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Can Someone Please Help A Bit With Layout?

mossonthemoon

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I know it looks awful now. I just got everything in there quickly. I planned to wait but needed to get the fish in quickly because my back-up filter broke and I had to transfer the one fish, therefore needing to add a lot of fish. Anyway it is cold in there and I don't warm up easily, so I have been putting off rearranging, but I need to do it today, at least to make it a bit better.

I am expecting a lot of riccia, which will go on the slate (I don't know how visible that is in the pictures), there are 30 stems of bacopa, a few small bits of that grassy looking stuff (sorry), and I will be ordering more plants (swords and I don't know what else). I do hope to get it to be heavily planted but have to slow down spending a little bit for a little while.

So, should I keep all of the rocks, or will some look out of place no matter what I do? And should there be a wood side and a rock side, or mixed, or other? I am terrible at arranging under water. I have read all about the golden triangle, I can make rooms and flower arrangements look good, but I cannot do tanks. I am hoping a little advice will help me start thinking in the right direction.

I ramble too much. Pictures are in this thread: http://www.fishforums.net/index.php?/topic/404523-starting-over-journal/
 

DrRob

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You have 1 type of wood and several types of rock. Not an ideal mix of rock, but not terrible.

For the wood, I will say that the arrangement you have looks like you've done it because it creates the most area/volume of effect but doesn't actually look like something that would form naturally very easily. Consider going for something that would have either grown the way you place it, or could have fallen the way you place it. Things pointing at 90 degree angles to each other look arranged.

Also I wouldn't be scared of mixing things up, it breaks up the large bulk of the wood and spreads the rocks if you have rocks around the base of the wood pieces, plus it can protect plants from bother when they're trying to establish.
 
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mossonthemoon

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Thanks for the feedback! My husband put the wood in there. I think he liked the branchy looking piece upright because it does kind of look like an old dead tree. The others, he probably just put it the way he could make it act as arches for the fish. His arms are longer, which is why he does it by the way. I know the rocks aren't really ideal, but we have collected them over the years. I was thinking about trying to disguise some with the riccia, but I don't know whether I can accomplish that very well or not.

What about the bacopa? I just spread it because I want it to take root and because it is all I really have right now, but should I put them all closer together once I move them? Like on one half or one corner or the tank or anything like that? I know the other plants I get would affect that, but I don't know when that will happen. Are they like land plants, needing a certain amount of space between each stem in order to grow properly? Sorry for all of the questions.
 

Davo86

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Hi, the layout doesn't look bad, and by the looks you already have some nice decor in place so it just needs for you to get in there and move things round till you are completely happy with the look.

I think a dark background would definitely help increase the impact of the tank and offset the light gravel and rocks, and personally i would mix in the rocks and wood, and maybe have the tall wood across the back with the rocks positioned infront and the plants in and around rather than simply across the back.
 

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I think you have a good start going.

I agree with Rob about the rock. For me, I would tilt and bury some of it to make it more natural and hide the differences that way.

I might tilt certain pieces of wood a bit but like how it looks. I will play with rock or wood and tilt and move and sometimes a quarter of an inch makes all the difference. It can take days with just one twig.

How it looks depends on you as well. You're the artist. Some people like very natural looking tanks, some mini-landscapes in their tank, and others like a more modern look.
 
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mossonthemoon

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Thanks! That sounds good. I should have mentioned that I usually have a black background. This wasn't planned and I didn't get a chance to place it before the fish. We were thinking about painting the tank, but then the fish went in and we weren't sure whether we should do it with them in there (fumes, etc). Now we are thinking of just putting one on the back, but need to find the time to do it.

Some people like very natural looking tanks, some mini-landscapes in their tank, and others like a more modern look.
I think this is my problem. I like it all and then get stuck in the decision making stage. I like very natural looking tanks, and I love Iwagumi tanks. I would never try to make this one an Iwagumi. I just wouldn't achieve it. But it does give a sense of my taste. I like gardens that are extremely overgrown in a usable way. I think I like tanks that are the same. I obviously can't have that look yet, with the few plants I have so far.
 

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I know a few people who actually just painted the wall behind the tank. :)
 

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As it stands you have two large focal points, the rocks and the wood. This will cause the viewer to subconsciously try and look at both causing the 'not quite right' feeling.

Try and create one focal point and as DrRob said don't be afraid to mix rock and wood in the same place but try and recreate nature whilst doing it, ie. the wood would have fallen like this on top of the rocks like this.

Ideally the golden triangle rule states that the focal point should be off-centre so if you find that the other end is looking empty make a smaller focal point using less striking articles. Once the 'hard' Aquascaping is done place plants around the tank where you feel they would have grown naturally, taking into consideration height, etc. - higher plants towards the back and sides.

I also agree that a backing colour would help dramatically, maybe dark blue or black to really bring out the natural colours of the decor, plants and fish. It will stop the viewers attention from being drawn to the equipment & cables (as mine is :)). If you choose to paint the back glass this should only be done once you are certain of the color as it's a real pain to change. Try coloured card or a cheap backing vinyl to find the colour you like best first.

HTH
 
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mossonthemoon

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I can't paint the wall because it is tile. Last time we had the tank up we had painted a thin piece of cardboard to look very dark on the bottom and then have the illusion of sun light breaking the surface. Okay, my husband is an artist and HE did that, not me. It looked great, but was very annoying to keep in place once my cats figured out they could knock it down. So eventually it will have a black background in some form. Hopefully soon, as I hate seeing the tiles behind it.

So would it affect the filtration/heating if I made some sort of large pile of hardscape to the right in order to try to disguise the big filter box a bit? I would obviously give it some clearance. Ideally I will have that out eventually but not until I feel like I have the budget for a very good external filter.

Do people paint tanks when fish are already in? We definitely want black, but thought that it might be out of the question now that we have stocked a bit.
 

DrRob

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Bin bag, stretched, with sellotape.
 

Aquascaper

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Tin foil, stretched with sellotape :)

You paint the outside of the back glass (tile paint works best). If you can access the back great, or try and move the tank at the next water change to allow you to get and arm back there. If not then binbag/vinyl will have to do.
 

Aquascaper

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As for the filter box (looks like Juwel tank) you can disguise it a bit but make sure the water can flow into the heater inlet alright. Painting the back black disguises it well also.
 
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mossonthemoon

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I added a question at the end of my last post but it was delayed, so I think people missed it. Do people paint tanks when fish are already in? I am worried about fumes (not drips, I am quite good with a brush), but I don't know whether this is actually a problem. Since the tank is on tiles it just glides across the floor. It wouldn't be a problem to move.
 

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Yes, they do. It's really not much different than painting a room that has the tank in it.
 
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mossonthemoon

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I want to paint that room and have been worried about what I would do about the fish! If it isn't a problem then that's good news.
 
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