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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, got a new place and want to set up a new tank (30 gal). I'm leaning toward an Amazon stream bank, with the substrate starting high on one end of the tank, steadily dropping to the 'stream floor' on the opposite end of the tank. What plants should I stock the tank with? I'm assuming swords, anything else native to South America that would be fitting? I'd prefer not to use CO2, want to start basic.

Whats the best place to buy these plants?

What's the best place to grab some nice driftwood that resembles roots of a tree?

What should I use for substrate? I have a couple bags of ADA Amazonia but have heard mixed opinions of it. I'm thinking mix it with a more traditional pebble substrate?

What's the best/cheapest/free way to grab some stones that won't leach calcium into my water? I've had huge problems finding a friggan rock that won't jack my pH up. I'm thinking head to a local stream and take my pick? Does the pouring-vinegar-over-a-rock trick to see if it bubbles actually work to reveal calcium deposits?

Any help or suggestions here would be appreciated, thank you
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Okay thanks for the sites guys, that gives me some good ideas as for plants, driftwood, and layouts.

Still would like some suggestions for substrate and smooth rocks. Don't need any of the highly dramatic cliffs that ADA totes; just something simple will do.
 

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Any landscape supply store should have a decent selection of rock that you can pick up for pennies/kg. I think I've heard NW Landscape Supply (in Burnaby?) recommended here, but I've never been. The stream thing should work too. If you look at how to distinguish sedimentary from igneous/metamorphic rocks (you want the latter), you might not need to worry about acid-testing them. Also, look out for copper- or iron-containing bits, which may look like rust or green rust. Anything that basically looks like granite or basalt should be fine.

For creating slopes in substrate, I've heard good things about filling nylon stockings with lava rock, and using those as a bulk layer that won't become anoxic to the same degree as other substrate would. After that, I'd just spread the Amazonia over the top. I've been running a tank for several years with a substrate of what I was told was used Amazonia, and I like it fine. I don't have any dramatic hills, but there's a bit of a slope, especially in one corner. I can pull crypts up and plant things in without mucking up the water too much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok so I'm going to do the nylon stocking with pumice or lava rock (I've been told both work well) to build up the slope of the stream bed first.

I went to April's today and didn't find much that I needed hardscape wise but I did find a niiiiice piece of driftwood that I picked up. I will likely end up ordering specific plants from April after I figure out the layout. She also had some dead fall dried leaves that are a good idea to keep in mind for later.

Lutefisk, do you have any picture of your aquarium?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That video was real cool. Surprisingly not a whole lot of vegetation at all. I really dig the leaf litter and all the roots and tree trunks everywhere. Thanks for the share
 

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Super-Duper resource: The Complete Aquarium by Peter W. Scott.

Disclaimer: I receive no financial or other compensation for mentioning this title. :0)

Scott's COMPLETE AQUARIUM.jpg
 

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Just my two cents on the topic;

NW Landscape Supply in Burnaby is top notch. Went there for some feather rock, and it was cheap, and looks great. (If you don't know about feather rock, I'd HIGHLY recommend looking into it)

If you want to check rocks, the vinegar method is adequate, but I found muriatic acid to work much better. I think I paid under $5 for 1 litre of it from Rona, and I used maybe 1/16 (at most) of the bottle to check about 200 lbs of rocks.

As far as plants go, I'd recommend taking a look at the Tropica 1-2-Grow plants, as they are grown in a sterile environment and will not bring in pests.
 

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As far as plants go, I'd recommend taking a look at the Tropica 1-2-Grow plants, as they are grown in a sterile environment and will not bring in pests.
Further to the TC plants, here is a full list of all our South American plants that are available.

071 PCS Echinodorus 'Bleherae' pot in single package Easy Background South America
040 PCS Lilaeopsis brasiliensis pot in single package Easy Foreground South America
068 TC Helanthium 'Quadricostatus' 1-2-Grow! Easy Middleground South America
096 TC Heteranthera zosterifolia 1-2-Grow! Easy Supporting plants South America
040 TC Lilaeopsis brasiliensis 1-2-Grow! Easy Foreground South America
063 TC Limnobium laevigatum 1-2-Grow! Easy South America
025 TC Micranthemum 'Monte Carlo' 1-2-Grow! Medium Foreground South America
142 TC Potamogeton gayi 1-2-Grow! Easy Background South America
037C TC Proserpinaca palustris 'Cuba' 1-2-Grow! Advanced Background South America
079 TC Sagittaria subulata 1-2-Grow! Easy Middleground South America
049G TC Staurogyne repens 1-2-Grow! Easy Foreground South America
003A TC Vesicularia dubyana 'Christmas' 1-2-Grow! Medium Foreground South America
023 Alternanthera reineckii 'Pink' potted Medium Background South America
043A Bacopa australis potted Medium Middleground South America
071 Echinodorus 'Bleherae' potted Easy Background South America
076 Echinodorus palaefolius potted Medium Background South America
068 Helanthium 'Quadricostatus' potted Easy Middleground South America
039 Hydrocotyle verticillata potted Advanced Foreground South America
040 Lilaeopsis brasiliensis potted Easy Foreground South America
037 Myriophyllum mattogrossense potted Medium Supporting plants South America
079 Sagittaria subulata potted Easy Middleground South America
049G Staurogyne repens potted Easy Foreground South America
023 XL Alternanthera reineckii 'Pink' XL Medium Background South America
076 XL Echinodorus palaefolius XL Medium Background South America
063 POR Limnobium laevigatum portion Easy South America
 

