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Planted aquariums or aquascaping, anyone?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by RachelFromTheBlackLagoon, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. I just bought a 29 gallon tank with a filter, heater, hood and light for $55! I need to bring my pond fish in for the winter because my pond isn't deep enough and will freeze through. Instead of your basic tank with colored gravel, a plastic plant and a "no fishing" sign, I want to create a realistic aquascape with driftwood and aquatic plants made to look like trees and grass, natural colored sand and gravel, larger rocks made to look like boulders and mountains, etc. I think I'll use a black background to simulate a night sky, but I've seen some made to look like a sunny blue sky with whispy clouds. If you google image search "aquascape" or "aquatic landscape" you'll see some amazing, award winning examples! Anybody here into this? Please post pics! I'd like to post pics of my whole process from start to finish if anybody is interested!

  2. gypsy2621

    gypsy2621 Songster

    Jun 29, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Quote:OHHHH A swamp pond I loved mine, I did exactly that years ago in a 125 ga tank, it was breath taking,
    first thing you need to do is go stump hunting ( careful here, those wild stumps can be vicious) no I am not trying to be funny, well ok a little.
    You have to find the perfect stump already established in the water.
    rinse completely when you get it home, be sure to debride any loose material as it can pollute your tank quickly.
    set up your stump the way you want it to look, do this before adding water ( keep said stump wet, do not allow to dry or it will float and make you crazy while you wait for it to reabsorb the water).
    All rocks should be washed with 1/2 cup bleach per gallon of water before setting in the tank allow to air dry so all bleach is gone. then set your rocks in the display you like.
    right now native plants are going to be hard to find, but you can fudge through winter with normal fish store plants. and it will still look nice.
    Are you going to put native type fish in the tank for a more realistic swamp pond?
    small native fish have wonderful colors and are for the most part as interesting as non native tropicals.
    Please do a photo step by step building, I know I for one would love to watch the progress.
    Isure wish my other computer hadnt died I had pictures of the swamp ( as I called it) but the computer crashed before I could pull the photos off it.
    I will go back and scour my photo bucket account and see if there is one there by chance.( doubtful though [​IMG]

    I cant wait to see how you set yours up. its a labor of love that lasts for many years.
  3. rainplace

    rainplace Interstellar Duck Academy

    Wow, I googled the images like you suggested. I'm sitting here in awe. I too would like to see photos of the step by step process as you create your own!
  4. PandoraTaylor

    PandoraTaylor RT Poultry n Things

    Jun 29, 2009
    I can't find my pictures.......must be on the computer in the garage, have to wait for spring!

    Sorry I can't help you.
  5. twister

    twister Songster

    Sep 12, 2009
    that is a great buy, 29 gal set up....
    be cautious about getting 'natural' things to put in your aquarium...sometimes they can cause rot/disease and unknown chemicals to leak into the water and kill your fish.
    Sometimes they will leach out color and make your water murky.

    I am mostly sure that pond fish can prob withstand any naturals you may find...but just be aware.

    You will need a python ( hose that will suction out nasty water and then refill your tank w. fresh water)...
    GL with the aquarium. I cleaned my 55 gal out today and I am pooped! ( sorry , I do not have a pic.... will try to get some for ya...) you are correct, the black background or even a dk blue will show off the fish moreso than ANY other....
  6. showme31

    showme31 Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Moscow Mills MO
    While I didn't collect native type decorations for my tank, I bought them. I definitely prefer a more natural looking tank. I hate looking at all the junk hanging over the back, so when I found this background there was no way I was going to pass it up.

    Up until my hubby lost his job I was running a CO2 on the tank. It kept the plants at a WOW factor. In fact, I was cutting off Amazon runners and throwing them away. Once DH goes back to work I get her back up in all her glory.

    Here she is after getting her up and running, but prior to the CO2 addition.


  7. Very pretty!

    I don't think I'll collect many things that I find. Polluting my tank and harming my fish definitely concerns me. I purchased a big piece of natural ghostwood, which I'll boil and soak. I'm probably going to buy small landscaping pebbles from Home Depot and clean them thoroughly, because I heard from a few hobbyists that it's a safe and less expensive alternative to aquarium gravel from pet stores. I'll probably get some larger rocks from my yard. I saw something about boiling and then baking to sterilize but I'll have to look further into it. As far as plants, I'm definitely going to purchase them. There are specific plants I'm looking for, both because I'm trying to achieve a certain look and because they can't be appetizing to goldfish or all my efforts will be devoured in no time!

    My boyfriend and I started building the stand tonight. Tomorrow evening we'll finish it and I'll probably post the first set of pics. I'm very excited about this project!

  8. gypsy2621

    gypsy2621 Songster

    Jun 29, 2008
    New Hampshire
    I cant wait for the pictures to start lol.
    I loved setting up my tank, alas no pictues to be found, I really wish I could have gotten them off my crashed computer.

    On all natural and hunted down decorations for the tank, I had everything from the wild litterally and never had a polluted tank.
    filtration is the key to this and when running a 135 g the more filtration the better plants are also key.
    native type fish for the tank, sun fish,dace, etc all did very well
    I ran that tank for 6 years with nothing more than water fill ups and filtration and the water was as clear as you can ask for.
  9. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    One of the first thing's I'd look to improve on a "good deal" of a tank is the light. Unless it's something that can push at least 2-3 watts per gallon, you're probably going to have a hard time keeping any plants alive other than low light things such as java fern or moss. And if your pond fish are anything like my 6-8 inch gold fish, they tear up planted tanks almost as badly as catfish! I don't really have aquascapes or anything, just a lightly planted tank with a few low and high light cover species.
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Er, what kind of "pond fish" are these? If they are goldfish, I do not think you are going to be keeping them in a lovely planted aquascaped tank...

    1) goldfish eat plants (in tanks - not so much in ponds)
    2) goldfish putter around in the bottom substrate when they are bored, and sometimes uproot or mechanically-damage plants
    3) goldfish like cool water, most (not all) commercially sold aquarium plants like warm water and will languish/rot/die in cool water
    4) the commercially sold aquarium plants that do well in cool water need LOTS AND LOTS of light
    5) even warmwater aquarium plants need a lot more light than your 'package deal' hood is going to provide

    and finally

    6) those tanks you are referring to as your model for this are very difficult to set up and manage -- they require very very low stocking density of very low-impact fish, they require considerable experience with aquarium plantkeeping to even keep the plants *alive* let alone in good shape, and they require quite a lot of pruning and resetting, and even with that they very 'landscapey' ones are basically temporary installations.

    Remember also that while healthy growing plants are an asset to a tank's water chemistry, languishing/rotting/dying-off plants produce water quality PROBLEMS. Thus the importance of having definitely-enough light for the species you are trying to grow.

    If these are goldfish or small koi, may I gently suggest some plastic plants? [​IMG]

    If they are something else, and small, and the tank will be heated, good beginner plants (esp. if all you do for light is upgrade to a 2-tube fluorescent hood, which even that will cost about as much as your tank package did) are java moss, java fern, and anubias (the latter rather expensive, but quite attractive and fairly tough).

    Good luck, have fun,


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