#82: 416L Aquatic Garden

Regis J. Pellet Croton on Hudson, United States


This is a pretty tank and obviously a healthy comfortable home for the inhabitants. But it is a little lacking in organization. Also while this is not a photo contest we are limited to judging what we can see. In this case the photos are so dark that we need to guess at what migh be hiding in the shadows of the tank.
— Karen Randall

Aquascape Details

Dimensions 183 × 64 × 51 cm
Volume 416L
Background Black plastic sheeting
Lighting Halogen spot lights, 6 x 50 watts
Filtration Exterior Rainbow Lifeguard filters, mechancial and charcoal
Plants Acorus gramineus, Bacopa caroliniana, Cryptocoryne wendtii red, Cryptcoryne wendtii green, Echinodorus bleheri, Echinodorus "Ozelot", Eleocharis montevidensis, Hydrocotyle leucocephela, Ludwigia peruensis, Microsorum pteropus, Nymphoides aquatica, Rotala rotundifolia, Sagittaria subulata, Vesicularia dubyana.
Animals Ram cichlids, platies, mollies, neons, Chinese algae eaters, corydorus, plecos, shrimp.
Materials Drift wood, tree stumps, shale
Additional Information The aquarium is a homemade, in-wall design built of marine plywood, 3/4 inch thick with a 3/8" plate glass front window. As can be seen from the plant plan, the aquarium is pentagonal in shape. The design helps to eliminate the typical box-like constraints of a standard tank and hopefully frees the viewer from distractions of the aquarium container. Because of the angles used in construction, the aquarium sides are not visible from the front window and the diagonal break in the back combined with the black backing renders those walls almost unnoticeable.

The planting plan has evolved and is still evolving since set-up in January 2000 (9 months at the time of the photos.) The outcome (to date) loosely combines elements of the American, the Dutch and the Amano philosophies of aquascaping. As with the American approach, the plant collection is eclectic, reflecting plant availability over the past nine months. However, with some exceptions such as cryptocorynes, most are from the Americas. As per the Dutch school, the planting arrangement attempts to present species in a tiered order with the smaller plants up front and gradually progressing in size to the rear of the tank where long strands of bunch plant predominate. Also per the Dutch philosophy, the beginnings of a sagittaria meadow or clearing are starting to take shape at the center of the tank, meandering from right to left towards the rear. Hopefully this will become more defined in the coming months as plants approach a more mature state. The Amano influence is seen in the choice of rocks, driftwood and submerged tree stumps, selected to give the impression of an inundated forest floor. Epiphytic growth of Java moss and Java fern is encouraged on the rocks, wood and on the back sheeting of the aquarium in an attempt to mimic the occurrence of ferns and moss as they would appear in a forest.

Aquarium maintenance would have to be considered low tech. Heating is supplied from the exterior by means of a Lifeguard heater module and is maintained around 80

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