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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it me or are all these scapes starting to look alike? Now I'm not the most creative person, I know that, art is not my area, tech is, but lately all the tanks we seem to collectively gush over all have this same "Amano-ness" about them. There are but a few exceptions, Ricky Cain's mound comes to mind but otherwise I keep seeing pretty much the exact same elements in each.

Those commonalities:

Driftwood "planted" in fan type motif

Sandy areas in the foreground

Rocks placed just behind sandy beach area to delineate planting zone.

There are other common elements but I lack the verbiage to properly describe them

Is aquascaping stuck in a rut?

It's like I keep seeing slight variations of the same theme. What will it take to move out of this self perceived rut and advance the hobby as a whole?

When I posted pictures of my own design I kept hearing the same thing, you need this element or you need that element. Who is the arbiter of aquascaping text and why do we keep listening to them? I found I kept having to defend my choices that were out of the norm.

There has been some talk about a lack of an "American" style, yet when one of us Americans goes out on a limb ya'll stand there manning the saws and take turns cutting it off.

I post this to open a dialog, please feel free to post your thoughts,
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
These comments probably belong in a thread about Judging, but...

It may be time that the judging criteria are looked over and revised. One item in particular is the Long Term Viability area. Many of the comments talk about how difficult it would be or inappropriate a certain fish is to keep in a certain situation for the long run. However what we seem to be creating these days is a design for the moment. Speaking to many during the AGA Conf a lot of the tanks entered have now been torn down and a new design is in the works. The design was solely for the contest and now a new scape is being prepared.

We also need to look at what some of the leaders in the hobby are doing as we tend to mimic them. For example, during his presentation Amano showed a natural scene he used for inspirations. Then he showed the tank that followed. A small 30cm (~12") long tank was employed housing dime sized Angels. In the arrangement the fish looked massive gently gliding over a low turf studded with rockwork. With our knowledge of the fishes ultimate size this tank would have faired poorly in the AGA contest in the long term viability area. Nary a peep was heard about the sustainability of the scape presented yet it is quite obvious these fish will quickly outgrow the tank.

In the end I think for designs to grow and push the envelope is if the criteria are also adjusted to reflect trends.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
That certainly kills one very good reason to enter, if some of the judges feedback should be taken lightly how can an entrant learn from mistakes? What does one take lightly and what does one use as constructive? I realize there were ~120 entrants and judging them all as well as adding a constructive critique is a large and thankless task. Maybe it's time to look over the process and see how it can be changed for the better.
 
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