Tank rearranging help

Arrow1oo

So I'm new to keeping a tank, have a 55 gallon for about 3 months now with fish in it comfortably.

Made the mistake of buying a bunch of artificial plants and making a fairly lame setup with less cover than I'd like.

Now I know I want a semI planted tank, not looking for floor growing plants as much but would like to plant some easy plants such as anubias, java ferns and maybe some Amazon swords. I have black gravel which I like.

I recently bought a 10lb bag of Dragon rock from Petco (might return if don't like), and made a terracotta pot cave.

I wanted a big piece of driftwood to put in the middle but can't seem to find the right shape for a reasonable price.

How should I go about making the tank look less "2 dimensional" and also make separate territories with sight lines fish can hide with.


15829122042604457240715367714249.jpg
 

BabsandLoon

Can you post a pic of tank as it is currently?

Edited to add: never mind. I see your pic now lol
 

Arrow1oo

The color of the fake plants takes away from the fish, I want to take out the highly colored ones, don't mind leaving the green ones
 

Arrow1oo

Can you post a pic of tank as it is currently?
Just did, let me know if you can see it. The ship has to stay as the kids love it lol. I planned to put the pot on the left, ship on the far right, in the middle do something with rocks/big driftwood
 

EmiliyaCossack

So I'm new to keeping a tank, have a 55 gallon for about 3 months now with fish in it comfortably.

Made the mistake of buying a bunch of artificial plants and making a fairly lame setup with less cover than I'd like.

Now I know I want a semI planted tank, not looking for floor growing plants as much but would like to plant some easy plants such as anubias, java ferns and maybe some Amazon swords. I have black gravel which I like.

I recently bought a 10lb bag of Dragon rock from Petco (might return if don't like), and made a terracotta pot cave.

I wanted a big piece of driftwood to put in the middle but can't seem to find the right shape for a reasonable price.

How should I go about making the tank look less "2 dimensional" and also make separate territories with sight lines fish can hide with.


15829122042604457240715367714249.jpg
considering those are all fake plants, I do want to compliment you that it actually looks pretty good for using fake! Very shiny. As far as Driftwood goes, if you would like to buy some from the pet store, go to PetSmart and find a piece of Driftwood you like in the mopanI wood section, look it up on chewy and have them price match the price they have it on chewy. You will save $10 or more! Save so much money! I will let more experienced people help you figure out what to do as far as plants. I'm very new to plants as well, have fun!
 

Arrow1oo

considering those are all fake plants, I do want to compliment you that it actually looks pretty good for using fake! Very shiny. As far as Driftwood goes, if you would like to buy some from the pet store, go to PetSmart and find a piece of Driftwood you like in the mopanI wood section, look it up on chewy and have them price match the price they have it on chewy. You will save $10 or more! Save so much money! I will let more experienced people help you figure out what to do as far as plants. I'm very new to plants as well, have fun!
Never thought of price matching, does it need to be the same piece for PetSmart to price match?
 

BabsandLoon

I can see it now lol

I think if you just take out those colored plants and add the plants you want (the ones you mentioned are so easy even I can grow them lol) it would look nice.
Maybe you can kind of move the ship to the side facing forward so its still there for the kids but maybe not as noticeable lol
 

Arrow1oo

I can see it now lol

I think if you just take out those colored plants and add the plants you want (the ones you mentioned are so easy even I can grow them lol) it would look nice.
Maybe you can kind of move the ship to the side facing forward so its still there for the kids but maybe not as noticeable lol
Yea the ship is going to the far right for sure. I was thinking of maybe raising the gravel in the middle towards the back to make a hilly feel to it? So you can get a sense of depth
 

EmiliyaCossack

Never thought of price matching, does it need to be the same piece for PetSmart to price match?
It needs to be in the same category, like small mopanI needs to be price match with small mopanI on chewy, (they have it labeled as small, medium, large, etc) medium mopanI can be price matched with the medium mopanI on chewy, etc and so on. I have saved so much money doing that.
 

Arrow1oo

It needs to be in the same category, like small mopanI needs to be price match with small mopanI on chewy, (they have it labeled as small, medium, large, etc) medium mopanI can be price matched with the medium mopanI on chewy, etc and so on. I have saved so much money doing that.
I owe you one, definitely will try this out. This might help everyone out too, but Petco has a coupon that expires tomorrow for spend 30$ get 10$ off. So I plan to get the dragon rock to take advantage of that, but have to see if it's something I can use or not
 

EmiliyaCossack

I owe you one, definitely will try this out. This might help everyone out too, but Petco has a coupon that expires tomorrow for spend 30$ get 10$ off. So I plan to get the dragon rock to take advantage of that, but have to see if it's something I can use or not
Yeah I saw that coupon! It looks really good! I'm just waiting for February though to end because my budget doesn't restart till March and my husband and I have one of those every penny goes somewhere and we know where it goes, so he will notice if something goes missing for fish

Also Petco does not price match, only PetSmart does. That's because they own chewy So they will price match to it. Petco price matches to their online prices though.
 

