Layout Critique #7 (Jeff Senske) - Aquascaping - Aquatic Plant Central

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Old 08-23-2004, 05:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Layout Critique #7 (Jeff Senske)

I'll also be taking ADA/Amano/AGA layout suggestions to post here. Just PM me on which tank you would like to see here.

Aquarium:


Volume: 375g
Dimensions: 8 ft x 30 in x 30 in
Plants: Echinodorus bleheri, Echinodorus 'Ozelot'
Fish: Discus (Blue Diamond and Striated Red from Jack Wattley Discus), Cadinal Tetras (P. axelrodi), Caridinia japonica

Questions an ADA judge would ask (taken from contest booklet...they judge on creativity, composition, fish choice, creation of natural atmosphere, aquarium condition, and viability):

1) Does the aquascape make an original creative impression to the viewers?

2) Is the aquascape composed well (is there compositional balance within the aquascape)?

3) Are the aquatic plants appropriately positioned within the aquascape? Does the balance exist in the colors and shapes of the plants used?

4) Do you feel harmony between the fish and the aquarium layout?

5) Is the aquascape laid out well making a natural looking atmosphere?

Some questions of my own:

1) What compositional rules does this layout follow? Which compositional rules does it break?

2) What are the main elements in this layout? How do they work together harmoniously (or unharmoniously)?

3) What type of atmosphere/impression does this layout seem to create for the viewer?

Just questions to help aid discussion. However, discussion can head in directions that have nothing to do with the above questions (but still relate to the above aquascape).

Carlos
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Old 08-23-2004, 07:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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1) Does the aquascape make an original creative impression to the viewers?

I am torn on this question. I do not feel like I have seen many other tanks like this one, so it should count as original, but somehow it lacks on the creativity, for me.

2) Is the aquascape composed well (is there compositional balance within the aquascape)?

This tank is golden ratio all the way. The composition is classical, right down to the "placement" of the fish within the photograph.

3) Are the aquatic plants appropriately positioned within the aquascape? Does the balance exist in the colors and shapes of the plants used?

The plants are appropriately positioned in that I don't know if there is any other place to put them but the rear, but with pretty much all one color and leaf shape, there is little basis for evaluating balance between the plants themselves.

4) Do you feel harmony between the fish and the aquarium layout?

I think that the layout is well suited to the fish it houses, being that discus really appreciate lots of swimming room. I imagine the fish are quite happy. However, the fish seem to be little more than another layer on the canvas and are not actively "involved" in the aquascape.

5) Is the aquascape laid out well making a natural looking atmosphere?

The aquascape does not feel natural to me. There is an obvious layering happening, (swords, wood, rocks, white gravel) that persists across the entire length of the aquarium.

Some questions of my own:

1) What compositional rules does this layout follow? Which compositional rules does it break?

As mentioned before, the golden ratio is asserted strongly in the length of the left segment vs. the right.

2) What are the main elements in this layout? How do they work together harmoniously (or unharmoniously)?

The main elements are the swords, wood, rocks and gravel. The horizontal branching of the wood provides a nice counter to the vertical nature of the swords, and helps my eyes flow horizontally across the layout.

3) What type of atmosphere/impression does this layout seem to create for the viewer?

This scape feels like a painting to me, which is interesting it its own right.
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Old 08-23-2004, 02:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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That's a great looking tank and has all the key ingredients of a good discus tank. However, I'd have to give it marks off for viability as well as a super high likelyhood that those fish will injure themselves on all those wood projections.
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Old 08-23-2004, 03:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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I had Discus with branchy wood, they never hurt themselves, an Arowanna perhaps might.

Gaudy blue dinner plate fish, points off for that

White sand with dark rocks is unnatural.......white sand comes from white rocks......darker sand would also bring out the colors more but give the tank far less bright feel also. I would use wood over dark rocks when using light colored sand.

Something about that just does not set right with me.

I would like to see more wood or plant or rock around the plant groups.
I do not like to see the crown of the plants in this display, I think it would look better with wood or rock hiding it.

Good points on using a sword plant in the proper sized tank and on stocking levels. Good choice there. I do not think the shrimps will last long in there(Discus Food).

Very nice tank

Tom Barr
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Old 08-24-2004, 05:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
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It's an elegantly contrived aquascape, much like a vase of flowers, designed with a client's requirements in mind. It would fit perfectly into a certain type of room. Placed alongside angular plaster walls, dimmed lightning, modern furniture, this aquascape would appear like nature inside. No a blade out of place, not a speck of dust to be seen. It's all relative. It is natural only in that it has living plants and fish. But it is elegant and pleasant all the same.

Andrew Cribb
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Old 08-24-2004, 08:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hello everyone! I would like to make a few comments of this aquascape. If you follow the most recent work of Mr. Amano you will be able to see that his Ryoboku designs (Driftwood) use triangular mound, etc., arrangements, and Jeff's work is well done the size of the branches are ideal for the layout and the two section composition is also very well done.

Like Tom I used to be very careful of the color match of sand and rocks but since Mr. Amano began creating innovating designs which are inspired by nature I understand a lot more. There is many AQUAJOURNALS and SUIKEI magazine (specially vol. 3) as well as latest The Rio Negro the Amazon unexplored book that show many rock formations of different colors surround it by powder white sand and tremendous pieces of driftwood and it is from this scenarios many aquascapers have this new ideas.

I don't think the Discus are in any danger and the only reason I dare to say this is because I happen to live in the same city were Jeff's company is based so I get to see most of his work, besides they are cichilds the smartest fish of them all.

I was fortunate to see Hieko blahir presentation about Discus and he clearly describes the biotopes. And as far as I can remember there is no plant life where they live so that makes me think of this aquarium as a Nature aquarium for discus not a biotope for Discus but that's just me. About the colors well, like everything else there is a taste for wild varieties of discus as much as there is for the many new colorful varieties. I personally like tiny fish but I own 4 big Discus, mine are potpourri and I love them the same :P

The aquarium is in optimal conditions and Jeff is a very dedicated aquarist who enjoy aquascaping as much as most of us do.

Best regards,

Navarro
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Old 09-01-2004, 03:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Points for having some crazy expensive discus. Jack watley is a champion discus breeder and charges champion prices.
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Old 10-09-2004, 11:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Most of the time, I think I would have something to say about the bright Discus, but I have decided that I really like the contrast. They are all a uniform shape and size. They look good. The plants are green, the Discus are blue/green. It works for me.

We take a tank with mostly green plants and put a big patch of red Rotala macrondra in it and say it's great. Why is that OK and this is not? I don't think it is.

375 gallons... one day.......

Ben
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Old 10-09-2004, 11:32 AM   #9 (permalink)
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It be that many think the patch of macandra has more of a natural look while many think the brightly colored discus are just gaudy jewels. My personal tastes shy away from the bright red and less natural varieties of discus, yet I enjoy a tank that has a splash of color in the plantings.
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Old 10-10-2004, 08:26 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I really wish fish selection had nothing to do with contests. I dont think jeff has much say what fish are in the scapes. He has to do what the contractor says he likes. If that is crazy awesome blue discus.. then he has to do it. he is one of the top 3 American aquascapers i think.... even when he has to make compromises.
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