Help me choose my hardscape

Wills

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I've been trying out a few layouts in my new four foot tank. Only ones not fully achievable are the ones where the wood comes out the tank as I have a lid that will mean this is not possible but I am debating breaking some of the bigger branches to make it work? Just wondering what people thought - let me know your favourite :) Not sure which way I'm leaning yet.

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Wills
 

Valkyrie_Lips

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I really like # 4. It is pretty balanced all throughout and it fits the space nicely imo.
 

Colin_T

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None of the above, too much wood in the tank and it's laying down.

In the wild you get fallen logs that lay down on the substrate, and you get tree roots that are standing up (with the roots down in the soil and trunk above). You don't normally get piles of wood like in the pictures.

Try with less wood or have the wood upright (it might need cutting).
 

Byron

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I concur with Colin. Though I don't know if you want "natural," (I hope so! because it is usually better for the fish) or what fish are going in this tank, that could make a difference.
 

itiwhetu

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Less is more, I have taken out over half of the wood I originally had in my tank, to make way for plants.
 

FishNturt808

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Yeah it’s too much. If it were me I’d try to take that long piece with the curved end coming out of the top in pics 2 and 3, with the curve on a stack of rocks/substrate and the straight portion angled towards the top….A7702C0C-F100-4879-8E98-24D520DA929D.png

Something like that. (Terrible representation, but I hope it gets the idea across.)
 

itiwhetu

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I will show you two photos of my tank. What I thought was a great set up and what I have ended up with. Don't worry, we all do exactly what you are doing. There is still nothing wrong with starting with this and then removing stuff like I have.
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Wills

Wills

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None of the above, too much wood in the tank and it's laying down.

In the wild you get fallen logs that lay down on the substrate, and you get tree roots that are standing up (with the roots down in the soil and trunk above). You don't normally get piles of wood like in the pictures.

Try with less wood or have the wood upright (it might need cutting).
I concur with Colin. Though I don't know if you want "natural," (I hope so! because it is usually better for the fish) or what fish are going in this tank, that could make a difference.
Less is more, I have taken out over half of the wood I originally had in my tank, to make way for plants.

Thanks guys I'll take it on board I'm not sure I agree all of them are 'unnatural' perhaps the one with the wood coming out but I do want to something quite natural.

The tank is for Central American Cichlids primarily, a group of Nicaraguan Cichlids. The scape idea with the big branches is inspired a bit by this article - https://www.tfhmagazine.com/article...lid-diversity-of-a-volcanic-nicaraguan-island

In particular this bit
The river’s substrate was now completely fine, and before the water depth grew no higher than my ankles I found a young female Hypsophrys nicaraguensis seeking camouflage amongst a congregation of fallen branches and coconut husks.

I can dig a few more out but these are a few videos I was using as reference too
- from about 6 minutes in where there is a fallen tree

. - from 5 minutes with the second habitat of the Sajica

In the wild Nicaraguan Cichlids live mainly near the banks - or rocky islands in the lake. They use their bulbous heads to dig into the banks and build nests and caves for spawning, so I think near the shoreline is the best description. I was imagining some fallen branches that have collected near the shore, since the article above mentions them living in quite shallow water I thought these pile type situations would be similar to that?

@itiwhetu I can see what you mean but I'm not going to achieve that level of planting with these fish, they will constantly turn over the substrate so I will need to have it in pockets of the tank around the hardscape. I'm going to have quite a lot of Valis planted but then rely on things like Java Fern and maybe big Anubias. But thats why I'm heavy with the hardscape as I need lots of breaks in line of sight, areas for territory etc.

I'll definitely take it all on board - I might try a different version of number 1 but without the wood to the left side.
 

Colin_T

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I don't think that road side stream is a permanent feature and will probably dry up during the dry season. It has sedges that grow out of water during the dry season and it doesn't look big enough or deep enough to hold water all year.

If you want the fish to be the centre piece, have a few bits of wood along the back and have the front open for the fish to swim around. There's no point having so many hiding places you hardly ever see the fish. Plus all the wood will trap gunk.
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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I've been trying out a few layouts in my new four foot tank. Only ones not fully achievable are the ones where the wood comes out the tank as I have a lid that will mean this is not possible but I am debating breaking some of the bigger branches to make it work? Just wondering what people thought - let me know your favourite :) Not sure which way I'm leaning yet.

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Wills
I like the 2nd and 3rd, but see that you've said the wood can't come out above the tank, so in that case, the last one for me. But, I know whichever way you go that it's going to look great! You have a lot of aquascaping talent, and I trust your eye when it comes to this a lot more than my own.
 

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