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The New Planted Aquarium – 1

By King of DIY on

Speaker: Okay, we've got a relatively exciting video to me. If you find it exciting then it is exciting to everybody but it is exciting to me because I had an epiphany last night not only the to the planted aquarium which we're going to dive in tonight but I've decided on what I want to do with every aquarium.

In terms of the scapes now let's preface this with the idea that I don't think I'm a scaper, I don't believe I'm good at it, I don't think in the world of aquascaping I believe I'm a good fish keeper and I make habitats or environments that are ideal for them.

That's my thinking, I want to run through all the tanks and tell you my guys plans. First tank, this needs nothing, I think it's perfect, I think it's great. We might do a new selection of fish potentially but the background and the rocks are fantastic and I love that substrate. There's nothing really to change, of course I could change the placement of the rocks but they do match the background. The other thing is they're actually Styrofoam and silicone to the bottom so no matter how I feel about it this one's going to stay the same. As for the VA hot tank, I'm going to try to do a pair with these guys, this one and this one, male-female.

We talked about this in yesterday’s video. This tank I just put a log in it to offer them a level of comfort but I'm going to keep the substrate the same which is a mixture of more of a coarse gravel and a fine sand. I think it looks fantastic and more natural. From there, I want to try to mimic what's going on in the background with these logs, I want to use thicker logs that come down and drape. I'm not sure exactly the placement but that's the general idea. I also probably want to do some leaf litter or something like that along the bottom but simple and enough room for these guys to actually grow because believe it or not they get relatively large.

The Planet tank we'll come back to in a minute because we've got to reap that apart. The Walu tank I'm going to be honest here I love the way it looks as is. The Walu enjoy it but I've really liked the log placement, it complements the back and they match. I like the simplicity of it but these guys are going to grow to a big cichlid and I do want to get a maiden pair out of these guys as well and potentially show you guys the breeding. With that said this tank needs plants, it needs greenery and it needs a lot of lush ones, big one but they are starting to eat at the java fern that we're testing out with this herbivoric cichlid.

We're probably going to go silk, maybe some large Amazon's, silk swords or something like that. As for the Exodons I've been looking at this background thinking I'm going to have to do rocks, it needs to match this background but of course I don't have to. This looks like the edge of a mud bank, doesn't it? Why can't we have a bunch of branches falling into the water, at the bottom leaf litter and some nice plants of foliage, maybe we do some moss on the branches and what not but that's the idea there. As for this tank, Susan is going over here, I think she'd look much better against a Grey background.

Many of you guys have already agreed on that as opposed to the brown one so she'll be going over there. As for this background, we're going to look at it in two perspectives, one it comes out relatively far on the ground so I'm thinking a light colored substrate, not this color. I want the contrast with this, maybe more so like this one. Now, we've used this before but more so like with this one yet on the bottom we litter it in empty snail shells, why? Those who have been long around enough know why. The single most demanded fish in this channel's history and the reason why I did a selection of-- They have so much history.

If you're not following along for long enough I think they're coming back. I just want to be prepared to make that final pull of the trigger before I get them but I have located some. I did place an order so we'll see what happens there. With that said if you know what it is let me know in the comments section below. As for the planted tank, you'll notice that there is even more logs in it at this point, the reason being was last night I started looking at this tank. I've got to shut this light off, I started looking at this tank, this is not the final we're going to rip this apart right now. We'll in a couple of minutes and fix it, but you'll notice that previously I only had it was like six of these logs.

You see these logs here they actually blend into the background and they look the same. They really do but if you remember it used to be in this tank. Now, if I don't use these, I love them, I know I'm going to use them in the same tank and I don't want all of the tanks to look the same. I don't want them all to have standing logs and if I have two side by side they just look very much similar.

Again, this tank will have more of a falling logs going in the direction of these, we almost did the same scape, remember the original Walu tank. I loved that so much, we might do something similar. This one standing logs, this one falling logs and of course much more greenery.

