Plantless Aquascape--thoughts?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Aquarium Builds' started by Fishstery, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. FishsteryValued MemberMember

    Hi everyone!

    In a few months I will be moving but one of my tanks I am taking with me will be getting a facelift prior to me moving. I definitely want to replace my black tahitian moon sand with a caribsea naturals fine gravel (like peace river maybe??) And add some more dragonstone to the hardscape. Currently I have only simple low light plants, anubias and java fern. It is a 12 gallon long (3ft long but shallow). I really like the look of the plantless aquascape, that is only rock and driftwood hardscape. I was wondering if I could get some peoples opinions on if it would be too much for my fish to lose their plant cover. The only inhabitants are my BFFs, my blue gularis killifish and my longfin German blue ram. I'm not worried much about my killi, as they are so social and not scared of anything. But my ram can be quite skittish if I come up to the tank too quickly. Obviously for his sake I will add more driftwood and create some nooks and crannies with it so he at least has a few small hiding spots. Heres a pic of the tank how it sits now:

    This would make my regular matience much easier as well as curb the amount of surface area algae has to grow on (which I've always battled with in this tank). Let me know what you guys think!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2019
  2. Donovan JonesValued MemberMember

    I think u could definitely pull it off if you add crevices like clay pots for them to hide in, maybe even some leaf litter too.
    However, I don't think it'll help your algae situation. What are your current water conditions? How large is the tank? How much light do u have? Maybe we can make it unnecessary to remove the plants, because it is beautiful, by addressing the cause of the algae.
  3. FishsteryValued MemberMember

    I don't really like the look of clay pots because it takes away from the natural biotope look. I also want to remove the plants for ease of matinence since I can gravel vac the entire bottom with the plants removed as I get a lot of detrius buildup underneath the thick java fern. To entertain your idea though the tank is a 12 gallon long params are 0 ammonia 0 nitrite 10-20ppm nitrate. It is over filtrated with a 95gph canister filter and glass violet lily pipes. I also run a larger than needed UV sterilizer and dose excel daily. Light is a Current Satellite LED. My issue is most likely the light is too close to the tank, I need two pieces of wood cut to take the lights a few inches up higher.

    Also edit: mods wanted a direct link to the picture instead so heres a link to some tanks I was looking at as references  
  4. Donovan JonesValued MemberMember

    I think you're right about the light.
    I think the fish should be fine the way you want to do it then
  5. FishsteryValued MemberMember

    Yeah, I'll have to add wood blocks to the list of things I'll do with the tank and see if that helps the algae. Right now the light literally sits half an inch off the tank lid, if I raise the light up by a few inches it should help. It could also be my water, I have very nasty tap water (wont even give it to my cats!) But at my boyfriends house where I'll be moving I can use the well water.
  6. WraithenFishlore VIPMember

    Look into iwagumi scapes. They are pure hardscapes. @Silister Trench also had a "dead" scape that looked amazing.

    You can line up the dragon stones to make a valley. I find fish hiding in mine setup this way all the time.
  7. FishsteryValued MemberMember

    Thank you for the suggestion!! I definitely think iwagumi scapes are amazing but I dont think I can pull off the carpet without co2!! I think I'm trying to do a more south American biotope, like many discus tanks that you'll see online (do discus eat plants or something?!). But for sure adding more dragon stone, maybe I can fashion my ram a little hidey hole in the back with it!
  8. WraithenFishlore VIPMember

    There is a scape genre that is only hardscape, I guess I got it wrong on the name. My bad.

    Discus tanks dont have a lot of plants mostly because most plants dont like the 86 degree temps.

    For sure though, there is a scape genre that is nothing but rocks, as well as nothing but rocks and driftwood. I'm addicted to plants though so it isn't my focus. It's much more critical to get the rule of third correct. There's a video series called "master class" by green aqua that explains this very well. They do use plants, but the scape looks good before he adds the plants.
  9. FishsteryValued MemberMember

    Honestly what turned me on to the idea was last weeks water change. I pulled every plant and stone out to do a big gravel vac and to scrub the algae off all the plants and stone, so when it was time to put everything back I got to see my scape again with just the hardscape and I thought it looked pretty cool with my fish on display swimming about. I'm definitely more concerned with my fish's needs more than aesthetics so I guess that's how this thread got started! I want a positive debate on peoples opinions about having more open space than covered space with my fish. I dont want to stress my ram
  10. WraithenFishlore VIPMember

    Amano. That dude has to have videos of him just making hardscape. His whole deal was balance and beauty, but fish first.
  11. FishsteryValued MemberMember

    Yeah I'm definitely not that gifted....if I was I'd have a LOT more tanks lol!!
  12. kallililly1973Well Known MemberMember

    sorry i just skimmed through the posts but how about a bunch of cholla wood looking like a holocaust forest with just the trunks of trees? With some nice slate piled on top of each other acting as ledge.
  13. FishsteryValued MemberMember

    While I really appreciate everyone's replies and great suggestions, I think everyone is straying away from my original question lol!! I already know how I'm going to set up my scape, I just want opinions on if the pros of having live plants for my fish species are so important that I shouldn't remove them and go to a hardscape only tank. I know rams can be skittish, and I was just wondering if anyone thought it would be a horrible idea to remove the plant cover from the tank.
  14. kallililly1973Well Known MemberMember

    I'll never do another plantless tank weather its community , cichlids or anything in between.
  15. FishsteryValued MemberMember

    Did you have aggression issues? Thank you so much for the experience response btw!! My killifish and ram are unexpectedly very good friends. My ram terrorized his companion so badly I had to take the female ram back to the store, but he lovingly hangs out with my killi all day. So for the rest of their time it will always just be those two in the tank. But I dont want to set myself up for issues for some reason if I remove the plants. Although I can always just go separate them replant and continue on as before too..
  16. kallililly1973Well Known MemberMember

    sorry for any confusion my only experience is community tanks sorry.
  17. WraithenFishlore VIPMember

    All fish are different. Even in the same species. It should easily be doable. If we can get African cichlid plantless tanks, we can do your community. It's all going to come down to the personalities of your individual fish. You wont get a right or wrong answer for this.
  18. FishsteryValued MemberMember

    Very good point!
  19. NoboteValued MemberMember

    Some brazilian pennywort might be a good floats so you dont have vacuum around it and it would give the ram some cover.
    I dont see a real problem with a rock and wood only aquascape. There are plenty of examples in nature where fish chose to live where there arent any plants.

    Good luck and post photos when its done.
  20. FishsteryValued MemberMember

    What a great suggestion! Maybe I will do a clump of floaters, my favorite is frogbit. But I didnt even know you can float pennywort!!