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New Aquarium Scape

By King of DIY on

All right. I'm ready to start scaping the Central American aquarium. Let me bring you up to speed on where I'm at with it. Really, I've just prepared the tank to be scaped. I've taken the canopy off as well as the lids and removed the lighting. In the meantime, I tossed a quick LED shop light over the top of the aquarium so we can still see inside of it as we're scaping. One of the best parts about these tanks, if you remember, these are aquariums as well as racking systems. I like the fact that I can disassemble them and have complete access to the top. I can even remove the brace if I want to as long as the tank is drained and be able to scape these types of things.

I know there's a lot of concerns with, how am I going to scape these tanks at the top? No worries. I was able to remove this canopy within seconds. Of course, the only thing that I need is a large ladder to get up top to be able to get into the tank. Now, for scaping supplies, I'm going to be using one bag of gravel right here. Of course, this is only about 20 pounds of this white type of gravel. You guys will remember it from using it in the Discus tank, for example, over here. As for scaping materials, I'm going with some Manzanita because I have a bunch of it's, still. A bunch of the rocks from the 2000-gallon aquarium. It's going to be scaped something like this.

The first thing I'm going to add is actually going to be the substrate. Now I know a lot of people would rinse their substrate first just to get rid of a lot of the dust that's within it. However, it's really difficult to work with wet substrates. In my opinion, it's almost worth it to deal with a little bit of cloudiness within the aquarium, just so I can get easy-to-work-with substrate in the tank. I'm not going to be using a lot of substrate, though. I just want a thin layer on the base of the aquarium just to cover it, make it a much more natural look. I don't want to add too much because too much substrate is going to be a pain to maintain long-term.

Now, you can see that there is still a little bit of water left in the tank here, so it could become slightly difficult to work with. However, it's still a lot easier than it completely being soaked. This will even out on its own once the water enters the tank. Now for the wood. Now, unfortunately, this stuff is probably going to float, so I've got to keep that in mind when putting it in the tank. I'm going to have to sink it with the rocks that I'm going to be adding as well. I want this to jut out of it. I think that looks really, really cool. It gives it a lot of character. However, I really want to make sure that I get some depth to the tank as well.

Probably should have took the brace off to do this, but there's only a few big pieces in the tank to slide in anyway. This could be really difficult going up and down this ladder when it's time to put the rocks in here, but I can deal with this. When I'm adding in the wood, though, what I'm looking to try to do is fill in a lot of the voids. I don't want too many gaps in the centers of it where there's a lot of open space because I do want the wood to all go in the same direction. Coming along. I'm probably going to want to bring it out more this way, but we're on the right track.

What I'll do with this piece is I'll use this one to come out more. Now, I'm not happy with this. I'm not really happy with this, I would like it to be spaced out more, so I'll see what I can do here. Not a lot of working space, but I'm going to make it work. There we go. I'll start with rocks. This could be precarious. They're heavy rocks and I got to drop them down far into the tank, so hopefully, I don't break anything. The rocks will serve two purposes. One, to give it a more natural look, and, of course, two, to help sink the wood because it will be floating. One false move, though, and I drop them, so I got to be careful.

You get a really big rock and then you bust it in half hoping to get a flatline that could just bury in the sand and makes the sand look like it's much deeper than it is. I want this one over here, more so. Of course, some of these more smaller, rounder rocks I'm going to try piling them up. It's going to create a lot of crevices and hiding spots but look like the wood is jutting out from all of these rocks here. Again, it's also going to hold all these wood from floating. I need some more out front. I'm going to use the big, giant rock. This, right out front to fill that space in. I can get it in there without dropping it. She's a two-hander. So heavy. That rock pile over there is looking fantastic.

Now, I don't want to neglect this area over here with that one single rock, so what I'm going to do is accent it with a few smaller rocks. This doesn't necessarily mean I'm taking the attention away from anything else. Making this feel sometimes fine. In situations like this, the rocks are grouped up together and what not. I wasn't lying when I said these take me 20 minutes. I like that. What do you guys think? I think that looks fantastic.

