The 15 Gallon Column Aquascape Challenge

JLAquatics

Creating effective aquascapes in standard rectangular tanks can be a very challenging endeavor for many aquarists, but designing tanks with a smaller footprint is a much more challenging task. You have to factor in height in your aquascape much more, as a design too short will not look nice visually in a taller tank. For this reason, I have taken on the challenge to scape such a tank myself. I chose the Aqueon 15 gallon column tank kit to complete this task. It is a very slim and tall tank at 15 US gallons. However, it is only (13.6x13.8x24.8) in inches which means it is very difficult to do any sort of community tank setup. That is why I will mainly focus on the "environment" and possibly add a single Betta with some of my cull shrimp in here.

The equipment is much too weak for what I intend to do with the tank. I will be replacing the filter, heater, and light system currently sold with the tank. In fact, I already have the new light ready to go which I will show shortly.


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This is the old light with the tank. It is much too weak to grow the plants I want to grow in here.


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This is the new light. It is much brighter and emits all the light spectrum for healthy plant growth.


For the substrate, I will be using mostly aqua soil with a small sandbed in the front right corner of the tank. I have the soil and sand already.

For the hardscape, I will be using Seiryu Stones and Spiderwood. I have found many long "branch like" pieces to use which will be great in this design. Here are some of them here;

1025211109.jpg
These range from 10-15 inches long each.

Using the program Scape It, I have created a rough hardscape design for the new tank with the current dimensions involved, here it is;

download.png
(I do not own this image as it belongs to Scape It. Link can be found here)

Here is my full render using the hardscape image as a base. All the plants I currently own and will trim from the current 29 gallon and 10 gallon aquariums.

scape 15 gallon column.png
Plants used will be as follows;

Spiky Moss
Hydrocotyle Japan
Pearlweed
Rotala
Pogostemen Octopus
Limnophila Heterophylla
Possibly others

The tank should be developed very soon, I just have to wait for the wood to sink and the sealant to dry in the tank. I am very excited to share my most challenging endeavor with you all, so stay tuned for the real challenge to begin! :)
 

WRWAquarium

Look forward to seeing how it turns out!
 

JLAquatics

I will begin the stone and substrate placement tomorrow, wood will get placed later once I get my plants and other aquarium equipment ready for the new tank. I am so excited to begin the process of my new project! :)
 

GoldfishRescueStory

Can an pls copy this? I have a square 15g tall?
 

JLAquatics

Can an pls copy this? I have a square 15g tall?
What, the image I made for reference? Feel free to use it as you please friend. Just keep in mind that some aspects of the design came from Scape It as well.
 

ForBettaorForWorse

That looks like an amazing tank! I'm going to re-do my fifteen gal (It is currently the bright mess everyone here would give me a hard time for) but, it's a fifteen long.
 

JLAquatics

That looks like an amazing tank! I'm going to re-do my fifteen gal (It is currently the bright mess everyone here would give me a hard time for) but, it's a fifteen long.
Thank you for your kind words. However, this is only a render I created in photoshop (I'm a graphic designer), not the actual tank itself. The real scape will come pretty soon which I am very excited for.

However, I need to clarify something with you here on Fishlore. Nobody should be giving you a hard time for any design you make. If you like bright colored plastic or polyresin decorations, you should be able to have those without anyone else's negative input. Fishlore is generally a great place to share tank ideas without getting any criticism. You are completely fine with what you have friend and I just want to reassure that for you. However, if you still wish to rescape your 15 gallon long with live plants, feel free to create some threads if you have any questions on anything scape related. I would be glad to help where I can. :)
 

ForBettaorForWorse

Thank you for your kind words. However, this is only a render I created in photoshop (I'm a graphic designer), not the actual tank itself. The real scape will come pretty soon which I am very excited for.

However, I need to clarify something with you here on Fishlore. Nobody should be giving you a hard time for any design you make. If you like bright colored plastic or polyresin decorations, you should be able to have those without anyone else's negative input. Fishlore is generally a great place to share tank ideas without getting any criticism. You are completely fine with what you have friend and I just want to reassure that for you. However, if you still wish to rescape your 15 gallon long with live plants, feel free to create some threads if you have any questions on anything scape related. I would be glad to help where I can. :)

Ya, I know it was more of a joke. I've done a few planted tanks in the past, and I'm really looking forward to doing this one. I just need to get to town for the plants:)
 

JLAquatics

Ya, I know it was more of a joke. I've done a few planted tanks in the past, and I'm really looking forward to doing this one. I just need to get to town for the plants:)
You really fooled me friend! Regardless, I wish you the best of success with your new scape.
 

ForBettaorForWorse

Ha, thanks a lot :)
 

JLAquatics

I am still soaking the main feature of the scape which is the wood. However, here is the first part of the hardscape done. The Seiryu accent stones and the substrates are looking quite nice and yes the sand is separated from the soil.