Now that I'm saying it like falling logs and laying logs it's starting to sound the same but of course once they're done they're going to look tremendously different. The Walu are just absolutely phenomenal looking in this tank, they love it, they are enjoying it and you can see them from every angle. There's no place to really hide but it does offer them a sense of security being able to go under the log.

Alright, let's work on this tank right now. I've got to move the filter. I've got a few things we have to do today. The original plan for this tank as you guys will remember is to have the standing logs and a carpet of plants.

I got 40 tissue culture plants on order that will be coming in. Now, once I got the logs in I noticed that the light was casting shadows here and there making me feel like maybe I need one more of these lights or I switch them out for the bigger G4 lights that I showed you guys previously. I also went inside and as I was grabbing these and that's when I realized these look the same, we could even make these a little bit more 3D, a little bit more dense.

I started ripping out what I had already siliconed in place. I'm really glad that over the past few days I've dialed it back in terms of how much I'm getting done and not focusing so much on how many videos I'm making or what's in the videos or rushing these videos. I want to get these done and be absolutely satisfied with it because all of my hobby, the entire time I've been in it I've always been want to set something up and want to change it, move something.

My hands are basically always in the tanks, I want to set something up that especially when it comes to a Planet tank with high demand plants that we're trying to carpet the bottom I want to be satisfied with it.

I want this to turn out and look exactly how I'm picturing in my head so self admittedly I've been taking more and more time doing so. The others are already siliconed in place and my plan here is and I think the ideal thing to do is place the larger logs near the rear of the tank and then the skinnier, thinner ones closer to the front.

Maybe we group them all the way to the back so there's more of a carpet area because I am worried about the plants actually carpeting all around the logs. I don't know, let's just try this and see what happens. Now, I do have to wait a couple of days after I've siliconed these in place because I'm using so much silicone to actually hold them down so they don't tip over.

Simple razor blade to remove the excess even though a substrate's going to cover it and it won't matter too much. All right, now I'm just going to mostly remove this silicon, a lot of it's actually still wet and it's been in there for a couple of days. That signifies to me that I could be using a little bit too much or I'm just not giving it enough time to cure.

Bottom line is though I'm going to give this about 72 hours to cure which is three days. Perhaps even upwards of a week before we start putting substrate in and going on that way. I've got to wait till I get the plants either way. I have my little silicon pan cakes that will do it, I don't need it to be perfect, we're never going to see it again anyway.

Now, the one log that I struggle with is this large one, this has got to be about six inches in diameter. Diameter is the measurement from side to side, so I'm going to see where it will look good in the tank and we'll go from there. I do like putting it into back corners.

I'm not looking to create something where there's a rule or a ratio or anything like that because nature doesn't actually do that. That's a thing from photography that we've incorporated into aquascaping. What I'm looking for is to place the logs in a natural looking way that are aesthetically good looking, the fish could interact with it and we can see them plus the light can get to the plants.

Now, these larger heavier ones are from the 2000 originally and they've just been cut down to be able to fit into here. They don't actually need to be siliconed because they're already weighted down. They do so happen to be the larger ones so they will be going in first. The downside is they're not-- Since I cut them they were perfectly weighted to stand up like this because this one would have went up and curved this way to set the off balance and because of that when I cut it off it doesn't necessarily stand up anymore. We might have to silicone this one in place.

I think what I'll do here is I'm going to start tossing a few in and see what the placement looks like and see if we can match the overall feel of the background and the direction and we'll go from there. I will try to make a focus to keep a lot of them near the back. Some of these little buggers need to be siliconed right off the back because I can't-- It's just going to tip over if I let it go. All right, so maybe I'll lean that one just for a second.

