Decorating Your Tank

Friday 28 July 2017

Aquascaping is basically decorating your tank with rocks, plants, and ornaments in the most aesthetically pleasing way to you. 

It's probably the most fun part of setting up a new tank as you can go as wild as you like adding things (providing they're all safe for your fish - no sharp edges that can rip fins!) or you can go for a more minimal look. Personally, it didn't take me long to finish aquascaping my tank, as I had a very clear image of what I wanted as I was picking my decorations. Although my mum actually picked the urn and the rocks!

The first part of my aquascape was the backdrop for my tank. I went with this bright coral design (that has a green leafy design on the other side) as I wanted something bright and you can't keep real corals in a freshwater tank! It was pretty cheap for a foot long strip that I then cut down to the size of my tank and secured with a single strip of tape along the top of the tank. Attaching it this way helps reduce condensation and water getting trapped between the glass and the picture. This step is completely arbitrary, but I personally find it much nicer than looking through the tank and seeing the wires from the heater and filter. (And it should be relatively easy to change should I get bored of it.)

Next, I rinsed everything that was going in my tank and started adding it. I used an entire 8kg bag of fine gravel and the end result is about an inch of substrate. It's a little hilly in areas, but I'm okay with that as it looks more natural. When I had a decent layer down I added my live plants in order to anchor them, but as you can see they just... flopped. Because they weren't floating it was a little tricky to see if they were where I wanted them, so next time I think I'll add a bit of water before putting them in. Either way, I'm okay with their placement as it creates what I call 'the forest' for the fish to hide in. I also made sure to keep things well away from the heater and flattened the gravel underneath it as the manual was clear that it shouldn't rest on any substrate.

Once I was happy with my aquascape I started to fill the tank, and let me tell you, 50L is a lot more water than you imagine. A lot. I know the tank doesn't look that big but it felt huge as mum and I were carrying jugs of water from the kitchen and back. It's (usually) a one time thing, though, as 100% water changes are uncommon and only done in times of emergency or changing tank. Or at least that's what I've gathered from my research. You can still move things around, of course, and you might have to. I found that the water lifted one of my plants from the gravel and I needed to anchor it better, but it really wasn't a problem.

And then once I had my fish in I decided that I didn't like my aquascape at all and changed basically everything. I still kept the urn and the rocks as I'm adamant that my fish have somewhere to hide, but my live plants proved to be more trouble than they were worth. Yes, they helped with waste and oxygenating the tank, but they also started to fall apart, leave plant waste everywhere, and my fish had taken to nibbling on one. I've since replaced them with a selection of fake plants, which I think looks just as good and is actually denser (which is hopefully enough for my fish, as their species likes heavily planted water) offering more shelter and shade. They obviously don't offer the same benefits, but I got an air pump to help with the oxygen, and to also break the water surface more as my filter is temperamental when it comes to this. And - of course - I had to add a decoration to it rather than just the air stone, as the rhythmic opening and closing of the chest is much nicer than the jet of bubbles I had before.

So there you have my aquascape! If you have your own tanks feel free to let me know where I can view any pictures of them as I'd love to see your fish and how you've decorated their home.

1 comment:

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