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Hanzo,

Having as much contrast as possible between plant groupings sounds like
a Dutch aquascaping technique. Didn't you want to follow a Nature
Aquarium style more closely? That said, even very intensely colored red
plants don't necessarily have to be focal points (although they could be).
Red plants can also behave as accents/areas of interest in an aquascape.
I will use a tank from the Taiwan Aquascaping contest as an example:



Notice the Ammania gracilis in the upper left hand corner. Although very
impressive, the aquascaper skillfully balanced the composition with the
very powerful mossy wood arrangement near the center of the tank
(which is the true focal point).



Again, in this aquascape, the aquascaper used some very bright splashes
of colors. However, yet again, the aquascaper used a very powerful
hardscaping arrangement (the rocks) to focus the eye primarily in that
area.

That said, I think you should try to break up the balance you've created
with the red-green-red. Try making one red plant really stand out slightly
off center. Or try using a hardscaping arrangement with wood or rock to
focus the entire scape and lead the eye to other areas of interest (like in
the first photo, notice how the branches swing the eye toward each side
of the tank). Another possible focal point is to open up the scape and
create a region of negative space (background).

Hope this helps,

Carlos
 

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I'm coming, I'm coming. Yeesh. :)

Ok. Perform this exercise. Look at each of those tanks (one at a time). Close your eyes. Open them and stare at the very FIRST thing you see in that tank. Report back.

If you still see the red plant, then there are several possible explanations:

1) You are red plant happy. No matter where or how much red foliage is in the tank, your eye will fall on it like a rock.

2) The aquascaper didn't do a good job of balancing out the strong red plant groupings with an even stronger hardscaping arrangement.

Basically, what I'm saying is that you can still have red plants in an aquascape and not have them be your focal points. They can be skillfully used as accents as well that add to the overall presentation rather than detract.

Carlos
 
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