be a low-tech aquarium with black diamond blasting sand as the substrate. I’ll either be using no ferts or thriveC. I do want crypts. With those things in mind please share any aquascaping suggestions! JLAquatics

7864DE73-9821-4F45-A849-2D1782443532.jpeg
 

ChrissFishes01

Excuse the sloppy paint edit, but this is what I'd do:


7864DE73-9821-4F45-A849-2D1782443532.jpeg

The green around the bottom would be Crypt Wendtii Green - hoping for it to kinda bush out, especially front-to-back. Easy to do with pruning.

The orange I was thinking could be a Crypt Wendtii Red, for the bronzy color.

The red I was thinking a Crypt Florida Sunset.

The peach (middle-right) I was thinking Crypt Parva.

And then on the far right I was thinking Crypt Lucens.

Maybe you wanted more than crypts, but maybe a variety of crypts is all you need!
 
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jkkgron2

Excuse the sloppy paint edit, but this is what I'd do:


7864DE73-9821-4F45-A849-2D1782443532.jpeg

The green around the bottom would be Crypt Wendtii Green - hoping for it to kinda bush out, especially front-to-back. Easy to do with pruning.

The orange I was thinking could be a Crypt Wendtii Red, for the bronzy color.

The red I was thinking a Crypt Florida Sunset.

The peach (middle-right) I was thinking Crypt Parva.

And then on the far right I was thinking Crypt Lucens.

Maybe you wanted more than crypts, but maybe a variety of crypts is all you need!
I hadn’t heard of some of those species before, that Crypt Florida Sunset looks amazing. Would it still be pink in a low tech tank? More plants than crypts would be nice, but I’m not against an all crypt tank and I do think it’d look nice.
 
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A201

Great looking hardscape. You've already mastered the difficult part.
Just be careful not to hide the hardscape with plants, but only use the plants to accent the hardscape.
 
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ChrissFishes01

I hadn’t heard of some of those species before, that Crypt Florida Sunset looks amazing. Would it still be pink in a low tech tank? More plants than crypts would be nice, but I’m not against an all crypt tank and I do think it’d look nice.
In my experience crypts keep their colors better than other plants in low tech tanks. I had one in a very low light tank (one T8 tube years ago) and it ended up looking like a slightly pink Wendtii red. But, I'm sure the Flex has a million times more light than that tube did.

Doing some research online about that plant specifically results in a lot of threads from 10+ years ago saying that they need high light - but high light tanks 10 years ago were a lot different than high light tanks today. I'd say the Flex probably has the lighting to keep the plant "sunsetty".
 
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JLAquatics

I finished all the hardscape in my Fluval flex 15gal yesterday but I’m having some trouble figuring out where I want to put plants (and also what plants to add). It’ll be a low-tech aquarium with black diamond blasting sand as the substrate. I’ll either be using no ferts or thriveC. I do want crypts. With those things in mind please share any aquascaping suggestions! JLAquatics
I think this is a great start to your hardscape! I have a few suggestions for you personally;

1. If you plan on carpeting a plant in the front section of the aquarium (what I would recommend with root tabs) keep in mind the smaller rubble sized pieces will disappear in the final scape.
2. The larger stones towards the back of the tank should be moved ever so slightly so you have enough room to place very tall stem plants in the back. Height has a very large impact on how great a scape looks. ;)
3. With a carpeting plant in mind, bringing the driftwood forward a bit may help in bringing more depth and layers to your design.
4. Ultimately I do like your scape overall and I think that you could do some really cool things with it as the tank develops.

planner 15 gallon flex.jpg
Here is my take on your tank idea. HarrisonAquatics is right, the Crypts is what will mainly be the focal point and source of color in your tank.
Pearlweed Carpets the front. They don't call it a weed for nothing. Give them some root tabs in your inert substrate, and in most cases they will do super well.
Water Wisteria or a mix of tall easy stem plants along the back. A super easy stem plant that will give you some variety other than the Crypts in your aquascape.
Java Fern and Anubias tied to the wood. Two super easy epiphytes, will give more more variety in your aquascape.
Hydrocotyle Japan. This is that clover looking vine plant towards the front. Easier to grow than most people think, I can grow it as an epiphyte in my low tech tank.
Various Crypts of your choice to fill in. Crypts are all over the place in this tank to fill in the mid ground and allow the tank to achive that layered look that many people want.

