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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is the first time I am keeping a journal. I've had a few planted tanks in the past and have used Eco-Complete but unfortunately, this time around I had alot of difficulties with it. Therefore, I downgraded to a 20 gallon and completely redid everything and took my time. I apologize for the crappy pictures. Many thanks to Dou, Battmanh, Wslam and MDT for all the help, advice and unconstructive criticism and of course my gf!

What inspired this layout?
This layout is inspired by a semi-cascading tree overlooking a cliff. In bonsai this is called a Han-Kengai. A Han-Kengai has a trunk that grows upright for a short distance before bending downwards/sidewards and only branches will fall below the rim. While it isn't completely true to that form, I think it's hard to replicate without destroying an actual bonsai and I wasn't about to do that.

How did I create this layout?
I lined the bottom with egg crate and used PVC pipe to build height for the base of the tree. The Manzanita wood was placed on top of a piece of egg crate and lava rocks were placed under this platform. Ryuoh stones were placed to simulate the cliff and valley below. As well as set up a second focal point to the second hill on the left. If this branch was slightly smaller, it would have been great. I have close to 39 pounds of Ryuoh stones in there.

What tips do I have on creating a layout like this.
1. Make sure you have all the material at once lol
2. Egg crate will get everywhere when you cut it and it's sharp
3. Finding the right branch is very important. Not just in style but number of branches and positioning.
4. Consider the aquascaping rules and the golden ratio.
5. Use plants that compliment your scape.

Challenges
I'm facing quite a bit of difficulties with the hosing for the inline reactor and canister filter. The reactor fits a 12/16 hose while my filter uses 16/22 and this has the potential for some leaking. Also, the hosing I am using is quite hard and does not have alot of "give" to it. This adds stress to the outflow on the canister depending on the positioning and has caused 2 leaks so far. I'm looking to mount the reactor to the leg of the stand but I need to leave enough room. This is so that I can flip the reactor 90 degrees in case I need to get rid of air bubbles in it. I'm thinking of doing something similar for the inline heater.

Hardware:
20 Gallon Marina tank
Rena XP 1 motor on XP4 body
10lb CO2 Milwaukee set up
ISTA Turbo Max Inline Reactor
Hydor ETH 200 Inline External Heater 200 watt
VIV Lily pipe 16mm Inflow and Outflow
24" Chihiros LED light
14" Manzanita branch, Ryuoh Stone and Ada Amazonia

Fauna:
Celestial Pearl Danio
Pseudomugil gertrudae
otocinclus
Amanos

Flora:
Blyxa Japonica
Eleocharis Parvula 'mini'
Cryptocoryne x willisii
Cryptocoryne beckettii 'Petchii'
Cryptocoryne Albida 'brown'
Cryptocoryne Parva removed
HC Cuba
L. Aromatica

Most recent 12/12/2016


I'll get better at taking pictures, eventually..
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Haven't had a chance to redo the hosing for the canister filter so the inflow/outflow and heater are still in the tank. I'll also add the black background when I redo the hosing.

today i added crypt parva, crypt albida brown and more DHG at the base of the branch.
suggestions on what to use on the branches? xmas moss? fissidens? I have fissidens readily available.
the moss balls will eventually go i think.

10/26/2016

 

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I just saw this...good luck on the plant growth! Christmas or weeping moss will look cool, depends on what direction you like the moss to be.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
change log: 12/12/2016

plants
+added aromatica
+added xmas moss on branches
+added mini xmas moss on one branch and in between rock crevices
+added more blyxa
-removed marimos
-removed parva

equipment
+added in line hydor heater
+added lily pipes inflow/outflow (then switched to inflow w/skimmer)
+added extra HOB co2 checker
-removed a large rock on the left side and back right corner

fauna
+added 20 CPD
+added 5 Amanos

notes:
DHG isn't doing too well and HC carpet is taking awhile..
Loving the mini xmas moss. don't have too much of it and it's hard to attach to the wood. Grown in small small bunches invitro cups and dont contain much so i have to superglue
There are a few crypts that will be finding a new home soon
Lost alot of pseudomugil gertrudae. Just 1M and 3F remaining

 

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Discussion Starter #6
Update on this tank after a week :)? How is the integrated inflow/skimmer working?
After recalculating my specific PPM dosing and just going with EI. The plants are starting to recover/see growth at the end of week #2 since the fix.
Not entirely sure if the increase in plants are using up more CO2 or the skimmer I got from you is no longer holding back the O2 gas exchange on the surface because all the surface scum is gone. My drop checker used to be pretty much 24/7 near lime green.

+added more mini xmas moss
 
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