I picked up this tank used for about a 3rd of the new prices. Found it on the local equivelant of craigs list. The previous owner got bitten by the bug pretty badly and was already upgrading to something twice as big.

This particular brand comes with internal filters in the right corner. Good filters but they do take up space and since I expect to look into the tank from the right a lot it had to go.

Also in that picture is a piece of wood I found i na local shop.

Now that the tank was there it was time to start thinking of what it wanted to be. I must have looked at several 100 tanks for inspiration. A few scapes like this:

appealed to me but I kept coming back to Heiko Bleher's biotope series. This Rio Morte biotope he did for a show in 2006 struck a chord:

The weirdly asymetric riverbank inspired me. I considered going for a strict south american biotope but then I looked at all the lovely plants in my current tank and I just couldn't.

So. Together with my wife who has a very good eye for interior decorating I did quite a few sketches and came up with a design.

I was already over budget for this project and I was short some sand so I got play sand and used that for the countours. I cut up a few yoghurt pots to use as dams to keep the sand a bit in place.