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Short Guide On Aquascaping

Ps3Steveo

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Right as people are often posting asking the best way to go about aquascaping and how to plant I thought I'd do a more detailed planting.

This kind of covers re-scaping from an old layout too just in case its not a new tank your setting up so in my case the filter is mature already. If your using a completely new set up then after planting you'll need to do a silent cycle which means daily water changes to keep ammonia spikes down for a couple of weeks then gradually slow it down to one every other day until you get down to weekly. The great thing about the silent cycle is you can add fish after a couple of days, just keep up with the water changes, also it will avoid the diatoms.

Here goes.

Firstly before I broke the old tank down,I made sure I had enough containers, to put everything in, my scaping tools, a spray bottle filled with water to keep planted plants moist, cleaning equipment and all my new plants ready. I start by grouping plants together from the old scape in bunches of their own species and putting them in a bucket/container deep enough for me to layer them with wet news paper between the species of plants. Also if using any of the old plants now is a good time to inspect for damaged leaves or any that show signs of deficiencies and get them off the healthy plants. I also use my lighting for the planting by putting it beside the tank as room lighting is terrible for scaping. Also don't forget to give the tank a good clean at the empty stage, there is nothing more annoying than trying to clean the glass once planted heavily.

One more thing, don't forget to keep the plants moist with the spray bottle while planting as Swords and ferns can dry out quickly.




Undiscovered by ps3steveo, on Flickr



Undiscovered by ps3steveo, on Flickr



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Untitled by ps3steveo, on Flickr

Next step is sorting out the substrate, I used about 7 litres of Colombo Florabase, good stuff, nutrient rich, lowers PH and leaches some ammonia to help the cycle along. Once the substrate is in and sculpted to your liking, add your hardscape. I normally add the biggest first and work my way down moving the substrate around the edges of it as I go to make it look more natural. I used Redmoor root in this and no rocks this time as in a tank this size can take up valuable planting space but the choice is yours.



Untitled by ps3steveo, on Flickr

Once I'm settled on your hardscape which can take a while I must admit, there's always a million different layouts to try, I fill a little water to the lowest part of the substrate making sure to wet the whole substrate in the process as this makes planting so much easier. Once I have done that I get planting. Now there is no set way to plant, it all depends on your plan in your mind which can change at any moment, some say plant front to back, some say back to front but I work in a way that suits the scape so I don't have any plants getting in the way of planting others.

I trim the roots to promote new growth and depending which plants I'm using I may trim the stems too such as Staurogyne. On this scape I started with the Staurogyne around the wood using 12 inch tweezers. Next I started on the hardscape planting using superglue as string takes forever, plants used were Anubias Petite, Microsorum Mini and Needle, Weeping and Xmas Mosses and Bolbitis Mini.




Undiscovered by ps3steveo, on Flickr



Untitled by ps3steveo, on Flickr



Untitled by ps3steveo, on Flickr



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Untitled by ps3steveo, on Flickr

My next step on this scape was to plant the back ground using Blyxa Japonica, Hydrocotyle Tripartita, Pinnatifida, Aponogeton Crispus Red and Aponogeton Natans.



Untitled by ps3steveo, on Flickr

Lastly the foreground, Utricularia Graminifolia pots and 1-2 Grow from Tropica. Great stuff the 1-2 Grow range, out of 2 pots of 1-2 Grow I got about 10cm2 coverage and with the 2 regular pots I got about 3cm2 coverage and its only a quid more a pot. The way to get the most out these is to take out of the pot and wash off the gel on the roots under the tap with room temp water as cold takes a little longer and then cut the disc into about 9 portions with sharp scissors. After this is done you can plant, make sure its about 5cm apart and push it as far in as possible without covering the top.



Untitled by ps3steveo, on Flickr



Untitled by ps3steveo, on Flickr



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Untitled by ps3steveo, on Flickr

Once I get to this stage I cover the whole scape in newspaper and spray it with water, then once its moulded round the scape its time to fill up. One quick thought tho, if your using new wood then put some rocks on it otherwise it will likely float. Newspaper is great as it stops the water pouring in from disturbing the substrate. Once filled, remove the newspaper, fit lighting and turn on the heater and filter.



Untitled by ps3steveo, on Flickr

All done and finished pic coming tonight as I need to find the camera for a decent picture as these were taken on the iphone.
 

D34DLY

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Amazing, Inspiring, Beautiful... Just truly amazing. Your definitely talented at aquascaping, in fact anything to do with plants! Is that blue slate at the front? (Looking at pictures on my small screen) Whatever it is, the colour definitely captures my eye :) Well done. Strange thing is, that tank looks identical to mine. Wish I'd have had the patience to do all that planting! How do you go about vacuuming the tank with soil and the fact that you uproot plants? That's if you can even see the soil?...
 
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Ps3Steveo

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I'll post an updated pic once the carpet plant has filled in, there is no need in this scape to vacuum as the whole substrate will be covered in a few months.

The rock is gone now, it was only there to hold the wood down while it soaked and its mini landscape rock.

Thanks for the kind comments.

:)
 

D34DLY

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Oh :) In that case I may consider a carpet of wonderfulness :D I had always steered clear of too much plantation as I thought it to create problems during cleaning and vacuuming etc. :D Thanks for this lovely bit of information!

If you do have a carpet, is it required for you to have a cleaner fish in there? I know a shrimp wouldn't be ideal for my 222 litre tank, but what about a BN Pleco?

Also, I'm sure many would like to know how you go about thinking where each plant goes.( I'd think it to be a hard task to choose so many different variants and all still be compatible!) Then you've got to think about positioning... lighting... Jeesh - How do you do it?!
 
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Ps3Steveo

Ps3Steveo

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Thanks, the only cleaning fish I have is some Otto's and shrimp, not really needed if you don't over feed or over stock.

With positioning you kind of get a feel after a while as to what plants are for the background, mid ground and foreground, I usually try something new and use a few of my favs and then just use what fits the scape. :)

It's not as hard as it looks mate. :)
 

Mamashack

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Am late finding this thread, but I love the end result Ps3!! What lighting do you have in the tank? I love the carpet plants, but have only 1w per gallon at the moment. Do you have to trim the one you've used? Have also noticed your signature so I might be bending your ear soon!
 
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Ps3Steveo

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All my lighting is LED that I build myself, yeah you do have to trim the UG, its the best way to get it to spread.
 

McCool

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Gorgeous tank! What kind of driftwood did you use?

Nevermind, just found it :)
 

Dandyman3

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Anyone else seeing Flickr 404 error not found on all these pics 
 

the_lock_man

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Yes, it just means that whoever posted the photos has removed them from their Flickr account, so there is no photo in the location.
 
We always recommend that people attach photos to their posts, rather than linking, so that this problem doesn't occur.
 

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