Monochrome/greyscale hardscape and livestock idea...

nobo

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I’m planning to get another tank to go in a matching book case (see photo) on the other side of the fireplace. It will probably be an Oase Styleline 125 (c. 110 litre) – but perhaps with a better internal filter (maybe a "hidden rock" style one - as that’s the closest visual match I can find for the Juwel Rio 125L I already have (pictured). (The bookcase on the right is too narrow for an 80cm long like the Rio 125.)

It'll be low tech.

It’s early days in my planning, but for maximum contrast with my existing tank, I was thinking:

- A black and white theme for the livestock & hardscape, so the whole tank is monochrome apart from the plants.

- Heavily rock based – perhaps “wood rock”; perhaps Iwagumi direction, in terms of style. Probably rocks clustered in the centre (opposite of the other tank, which has a "hole" in the middle), or along the back more like a cliff.

- Black sand (probably over soil, unless I can avoid soil completely)

- Ideally some carpeting / grass (hence the need for soil – but perhaps I could have separate soil and sand areas, with a barrier between). I was even toying with a stepped, rice paddy look.

- Perhaps some other plants across the back (maybe hornwort) and/or a “tree” (e.g. make a bonsai tree using driftwood and trimmed moss)

- Maybe a floating plant (red root?) or similar (if the fish need/would benefit)

- Fish wise, water is DH14 / c. pH7.6 (shared by my local fish shop). It won't be stocked like a traditional Iwagumi - probably more like a community tnk. I’d need to do some more research, so all a bit up in the air, but ideas could include:
  • Some kind of eel or eel-like fish (a bunch of chocolate kuhlis might look like giant snakes patrolling the landscape but I’m not sure they’d be happy in water this hard)
  • Marbled (or spotted) Hatchet fish
  • Sadly my water's too hard for otos
  • Schools of corys – salt and pepper (Corydoras habrosus); and pygmy corys
  • Black/white snails (e.g. Long nose snail; Devil Thorn Snai (Faunus ater); Piano snail; Pagoda/Horned Armour/Porcupine Snail; White wizard snail)
  • A black betta (would require careful stocking vs other fish)
  • Black and white pleco
  • I’m otherwise drawn to the more unusual looking fish (e.g. whiptail & other catfish, butterfly loaches, etc).
  • Maybe some amano shrimp

  • Or maybe nothing, save for an axolotyl (or similar)!


Is this a crazy / terrible idea?
Thoughts / ideas / recommendations / suggestions welcome!

This is the Oase Styleline 125 - stock photo

fb32b316b0.jpg

Here's the other tank, which it'll be paired with but a contrast too:
_DSC7597edit.jpg

The attachment (can't get it to show as a thumbnail) shows the above tank in its setting on the bookcase/cupboard.
 

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Salty&Onion

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Your water is too hard for kuhlis and cories, 14dGH is eaual to 253ppm. If you really want cories you either can choose corydoras aeneus or c.paleatus and they will do fine in hard water. Your water is also alright for livebearers, guppies, mollies, swordtails and platies. You also can put in a group of rainbow fish depending on what you want to stock the tank with.
@Byron can correct me and also help you :)
What are the dimensions of the tank?
 

seangee

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Soil is not necessary. The tank below is river sand only along with root tabs.
In this tank I have a HOB filter in the top left corner, of course they are harder to conceal :rofl:
Carpet is a challenge in a low tech tank that depth, but you could try something like dwarf hairgrass
You will need some real wood if you keep a plec
Floating plants are a benefit to most fish. In addition to its "ammonia sink" properties most of the fish you mention don't like bright light and occur naturally in forests. As you can see even the cories love foraging in the roots, and do a great job of keeping them clean.
Bettas aren't community fish, no matter how careful you are with the stocking



 
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nobo

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Thanks both.

The tank is likely to be around 70cm wide, 36 deep and 50 tall (115 litres).

Good to hear soil's not necessary. My other tank is sand over tropica soil, and bits of the soil often work their way up an over the sand (as you can see from the photo). I'm trying to learn to be ok with that, because I've yet to find a good way of removing it! It's a challenge though ;)

Yes, would need driftwood (perhaps that bonzai tree) were I to go with a pleco. My guess is I wont - I have a BN in my other tank already. And much as I love him (Mr Brickles - christened by my 4 year old daughter), he does bully the corys at feeding time. Grrrrrrr.

I think a betta is off the menu, unless it's a solitary betta with nothing else... Which seems a bit of a waste for a 115 litre tank!

My understanding (based on seriouslyfish.com, mostly) was that there are quite a few corys that would work in my water - including bronze (the anaeus you mention - and I have in my other tank), pygmy (pygmaeus), elegant, sterbai, schwartz, etc. However, pepper (paleatus) corys are up to DH12 and salt and pepper (habrosus) want even softer, so I'd want to check my "in tank" readings (rather than going by Thames Water - which is the DH14) were compatible (given softening effect of driftwood, almond leaves, etc).

I might add frog bit as a floater - I already have it in my other two tanks. Or possibly branch out and go with something else.

Any thoughts/recommendations for other fish - ideally black / white / grey - that would work? Anything unusual? Eel or eel shaped? Butterfly loaches?
 