I just want to get these in there just to see what it's going to look like and perhaps move them around a little bit as time goes by here. I am thinking of doing the back half with-- No, you know what? We should do the whole tank. It should fill the whole tank and not just the back half right? Yes, otherwise it doesn't really give that illusion of broken logs or standing logs. We're trying to get a snapshot of almost like the edge of a riverbank type of deal. These definitely need to be siliconed in order for me to hold them down.

They're not standing on their own at all. I also think that the roots and plants grow at their own pace and not necessarily have all the skinny ones up front. I think we should abandon the idea of the big ones in the back, all of them at least and go with random placement. Let me know what you guys would have did. I do like the big ones in the back. It makes the background look more 3D, more dense and stick out further.

Can you guys see that? Give you a different angle over here. Yes, I definitely think we should make them so-- This would horrible if it was just like this. This looks absolutely ratchet. I know that it might look good on camera but it just looks like there's a back row and a front row. We need to intertwine them more, we need the thicker ones and the skinner ones to be better placed.

It's okay if they're up close and far away and whatever the placement might be. A lot of these don't stand up on their own so it's going to be hard to give you a dry look at it up front at first. All right, we just got to start siliconing. It will not stand without it. I think this looks good to start out with although I'd admit I am depending on the brace to hold these up so. Definitely, you’re going to need the silicon. Shoot. Didn't really want to but let me give you guys a different perspective here. I don't feel like that's the greatest one.

Okay, so now of course not all of the logs are going to be able to stand up by themselves right now so I had to get creative. This one is being held up by a modified net, the other one is held up by a spatula. I'm actually balancing it against two, a spatula with a battery pack from my drill. [chuckles]. Just holding them up- keep that a little wild but what do you think of this? I know less is more but I do feel like we need to let the grass grow in. We need to allow this tank to mature, get the bottom of it grown in.

I did want it to be almost like a slice. I didn't want it to be a presentation. I wanted it to be a slice of a river or the bank of somewhere or just like-- I wanted to make it seem like we're standing in between all of these logs and they continue to come out here. I didn't want to have it too symmetrical to the point where big logs in the back and it gets progressively smaller. I'm not trying to make-- I want this tank to look like it was cut in half from something else. I want it to be dramatically different than every other tank.

Let's take a look at from the top so you guys can get an idea of its distance from the front. I do think this looks good. I think it looks fantastic. I think that it looks like a lot of logs are in here and arguably there is, but I could have packed them all towards the back. I wanted to make sure all visual lines had a log to some extent and if you look they're not too symmetrical, they're not too lined up.

Ultimately, if we don't like how many big logs there are and this pops out, this pops out, the one behind it and the one in back pops out as well and then it looks even better, it still looks really, really good. I think it's important to bring things to the front as well. Look at this, so it’s going to be such a contrast. Now, imagine this tank, lots of greenery and we look over here, I want everything to look different. It's difficult as a hobbyist, your tanks and your scapes will all end up looking the same.

Eventually, it all depends on your skill level and what not, but I'm doing my best to make sure that they all don't look all that natural, all that similar is the word, yes. The output of the filter is over there. The input is behind the background. I still need to drill more holes in it but as you can see, let me see if I can get some on camera here. You see some there. I'm going to need a lot more than that. See them?

That water will be sucked in behind the background and there is no equipment inside the tank, none to be seen. Now, it is important to start off with the hard scape of it if that's what we're even going to call it. We can't really change it once the substrate is in and the plants are in there and they take hold because if you're not familiar with planted or a carpeting plant, they carpet it completely and if you try to pull one up, the whole thing comes up.

Hopefully, and it looks like the lighting and shading isn't so bad, the shadows and what not. I'm just excited to see what's going to happen doing a carpeted plant in there like a fully carpeted like we did before, it was that three years ago. All right, that's going to have to be part one. I don't know if the next video is going to be about this tank or we start working on others.

Hope you guys enjoyed today’s video and if you want to stick around for the rest of setting up these tanks and some new fishes make sure you subscribe if you’re not already. See you guys in the next video.

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.

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