Tank revamp

Oli

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Aug 9, 2021
Messages
74
Reaction score
19
Location
United Kingdom
Hey guys, so I’m looking to completely change up this tank to something more natural with live plants, driftwood, more rocks etc. I think it looks a little bit tacky at the moment. Would love to hear what you would do with this tank. Should I change the substrate (currently black gravel topped with ceramic rocks.) Any inspiration and ideas would be great to hear!
 

Attachments

  • 669AE1AA-2279-4BB8-850C-4ACB9A84CA8D.jpeg
    669AE1AA-2279-4BB8-850C-4ACB9A84CA8D.jpeg
    120.7 KB · Views: 22

Bruce Leyland-Jones

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
2,949
Reaction score
2,418
Location
Cleator Moor, Cumbria
Hey guys, so I’m looking to completely change up this tank to something more natural with live plants, driftwood, more rocks etc. I think it looks a little bit tacky at the moment. Would love to hear what you would do with this tank.
I'd empty it and ditch the white plastic and, basically everything, apart from the glass box.
Should I change the substrate (currently black gravel topped with ceramic rocks.) Any inspiration and ideas would be great to hear!
Think about what life you would like to care for in a tank and then get the substrate and decor to match.

You could check out my own in-Forum Journal, to see how I set up two tanks with a 'more natural look'.
From Page 3, I go into some detail about how I created the second tank and the internal decor, using sand, rocks, wood and Aquasoil, before then adding the plants.
 
OP
O

Oli

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Aug 9, 2021
Messages
74
Reaction score
19
Location
United Kingdom
Sounds good, I like the idea of sand as I’ve never used it before but am also quite keen on the look of the substrate I have currently. Would you say there is a benefit to either one or the other? What do you think about the current look of the substrate. I am going for a simple look with plants like this…

Thanks!
 

Attachments

  • 6D876E61-15A2-4A11-84A2-F1F5EC5A0A07.png
    6D876E61-15A2-4A11-84A2-F1F5EC5A0A07.png
    187.9 KB · Views: 18

Bruce Leyland-Jones

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
2,949
Reaction score
2,418
Location
Cleator Moor, Cumbria
Sounds good, I like the idea of sand as I’ve never used it before but am also quite keen on the look of the substrate I have currently. Would you say there is a benefit to either one or the other? What do you think about the current look of the substrate. I am going for a simple look with plants like this…

Thanks!
'Black gravel and ceramic rocks' is as far from a 'natural' look as you can get. Again, rather than think what YOU like the look of, try thinking what the animals in the tank might appreciate more.
The tank you show looks okay, but I'd be concerned about the lack of greenery. I'm not going to try and sell you the need for lots of plants here, but I believe that most tanks shown like the one you're showing, only look as good as the camera is switched on.
It's also a tank designed to appeal to human visual tastes, but for the poor fish that'll have to live in that open, exposed box, it won't be pleasant.

I've traditionally used a river gravel as my substrate, which is made up of very small, rounded stones. This is good for planting in and doesn't allow any organic waste to drop down between the stones and rot. It also looks natural.
In my first tank, I added a sand 'beach' and this also looks natural. It also gives an area for my Pygmy Corys to do their thing, because I was told that corydoras NEED sand. As it is, whilst my corys do visit their beach and they do rummage for bits amongst it, they spend most of their time elsewhere in the tank, on the river gravel. The sand needs attention every clean-up, because dirt accumulates on the surface and it's a total beggar to plant in.

In my second tank, I thought I'd see what the Aquasoil would be like and, for the plants (and fish) I currently have no complaints, other than the black appearance doesn't look too natural and I'm currently trying to hide it with plants. I also added a much, much bigger sanded area, learning from Tank No.1 and carefully arranged the substrate so that any waste will flow in one direction and gravitate to a corner, for easy syphoning off.
 
OP
O

Oli

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Aug 9, 2021
Messages
74
Reaction score
19
Location
United Kingdom
Cool, sounds like I’ll give sand a go, along with some more rocks and green areas. How do planted tanks work regarding sand? I have read about tabs that go underground as well as fetizilizers that go in the water? How do you go about cleaning waste from sand?
thanks?
 

Myraan

Fishaholic
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
530
Reaction score
494
Location
UK (south Wales)
A lot of people think sand is nicer for substrate dwellers as they often snuffle and sift it for food, as a result all the old food and poo is shoved back into the water for a a while and eventually sucked into the filter. Some people say sand should be gravel cleaned by getting the knack of hovering, but I find it's rarely needed. In contrast all the dirt settles in between the stones you have and if its not removed by a gravel vacuum, its not removed from system when you squeeze the filter sponge either. That said the ceramic rocks would fit with the look you are after also.

