Need some "cool" ideas or some new ideas for my tank. - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 03-12-2009, 02:24 AM Thread Starter
Need some "cool" ideas or some new ideas for my tank.

I have a 30g. I have a small tiny log on the left side against the wall where the pleco stays the majority of the time. Over on the right side against the wall I have a maybe four inch hollow rock in one corner where the blue lobster sleeps and all around that rock and to the other corner (on same wall) I have fake plants to give some hiding spots for the other glass fish and balas.

I want to know what 'cool' things can I do or add to the tank to make the tank look.. well, cool. ha. Its empty in the middle, I wanted to do a fake rock wall along the back, ive seen a few of those and thought that was really cool. Is there any cool lighting effects I can do? anything?
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post #2 of 5 Old 03-12-2009, 03:48 AM
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Well, the first thing I would say is to watch that lobster as it grows. A true freshwater lobster or crayfish/crawfish will eat fish as it gets larger. Not a good combo.

With that said, there are so many available options for decor it is endless. I would shy away from the preformed rock walls because they are near impossible to clean. They look good until algae starts to grow on them, the hard green coraline is the worst, but also black beard and other such algaes... aside from bleaching the pieces which may fade the color, there isn't much else to get rid of it. Those are better suited for an amphibious environment, but even then are a nightmare to clean.

A tall piece of driftwood can make for a nice centerpiece, and each one is unique so that is "cool" in my book. Shop around and look for something with enough height to accent the tank and make for a focal point.

I would avoid live wide leaf plants like amazon swords if there is a pleco in the tank, but silk plants can make for an awesome accent around driftwood.

Rocks of many shapes and colors to choose from are out there, but I would suggest sticking to something labeled as fish safe and ready for an aquarium and avoid picking things up from wild environments. Pollution, pesticides, and parasites that can wreak havoc and kill your fish are a high risk if using anything found outside.

Lava rock and white tufa rock are very lightweight and fun to work with. The ideas are only as endless as your imagination and pocketbook. When stacking rocks just be sure they are sturdy so they don't fall on and injure the animals.

I always wanted to build a lava rock volcano in one of my tanks, with a red egg light inside it to glow... but I've never gotten around to doing it.

There are a lot of options for aquarium lights now that LED has really hit the market. Small mini lights in strands, in singles, all the way up to larger pond size egg lights with multiple color filters are pretty easy to find. Try Googling "pond lights" and see what you get, or take a gander at Fosters & Smith, I know they stock some.

Hope this helps.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #3 of 5 Old 03-12-2009, 07:05 AM
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Good post betta!

I like the idea of a center piece of unique driftwood surrounded by plants.

You could always throw in slate. A couple of light grey pieces of slate pieced on top of eachother can look cool

Another way to really change up your tank is to switch subtrates. I recently switched to a sand subtrate and it makes the tank look 100% new! and only cost about $5!!

There are endless options as to what you can do. It pretty much comes down to what you like and think will look good
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post #4 of 5 Old 03-12-2009, 12:02 PM
I rather like an empty middle. I have a 20 gallon long aquarium and I'm leaving it barren for feeding grounds and easy viewing.

I'd sure like to see a picture of yours, though, as mine is a slow process, too. I like to copy ideas. ;)
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post #5 of 5 Old 03-12-2009, 01:18 PM
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I avoid sand due to the issues in keeping it clean without sucking it up and down the drain when I do water changes. Sand is also too dense for most plants to grow in easily and you don't get the same benefits of nitrifying bacteria as you would with gravel. The dense situation blocks oxygen and circulation where it is needed for the biological filtration.
For substrate I actually prefer pea gravel found at Menards. It's cheap, its pretty and natural looking, and makes for easy cleaning and good bio filtration!

As for keeping the center bare for viewing space... you might not believe it, but filling in that space will actually create for better viewing of the fish. Every space in the tank is going to be claimed by the fish in it. A space between 2 objects is a territory, so a big open space is 1 territory... so whichever fish has claimed that territory for itself, the others are then intruders. This can harbor the viewing and invite aggression in otherwise peaceful fish, and it can take aggressive animals and open the door for further aggression.

If, however, that space is filled in to create territories, the fish have not only the added advantage of many fish claiming many parts for territory, but they also feel protected by shelter and are more likely to spend time in these spaces.

I have always taken a different approach to African cichlid tanks because they spend so much of their time in their territories, both defending them and hiding inthem. My customers would often complain that after decorating the tank the fish spent too much time hiding when someone approached... this is typical of these fish. To allow the fish their needs and good viewing, I suggest building rock structures along the front of the tank creating the territories more along the front between glass and rock instead of along the back and between glass and rock where nobody can see them. this actually works very well in most situations.

When I teach someone how to decorate an aquarium I spend a lot of time stressing the importance of decorating all 3 levels of the aquarium, bottom, mid range, and upper/surface. Again, this avoids 1 fish from claiming an entire space for itself which can cause much aggression when feeding time comes around or when the fish begin to grow and need more space for themselves. The more aggressive a particular species the more important to keep a tank well decorated.

Because we know that stress causes illness in fish, avoiding it is in the best interests of the fish. Agressive tank mates cause a lot of stress. Fighting for territory causes a lot of stress. Not feeling safe and secure causes a lot of stress.

Happy decorating!


Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI

Last edited by bettababy; 03-12-2009 at 01:21 PM.
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