I just want to make sure. I'm going to give these a little bit of a shake. Those don't look like they're in there good, but those aren't moving. It looks fantastic. Let's keep going. What's next? Plants. I'm going to take advantage of this rock and this Anubias on this rock and toss it in the back, give it some more height. Plus, at the same time, I'm still weighing it down a little bit. That looks pretty awesome. I'm going to chuck a few more pieces of this Anubias in here. Some of the Nana. Some of the taller ones as well.

I really like the direction that this rock structure is going over here. I'm going to use some more of the taller Java fern to add to it here. This stuff you can just toss right into a crevice just like that. Got another one, and into the crevice it goes. Cut the rock, lay it down, and that should do it there. I'm going to add some Nana here in some smaller sizes, whatever you're going to call them.

Nice big one in the back just to bring up the height a little bit. There's a mixture of some narrow leaf and some trident. You know what? The trident can move back here. I'd also like the narrow leaf come over to the other side here. I don't want too many, but where should I put this one? Maybe I'll try and stuff this in behind here. Something like that. What a little paradise we've created. I'm done.

That scape literally took me about 19 minutes. We'll call it 20 minutes just to stay on core, on par with what we're talking about, but this is a pretty simple scape. All low light plants. I think it looks pretty darn good myself. With that said, though, all of this wood's going to try to float when I fill the tank back up. We could be left with something entirely different once it does so. Let me know your thoughts. I'd love to hear your input on how far we've come with this so far. Personally, it's awesome. It's got some greenery, the wood is filling up the entire tank going from one area to the other.

I love the rock pile, although it's hollow underneath with tons of hiding spaces for the cichlids that are coming into this tank. I don't know, this is my favorite aquarium now.

We're on to the next day, of course. Tank filled up and none of the wood really floated. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that we put the wood in first and then piled the rocks on top of it. Only problem I had was one of the Anubias started to float, so I moved it around, spread it out a little bit more. I think it looks fantastic this way. I hope it's really capturing the depth and the characteristics of the wood as well as the entire scape. I know I'm pretty pleased with it, and I'm happy with the way it's turned out.

However, the fish arrive in a few days. What this means is, if you guys remember, I used to separate the-- Aquariums can be run together to one sump or I can run them separately and I just separate them down at the sump here. I'm going to separate them, add another pump, and then this tank will run on one sump and this tank up here will run on the other sump, meaning that quarantine systems are not connected. I won't need to put these fish immediately into a quarantine system, which is fantastic because the fish that are coming in are going to be quite big and there's a bunch of them.

Long term, it will be interesting to see what happens to this aquarium, whether I'll keep this scape or not. The fish that I get or getting are eventually going to be quite large. We'll see what happens, whether or not we keep a group of one species or we just develop a pair and we put the rest in the 2000 or whatever the case might be, but this tank overall is going to be extremely low maintenance. I'll just have to do water changes. There's enough circulation in the aquarium to not allow anything to collect on the floor of the tank.

I don't know. I think it looks really good. It stands out from the other aquariums, that's for sure. If you guys can have a peak here. Definitely looks different from all of them. I would say it looks more similar to the angelfish aquarium, but the angelfish aquarium, if you remember, had a branch coming out this way and this way encompassing the center, whereas this one is just coming out one direction and there's a lot of ricks piled up.

I'd love to get you guys' thoughts. Not bad for 19 minutes, with most of that spent climbing up and down a ladder. Anyways, guys, I hope you've enjoyed the video. If you like the scape, you like the video, please leave it a thumbs-up. That helps me out tremendously. If you're not subscribed to this channel yet and you want to see me adding the fish in in a week or so, make sure you subscribe so you don't miss it.

About King of DIY

Joey is THE King of DIY, and when he built his gallery of aquariums he chose the Custom Aquariums rack system with 120-gallon tanks...a lot of them!

Joey Mullen is also known as the king of DIY, uarujoey or the DIY fishkeeper on social media. Providing education and inspiration for aquarium enthusiasts on YouTube, he is also the author of The Ultimate DIY Handbook; for the DIY Aquarist. His channel is about educating all levels of fish tank hobbyists who are passionate about caring for fish and keeping an aquarium of their own. Joey's aquarium rack systems were custom made by our professional fish tank engineers, here at Custom Aquariums.

Please watch the King of DIY's videos for some helpful information and great tips on diy aquarium keeping.

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