Opinions on my new aquascape please

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1fastfxr

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Hello everyone. I'm new to reefing and would really appreciate any and all input to my aquascape idea. The tank is 90 gallons and will be a mixed reef as time goes on. Let me know what you think all in all (surface area, flow limitations, hiding areas, overhangs, and the ability for fish to have plenty of swimming areas). This tank will also have about a 1 1/2" - 2" sand bed, if that makes a difference. I want to learn all I can and am open to suggestions. Nothing has been glued or cemented yet. So any changes can be easily made. Thank you in advance for your input.

20210113_204153.jpg 20210113_204203.jpg 20210113_204243.jpg 20210113_204228.jpg 20210113_204550.jpg
 
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redfishbluefish

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I'd consider two islands a bit higher and not so close to the front glass....for fish to swim and to be able to fit a glass cleaner.

When I first started, here's the advice given to me....think tripods.....three rocks smaller rocks down, one larger rock on top. This now gives the fish hiding/sleeping spots.

To get ideas, suggest looking a Member Tanks' threads where members show their tanks when they first started.....and their rock structure.
 

Rmckoy

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Looks great .
bur as said above , I’d push it back a little from the glass to give swimming room , glass cleaning or perhaps in the future you pick up a nice centre piece colony .

I’ve always tried a waving s shape with larger caves on the ends . With the rocks curving towards the back or front in the centre .
 

Will Wohlers

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Great effort and one of the hardest things to move on from when you first start a tank because usually once setup it's not easy to completely change. Changing one rock here and there is no thing but figuring out you aren't happy with it down the road and wanting to change the whole scape, not so easy. You're the one that will be looking at it everyday so most importantly are you happy with it?

Personally I would ditch some of the rock and visualize it from a rule of thirds prospective. For my taste it's to much of a line of rocks in a pile but that's just my taste. I like minimalist scapes the most but your scape could easily make an absolutely stunning reef once filled in.

How do you feel about it? For a first scape I think you did a good job.... far better then my first pile of rocks many years ago.
Will
 

aggrofish

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take it for what it's worth and all that matters is what you think of it, but IMO it looks flat. I think you can get much more of a 3D look with some open spaces that don't only go front to back. I think your rocks are big and you might benefit from breaking up some of the bigger pieces into smaller ones.
 
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1fastfxr

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I'd consider two islands a bit higher and not so close to the front glass....for fish to swim and to be able to fit a glass cleaner.

When I first started, here's the advice given to me....think tripods.....three rocks smaller rocks down, one larger rock on top. This now gives the fish hiding/sleeping spots.

To get ideas, suggest looking a Member Tanks' threads where members show their tanks when they first started.....and their rock structure.
Thanks for the input. Would you suggest maybe 3 or 4 inches higher? The tallest peak (on the left) is at 15" now and the lowest (on the right) is at 11.5". I will also move the structure back farther. As it sits now the rocks will sit a little over 2" back from the glass when the sand is in...assuming it doesn't get moved.
 
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1fastfxr

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take it for what it's worth and all that matters is what you think of it, but IMO it looks flat. I think you can get much more of a 3D look with some open spaces that don't only go front to back. I think your rocks are big and you might benefit from breaking up some of the bigger pieces into smaller ones.
I broke some rock up but I'll try more. I was trying for a 3D look. But with only 18" of depth and no vision it's really hard. Appreciate the advice.
 

Rmckoy

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Imagine what you want to stock in terms of corals in the future .
visualize how they will grow .

I personally love the look of sticks and plating corals .
I built mine higher

I have been wanting to change a few things in mine .
leaving higher parts but making a lower shelf like for a few lps

ill attach a picture of mine now , to give you a little idea
D8312047-AE99-4C2F-9C9D-E51494124F5C.jpeg
A344AEB2-DC72-4A3D-A2B6-1F7CC8887C0E.jpeg
 
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1fastfxr

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@Rmckoy what are the dimensions of your tank. I had such a hard time because of the center overflow also. It would have been easier with a corner overflow, but this is what I have. I also agree with aggrofish that it looks flat. But there were some choices that my liked and wanted so in the best interest of keeping her interested and protecting my mental well being as well as other things I said "yes dear, that looks awsome". LOL. Back to the drawing board tomorrow.
 

PghReef

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Aquascaping is one of the most difficult things to do. I like the look from above and the sides but not the front. Too flat and not tall enough for sps. I also have a 90 but with a corner overflow. I played with rock for months,let it set for years,then spent many more months lol.

Since it's dry don't be afraid to drill,chisel, epoxy, glue and make all the caves and ledges you want. I'd suggest adding some liverock too as it's a huge help.
With dry rock only. Each piece was worked on for hours to achieve the shape I wanted.
20201017_201300.jpg

After adding liverock
20201125_090506.jpg
 
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1fastfxr

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Aquascaping is one of the most difficult things to do. I like the look from above and the sides but not the front. Too flat and not tall enough for sps. I also have a 90 but with a corner overflow. I played with rock for months,let it set for years,then spent many more months lol.

Since it's dry don't be afraid to drill,chisel, epoxy, glue and make all the caves and ledges you want. I'd suggest adding some liverock too as it's a huge help.
With dry rock only. Each piece was worked on for hours to achieve the shape I wanted.
20201017_201300.jpg

After adding liverock
20201125_090506.jpg
OH WOW! NOW THAT'S ART!!!
 