All the plants used in this image are easy plants to grow in my opinion and would be perfect in your low tech 15 gallon with column ferts and root tabs if you are willing to dose. :)
 
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jkkgron2

I think this is a great start to your hardscape! I have a few suggestions for you personally;

1. If you plan on carpeting a plant in the front section of the aquarium (what I would recommend with root tabs) keep in mind the smaller rubble sized pieces will disappear in the final scape.
2. The larger stones towards the back of the tank should be moved ever so slightly so you have enough room to place very tall stem plants in the back. Height has a very large impact on how great a scape looks. ;)
3. With a carpeting plant in mind, bringing the driftwood forward a bit may help in bringing more depth and layers to your design.
4. Ultimately I do like you scape overall and I think that you could do some really cool things with it as the tank develops.

planner 15 gallon flex.jpg
Here is my take on your tank idea. HarrisonAquatics is right, the Crypts is what will mainly be the focal point and source of color in your tank.
Pearlweed Carpets the front. They don't call it a weed for nothing. Give them some root tabs in your inert substrate, and in most cases they will do super well.
Water Wisteria or a mix of tall easy stem plants along the back. A super easy stem plant that will give you some variety other than the Crypts in your aquascape.
Java Fern and Anubias tied to the wood. Two super easy epiphytes, will give more more variety in your aquascape.
Hydrocotyle Japan. This is that clover looking vine plant towards the front. Easier to grow than most people think, I can grow it as an epiphyte in my low tech tank.
Various Crypts of your choice to fill in. Crypts are all over the place in this tank to fill in the mid ground and allow the tank to achive that layered look that many people want.

All the plants used in this image are easy plants to grow in my opinion and would be perfect in your low tech 15 gallon with column ferts and root tabs if you are willing to dose. :)
That looks amazing! How long should it take for it to look like that? I already have the pearl weed (or I think I do my 6.5 gal is a mess so I’ll have to find it lol) and crypts so I should be able to plant them today.

Edit: Might just plant the crypts today and see how it looks. I really like the smaller rock pieces so might not plant the pearl weed everywhere right away.
 
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JLAquatics

That looks amazing! How long should it take for it to look like that? I already have the pearl weed (or I think I do my 6.5 gal is a mess so I’ll have to find it lol) and crypts so I should be able to plant them today.
With no co2, it may take a course of 2-6 months depending on ferts and lighting levels to achieve the full carpet look with the Pearlweed. Keep in mind that you will have to regularly dose root tabs if you would like something like I supplied in the image above. You will also have to keep up with trimming, but I feel that Pearlweed is the easiest plant to carpet in low tech so it is completely worth it IMO. The water wisteria and other easy stem plants will take a few weeks to adjust to your new setup and should start growing rather quickly. Crypts may melt a little if transferring them, but they should bounce right back. Root Tabs will make them grow faster and larger as well.
 
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86 ssinit

Wow you’ve transformed that tank!! But I think he’s looking low tech.
What types of fish will you be adding?
For me I’d suggest some anubias on the rocks with a few crypt wendit in front and crypt balansae in the back.
 
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veggieshark

I don't know, too many plants seem to beat the purpose of rocks. If you wrap some moss around the rocks (keep the tips bare), plant one or two roots of others (actually without filling the valley area) and use a carpet (depending on whether you want to keep the black substrate look or not) that should be enough.
 
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JLAquatics

Wow you’ve transformed that tank!! But I think he’s looking low tech.
What types of fish will you be adding?
For me I’d suggest some anubias on the rocks with a few crypt wendit in front and crypt balansae in the back.
Yup, all the plants in this tank are what I consider low tech and easy to grow. Pearlweed is especially easy to carpet IMO, even without co2 injection so that was already factored in. :)
 
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jkkgron2

Wow you’ve transformed that tank!! But I think he’s looking low tech.
What types of fish will you be adding?
For me I’d suggest some anubias on the rocks with a few crypt wendit in front and crypt balansae in the back.
Male guppies and some sort of centerpiece fish. Anubias just keeps dying on me for some reason. I have some that’s survived, but it’s not growing at all and doesn’t look good.
 
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JLAquatics

I don't know, too many plants seem to beat the purpose of rocks. If you wrap some moss around the rocks (keep the tips bare), plant one or two roots of others (actually without filling the valley area) and use a carpet (depending on whether you want to keep the black substrate look or not) that should be enough.
Yeah, it is really difficult for me to make a photoshopped image without covering most if not all of the rockwork. The rocks would likely show more with jkkgron's final scape. That is the same thing that happened with me and my own aquascape designs. I probably should have made that disclaimer when I created this image so thank you for mentioning it.
 
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86 ssinit

Ok since I got you here. I thought the plant left of the sword was pearl weed? Do you know what it is?
FA4FB5C5-901E-4C4C-8071-F5895FDE3A33.jpeg
 
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jkkgron2

Yeah, it is really difficult for me to make a photoshopped image without covering most if not all of the rockwork. The rocks would likely show more with jkkgron's final scape. That is the same thing that happened with me and my own aquascape designs. I probably should have made that disclaimer when I created this image so thank you for mentioning it.
I won’t be using anubias so the wood will show more anyways. Overall I really like where the plants are and what plants you chose. I’m sure it’ll take awhile but hopefully I’ll be able to get the tank to look like that eventually !
 
