12L Nano Diorama Aquascape “Dragon Valley” – Setup

You know those dioramas that resembles a scene in nature like mountains and etc.? Here’s my first attempt at a nano Diorama aquascape.

What’s My Goal

I love the challenge of making something small look big in a tank. For this aquascape, I am using stones and sand to resemble mountains with a valley running through it.

Ohko stones (also known as Dragon stones) are used to create the mountains and SUDO Bottom Sand for the valley or “path” as I call it in the video. Kind of wished I had gotten the SUDO Reef Sand which is much lighter in colour.

I wanted low growing plants around and among the stones . One type of stem plant are placed in certain areas to look like small trees. In total, three types of plants are used for this aquascape.

Equipment I’m Using

  1. ANS Opticlear Tank 31M
  2. OASE FiltoSmart 60 External Filter
  3. FLEXI-mini HCRI LED Light
  4. CO₂ system (refillable cylinder and regulator plus solenoid) with an inline CO₂ atomizer
  5. Crab Aqua Mini Cooling Fan

Substrate And Conditioner

  1. Tropica Aquarium Soil Powder (aquarium soil)
  2. Seachem Prime (water conditioner)
  3. API QUICK START (beneficial bacteria)

Choice Of Plants

  1. Marsilea hirsuta (Tropica 1-2-Grow!)
  2. Glossostigma elatinoides (Tropica 1-2-Grow!)
  3. Ranunculus inundatus (Tropica 1-2-Grow!)

Setting It Up

The hardest part of setting up this aquascape would be positioning the stones in such a way that it looks random like in nature. After that, it would be adding the sand to create a “path” but keeping it separate from the soil.

Step 0 – Place the tank on a flat and level surface.
Step 1 – Add soil into the tank and slope it higher towards the back.
Step 2 – Arrange stones and add sand into the tank.
Step 3 – Spray the soil with water and start planting.
Step 4 – Fill the tank with treated tap water gently.
Step 5 – Fix equipment onto the tank.
Step 6 – Switch on all equipment.

Issues With Soil And Sand

As mentioned earlier, keeping the soil and sand separated will be a challenge. Soil did overflow past the stones at the bottom left corner of the tank. I will have to gradually fix it during water changes.

Have an idea of how I could have prevented it from happening?

What say you?

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