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1fastfxr

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are you in a hurry to get it done? do you want to hide the overflow, which would change how you are doing your scape?
It's been just over a year since I purchased the tank so I am getting kinda anxious. And, yes, my initial intent was to hide the overflow as much as possible.
 

Surf985

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I have a similar setup in mine (75 g so similar footprint), and I can definitely share feedback from how my tank functions!

Fish and Flow:
First, I want to share that I'm a fan of the "racetrack" inspired design, especially with the "figure 8" style layout. What I mean by that is that you have two higher peaks at the end and a lower center. This gives both full perimeter swim space (and flow) as well as ample space across the middle. My fish seem to love this as the active swimmers have room to loop the tank and have multiple swim paths. It also gives what feels like a semi-protected center, so I'll have more shy fish hang out in the "open" because it's between two "towers" with caves to easily dart in to when threatened. This has also been a big perk with semi aggressive fish, so I'd definitely advocate this design - keep it! It gives multiple paths for fish to dart if they're chased, and the design helps break up lines-of-sight. This, in my experience, is about the most important design piece as far as fish are concerned. It also gives you variable flow throughout the tank too. Depending on how you set up circulation, you'll have high flow in spots and very calm flow behind rock barriers, so keep this in mind when planning coral placement (it could be good or bad depending on what you intend to buy).

The other perk with fish is that your design has, from what I can see, two distinct "caves" on opposite ends. For me, that's been good. Again, with more aggressive or territorial fish, having spaces out of the line of sight and at opposite ends is a good design element. That said, I do only see two "caves." (There may be a third blocked by the angled bottom rock? If so, that's brilliant!) While cavework isn't a must for coral, I've found more is usually better if you stock fish that like having their own space.

One final note there: the only other thought is to second what others said: sandbed space, especially at the edge, is nice. I have maybe 3 or so inches minimum on the front of mine to where rock starts, and it's about enough. I have a similar setup, and tight corner spaces can get a lot of detritus buildup if you aren't careful about flow design. Just be mindful of that, and make sure that you can clean the sides when needed. I did the rock and glass edges close (maybe an inch or two at most), and they can be tough to clean. (For example, the area behind your rock by the intake will likely be a dead zone and one you'll need to keep an eye on for buildup. I have something similar in mine and ultimately put a spare tiny powerhead at the bottom just to keep some movement there to reduce stagnant buildup.)

I also noticed that your design gives a lot of open sandbed behind the middle rock at the back. While that isn't bad, you may end up appreciating inverting that so that you have the sandspace up front. Flipping that gives you more "usable" room where you can see it without obstruction. This also reduces space in the back where fish can hang out (of course, they'll go there because that's how that works, and while the rock isn't THAT high, I am curious what it'll end up hiding eventually if you leave it.) Again, not bad, but it does block area you could ultimately use.

Coral:
The first thing I noticed is a problem I have with mine, but also one thing you did well. One side of your rockwork (first photo, right side) is a good angle and looks like great opportunity for easy frag placement. The other (left side) is a bit steep. I did something similar on accident and only realized later that about the only thing I've really done with it is grow a few mushrooms because they don't mind. You may want to take a look at that side and figure out what you're placing there and if it works for that idea. That's about the only thing I don't like about my design: that side isn't my first choice for new additions because it's more limiting in what makes sense there. So, it ended up being a mushroom garden. It wasn't exactly my original plan, but hey, it works.

The second thing I noticed is that your rockwork is entirely connected. I'm not sure what you're going to keep coral wise, but sometimes a lone island or two - even if they're small - is a good thing. This allows you to keep things like GSP or Xenia or zoas or something that you'd desire to keep contained that would otherwise take over rockwork. Again, not a must, but just a thought.

So, all that to say I think it's a great design! I'd just say from having something similar: check your angles and make sure you visualize flow paths. You will have a few dead areas in those corners most likely, and the one side may be tough for frag placement unless you get things like mushrooms to grow on it. Other than that, it's pretty cool!
 

don_chuwish

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Personally I try to stay away from the glass - I want access to be able to scrape it clean. But I like how the top down view shows that the rocks meander - not just a row of stacked rocks. Don't go too high - you can't put corals on rocks that are just below the surface. Messes with flow too.
 
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PghReef

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It's been just over a year since I purchased the tank so I am getting kinda anxious. And, yes, my initial intent was to hide the overflow as much as possible.
Totally understand that but take your time. You've already invested so much time and money I'm sure so a little more to get things exactly how you want it is worth it.

I bought my tank and rock in January 2016 and didn't get it wet until October 2020. Talk about excited and anxious to finally get water in there!
 

PghReef

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OH WOW! NOW THAT'S ART!!!
Thanks, it was a very long process. My goal was to create a piece of living art as a center piece in the den that also functions well for coral placement, fish, flow, and maintenance.

Luckily I got all my rock before the bans so I had plenty of pukani to work with which comes in bigger pieces. The 1 large rock on the far right is 25 lbs by itself and that's only because I chiseled out a huge overhang on the backside ans 3 or 4 good size tunnels.

If you like what you have then keep it. If not then I would take the rocks out and inspect every piece. See what features you like most and where you can carve out caves and tunnels. Then figure out which pieces you want in there to be your anchor pieces and fit them loosely in place. If the rock is unsteady then a tube of epoxy to make flat feet is perfectly fine to use, itll be buried in sand. After that it's the hard part of fitting and playing for hours to get a stable structure you like.

For example this rock had a natural curve that matched the curve of the overflow. I knew for 100% this rock was going here and I would have to figure out how to scape around it.
20200824_102509.jpg
 
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