I don't hate the plastic ornaments, but even if I found them ugly I think the fish don't notice, they are just places to hide and sight breaks to them. I get the feeling you don't like or are simply tired of them, so yeah, get rid.

Go out shopping for some real plants, if you don't mind Tropica prices they are pest free because they are tissue cultured, and come labelled easy, front, back, etc. The worst that can happen is that they die, but if you get a variety of types, at least some of them will work, based on various users tank pics Limnophila and Hygrophila seem to almost always grow to plague proportions if you let it. IMO even tatty old leggy plants furry with algae can look better than any artificial plant, and the water quality will thank you. Some plants appreciate root tabs if planted in sand, but I reckon a lot of us don't bother, and stem plants like the two I mentioned take most of their nutrients from the water. Plants with rhizomes are not planted in sand, but attached to wood or something, so they don't care about substrate.

It looks like the current tank is upgraded from a Biorb? Or did did you just buy Oase ornaments? If so, was it well established when in use? If so, are the ceramic rocks the filter media from it? Maybe keep them on in the system somewhere even if it's insides the filter or piled up where you can't see them.
 

Bruce Leyland-Jones

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
2,949
Reaction score
2,418
Location
Cleator Moor, Cumbria
Cool, sounds like I’ll give sand a go, along with some more rocks and green areas. How do planted tanks work regarding sand? I have read about tabs that go underground as well as fetizilizers that go in the water?
Few plants grow happily in sand.
In an aquarium, there isn't even much depth to a sand substrate, so a sand bottom with earth underneath, as you might find in nature, is rarely an option.
However, you can anchor plants in sand with weights and/or cut a cross in a plastic bottle cap, push the plant through it and then bury that in the sand. I've even used rocks to sit on plant roots and, as you're aware, there are fertiliser capsules and tablets, to place in the sand by the plant's roots.

I've planted Eleocharis in sand, anchored by rocks and this seems to be growing well enough, sending out runners through the sand which are now appearing away from the parent plant.

Don't forget that the water contains plant nutrients and that these can be supplemented by adding liquid fertilisers to the water.

NOTE that there are generally two sorts of aquarium plant...rooted and 'stem'.
The rooted ones really do need a good substrate to be anchored in and these will feed themselves through their root systems.
The 'stem' plants will feed themselves through their leaves and stems and these are easier to plant in sand and keep alive.
(That said, both sorts also feed themselves by the other method, to a lesser degree).

Then there's the light, of course. Generally, 'normal' light is only basic for plants and if you can get a lamp with a pro-plant spectrum, than all the better.
How do you go about cleaning waste from sand?
There's a knack to it...I drag my syphon hose backwards over the sand, just tickling the surface. As the rear edge of the tube moves the surface and kicks the detritus into the water, the pipe then sucks it up. KGTropicals does a good video on sand and demonstrates the method I use for cleaning.
 

Essjay

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
14,907
Reaction score
10,523
Location
Teesside, UK
I should point out that the ceramic rocks are only temporary anyway. The current tank is an upgrade from a Biorb and in those tanks the ceramic rocks are the biomedium of the filter (they are undergravel filters). The rocks were transferred to the new tank to bring the baceteria in the media across. And because the Biorb was quite new (just too small), most of the bacteria would have been on this biomedium.
 
OP
O

Oli

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Aug 9, 2021
Messages
74
Reaction score
19
Location
United Kingdom
Finally swapped everything round today, thought I’d drop a little before and after! Very happy without it turned out as my first planted tank! Also managed to find a great bit of artificial driftwood on Amazon that you couldn’t tell is fake!
 

Attachments

  • 6A675729-4B48-4778-8991-B14EA4CBFE0B.png
    6A675729-4B48-4778-8991-B14EA4CBFE0B.png
    228.3 KB · Views: 10
  • 98655C68-E799-4D30-B815-FC7CF020CD6B.png
    98655C68-E799-4D30-B815-FC7CF020CD6B.png
    232.5 KB · Views: 10
OP
O

Oli

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Aug 9, 2021
Messages
74
Reaction score
19
Location
United Kingdom
Thanks! I’m actually not sure what all the plants are, but I know there’s a bit of Java fern. If you see the picture you will see that some of the leaves on the Java fern are a bit brown and ripped/eaten at the end. What is the best solution for this? Also I was told to add liquid fertiliser as they take nutrients from the water? I came across Seachem flourish and Seachem flourish excel?
 

Essjay

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
14,907
Reaction score
10,523
Location
Teesside, UK
Seachem Flourish Comprehensive Supplement is the one, but use a lot less than they say as you don't have that many plants and most of them are slow growers.
Do not get Flourish Excel as that's a 'liquid CO2' which you don't need and actually contains a chemical which isn't very nice.
 

Most reactions

Top