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Wills

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Quite a tricky one actually - if you can get them there are line bred black corydoras. Just need to make sure you get the black variant of bronze rather than the Venezualeans. Depending on how limited on colour you wanted to be though.... there are some cool rasboras and danios that would do well here like Celesticthys Erythromicron or Sawbwa Resplendens - the Sawbwa are like a metalic greeny grey with red tip to the tail and nose (known as the Asian Rummy Nose). You could mix these with some of the smaller Petruichthys loaches - most common is the Rosy Loach but there are others that dont cary the red that would be ok in the harder water - I had a group of Rosy Loaches for a while and my water is much harder than yours and they did great - grew incredibly fat for such a small fish! Wrestling Halfbeaks could be good and again you can get a line bred version that is pure white called the platinum but this might take a bit of tracking down but worth it. Centre piece fish are a bit harder to suggest - given the other suggestions I'd like to stay asian, but I also think a 3 big groups of the fish I've mentioned would look amazing too.

Here's some info on the fish I've mentioned
https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/celestichthys-erythromicron/

For carpeting plants, I've been reading up on this recently and Staurogyne Repens, Marsilea Hirsuta and Helenthiam Tenellum seem to be reasonably safe bets. Dwarf Hairgrass would look good and fit with your theme but is quite tricky, I think the regular Helenthiam Tenellum with its slightly red/brown tinges would work well. And a couple of types of crypts for the mid ground like Albida 'Brown' and even some of the much bigger ones for the background.

Also just remember that a lot of the aquascaping rocks like Sereiu can make your water slightly harder which you (like me) can't really accommodate very easily.

Wills :)
 

Byron

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My understanding (based on seriouslyfish.com, mostly) was that there are quite a few corys that would work in my water - including bronze (the anaeus you mention - and I have in my other tank), pygmy (pygmaeus), elegant, sterbai, schwartz, etc. However, pepper (paleatus) corys are up to DH12 and salt and pepper (habrosus) want even softer, so I'd want to check my "in tank" readings (rather than going by Thames Water - which is the DH14) were compatible (given softening effect of driftwood, almond leaves, etc).
Corydoras pygmaeus is better in softer water. I will take a look at this on SF, it may be in need of revision. Generally, commercially raised cories may tolerate somewhat harder water than wild caught, up to a point anyway. That does not mean that by raising a species commercially it somehow changes its physiology, but they do seem to be a bit less troubled though internally all is not likely well regardless.

The GH and KH of your source water are unlikely to lower in the aquarium. Organic objects can lower pH, subject to the GH/KH, but GH is a very different issue. Slight modifications, sometimes diurnally, are possible due to plants. But lowering the GH/KH takes dilution with "pure" water. Boiling water will remove the bicarbonates, but not touch the mineral salts (calcium and magnesium) that make the GH.
 

vanalisa

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Thanks both.

The tank is likely to be around 70cm wide, 36 deep and 50 tall (115 litres).

Good to hear soil's not necessary. My other tank is sand over tropica soil, and bits of the soil often work their way up an over the sand (as you can see from the photo). I'm trying to learn to be ok with that, because I've yet to find a good way of removing it! It's a challenge though ;)

Yes, would need driftwood (perhaps that bonzai tree) were I to go with a pleco. My guess is I wont - I have a BN in my other tank already. And much as I love him (Mr Brickles - christened by my 4 year old daughter), he does bully the corys at feeding time. Grrrrrrr.

I think a betta is off the menu, unless it's a solitary betta with nothing else... Which seems a bit of a waste for a 115 litre tank!

My understanding (based on seriouslyfish.com, mostly) was that there are quite a few corys that would work in my water - including bronze (the anaeus you mention - and I have in my other tank), pygmy (pygmaeus), elegant, sterbai, schwartz, etc. However, pepper (paleatus) corys are up to DH12 and salt and pepper (habrosus) want even softer, so I'd want to check my "in tank" readings (rather than going by Thames Water - which is the DH14) were compatible (given softening effect of driftwood, almond leaves, etc).

I might add frog bit as a floater - I already have it in my other two tanks. Or possibly branch out and go with something else.

Any thoughts/recommendations for other fish - ideally black / white / grey - that would work? Anything unusual? Eel or eel shaped? Butterfly loaches?
Not sure you'll have to ask a more seasoned aquarist....but if parameters are right Pristilla tetras are GORGEOUS, but will probably be to big to have as much of a bang for the buck as Black neon tetras, Emperor tetras, and there are also black harlequin rasboras . Large schools of any of these species would be stunning.
 

NCaquatics

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albino aeneus corydoras. They can handle your water, and they're white.
 
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nobo

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Thanks all. Really helpful! I'll look into all those.

A slight curiosity, having testing all my tanks and tap water today (each one twice), I'm getting the following results (using NT Labs kit):

- Source tap water: DH14 (matches what Thames Water say)

- Juwel Rio 125L tank: DH13 (so I would expect this proposed new Oase tank to end up much the same). In practice I don't think the 1 degree drop is likely to make any difference to what I can stp.

- 19L Shrimp tank (Fluval Spec V): DH9 (!). Not sure what / how the water has been softened so much. It has two large pieces of driftwood, a few small bits of dragonstone (which have been in there for years), but I'm guessing the more likely culprit is the Fluval Stratum soil (?). Still, either way, a surprising result!

Wills - Yes, I'd need an inert rock. So far "wood rock" looks like the best bet. I do have some large chunks of granite in my garden available, but I'm not convinced it'd look as good, and I'd need to figure out a way of breaking it up (and check whether granite is suitable!).
 

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