1026211029.jpg
I did put the wood in to test it out in the scape, which adds a lot of height and visually looks much better and more complete. It will be a surprise once I get the new tank equipment this Sunday and begin planting next week. :)
 

TheMadScientist

Ya, I know it was more of a joke. I've done a few planted tanks in the past, and I'm really looking forward to doing this one. I just need to get to town for the plants:)
I got one tank I got setup nothing but plants. I got my 10 gal rimless setup and scaped some.
 

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JLAquatics

I figured I should update this thread after all this time (I honestly forgot, I am sorry!). Here is the start to the 15 gallon aquascape. Anubias and Java Fern will be added down the road. Keep in mind that many of these plants are in their transitional period and will improve in a few weeks.

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I will post again once a noticeable update to the tank arrives.
 

JustAFishServant

I've scaped plenty of vertical tanks, my favorite's a 3G/11.4L cylinder. I piled rocks & twigs in the back with silicone, covered visible silicone in sand & fine gravel and imbedded anubias nana 'petite', small crypts & mosses between the crevices. Vertical tanks are hard to scape but with creativity and patience, you can do it :)
 

AquaBaby

This is the new light. It is much brighter and emits all the light spectrum for healthy plant growth.
I have a 15 column and have been looking into light options.

What light did you decide to go with?

Did you modify the stock hood to accommodate the light?
 

coldpines

Looking forward to seeing it once the other plants are added. :)
 

JLAquatics

Here are some more shots of the 15 gallon column. The moss, Pearlweed, and Limnophila have all begun growing! All of the tests came back good so shrimp will be added next week as well!

1121210902_2.jpgFront of Tank


1121210903a_2.jpgSide of Tank


1121210902b_2.jpg
The top of the "Moss Dragon"


1121210902a_2.jpg
The sand river and base of the "Moss Dragon"


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The background plants beginning to grow finally!

I have a 15 column and have been looking into light options.

What light did you decide to go with?

Did you modify the stock hood to accommodate the light?
I used 2 of the smallest versions of the Nicrew classic LED plus lights. I still use the stock hood because it makes the tank look sleek, but I do not use the stock lights anymore since they are too weak to grow most plants. The Nicrew lights are just lined in the tank under the hood and I just take them out when I do water changes.
 

RedOnion

Wow, I just found this thread and I love the height of the tank, the wood and plant layout is amazing! Ive always been fascinated with the taller tanks because they just look so different and cool to look at! Im kinda tempted to start my own taller looking tank too now!
 

JLAquatics

Wow, I just found this thread and I love the height of the tank, the wood and plant layout is amazing! Ive always been fascinated with the taller tanks because they just look so different and cool to look at! Im kinda tempted to start my own taller looking tank too now!
It definitely has been an interesting experience for sure! Other than plant and hardscape placement, one should consider lighting and cleaning regiment as part of the challenge as well. Clipping plants is harder, as is planting the trimmings. However, it definitely is the most unique out of my three aquariums. It will be more so once everything grows in and I have livestock to call this tank home.
 

RedOnion

It definitely has been an interesting experience for sure! Other than plant and hardscape placement, one should consider lighting and cleaning regiment as part of the challenge as well. Clipping plants is harder, as is planting the trimmings. However, it definitely is the most unique out of my three aquariums. It will be more so once everything grows in and I have livestock to call this tank home.
I agree, I can't imagine shoving my whole arm in to clip a plant lol. Snails and shrimp are definitely something I would add to a tank like that even though I practically do that to all my tanks anyways. I know you said a Nicrew Light, is it just the basic Nicrews or one of the planted versions?
 

JLAquatics

I agree, I can't imagine shoving my whole arm in to clip a plant lol. Snails and shrimp are definitely something I would add to a tank like that even though I practically do that to all my tanks anyways. I know you said a Nicrew Light, is it just the basic Nicrews or one of the planted versions?
They are planted plus Nicrews of the smallest size that you can find on Amazon. I think they are around 12 inches long. Since the tank is very deep, I have two separate units connected to the same timer sitting under the cover to create more light and allow the front and background plants to receive enough direct light to grow well. I will be taking more pictures of the tank tomorrow so I will share some of the details of the lights.
 

JLAquatics

Here is another update for the 15 gallon column! I added my first lot of 8 Cherry Shrimp to the tank a few days ago! The plants are beginning to bounce back finally and I feel I will have a real background of greenery soon in the tank! The fish that will call themselves home in this tank will be Endlers Livebearer as I recently got a Betta for another tank of mine.

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This tank is really beginning to come together quite nicely now! :happy:
 

RedOnion

Here is another update for the 15 gallon column! I added my first lot of 8 Cherry Shrimp to the tank a few days ago! The plants are beginning to bounce back finally and I feel I will have a real background of greenery soon in the tank! The fish that will call themselves home in this tank will be Endlers Livebearer as I recently got a Betta for another tank of mine.

1125210946_2.jpg

1125210947b_2.jpg

1125210948a_2.jpg

1125210947a_2.jpg

This tank is really beginning to come together quite nicely now! :happy:
Amazing! Do you plan on pure endlers? I set up a tank for a friend and they are considering endlers/guppies but I prefer the endlers for their smaller size.
 

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