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JLAquatics

Ok since I got you here. I thought the plant left of the sword was pearl weed? Do you know what it is?
I don't actually know what that plant is, the it looks kind of like Egeria Densa to me with the distinctly compact leaves and tall stems it has, but awesome Discus you have there. :)

This is what Pearlweed looks like by the way.

0529210940.jpg
 
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Linda1234

I would not put wenditi green in front - maybe side simply because over time it can get fairly large. I have one in my 40B that is around 12 inches high and rather bushy. Of course this all take times and when planting you have to weigh immediate landscape vs eventual grow out. I do like the idea of some java fern in the back - i have java fern now that has reached 14 inches in height and inch plus in width but it took a while to get that large.
For the immediate front i like tropica parviflorus swords (tropica part is important) - this plants stays less than an inch high but has a very nice leaf structure not grass like.
 
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jkkgron2

Finished planting it. I ended up planting a tiger lotus, 3 crypts, some pearl weed, some rotala, and another stem plant I forgot the name of. I have thriveC and Thrive +, and I’m thinking thrive + would help the pearl weed grow but might not work well with this light. Thoughts on which I should use?

CAFD5DD8-C2DA-4CB0-A1A5-2F677D24A4FC.jpeg
 
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ChrissFishes01

Finished planting it. I ended up planting a tiger lotus, 3 crypts, some pearl weed, some rotala, and another stem plant I forgot the name of. I have thriveC and Thrive +, and I’m thinking thrive + would help the pearl weed grow but might not work well with this light. Thoughts on which I should use?

CAFD5DD8-C2DA-4CB0-A1A5-2F677D24A4FC.jpeg
Never used that brand of ferts, so no input.

Tank looks great, though!
 
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jkkgron2

I just saw that thrive + is good for tanks with a pH under 7 :( . The pH in that tank and all my tanks is 8.2 so I don’t think i can use it...
 
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Linda1234

I talked to him once (via email) about thrive-c vs thrive+. If you don't have fishes i'm not sure it matters much but thrive+ is really designed for a high-tech tank and it adds quite a bit of nitrate and other stuff under the presumption of faster plant growth. He strongly recommended just using thriveC for a low tech tank. I don't remember all the details and did not express them well but there is little benefit of using thrive+ in a tank without co2.
 
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jkkgron2

I talked to him once (via email) about thrive-c vs thrive+. If you don't have fishes i'm not sure it matters much but thrive+ is really designed for a high-tech tank and it adds quite a bit of nitrate and other stuff under the presumption of faster plant growth. He strongly recommended just using thriveC for a low tech tank. I don't remember all the details and did not express them well but there is little benefit of using thrive+ in a tank without co2.
Ok sounds like thriveC is the better option then. Thanks!
 
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JLAquatics

Finished planting it. I ended up planting a tiger lotus, 3 crypts, some pearl weed, some rotala, and another stem plant I forgot the name of. I have thriveC and Thrive +, and I’m thinking thrive + would help the pearl weed grow but might not work well with this light. Thoughts on which I should use?

CAFD5DD8-C2DA-4CB0-A1A5-2F677D24A4FC.jpeg
Looks great! With that Pearlweed, are you dosing root tabs in this substrate? The other green stem plant with the rounded leaves is called Bacopa Caroliniana by the way.
 
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jkkgron2

Looks great! With that Pearlweed, are you dosing root tabs in this substrate? The other green stem plant with the rounded leaves is called Bacopa Caroliniana by the way.
I added in some root tabs. Will I need to replace them every few months? Thanks for the plant ID. I thought all the Bacopa I bought a few months ago had died, nice to know some survived.
 
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JLAquatics

I added in some root tabs. Will I need to replace them every few months? Thanks for the plant ID. I thought all the Bacopa I bought a few months ago had died, nice to know some survived.
Preferably, yes. I personally use Easy Green root tabs but other tabs work fine as well. When I dose my 29 gallon carpet (low tech with inert substrate) I place a tab every few inches in a grid like pattern and I notice I have to replace them every 2-3 months. Since your Pearlweed wont grow super fast as you don't dose co2, you may or may not have to replace it as often as me. However, you can also tell if your carpet begins to show signs of nutrient deficiencies.

A for filling in, wait until the Pearlweed stems are quite tall, then cut them in half with sharp scissors. Replant the tops and repeat until you get a nice healthy carpet. It will take quite a while for you to get a complete carpet from the small amount of Pearlweed you started with, but I have faith in you. :)
 
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jkkgron2

I’ll be getting more pearl weed soon to help it start carpeting, although I’m sure it’ll still take quite a while. I’ll make sure to watch for any signs of nutrient deficiency. Thanks!!! :)
 
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