#27: 113L Aquatic Garden

Cathy Hartland Middletown, United States

Awards and Comments

Honorable Mention
This is a very pretty tank. I took a couple of points off because the Hygrophila appears to be a bit pale perhaps being out-competed by some of the other more vigorous plants. I also did not care for the random "spikes" of several plants like the C. retrospiralis and Bacopa which tend to distract the eye from the sweeping diagonal lines of the plants behind them. The Isoetes and C. balansae show better use of vertical strokes.
— Karen Randall
Nice plants
— Claus Christensen

Aquascape Details

Dimensions 91 × 30 × 41 cm
Volume 113L
Background black posterboard
Lighting NO fluorescents, 4 watts/gal: 2 Coralife Nutrigrow 30 watt, 2 Penn Plax Ultra Tri-Lux, 30 watt
Filtration Renaissance Prime 10 canister filter with sponge, floss, and bag of phosphate resin
Plants Isoetes sp.
Ludwigia repens
Ludwigia arcuata
Hemianthus micranthemoides
Hygrophila polysperma
Echinodorus parvaflorus
Bacopa monieri
Cryptocoryne retrospiralis
Crypt. lucens
Crypt. balansae
Crypt. petchii
Crypt. parva
Crypt. willsii
Hygro polysperma "Tropical Sunset"
Heteranthera zosterifolia
Vesicularia dubiyana
Anubias barteri
Animals Rasbora hengeli
Hemigrammus rodwayi - Gold tetra
Hemigrammus bleheri - Rummynose tetra
Jordanella floridae - American Flag Fish
Corydorus hastatus
Corydorus pygmaeus
Otocinclus affinis
Aspidoras pauciradiatus
Materials Several rocks, not readily visible, used for partitioning purposes
One piece of arching driftwood used to emphasize the composition line on the right side, also as a pruning guide.
Additional Information Fluorite substrate with Flourish tabs and Jobe's plant sticks. DIY CO2 dual-bottle setup. Daily PMDD and K2SO4 addition, with Flourish trace element supplement several times weekly.

This aquarium design is a sort of Japanese-Dutch hybrid. It has an overall configuration of double triangles, a larger, longer one on the left and a smaller one coming from the right. Empty space is integral to the design. However, it also has the lushness and variety of a Dutch-style aquarium. The challenge in a small, narrow aquarium is to create the illusion of space. This was attempted by using naturally diminutive plants, plants with small foliage, by maintaining sufficient open space, and by judicious and thorough pruning! The triangle composition lines have muted into a less-sharply defined shape as the plants have matured. There are a few key rocks and a piece of driftwood which serve as reminders as to where to maintain these lines. The rocks are completely obscured, and that was intended from the start. The driftwood, however, is visible in a vague, back-of-the-mind way. It gives a little more solidity to the fluid plant lines.

This tank was created as an exploration of colors and textures. An attempt was made to balance plants of pink, red, or purple with those in various shades of green. Attention was paid to contrasts in leaf shape and habit of growth as well. To bring a note of continuity to the composition, two drifts of hygro follow the triangular lines in from each side - one of H. polysperma and one of H.p. var. "Tropical Sunset".

There are no truly difficult plants in this aquarium. All of these plants were found in local supply with a little persistent shopping. In that sense, this is "Everyman's Aquarium". It doesn't require any extraordinary resources, but relies upon healthy, thriving plants for its beauty.

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