Osaka Forest Tank log

After finding a stellar deal on a 84 Gallon Fluval Osaka 320 I decided to start a new project.  Sadly the tank has a bunch of small scratches that I dint notice until after I had the tank (thats what happens when you buy a tank from photos…at least they arnt to noticeable once it filled with water.

I have never been a fan of the generic pet shop backgrounds so once the tank showed up I decided to spray paint the background to make a nice clean backdrop. A black background will make your plants and fish pop and is always a good choice.

Start by giving the back of the tank a good cleaning. Make sure there is no oil or dirt on the tank before you paint it.


Mask/tape off absolutely every side of the tank to prevent any over spray hitting the viewing area. A little work now will save you alot of clean up later.


Spray paint the back using a flat black paint.  Do multiple light coats to prevent runs and create a seamless backdrop.


Preform a water test by filling the tank with water to see how it looks and confirm there is no leaks.. (yay the scratches have mostly disappears!)

fish tank water test

The filter for this tank is an FX5.. argueably a little overkill but you can not over filter a tank.. My only worry is to much flow as the tank will be stocked with armys of tetras and danios.

FX5 Filter

Since this will be a planted dirt tank.. i decided to go with good old Miracle Grow Organic Choice Potting Mix capped with Eco-Complete.
I also used some Instant Aquaria to cap the the dirt as the price was right!

Using eco-complete i create a esthetic border to hide the dirt (unlike my first planted tank where you can see the layers).


Once I had my base I capped with with instant aquaria and eco-complete.

At this point i have used about 3/4 a big of Eco-complete to make a 1-1.5″ layer. 2 bags of instant aquaria and 2 bags of Eco-complet


I will be adding 2-3 more bags of eco-complete to make hills on the side (once my order shows up)

Once the driftwood was prepared (quit floating) I decided to play with some scapes in the tank.




So far this seems to be my favorite layout.. I think it will look even better once i build up the left/right sides and have a valley in the center….

The waiting games is killing me! (hurry up eco-complete order!)  I decided to DIY Night Light Aquarium leds. which turned out great.

So far i’m loving the aqua color on the tank.


Over the past week or two I have been stocking up on plants which are currently housed in my shrimp/fry tanks. The shrimp seem to love snacking on the algae and micro organisms on the fresh plants.





Planning the layout.

WHen it comes to drift wood a small rotation can totaly change the look of the aquascape.  I must have tried 30 different varations until i decided which way to go. I would advise that you leave the tank water less for a few days to give you time to play with different scapes.  Its much harder to change once filled so be patient and find the best layout possible.  Below are a few (of many) examples of different looks with just 2 pieces of drift wood.






And the winning design……………




Next you want to half fill the tank with water and start planting!

Its always best to you tall stems/plants as your “background, and work forward to medium mid ground plants then finally low lying front plants or carpets.
If you know the proper name of the plant you should be able to find out its lighting requirements, co2 needs and maximum growth height. Be sure to plan for future growth to avoid replanting later.




Night shot with only the LED’s on.


Update: March 18/2013

Its been about 6 weeks and time for an update. The plants have really started to grow in, especially the hyghro along the back.. i have trimmed it a few times now.  A few of the plans such as the tall spiky ones in the bottom left has dropped their old leaves and grown new ones , the lots/Lilly have done lost most of their original steam and are being replaced with a healthy new batch. This is common as a plant adjust to its new environment.


live-aquarium-plants planted-tank  planted-tank-side-lotus

osaka-planted-tank planted-aquarium

The ivory mystery snail is cleaning up the powerhead for me 🙂

I have added 5 Ottos to the clean up crew


DSC_5405 - edited full




I have also added Pressurized CO2 and built an automatic dosing system.

aquarium-co2 co2-automated-doser

Update – May 28/2013

Wow.. .. I just realized that I have only had this tank up and running for about a month and a half now.. it feels like much longer!

April 11th, 2013

Beginning of a planted tank

May 25th, 2013 (quick cell phone shot for now)

Osaka forest planted tank

Not to shabby for 47 days in. .. I cant wait to see what this tank turns into over time.
I was also inspired but another member to shoot a quick underwater video and give you guys a fish eye view of the tank.

[youtube_video] Vj4P6H32iws [/youtube_video]

Update: 6/13/13

I finally got a proper tube holder!


I also wanted to take a night show was the lovely led night lighting.  The tank has really filled in the past few weeks.  I even trimmed it twice in the past month.


31/07/2013 – Time for an update!

Its been a while, so i think i’m due for an update.  The Amazon Swords and lilly pads are litterly taking over the tank. I think my system may be working a little to well! I have to trim it every second week and have buckets of extra plants (anyone need plants?!)

The amazon sword nicely hides everything as it has taken over the left hand side of the tank. There is also a stem full of “runners” and mini swords popping up. I may move some into other tanks.. or sell a few.  The Lilly pads are massive and shading the right hand side, these will also need trimming as the huge shadow has started to kill my red plants..    The only thing not growing like the weed is the dwarf hair grass.. i’m not to sure why.. any ideas?



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