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Big Danne's 180

Dan Crawford

21 Jun 2007
Daventry, Northants
Hi everyone. Well here it is. I've been too imbarrised to post till now although it is still not nearly finished. I'm now looking to you all for advise and crituque.
Please excuse the poor photo.

The potted tiger lotus in the bottom right is a bit of an experiment so please discard that too.

Come on then, let me have it!
It looks really nice, obviously needs a bit of growing in but I like it alot.

What's the plant list?

And what's the tube along the back? CO2? It detracts a bit from the 'scape!
Looks good :) However if I were provide some constructive criticism, it would be that it lacks direction. I.e to me eyes it seems to be a mix of styles, with the wood (Excellent wood BTW :)) trying to make it an ADA tank but the plants on the left and right making it more Dutch style. If you want more ADA then reducing the height of the plants, certainly those on the left and making the wood more of a focal point might help pull the whole scape together a bit more.

That said, the plants look lovely and healthy and the lotus has some amazing colour to it.

Cheers beeky, the tube along the back is mny spray bar which is to be moved to the side wall af the aquarium to creat better flow.

The lights are 3 Interpet Triplus if i remember correctly - 1.8wpg
Co2 is 3bps through a rhinox 5000.
Photoperiod is 10hrs
Substrate is Tetra Complete covered in 2-3mm gravel

The plants are:-
Crypt Wendtii
Green Ludwigia
Aponogeton Crispus
Loads of Nymphea Stellata
Crypt Nevilli
Riccia Fluitans
Java Fern 
Java Moss
Vallisneria Spiralis
Heteranthera Zostifollia
Probably a few i've missed.

Themuleous, thanks for the critique. I agrre about the mix of styles, i was heading for a Dutch style and hoping that the plants will grow up and around the wood as opposed to trying to use it as a focal point. I'm trying not to stick to a specific "style" but if i were to discribe it as a style it would have to be dutch.
I suppose i'm a bit lost on what i want for it actually.
Could we discuss which might be a good way to go? i was intending on buying a smaller version of the red wood to place on the right where there is some bog wood at the moment for my next addition and some Aponogeton Crispus for rear left of the tank but after that i'm a bit lost. Oh i also wanted to have a go at some Glosso around the base of the new wood.
Anyway, a little help would be great.
Well if you want dutch try and have clumps of single species, rather than mixing them up. Obviously tall at the back grading to the front.

Its a bit OTT but this is the sort of thing. See how they have groups of plants.


The right side of you r tank is certainly heading the right way.

Cheers Sam, what about this. Not quite as thick as this but the same kind of principle ie. lots of different species, differeing colours etc growing through-around and over the wood. I think i would prefer the centre a little more open.

I'm really open to suggestions from anyone, I'm happy to investigat any styles if you guys have the patients.
Hmmm, that second picture looks a bit 'fuzzy' (technical term). I think it would alot cleaner if the wood wasn't covered in so much moss.

Come to mention it, although I like the moss and foreground carpets in some tanks, I also like bare sand and wood too. I don't think we see enough of it now as it's some kind of holy grail to have every inch covered in green.

Just my opinion of course.

I think your tank will be look more focused when the plants on the left grow up more and surround the wood (especially at the back).
Both scapes have distinctive textures, which i believe the scapers would have been trying to achieve. The Dutch has a spiky feel to it, balanced with rounded leaves for contrast.

The second scape has a very distinctive, deliberate fuzzy feel to it. I am not a big fan of Dutch, so I would definitely go for the fuzzy look if I were. Plus, it should hide any fuzzy/hairy algae as well. :lol:

Ahh great i didn't realise you had a rio180 mate, same as me..

this is where i wish i could use photo editing software... bear with me this is going to be tricky to describe..

Firstly great start. plants all look healthy which is the main thing. As far as a style is concerned i think you can create you own without having to follow too closely what you read / see elsewhere. mine for example i cannot pigeon hole into dutch or nature each layout is rather different and just comes as a result of hours of staring at the tank picturing what i could produce. then after a few more hours of fiddling with this and that the final layout is produced. please feel free to disagree but i cant think of any of my tanks that fit into either category... there are certain "rules" you have to follow in order for the individual plants to flow into one "scape" but apart from that i personally just test things out and decide on what looks right.

if i was let loose on your tank i would do the following, feel free to disregard at will, as i said what i think looks good may not be what you think looks good.

i would start by filling in the back. i don't like the look of glass / backing unless it's an iwagumi layout. I would plant two different varieties of tall plants on each side. probably 5 swords on the right taking up 1/3 of the tank length, planted about 2 or 3 inches apart (deep substrate). that will hide some of the spray bar (assuming you have moved it to the right pane.) which will in turn give the leaves some movement - always looks good. You dint want anything on that side that will grow across the surface and shade the stems in front. hence the choice of swords. i cant really tell but the stem plants (sorry no good with plant names :oops: ) at the back look like they will go red at the tips if so these will stand out better against the green background of the swords.

