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Tidy Jungle II & III

Tankless

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Really good growth, got round to reading this journal from the start today. What happened to the monte carlo growing on the rocks?
 

Courtneybst

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Really good growth, got round to reading this journal from the start today. What happened to the monte carlo growing on the rocks?
Thank you! I appreciate you going through my ramble haha.

I tried the Monte Carlo but it just wouldn't take. I don't have par measurements but I'm pretty sure the light levels are quite low below the the trident fern level, especially now I'm only using 2 x T5 bulbs instead of 4. I was also unknowingly underdosing CO2 back then.

I would try again but I think there's enough going on as it is.
 

Courtneybst

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First update of the year!

The Laetacara Curviceps are settling in well. They're still quite skittish but I'm training them to not fear the camera - It's a slow and very involved process. I finally managed to get a half decent shot of the male.
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On a recent trip to Wholesale Tropicals with @shangman , @LondonAquascaper and some other friends that I don't think are on UKAPS, I spotted some juvenile Dicrossus Filamentosus. I didn't actually plan to get these but seeing them there, they looked so healthy and cute so I couldn't resist and bought 5 of them.
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The introduction to the tank however was far from smooth, but definitely my fault. In the shop they are in London tap water and so I got complacent with my acclimation and added them too soon. They immediately looked like I'd dropped lobsters into hot water, and were torpedoing at the surface and looking half dead to be honest. Interestingly, this happened when I tried to add my adult male to this tank and again, complacency with my acclimation. I took all five out and put them into a bucket of fresh dechlorinated water and did a slow drip for 2-3 hours. They've been fine ever since! Eating well, confidently exploring the tank and getting bigger. Now I will definitely slowly acclimate any fish I add, regardless of 'hardiness'. Once the contest is over, I want to add the Gold Tetras to this scape as a secondary smaller school to compliment the rummynose tetras.

I've added some rare plants too in the form of Echinodorus Regine Hildebrandt, Blyxa Aubertii (for real this time 😅) and a certain Brownie Ghost 2011. I've adjusted the hue so it looks how it does to me in person.
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Lastly, I have been thinking about the carpet as it's annoying me slightly. The hairgrass isn't really filling in and it's all starting to get a bit too messy for my liking - this is the Tidy Jungle after all. I considered replacing it with Dwarf Saggitaria or Helanthium Tenellum but now I'm thinking to trim the hairgrass and see if that will stimulate some runners to grow. It would be a shame to pull it all up at this stage, but Christ I hate trimming hairgrass! If that doesn't work, then I'll try a different plant. The Marsilea hirsuta will be coming out though, and possibly most of the blyxa.
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Courtneybst

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Hello folks!

Edit: Just realised that its one year to the date that I set this tank up! How ceremonious...I'm itching for a rescape!

One thing that I did (that I thought I wouldn't seeing as though I just did it ) is rescape the foreground again. I'm a sucker for pain clearly. The foreground was a predominantly Eleocharis Acicularis with some Marsilea Hirsuta, Blyxa Japonica and Cryptocoryne Amicorum mixed in and I felt like the hair grass just wasn't working. For one, the height was shading out all the other plants down there, encouraging them to becoming leggy and visually, it was starting to become really distracting from the rest of the scape. The mixed carpet honestly wasn't doing it for me anymore either. So I removed it all! Sent the Blyxa off to a guy on here but Royal Mail decimated it (thanks) and the Eleocharis went to another guy. I thought I was going to choose either Helanthium Tenellum or Dwarf Sag as the replacement but I actually went with Eleocharis Acicularis 'Mini' instead.

I didn't want the experience to be a pain in the ass so I treated myself to a pair of ADA Pro tweezers since it was my birthday the week before, and YES they are superior. I GET IT NOW. Everything went in like a knife through butter and nothing got pulled out or floated (which is pretty remarkable for 4ft of just pure newly-planted hair grass).
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Next on my list are some ADA scissors as I've heard they're super sharp, but I might have to see which organs I can part with first. Although new growth has been limited in the 2 weeks that it's been planted, I'm very glad I went with the mini. It's the perfect height that I still get the carpet effect without blocking light to other plants and the fish actually come out more! Especially when the sun shines, it makes me feel like I'm watching them on the Savanna.
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It also revealed how well the Cryptocoryne Nurii 'Rosen Maiden' is doing in its little cubby hole. Additionally, I'm using a new fertiliser mix which has much more nutrients than my previous as I noticed my Buce, Crypts and Lagenandra seemed to be fading. Since adding it the response has been pretty apparent from the plants in that they're growing better. However, because I increased my lighting to help this carpet grow in, and the influx of spring sunshine it means I'm getting some green dust algae again on the glass. You can't win them all peeps.
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New plant additions! I've added some Anubias Congensis 'Mini' which is a beautiful plant and really looks like Aridarum Caulescens but better suited to underwater life. I've kept one submerged and one emersed in my IAPLC tank to see the variation. I was also gifted some of Tropica's LE Eriocaulon Vietnam which looks like a nice plant. It hasn't changed at all, no new growth but no melt either so I assume that it's currently throwing down roots. It remains to be seen..
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This is the tank in its current state:
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Courtneybst

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[Annoyingly it posted whilst I was typing!]

Not much in the way of photos today, more reflection and thought.
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(We love some evaporation and a patchy carpet).