KinderScout

Maybe consider moving the back half of gravel forwards, introducing a planting substrate in the back half of the tank and adding black substrate over the top (not sure if possible without removing the water though - your tank might end up super cloudy unless you are very careful). The idea is to bank the substrate up towards the back of the tank both giving something to root plants in and also creating a slope to help detritus move to the front. We have so many plants now that we can't vacuum except at the front - and you can't easily move real plants about!
We just plonked rocks and wood in at the beginning too then filled with water without very much thought - if we were starting again I might try doing some rough sketches of what we want to achieve first!
 

John58ford

To add "depth" to a tank, you can try moving your light source to the front of the tank. Makes a significant difference in some cases. If you have multiple light sources try lighting the front right and back left for another high depth effect.
 

Arrow1oo

Maybe consider moving the back half of gravel forwards, introducing a planting substrate in the back half of the tank and adding black substrate over the top (not sure if possible without removing the water though - your tank might end up super cloudy unless you are very careful). The idea is to bank the substrate up towards the back of the tank both giving something to root plants in and also creating a slope to help detritus move to the front. We have so many plants now that we can't vacuum except at the front - and you can't easily move real plants about!
We just plonked rocks and wood in at the beginning too then filled with water without very much thought - if we were starting again I might try doing some rough sketches of what we want to achieve first!
Hm, this is pretty good idea. I don't think I'll be getting a special planting substrate which is why I'm picking plants that will do well in any substrate. I will use root tabs appropriately.
 

Arrow1oo

I was also advised that currently all my plants are in the back, and putting some in the middle-front of the tank will help the depth.

Would Amazon swords be suitable for the middle of the tank or does it get too big?
 

KinderScout

crypts may be better for mid-tank - Cryptocoryne WendtiI probably being the most popular. Quite easy to grow, smaller but dense, and bronze coloured making a nice contrast with the green of echinodorus.
 

Arrow1oo

I currently have black gravel substrate, I need to buy more because I have some blue substrate mixed in there that I need to remove.

Few questions, what's the best way to remove the blue substrate and separate it from it from the black. ( With fish in the tank).

Second, I saw two types of black. One was coarse gravel the other was much finer black sand. Which to get?

Black sand or black gravel like I currently have
 

John58ford

what's the best way to remove the blue substrate and separate it from it from the black. ( With fish in the tank).
This is a good head scratcher for sure. If you only had a couple pieces of blue mixed in I would go planting tongs, but guessing you likely have several hundred pieces mixed in with a thousand or more black....

I would vacuum half the gravel out of the tank (with a siphon hose), sort it on a cookie sheet to get the blue out. Maybe have a beer or three.

Then to put substrate back in a tank with the fish in I have found: put wet substrate in a Tupperware (I use a cheap version) with the lid on loosely. Sink the Tupperware slowly letting it burp the air bubble near the surface. Once sank to the bottom roll it over and then take the lid off while it's upside down. This even works for freshly washed sand, totally stops the clouding. Remember to wash your hands and arms first, rinse any soap off yourself very very thoroughly.

I would love to hear someone else has a life hack for this, I spill gravel into my sand when I vacuum regularly. Spoiler: I used to care enough but now it stays there lol.

Edited: didn't notice you were thinking about sand. I love my sand but I use a course sand, the fine sands can choke out roots and cloud up a bit when disturbed. With the right sand and gravel combination you could have a very attractive mix. *If you mix it though you want to make sure the layer of sand isn't deeper than the layer of rocks would be by itself*. If the layer of sand is deeper than the layer of rocks would have been, they'll will all eventually sink and it will look like all sand.
 

JerryHughes

You have a very nice setup but here's what I'd do. Not criticism, just input. I think the tank deco is too "balanced" Plants are positioned at regular intervals through the whole tank. Unlike others here, I like the brighter plants, unless if in real life, they look fake. I would make the tank look more "random". Build up the substate in one spot, have some open spaces that look like they lead somewhere toward the back, but "off-center". Vary the height too-----all plants, across the tank, are too uniform, which you would not see in nature. I think your tank has great possibilities. Good luck and remember, uniformity does not usually occur in nature.
 

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