Please help me re-design my tank.....again - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 16 Old 08-29-2011, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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Please help me re-design my tank.....again

Its hard to put my "questions" in words so please bare with me.

So after getting a large piece of driftwood and having alot of issues with it, i now realize what i should have realized before I bought it, its way to big. I really hate the look of my tank.

I have never had a big imagination, and im pretty bad at designing things, plus Im still new to planted tanks. So Im thinking,maybe you guys can give me some ideas. First here is the tank specs:

29 Gallon 30 1/4 x 12 1/2 x 18 3/4
1 T8 Life Glo Bulb at 6700k
Eco complete substrate
Cascade 700 canister filter
Stock list is in my sig

Plants I know of:
Dwarf lily
java fern
wendts red
floating pennywort
and some large crypt

Below are two pics of the tank, the first is the original setup. Alot of plants did not grow in, and the issue was that the driftwood was too small and there was too much background showing, this made me want to have something larger. For some reason my amazon sword died. The wood is now in my 10 gallon, and i like it there. I could move it back but I don't really want to.

The second pic is how it is now. The wood is too large, and it creates too much darkness.

My goal is to have a nicely planted tank, i just need some help designing it. Its hard to put what I'm asking into words. Basically Im just wanna know how you guys design your tanks. I really don't like what I did so far, I was just happy because I was successful with the fish. I finally want a nicely planted tank but I don't know how to start.

I guess I need a new piece of wood to start. I dont know if I should get a " stump" or something, I need hiding spots for the loaches. I really just dont know what is a good size for my tank, and dont know if I need two large pieces.

I know you guys are gonna say its all up to me and how I want to design my tank, but i just need some inspiration.

If you stuck it out through this messy post, thanks.

IMG_0557.jpg picture by bigehugedome - Photobucket
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post #2 of 16 Old 08-29-2011, 09:46 PM
I'm of very little help here as I have the same problem every time I set up a new tank. What I do is go threw tank photos and find things I like the last time I looked at 75 pages of photos take what I like and try to design something. I agree with your driftwood but I do like it, what I myself would do is take it out and take a saw to it, just a hand saw but I would cut that top piece off and try to make it fit it a little better. I think you could do something nice with it.
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post #3 of 16 Old 08-30-2011, 03:31 AM
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Personally, I think that's a great piece of wood you have there, too good to lose. But I agree your tank is far too dark. I would......change to a lighter substrate maybe even sand, not easy I know!!, take the 2 pieces of rock out ( I assume that's what that is on the wood). Keep the wood in the middle of the tank at an angle (left side of wood towards the back angling it towards the front), and put some bright green plants in the back on the left going across about a third of the tank, then some in the back right corner going about a quarter way across the back of the tank, then bring some smaller plants forwards towards the front right corner of the tank( so you have a triangle sort shape) And maybe a couple of low growing plants in the foreground. Just noticed you need hidey holes for you loaches so maybe a small cave made from a few well placed rocks( not too big though) at the front on the left. Hope this all makes sense. Whatever you choose would love to see the finished tank.
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post #4 of 16 Old 08-30-2011, 09:15 AM
For inspiration, try google - type 'amazon aquascape' and switch to images
Have a look a Byrons aquarium pics for some nice looking planted tanks.

Personally, I think the best of the best aquariums simulate a natural setting. Gravel or sand, wood, plants...
I agree that I prefer a lighter substrate, although I suppose one could make black work.
The wood you have for the one picture is too large for that tank. A smaller piece would be better.
From there, it's just arranging the plants and such - taller in the rear, shorter in the front.

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post #5 of 16 Old 08-30-2011, 11:43 AM
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I actually like the current aquascape with the large wood and dark substrate. That is absolutely ideal for so many fish. You do need a plant in the right rear corner though, it is too "open." An Echinodorus bleherae would do fine. That would in my view at least make an ideal aquascape.

