Background plants and Aquascaping
- Fw: marginal plantings
by "Bruce Hansen" <bhansen/ozemail.com.au> (Mon, 14 Dec 1998)
- Marginal Plantings
by "Bruce Hansen" <bhansen/ozemail.com.au> (Wed, 16 Dec 1998)
- Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #1416
by "II, Thomas Barr" <tcbiii/earthlink.net> (Sat, 27 Nov 1999)
by "Bruce Hansen" <bhansen/ozemail.com.au>
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998
>In my show tanks I use styrofoam backdrops carved with an electric
>iron and then glued to the glass with silicone aquarium cement. I include
>planting pockets at various depths in the design and the plants can grow
>into the tank as well as upwards. It is also a good substrate for
>Vesicularia, Java fern, Bolbitis etc
>Bruce Hansen, A.N.G.F.A., Advancing Australian Aquatics.
by "Bruce Hansen" <bhansen/ozemail.com.au>
Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998
>Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 18:50:55 EST
>Subject: Re: Marginal plantings
>The idea sounds great with one exception. Most of the styrofoam I see is
>white or light blue. Is there a way to paint it like natural rocks that is
>for aquarium use?
Here in Australia we have a few products that are used to seal water tanks,
The one I use is called EMASTAK and is manufactured by the Emoleum company.
It starts as a thick sludge that you dilute with water until you get a
brushable consistency then you paint it on and throw a mixture of dirt and
sand on it and allow to dry. Then shake off the excess. When dry it is water
when installing the foam, I use silicone glue liberally, allow time to dry
well and then seal all round the edges with a bead of glue as well and
rarely have problems
I use heavy density foam for better strength and the heat from the soldering
iron makes it denser still. I have been told that gelcoat for fibreglass
(which can be pigmented) can be used too but I have not used it myself. With
foam backdrops it is relatively easy to design in chambers to disguise
internal canister filters, hide heaters, simulate caves etc.
I recommend you do it in a well ventilated place. You can get a good result
also with an electric drill and a wire brush and then seal with a heat gun
for stripping paint - only problem is bits of foam everywhere ;-)
Good luck !!!!
Bruce Hansen, A.N.G.F.A., Advancing Australian Aquatics.
Bruce Hansen, ANGFA, caring for our aquatic ecosystems.
Please visit us at http://www.ozemail.com.au/~fisher/angfa.htm
by "II, Thomas Barr" <tcbiii/earthlink.net>
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 1999
>1) Is there a way to affix a plant to the slate. I have read about
>plants being fixed to wood, and other rocks, but the smooth surface of
>the slate seems like it could present a problem. Any suggestions? I've
>been considering Anubias barteri var. caladiifolia or nana.
Silicone cork to the slate. Use "U" shaped wire "staples" to attach and hold
down the plants. The plants will cover up the cork and anything else so
it'll give you a nice look. Use nana over caladifolia. Cheaper and don't get
so big unless that's what you want to do. My var caladifolia is well over 14
inches and growing with leaves about 3-4inches wide and 6-8 long.
Long rubber bands/string also wrapped around the slate but you know what
that'll look like until it grows over<g>.
>And, substrate, did a little digging (no pun intended) and have come up
>with a mixture something like this:
> layer of humus mixed with vermiculite, layer of Substrate Gold
>(laterite), layer of gravel.
>2) I'm still considering depths, proportions, etc. Any feedback on
>this, or on whether I should or shouldn't use these materials would be
These all work. 4 inches would do fine. 2-3mm sand.
A small amount of Peat wouldn't be bad either. Small amounts are better than
adding to much.
With the Laterite just follow directions.
>And, 3) And if this is my substrate, what are the recommendations for
>liquid fertilizers? (Currently I have Flourish Iron, however I'm
>considering Tropica Master Grow). Will I even need it?
TMG is very good and cheap if you get from Dave Gomberg's site. It has all
the trace elements you'll need for plants. Some folks can get away with
decent growth without any liquid or fertilizer at all(just fish waste/food),
but optimal growth is best when a liquid fertilizer is added properly. Error
on the light side at first always! Work your way up slowly and watch out for
>4) Last question: Will the carbon in my filter negate the benefits of
>all this fertilizer? Can it be taken out?
Carbon does take out "some" things but so do water changes. After awhile,
the carbon becomes a biofilter media and can be great for that purpose.
Carbon is not a needed item in a plant tank but can help in the initial set
up to keep levels down of waste. I doubt many plant keepers use it much if
>P.S. Considering the possibility of DIY CO2. Comments, suggestions?
Depends on how much light you have etc. Above 1 1/2 watts a gallon likely
you'll need it. CO2 will help your tank/plants if used *properly*. You need
to check out the Ph/Kh/Co2 table and find out how far off your CO2 levels
are from being in a good range. A good light and CO2 are the two big items
for planted tanks although it's possible to have plant tanks without them.
Check the Krib and the archives for more info than you can read in one
night. You'll find the answers to all your questions in there about the
specifics and different ways to grow plants underwater.
Most (almost all) of the tasty tanks you see have CO2. DIY CO2 is good for
smaller tanks but 40-55 gallons and above you'll be needing the Gas tank
method unless you want to be hassled. Check your Ph and Kh and relate it to
that PH/KH/CO2 table. DIY CO2 tend ,for many, to error on the light side(not
This should point you somewhere in the right direction. Poke around in the
archives for awhile.
You'll find a lot in there. Good luck.