i would leave the centre 1/3 of the back unplanted.

for the left 1/3 i would use something like vallis to create a thick clump of plants.

the two clumps left and right will slowly grow together and bush out leaving only a small gap this will add depth to the look

Love the wood but one thing jumps out to me as wrong. the moss on the very front branch. it looks odd as it is in the centre of the wood rather than offset. from looking at the picture it needs to be on the right branch of the 3 vertical branches. is there anyway you can twist the piece so it will be on the right side more?

i would move one riccia stone to the front right, on the gravel to the immediate right of the dark piece of wood, under the small lily. or ideally make another one to go there.

maybe some anubias on the wood, both bits and let it grow out along the branches.

lol.. sorry off on a waffle there what lighting do you have by the way?
way hey, this is great guys, just what i was after. This is what UKAPS is all about...."professionals" giving honest & diplomatic advise!
James, thanks for the advise it's great. I am trying to inturprate what you had said about the swords in the right 1/3 of the tank. I presume you are reccomending i bring he star grass forward and plant the swords around the back, sounds good to me. I have done a mock up of the plan, 1 original and 1 revised layout. (please don't judgge me on the state of the drawings!!!)
I'll see what i can do with the wood (not much at the mo coz there are discus fry all over it!) but ii know it doesn't move much because of the size of it.
After taking all the advise in i recon i'll go for somthing like this and see how it pans out.

looks great mate, glad you understood what i was rambling on about. dont worry too much about the wood. just a little off centre would be better so that the moss branch does not jut out in front of the other branches. a slight twist should at least result in other branches level with it, at the moment it seems a bit out there on it's lonesome. then again when it all grows out a bit it may look fine. up to you, you can always move it later on.

what about your lighting? i'm keen to know if you have upgraded it. i managed to get 4 tubes on mine.
Cheers mate, just so you know it's a vision not a rio so it's only 90cm. I have 3 lights in there at the mo (25w triplus T8's). I've just replace one so once the other two need repacing in about 5 months time i'm gonna upgrade to T5's. Which ones i don't know. The lights i have at the mo seem to be doing the job OK but i can't help but feel there is something lacking somewhere and i'm putting it down to the lights since Co2 and EI are all good, we'll see.
Thanks again for your help.
i make that about 1.6 WPG, there's your problem mate, needs more light. i would add one more tube to get you to 2.2WPG, you should notice quite a difference in growth at this level. i doubt glosso will behave in your current light i would imagine it will grow upwards rather than across the substrate.

can you squeeze another tube in resting on the brace anywhere?

glad it's a vision, the fact that i didn't realise proves a point for me. i was worried about the photo clarity through curved glass and yours looks fine. i ordered my vision 450 about 30 mins ago, arrives next friday. yahoooo.
Woo hoo 450! i remember you toying with the idea at the BBQ. I worked it out at 1.8WPG, oh well. I'll try and stick it out till i upgrade and not get anything too light hungry (technical term??) like glosso thill then.
I'm gonna get some plants ordered and i'll update you on the progress.

Thanks everyone.
wpg uses US gallons. 180L = 39.6 UKG = 47.5 USG

75W / 47.5USG = 1.57WPG

Don't get me wrong you can still get very good results at that level just be wary of plant choice as you mentioned.

yeah i'm really quite excited now it's actually ordered. i've bought a new reg off ebay quite a fancy one with solenoid and bubble counter for £60 need to pull my finger out and order ecocomplete after all my dithering, then get more lighting, background, tonnes of bogwood etc... oh dear what have i done this is gonna drain the bank rather he he...

i'm sure you will be pleased to hear after this thread i am very seriously considering discus. i think 6 would look awesome in there just as long as i can find some bred in hard water. i am not going to put myself in the situation of needing 50G of RO every week for water changes lol.
That all sounds fantastic mate, jealous spring to mind.
That regulator sounds like the one i have, if so it's very good.
My tank is living, breathing proof that discus can be bred in hard water but it is also living breathing proof that cardinals are baby stealing B*****ds!
I'm glad your gonna keep them coz they are so reqarding yet so trying.
Go for it mate, you'll love it.

Thanks for enlightening me to the WPG thing, I presumed it was UK gallons.
Here is an updated pic after taking the advise. I have added some vallis to the left 1/3 of the tank and a large java fern to the centre and moved the wood as James suggested. i think you agree it's an improvement. These still more room for improvement but this will do till it grows on abit.


yep i agree, looks much more "sculpted" and the fern works well.
good job mate.