I think my 33g is close to what you have. Fish in my tank are groups of pygmy hatchetfish, coral red pencilfish, pygmy cory, dwarf rasbora. These fish are all highly suited to such an environment, and there are many more. Avoid active swimmers, they would not be found in such environments. I'm not suggesting your fish are unsuitable, I'm not sure what some of them are; I think I see a gourami (very suitable), some sort of tetra swimming past...

I would not have cory species with an enriched substrate. This is a case where the "oddball" catfish work best; a Whiptail catfish (2 or 3), Twig catfish (1-3) if soft water, etc. These would add some visual interest and with all that wood the catfish would be in heaven.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #6 of 16 Old 08-30-2011, 04:12 PM
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I think you did a great job with your tanks. Personally, I think if you add a black background you will be shocked at how wonderful the plants POP in color. Great job! I love heavily planted so... I would add a few more plants to fill it out but I think it looks wonderful!

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” Mahatma Gandhi
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post #7 of 16 Old 08-30-2011, 04:35 PM
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i really like the wood.
and i like Byrons suggestion.

when you set up a new tank,hide an extra
sponge or two behind some decor,that way you have
something seeded for you next filter.
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post #8 of 16 Old 08-31-2011, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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First off, I want to thank everyone for their opinions. Posting here has helped me decide what I want to do. Im very excited now.

To start, I am not changing the substrate. I know now that an enriched substrate is not necessary, but I do like the color and texture for what I have in the tank. I will definialy go with sand for future tanks as I love it in my 10. Here is what I believe my stock to be, exact tetra numbers may be off by 1

10 Black Neon Tetra
11 Rummynose Tetra
5 Hengels Rasbora (lost one, never got to replace)
1 Pearl Gourami
5 Zebra Loach
1 BN Pleco
1 Bamboo shrimp

I may be slightly over stocked, and I know the rummynose should probably not be there. But the two tetra species and rasbora swim together, and the pearl gourami Usually minds his on business. Not going to add anything else, other than maybe 1 or two more rasbora, and possibly extra RCS if I get them for my other tank and they have babies, I don't mind them being loach snacks, sorry if that offends anyone.

I still like the wood, the picture I posted is actually different than how it looks now, and it looks better in the pic I posted so lets keep that in mind.

Anyway, what I wanna do Is completely replant the tank. Lets start from the top down:

I have pennywort floating. It does its job, but its starting to annoy me. It gets tangled in itself, becomes heavy and sinks some. Parts of it sink about 2-3 inches below the surface, it especially sucks in my smaller tanks. What are my alternatives? Anything easier to manage? I found some salvinia natans. it seems that one leaf will sink some, but not the whole stem, would this be a better alternative.

The issue is that the penny wort sinks and gets tangled on the java fern thats on the wood, so if something does not sink, my java fern would look better. I also want to put moss on the wood, I think the effect of having it grow only on the "sunny side" would be nice.

Then to the substrate. This is where I would love your opinions on aquascaping. What should I do? I dont have a middle to plant anything, just sides corners front and back. I can do a pygmy chain sword in the front. Do you suggest to buy two, put one in each corner and let them send runners?

No idea what else to put anywhere. I have dwarf lily that grows very well but that also gets tangled in the penny wort. Since the stems are so thin, once the leaves reach the surface you dont really see any of the plant so it has no point to me, I may move it to the smaller tank and just trim it more often. It looks nice seeing the red leaves grow to the surface.

The other issue is that there is very little room between the back glass and the wood, terefore there is not alot of light that will hit the base of the plants. Would that be an issue?

Big post again, sorry
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post #9 of 16 Old 09-02-2011, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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Come on guys I saw your tanks, help me decide what to do. what and where should I put in my tank. I wanna go to the lfs tomorrow. 2 amazon swords in the back, Pygmy sord in the front. Any other idea to fill the back/side and corners in?
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post #10 of 16 Old 09-02-2011, 11:14 PM
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i like beta fishbcuz they are pretty and only need like a cup
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