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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #1145

At 03:48 PM 7/11/99 -0400, Roger wrote:

>I've been looking at tanks, with an eye mostly to finding a tank that
>would give me the best opportunities for a new layout.  Right now my
>largest tank is a 55 and I find that to be a terrible shape for

I agree.  I've worked with 55's and they're a particularly poor shape.

>I'm worried that if I go to a 6 foot long tank the length may squelchI the
>advantage of having a nice depth of field.  My alternative would be to use
>something like a 4-foot long, 90 gallon tank - or maybe 2 :).  

My favorite 4' tank size is a 75G, which is 4'x18"x21".  I find the 90's a
little deep to work in comfortably.  If you are comfortable with a 24" deep
tank, and want to stick with the 4' length, another tank that works very
well from the standpoint of aquascaping is a 4' 120G.  This is 4'x2'x2'.

>Does anyone want to sway my opinion?  How is lighting best arranged in a 6
foot long

I have found that there are no inexpensive options for lighting a 6' tank.
If you go with a 6' tank, by all means avoid the idea of two banks of 3'
fluorescents.  There are just not enough color choices in 3' bulbs without
paying an arm and a leg.  What I finally chose for my 6' tank (finally to
be fired up this week!!!) was two 175W MH pendants.  They ended up being as
cheap as any other option, and I thought it would be fun to play around
with an open top tank, since I haven't done that before.  

The tank that got me started on this project was a 6' x 18"x 18" 100G tank.
 There were two problems with this tank.  First, it was badly scratched,
second, I was concerned that it was too shallow for plants of the stature
to be shown off well in a 6' tank.  So I went in search of a new tank that
had the same base, but was a little deeper.  Now, the problem with most
modern 6' tanks is that they come with 2 braces, which would interfere with
the light from the pendants.  I was lucky enough to find an older 135G tank
that is deeper, and has no braces.   Otherwise, Oceanic does make braceless
tanks, but they're quite expensive.  AllGlass said they would make me a
tank with a single center brace, but it was a custom order, and would take
longer to get. (plus the added expense of a custom order)

I'll tell you how it works out in a few weeks ;-)

>My dream aquascape for the tank - at the moment, anyway - is centered
>around a large bit of driftwood and rocks. The substrate would be banked
>up on one side of the center piece (hence my recent question about
>terracing and maintaining relief in the substrate) and hollowed out on the
>other.  The image would be of a snag in a river stranded at low water in a
>quiet off-channel pool.  The built-up part of the substrate would be
>covered with low-growing plants and the hollowed-out area on the opposite
>side would be a shadowy retreat for fish.  The back and sides of the tank
>are still a bit misty.  I haven't figured them out yet.

Sounds nice.  I'm ordering the driftwood for my tank today from Aquarium
Driftwood.  Our club did a group order with them last year, and the pieces
were really impressive.  Again, I'll tell you how it works out.  As others
have mentioned, I have had terracing in my tanks in the past, and have
found that the rockwork gets in the way of the planting.  The people who
have said that without terracing, a tank is "just a bouquet" do not really
understand the technique of using plants of varying heights to achieve the
same look.  The tank I had that I liked best with terracing included a
large "cave" just off center in the tank.  It was very striking, but the
large amount of large rocks necessary to make the cave stable meant that it
took up a lot of room in that tank.