Fusion – An Aquascape Attempt

It has begun, today has been spent starting to get the new aquarium set up ready for my first forays into the world of the aquascape. First was the building  of the cabinet, followed by positioning of the tank and getting things in place.

Tank Specs.

  • Tank: Aquatlantis Fusion 102cm x 40cm x 60xm, 188 litres
  • Cabinet: Aquatlantis Cabinet
  • Light: Aquatlantis H2O LEDs 43w, 6800k, 3824 lumens
  • Backlights: RGB LEDs with remote control
  • Filter: Biobox 2 Internal Filter (650l/h – manufacturer quoted)
  • Heater: Tecatlantis 200w
  • Secondary Pump: EasyFlux 900 (810l/h – manufacturer quoted)
  • CO2: None yet, but may add later
  • Substrate: Florabase

I’m new to this so these specs may well change over time but I’ll try to keep them up to date. The secondary pump transports water up over the LED’s in the hood which cools them, heats the water as it passes over them and increases flow in the tank.

Set up

Here’s how things went today.

Not a huge amount of progress, but it’s a start, and I’m loving those LED’s for backlighting effect, although they are somewhat drowned out by the main lights.

The building of the cabinet wasn’t quite as easy as it could have been. The instructions essentially had:

  • Step 1 which was to hammer home the feet,
  • Step 2 which was a picture of the completed cabinet without the doors.

The next steps were then all concerned with adding the doors, which was fairly self-explanatory anyway. It would have been more helpful to have some instructions on getting the cabinet itself together. With dowels on three side of pretty much every panel getting them all seated properly was more difficult than it should have been. Not helped by the fact that we didn’t want to break anything, nor did we want to get glue on our new carpet.

This was all further compounded by the fact that the cabinet itself wasn’t quite square so getting the dowels to line up with the holes wasn’t easy either. As you can see from the finished article, one side of the cabinet simply wasn’t cut properly and didn’t line up. The other end was spot on though.

Not Square

Not Square

Backlighting

Next I spent some time installing the funky RGB LED’s that I’m hoping will provide some cool backlighting effects. As I said before, they are drowned out by the main lights but might be able to provide some nice, sunrise, sunset and moonlit effects from time to time. They come with a 44 key remote control as well which allows me to adjust the light to virtually any colour or brightness, along with effects such fade mode and flash modes that I’m unlikely to use.

Collecting

Morgan and I then headed out into the hills to collect some rocks. We ended up getting them from a stream so they have a little bit of character and have been slightly rounded, but not as rounded as beach pebbles.

Fusion

The reason I’m calling the tank ‘Fusion’, other than the fact that it’s the model name anyway is the fact that I’m hoping to create a fusion between a landscape scene depicting Welsh hills, and the flora and fauna of the Orinoco River in South America. The former because thats where we live, the later because I’d quite like to stock the tank with fish from that area. I doubt that I’ll stick religiously to the Orinoco theme though as some of the plants I’d like to try to grow may not come from there, and I’d quite like have some interesting shrimp in the tank too. It’s just an idea for now.

Fiddling

The afternoon was spent fiddling with the various electrical components. I initially managed to mount the filter box on the side of the tank where it was slightly less conspicuous and would have provided better flow around the tank once my planned hardscaping is in place. However, when I then tried mounting the hood with it’s lights I realised that the filter would then interfere with the pump and tubes that pump water up over the LEDs in the hood, so I was forced to move the filter onto the back of the tank, exactly where it is designed to go. It was a good idea, but it just wouldn’t quite work.

Everything is in place now though, the cabinet, the tank itself, the RGB LED backlights, the filter box, the filter pump, the heater, the hood and it’s LED lighting, and the secondary filter. All ready to go. The next stage is to give the rocks we collected a thorough scrubbing and then start playing around with them to for a landscape that I like the look of. I have drawn a sketch and had an image in my mind of how I’d like it to look.

Sketch

Sketch

Hardscaping

The idea was to depict a mountain landscape to the right of the tank built up with tiered rocks almost to the surface of the water, the slopes of which would be planted with low-growing plants at the base and a few mid-ground plants higher up. This would hide the filter etc and provide some height to the scene. The left hand would be a smaller rise with some boulders on its slopes and again low plants so as to provide an area of open water above the landscape. The two sides will be divided by a lighter coloured path sweeping off into the distance and a using a lighter coloured substrate. The path will hopefully taper into the distance and be lined with stones that reduce in size from the front to back of the tank to further enhance the feeling of perspective and depth.

These plans have already been comprised though by the of the filter box which means I won’t be able to build the right hand side of the scape up as high as I would have liked, and a few other technical implications such as getting the substrate and rocks to stay in place will no doubt impact on things too. I shall take my time (as if), and try to get it looking just the way I want it before I even start thinking about filling the tank. Once the rocks and substrate, or ‘hardscape’ as though in the know like to call it, are in place I’ll leave it for a bit so that I can get used to it and maybe make a few tweaks to the layout of my aquascape. Only then will I decide how to proceed with the planting, filling, cycling and stocking of the tank, to turn my aquascape into a living creation.

2 Responses

  1. mum says:

    I’ll comment when the project is finished, but I’m sure it will be perfect,because you won’t “finish” until it is

  1. Sunday, February 15th, 2015

    […] job was to spend an hour or so scrubbing all of the rocks we collected yesterday. Next was the fun part – trying to arrange everything in the tank, just the way I wanted it. […]

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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