Aquascaping advice requested
Any advice or comments on an attractive way to aquascape my 55 planted tank would be appreciated. I am somewhat aesthetically challenged! The link:: 55 Planted - 55 gallon Freshwater fish tank
The tank has a 36" light providing a dim end at one end of the tank. Ecocomplete substrate.
My "driftwood" is resin, but I like the color contrast.
Swords: Brazilian (1), Marbled queen Radican (1), Ozelot (1, my favorite), Amazon (1 lg, 2 small), Rosette (3), microsword (bunches, doing fair)
Stems: Rotalia indica, Myrophyllium simulans, Egeria densa, ,purple cabomba (kind of scrawny)
Corkscrew Val, American Val
:-) my apologies in advance to the purists who don't mix plants from different regions!
The floating mass, in the upper left of photo, is a variety of leftover cuttings I'm not sure what to do with yet.
I must say your current layout is beautiful. As for a little advice, I would recommend switching to a darker backround so that it contrasts better with your plants and fish.
Now for the aquascape. As I said before, your current layout is nice, but I would recommend dividing the plants into "groups" and moving on from there. For example, if you've got 10 Cabomba cuttings, don't spread them along the whole background. Instead, plant them close to each other (not too close mind you). This usually creates a more "tranquil" setting, if you will.
Also, I noted that your driftwood divides the tank, aesthetically speaking. It's as if 2/3 of the tank belongs to the plants, while the other 1/3 belongs to the wood. I would recommend planting a few plants in the vicinity of the wood to give it more depth and to blend it in with the current aquascape. Low light, bushy plants like Cryptocorynes may do well in that regard. You may also consider plating a few plants on the wood itself, such as a few Java Ferns or Anubias, perhaps even a clump of Java Moss or Christmas Moss.
I am by no means an aquascaping expert, but these are the guidelines I followed while aquascaping my tank, mostly adapted from the tanks I've seen and liked.
PS: Did you achieve that plant growth with a 30 watt flourescent and without a CO2 system? <---Nevermind this, I just found the answer on your aquarium page, silly me :P
Thanks for the feedback! I do have some of the plants grouped, but I also have some cuttings just stuck randomly in the substrate until they root. It's hard to tell from the picture. I'll try to add some close-ups in my album sometime. I have some plants behind and in front (actually rooted under) the driftwood, but they haven't grown in yet. I was anticipating a lower light plant from a forum member, but we had a shipping problem.
Always a work in progress - thanks for the tips, I'll certainly use them!
I agree with MyLittlePleco. The contrast between the plants and the driftwood is too sudden, some plants around the driftwood will help soften those distinctions.
I have a question about your lighting, why does it suddenly darken so much on the right side? It looks very strange with the right side of the tank suddenly fading out like that.
As for plant selection, I am also a mixer of region when it comes to plants. However i think your planting scheme lacks a sort of flow. Usually, aquarium scapes try to create a form when planting such as a U shape, a Right triangle, centerpiece forms. This helps create the illusion of depth and makes it easier on the eyes to focus on various features of the tank. It could be that your background is just messing with my eyes, but it seems like your plant-line is a horizontal line. It makes it very hard to focus on individual areas of your aqua-scape.
I like how you are experimenting with some ideas though. Not many scapers like putting stem plants in the foreground area and your placement of plants has a sort-of pleasing random feel to it.
I was sure I came across this elsewhere and posted on the background, but I can't find it now.:-?
Anyway, my suggestion would be a neutral background rather than one with plants in it. They distract from your live plants. A plain black, even something as simple as black construction paper, works well. Or if you want a scene, one that is tree stumps, wood, rocks, but no plants will work, if it is dull and not bright or shiny as these tend to narrow the perception of depth.
The fade-out is not as extreme as it appears in the photo (tough lighting to photograph). I have a 36" dual T5HO light offset to one end of the tank. The photo was taken with both my T5HO bulbs on, making the dim end appear much darker (I usually only run 1 T5HO bulb). It gives me a light gradient and a dimly lit end by design. My corys like to hang out under the driftwood in the darker end. The plants are starting to grow in around the driftwood, but the lighting at that end is lower than required for the plants I currently have. Once I get my hood finished, it will have the effect of shifting my light about 6" more over to the right side, decreasing the darkness some and providing some better plant growth around the driftwood. It will also allow me to shift the bulb from front to back to help even out the "directional" growth toward the light I'm starting to see from my Rotalia. I'm also going to get some additional low light plants for that end of the tank.
I am going to try a black background. Should be a nice contrast. I was afraid with the black ecocomplete and the limited front-back distance of the 55 gallon tank that a black background would give the tank less visual "depth".
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