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Journey to my first aquascape.

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So having a traumatic experience with my Paludarium I decided to start over and start from scratch. I've always wanted to take a crack at aquascaping and now that i have the money to do so I'm excited to try it out finally. My family who are into gardening were really curious about my project and requested to document my journey and encouraged me to share it with them and others. Hopefully it'll be entertaining to everyone as it is for me.

I believe this was the image I found a long time ago that was by Takashi Amano was what made me want to try aquascaping. And knowing about just regular plants this wasn't going to be easy to do in the first go, but I still want to try a crack at it.

Legendary Aquarist Takashi Amano - Aquarium Architecture

After spending a lot of time on researching on aquascapes and the care I learned a lot! I realized it kept going deeper on little things the more I searched on plant care. From lighting to co2 and fertilizers I learned even more stuff that I didn't think about until I started asking questions and buying some of the stuff.  An example would be that I found out the aquasoil I bought makes my water softer which would be fine but I wanted to add Neocaridina shrimps and they prefer harder water. I also learned seiryu stone's are technically a different stone and not a true seiryu stone because they were banned on being sold in japan for a while now. If what i'm reading about was correct they contain limestone in it and that also makes the water hard.

Looking at the space in my room I decided to do two rimless tanks one 11 gallon cube and one 6 gallon. After asking around I also decided to use a white frosted background for both of them. I learned that aquarium specific frosted backgrounds are really hard to attach then just window frosted. I ended up really ruining the one for my 11 gallon and had to use frosted window backing instead. Still looks nice though!


I finally got my supplies for most if not all that I need to do a dark cycle. I figured this will help me on the long run and prevent a huge algae bloom that might suffocate my new plants when I get them. With what I've learned the longer the tank cycles the better it is since they'll be more buffer to my water and less ph swings. I've also learned that it's a lot different with regular plants and that this whole process will be for the long haul.

Today I got the last of my stones I wanted to put in my tank. I decided to add some crush coral to give more buffer to my aquarium. I'm regretting doing so as I make the mistake (not really a mistake but aesthetically I wanted my soil to be on top) of mixing the crush coral while putting my soil so its speckled my black soil. Might be able to fix it but i'll do it tomorrow since I ended up using all my soil for my 11 gallon and don't have enough for my 6 gallon. It shouldn't be that much of an issue since I do plan on putting ground cover to take up all the black. Putting what I have for my 11 i'll let it sit to see if I still like the design for tomorrow before I end up gluing my rocks together and wood. Hopefully it looks alright, what do you guys think?




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Update time! God didn't think it would take so long setting up. My back hurts lol. So after getting the aquasoil for my second tank I decided to fix up my 11 gallon. I'm learning why not a lot of people use white sand often for aquascaping. It's very fickle but it looks good setting it down. Also learning from my previous mistake I made sure to put the crushed coral on the bottom first and then the soil and I think everything is looking good so far.


It looks far better dry then wet lol. God I'm sure i'm missing something there has to be a faster way to fill up these tanks then hand pumping it in. Also i learned even a little bit of adding too much water quickly pushes up the soil and sand easily. I didn't think it would be this hard keeping it down. Trying different ways on filling the tank I find putting a towel and cup with holes on the bottom the best method, Just using the towel still kicks up if I just directly put it in there. Also using the plastic I needed more holes I think since it kept floating away or tipping over which caused some issues on kicking up some sand 😂 I'm starting to understand why most videos on aquascaping are timelapsed when filling water. I also found that the soil is lighter then the sand so i could sorta brush it away in the water. Not perfect to how I wanted it but I guess that's the part of learning 😆 Also I made the mistake on getting superglue gel then liquid so it didn't quite stick immediately using the cotton ball method but it seemed to work. Now my tree isn't going to float up or move anywhere, nor are my rocks. Wiring everything up and doing the airline tubes was an interesting time. I just pray I didn't do it wrong and not get any leaks.


I added my water conditioner and now I let it set tomorrow before adding some beneficial bacteria and then dark cycle it for 4+ weeks. Hopefully the ambient light won't cause me too much issue.

I also plan on using the rest of my crush coral and aquasoil to a plastic tub and start a cycle there for plant quarantine. I'm going to try doing an RR dip for the plants that I'll get since somewhere last time I bought from my fish stores they introduced planaria to my old tank and bladder snails. Now I don't mind having snails in my tank but I find bladder snails not very appealing. I will be adding pink ramshorn snails when I get my plants so that I have some kind of clean up crew for the algae. I will try not to get planaria in my tank since later on I plan on adding shrimp and I do not want to end up having to bomb it with medicine to get rid of it. Any opinions on quarantining plants? Do you think two weeks after RR dip will be fine for planting? I'm also wondering if snails can also accidentally carry planaria and maybe i should quarantine them too? Any advice is welcome!

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