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Npkstyle,

Speaking from my own experiences trying to establish and maintain amazon themed biotopes I've steered away from keeping any live plants. Just going with the right pieces of driftwood or branches, leaf matter(almond leaves?),sand substrate ,and rock work will speak volumes of your setup if done correctly. Not much lighting is needed either but if necessary apply something on a smaller scale. This also depends on the species u plan on keeping as well. Species like tetras,corys, apistogrammas,discus etc thrive in these conditions . With water being so soft here in the lower mainland this is ideal for a biotope u wanna do. I still add minerals to my water keeping my stock happy for growth,breeding etc. Any questions fire away , I currently run an amazon themed setup now and have a few journals on the forum here if u wanna gather some ideas. There's a few other members doing similar setups as well have a look around and good luck with it. Keep us posted on the progress
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Wow thanks for all the responses people. With help from here I've accumulated most of the hardscape that I've envisioned.. going to get lava rock next (and throw them in some nylon socks to build some height).

I've got almond leaves, a couple pieces of driftwood, ADA arizona sand, some normal gravel substrate, ADA amazonia, and some larger natural looking round stones (hagen brand). I set up half the tank (the part that won't be elevated) today and I'm real excited at how this is going to look.

I just checked back at this thread after looking at the Tropica website and am surprised to see a ton of Tropica suggestions! I'm thinking of going with these 2 for sure:
Echinodorus 'Bleherae' - Tropica Aquarium Plants
Echinodorus 'Barthii' - Tropica Aquarium Plants (i realize this is a lab cultivated species but it looks sweet)

As suggested, I'm going to go light on the plants and focus more on the leaf litter/driftwood/sand look.

I will post some pictures probably before I put plants in. I'm assuming the plants I order will take a while to arrive. I think I'll order via April's. In a couple weeks it's livestock time!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
IMG_4656.jpg

IMG_4657.jpg

Here is the hardscape. I'm pretty satisfied so far. I ordered plants with April today so once those come in I'll be filling it up and doing some massive water changes initially to get rid of the inevitable cloud of dust that will arise from the ADA amazonia. CC welcome
 

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Looks great! Should fill in a bit once u add your plants. Just a thought, a few larger pieces of stone or rock near the front/back end to cover up any equipment. Liking the litter of the leaves everywhere. What stock u planning on keeping?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hey Luke78, I'm hoping the plants will cover most of the equipment eventually when they grow out. I'm also looking for a nice black background so the equipment blends in a bit more too.

As for stocking the tank, I'm thinking cardinals and likely sterbai corys. If it doesn't seem too crowded with a decent school of those two species, I may add a pair of german blue rams or apistrogrammas.
 

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Great stocking choices NPKstyle. Are you lookzing for a fancy moulded/crafted background ? Or something simple? Personally I just went with black sheet(plastic) background (not painted). Nah you shouldn't be crowded so a few schools would look great. Obviously maintaince is important to keep things stable. For apistogrammas, remember to have more females to male ratio.

Hey Luke78, I'm hoping the plants will cover most of the equipment eventually when they grow out. I'm also looking for a nice black background so the equipment blends in a bit more too.

As for stocking the tank, I'm thinking cardinals and likely sterbai corys. If it doesn't seem too crowded with a decent school of those two species, I may add a pair of german blue rams or apistrogrammas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Great stocking choices NPKstyle. Are you lookzing for a fancy moulded/crafted background ? Or something simple? Personally I just went with black sheet(plastic) background (not painted). Nah you shouldn't be crowded so a few schools would look great. Obviously maintaince is important to keep things stable. For apistogrammas, remember to have more females to male ratio.
Yea I'm wanting a matte finish black sheet probably. ehhhh yea i tend to like my tanks on the emptier side stock wise but perhaps you're right i'll have to wait and see once the tetras and corys are in. hmmm interesting I'll make sure to always buy more females than males, good to know thanks!
 
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