Last year I spent several months overseas with my job and wanted to create a nice aquascape upon my return home. This layout took a while to plan and I shared the whole process on the UKAPS forum (www.ukaps.org/forum). The journal has over 50,000 hits.
I originally was going to go for a rock-based design (Iwagumi) but eventually decided to use Manzanita Wood and Petrified Wood. I really wanted to try out a technique that I had recently heard about with moss. The moss is chopped up into very fine pieces then attached to the décor and grown out of water but in a humid environment.
I contacted Tropica and they recommended the use of a bio-yoghurt to mix with the moss. So I blended the moss (Riccardia chamedryfolia and Fissidens fontalus) with yogurt and reverse osmosis water in a handheld blender. I then simply attached the moss "paste" onto the wood and stones using a paintbrush.
I planted all of the other plants into wet soil (TMC NutraSoil) and covered the aquarium with glass. I misted the plants every day with reverse osmosis water mixed with a small amount of liquid fertiliser using a hand spray mister. This is known as the dry-start method.
After 3 weeks I flooded the aquarium and the moss remained attached to the rocks and woods, which was a big relief. The other plants grew well initially using the dry-start method but some species did not adapt very well to underwater life and melted.
For this reason I will only use the dry-start method for growing mosses in the future. The blender technique using yoghurt worked brilliantly and is perfect for attached very fine plants like Riccardia chamedryfolia.
Later in the aquascape's life I changed and added new plants. The best addition was Hemianthus 'Cuba' that has mixed with the mini hairgrass very nicely making a lovely texure in the foreground.
Tip: All the different kinds of plants require time and knowledge about maintenance.
Aquarium: TMC Signature
Volume: 80 L
Dimensions: 60 x 45 x 30H cm
Gravel: TMC NutraSoil
Decoration: Manzanita Wood and Petrified Wood
Light: 2 x TMC 1500 (30w, 6500K) LED tiles, 7 hour photoperiod
Filter: Fluval G3 with gUSH inlet and outlet
Fertilization: 3ml Tropica Specialised per day
Time usage: 2x 50% water change per week, 1.5hrs per week
Fish: Neon tetra, Ember tetra, cherry shrimp