Aqualantis Deco Horizon 50 with Tropica Plants & Substrate

Hi Guys,

Its the start of a new year and with that the start of a new project for me. Ive recently finished setting up my sons bedroom aquarium. Its a smalll 50 litre tank and I've planted it with a mixture of plants from Tropica. The tank is an open top and Im hoping to make the most of that by choosing plants that will break the surface and develop flowers.

As far as livestock, Ive changed my mind so many times that I'm still undecided. My son is wanting some shrimps that he can possibly breed. I want something that will offer more movement but with the open top, I'm really restricted.

For now, Let me show you the setup and maybe you can give me some suggestions of small, non-jumping fish that would look nice in a planted tank.

First of all, the aquarium Ive used is:

Aqualantis Deco Horizon 60 (black and white model)

Step one

For substrate I opted for the Tropica Aquarium Soil. I find this offers a nice granular size along with great nutrients for the plant roots. I also like the colour and find it brings the green out in the plants. The substrate has been arranged this way to allow the rock I want to use to sit correctly and also offer a higher level for the plants I'm hoping will break the surface.

Step two

With the rock in place I put in the first of the plants. Tropica offer some great pre-attached plants on dogwood and I used the Hygrophila Pinnatifada & Moss piece. The Hygrophila is one of the plants I'm hoping to see break the surface. These are medium care plants that can grow up to 40cm high and 20cm wide. Slow growing should mean minimum maintenance is required.

Ive also placed some Monosolenium Tenerum attached to lava rock in here too which is part of the aquadecor range.

Step Three

My next plant was Cyperus Helferi. This is a grass like plant which is nice and light colour. It can grow up to 35cm tall so it will need tp be trimmed from time to time to keep the shape I desire but its not a fast grower either so this should be manageable. I placed this at front left because I want to offer young shrimp or fry some cover.

Step Four
To take advantage of the open top, Ive picked a Crinum Calamistrtum for the left side. This is planted just behind the Cyperus and rock. This should put out some lovely long crinkled leaves that will snake across the aquarium. Another surface breaker, and a favourite of mine is the Nymphaea Lotus which is plugged just behind the rock on the back left corner. From experience, this bulb plant puts out loads of big leaves low down with several shooters that will put leaves not the surface to give nice lilly pad style leaves and flowers if I'm lucky. To finish off the surface decor, Ive lined the back of the aquarium with the remaining Hygrophila Pinnatifida.

Step 5
Scattered infront of the rock is some Littorella Uniflora. Ive used this particular plant because of its thick pine needle like leaves and fast spreading roots. This came En Vitro which meant some cleaning and preparing before planting. The back of the aquarium is where I placed the remaining Hygrophila to aim for a riverbank look from above.

The plants have been placed in these positions with growth in mind. I want to add/remove as little as possible over time and really want the aquarium to mature into a tidy easily maintainable planted tank. I really do hope my plans for the surface breakers works out as it could be very nice indeed.

I will be dosing this tank with weekly Fertilisers and Co2 to increase growth and hold back algae. A full list of what plants Ive used is below. All of which are provided by Tropica:

  • 2 x Littorella Uniflora 1-2 Grow tubs
  • 3 x Cyperus Helferi pots 
  • 4 x Hygrophila Pinnatifada pots
  • 1 x Crinum Calamistratum plant
  • 1 x Nymphaea Lotus bulb
  • 1 x Monosolenium Tenerum attached to lava rock
  • 1 x Hygrophila Pinnatifada & Moss combo attached to bogwood

For ongoing plant care I will be using Plant Growth Premium fertiliser at 5 pumps weekly after a 30% water change. I will also be using the Tropica system 60 Co2 at 120ml each day.

I would love to hear what you could suggest for livestock in this tank so please feel free to comment below.

Thanks for reading

Two weeks after install and after a slight re-design by my son, the plants are coming on very well.

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