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Scaping with livestock already in place

7 Jan 2021
Nottingham, England
Hi all.

Planning to finally scape my tank properly.

The complication is that the tank has livestock already in place, so I am going to need to move very slowly. I'd appreciate some advice on what I need to be careful with/precautions I will need to take to prevent water parameters shifting suddenly, as I'm aware rocks and similar can do things to pH and such. I know I'll need to move particularly slowly with soil etc due to the ammonia leaching.

It's a 180L Juwel Rio with an upgraded 1000lph filter pump and a DIY CO2 system. It's been established about 7 months now, had a lot of algae problems to begin with but none to speak of now. These are the current inhabitants:
  • 1x lovely female betta
  • 7x guppies
  • 7x kuhli loaches
  • 4x neon tetras
  • 5x otocinclus
Below is a crude mockup of the hardscape I'm planning. Effectively two raised 'dirt platforms' joined by a bridge. I think I'm happy with my vision of the left side, but unsure what I will do with the right hand platform and unsure if I'll use soil or some kind of dirt for the 'platforms'. I have a 3D printer at my disposal to help with any difficult shaping.
  1. A few seriyu stones at a time per week
  2. Gradually pack dirt/soil behind the stones over several weeks
  3. Add spider wood/driftwood
  4. Add plants

I've ordered a ton of plants, and the final list will be as follows:
  • Carpeting - Eleocharis, micranthemum monte carlo, salvia natans, lilaeopsis novae-zelandiae, alternanthera reineckii
  • Others - Aponogeton crispus, cryptocoryne, aponogeton madagascariensis, valisnaria, microsorum pteropus, anubias nana, eleocharis acicularis, bacopa amplexicaulis, pogostemon helferi, alternanthera rosaefolia, ludwigia glandulosa

Cheers everyone

Kevin Eades

24 Jan 2021
I would advise trying to pre soak the soil in another container and change the water daily to remove the leaching before you use. Use another container with the fish and filter. Drain the tank and scape properly. Make sure you clean the rocks well. Once done refill and add the filter. Return the fish. Can get some cheap storage boxes for the temporary housing of the fish. Maybe add some beneficial bacteria filter start product if you are concerned but if you keep the filter running your cycle should remain OK. It will take a while for the rocks to change water parameters so as long as you return the water to what your fish are used to then they will adapt as the water parameters change slowly.


13 Nov 2013
Looks like a major rescape so a temporary tank for the fish just transfer filter media over. You find tank overall rescapes done with fish shrimp in ,think Green Aqua have done it but if you temporay rehome theres no rush and get it just as you want it
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