I've been thinking about rescaping this tank for months now but with the contest tank maturing and starting up my saltwater scape I just couldn't fit it in. Now that they're both running smoothly I can start to make some headway. Previously, I was of the mindset that I needed to have a completely clear block of time so I could rescape but I've come to learn that adult life is busy and the best time is when you've got a moment! (For me anyway). Thinking that way would only push the idea further and further into the distance.
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The last year and a half has been a great experience in terms of finding out what I like and what I'm willing to do long-term. I've come to realise that nature aquarium style is my favourite and I like keeping a variety of plants and fish but also don't like being restricted by unwritten rules and so I'm creating a nature aquarium that fits my ideals (and hopefully the fish too).
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This new design will use almost all of the existing plants so mainly microsorums, nymphaea, bucephalandra, cryptocoryne and anubias. Predominantly easy plants but grown healthily and allowed to reach a fuller potential. I'll use minimal soil, just enough to hold the hardscape and allow me to plant my cryptocoryne. The foreground will be replaced with a very thin sand layer for ease of maintenance, to prevent cyanobacteria which always comes eventually in the substrate as the tank is next to a south-facing window and I really can't be assed worrying about carpets in a tank this size lol.

I'm replacing the old faithful dragon stone with some Druid boulders from WIO which will be here soon. They give the feel and impression of hakkai stone but burn a smaller hole in your pocket! I'm thinking to use riverwood or corbo for the main structure and use manzanita for the branches since it will eventually be covered up. This might be a faff though so we'll see! The picture below is my main source of inspiration (I can't seem to find the creator!) but I'll somehow have to incorporate an area for crypts and bucephalandra. Anyone have any ideas how to make that work? My main concern is the trident fern blocking out all the light as per usual, and will it still look effective if I do this?
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The fish will also stay the same. I'm quite happy with the mix so why uproot them?
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I originally planned to replace the tank too but it's just a cost that I could do without. 😅 So everything is staying the same but I'm changing the lights to a hanging led fixture. It's been 6 years and I'm so DONE with the T5 units. The bulbs, the clunkiness, the extreme burn-worthy heat just to name a few things. I'm thinking about a Chihiros WRGB II 120. That would be my only major purchase. I'm hoping to find one second hand rather than new but I know that size isn't easy to come by so may have to buy new.
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I'll spend a day taking it down and cleaning, then the following day rebuilding and maybe a third day to see if I still like it. So I'll most likely be calling on @shangman for assistance. 👀
 

Courtneybst

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Yesterday I took a trip down to Riverwood Aquatics with @shangman and @i.am.adonis looking for hardscape for the Tidy Jungle III. I had so many ideas of what I wanted but in the end I realised I just need to go down to the shop, feel the hardscape, and see what speaks to me!

I chose this big heffa which took 2 people to lift/move so I don't think there's any danger of it floating. 👀
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This is the hardscape without any adulteration:
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There's lots of great crevices, tunnels and holes for plants to be wedged into and for fish to play/spawn in.

I need to source a chainsaw though to cut off the top right section. I can use tools fine but I don't really feel comfortable using a chainsaw with no experience so I'd ask someone else to cut it! As beautiful as it is, removing that section will majorly increase light penetration to the back right corner and allow me to actually see the background plants. That piece will also be amazing in its own right in another scape or maybe even integrated into this one down below.

I also thought it was hilarious that it seems I won't need much rock after all, despite having 25KG of it on hand. 🙃
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This is a rough sketch of what I had in mind. Apologies for the awful photo, I only have my phone to use 😅. Maybe @shangman can fix a nicer one haha. I'll be reusing all plants from my two current setups, only 1 new plant was purchased.
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I'm planning to keep the majority of the foreground as sand for ease of maintenance and pleasure for the fish. I will also keep the bottom holes as a visible end point (hopefully lit) which should add to the depth of the scape and create another section of interest.

The new aquarium is already here too, just waiting on some bits to arrive so I can keep on scaping! Staring at this empty tank is painful...

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Toby C

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I need to source a chainsaw though to cut off the top right section.

Beautiful piece of wood. I’d be a bit wary of using a chainsaw on it though - the vibration could fragment some of the smaller sections. I’d opt for something more precise like a jabsaw.

What’s your experience of the glass catfish? I’m setting up a 90cm tank (when I finally move house) and most likely going to have a group of them.
 

Courtneybst

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I’d be a bit wary of using a chainsaw on it though - the vibration could fragment some of the smaller sections. I’d opt for something more precise like a jabsaw.
Interesting! Do you think it would be sufficient? Some parts of the bit I need to cut is like 6" thick!
What’s your experience of the glass catfish?
I think they're beautiful fish with interesting behaviour. They much prefer dark, shaded environments and so will exclusively camp out in the densely planted areas, unless they have no cover at all. They will move for food though - they are voracious eaters!

At night when the lights go out is when you see most of their activity. They explore all areas of the tank nonstop - a complete juxtaposition to their daytime behaviours.

I would definitely recommend a group of at least 10.
 

Toby C

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It will just take longer - you could always get a small reciprocating saw (these can be bought new for around £30-40). IMHO chainsaws aren’t that precise, and in my hands would make a mess of it.

Thanks for the input on the glass cats - it’s going to be inspired by Fukada’s ‘tankei’ should so have lots of shaded / darker areas. Are they particularly visible in tank? If they’re the main shoal it’d be nice to see them during lights on/off.
 

Courtneybst

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you could always get a small reciprocating saw
Ok thanks, I'll look into one of those.
Are they particularly visible in tank?
Yeah, even when they are 'hiding' they're still visible. Most of them at least. For that reason I don't know how many I actually have as I never see all of them at once.
 
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That's one fabulous piece of wood....I'm still trying to get my head round it taking two people to lift the thing!
Eagerly waiting for the next episode...!
 

Deano3

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Looks great, what a beast of a peice of wood its huge 😅 cant wait to follow along with more progress , great job on the wood hard work payed off 👍

Dean
 
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