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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let's see if this works. I'll keep doing this depending on participation level.

Aquarium:


90x45x45cm (~50g)

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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I have major problems with the way this tank is photographed and that influences my opinion much more strongly than the husbandry of the aquarium. The mechanical photographic choices overwhelm the subtle qualities of the living aquascape. If I was jurying this photo, my initial reaction would cause me to rush by this aquascape faster than it deserves.
___
Jeff
 

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I think that maybe the bald lower stems on some plants could be covered up better. I do think it is an original aquascape, he definantly pioneered the NA so anything he does is pretty much original, right? Otherwise i really like how it is mostly green with one red plant, but i think another red plant closer to the foreground would help break the tank up a bit.

My 2 cents.
 

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My take is simple.

If your striving to achieve a natural look, then go for the natural look. My criteria for tanks is whether or not it looks natural or looks like an english garden.

Personally I think this tank achieves the natural look and bald stems are are a part of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Personally, I don't like the bald lower stems. However, bare stems can be seen over and over again in many of Amano's layouts.

The main element in this layout, IMO, is the fiery bunch of Rotala wallichii. Notice how the the water ripples are radiating outward from where the R. wallichii is located. Also, notice how the orange tetras have the same hue as the Rotala. Furthermore, the white tips of the tetra's fins accentuate the background (the impression would have been different if they were, say, red phantom or black tipped serpae tetras).

I see a secondary element in the Ludwigia arcuata emerging from the crevice created by the driftwood --this element appears farther away from the front glass than the R. wallichii due to the thinner branching in the back as compared to the more impressive/thicker wood in the front. Also, notice how both of these elements seem to follow the rules of thirds/golden ratio.

I see a lot of careful attention to detail. I also see obvious intent and liberal use of basic compositional tools.

Carlos
 

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Taking this step-by-step...

tsunami said:
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?
No. I've seen fundamentally similar aquascapes over and over for years. This aquascape may have appeared original and/or creative a few years ago but I can't say that now.

In fact, the aquascape doesn't even make a *good* impression on me. In a contest (other than ADA, perhaps) this entry may not even make it to a point where creativity or originality are important considerations. The plants don't appear to be in good health. The "come to the light" blinding background has never appealed to me. In this case the light shining through the background plants makes the bare stems obvious. What's more, the tank contains a variety of green plants that for some reason all have a very homogeneous light green color. This seems to be a common feature in many of Amano's tanks. Sometimes the colors are homogeneous because there are only a couple green plant varieties in the tank. That isn't true in this case. I expect healthy plants to show richer color and more variability in their color. In this case a little more variability in the color would look both more natural and healthier.

2) Is the aquascape composed well (is there compositional balance within the aquascape)?
I don't feel a balance in this aquascape. The background on the left is too thin to counter the dense planting and wood on the right.

3) Are the aquatic plants appropriately positioned within the aquascape? Does the balance exist in the colors and shapes of the plants used?
The plant positioning is painfully predictable, which probably makes them "appropriately positioned." The color of the small off-green bunch on the right (L arcuata, Carlos?) is poorly developed and does not serve to counterbalance the "feather duster" bunch of orange-ish plants (R. wallichii?) on the left. The two groups of off-green plants are positioned in each of the two possible "optical centers" of the layout; that makes them symmetrically positioned so that if the two groups did actually balance each other in size and color then the aquascape might look contrived.

I do like the intergrowth of plants in the foreground and the mounding effect they create in the front dead-center. The back right shows a similar intergrown group of plants, but there the effect is not as good.

4) Do you feel harmony between the fish and the aquarium layout?
The fish appear to be well selected; their color and I'm sure their activity is appropriate to this tank. Their position in the photograph is fortuitous. The fish move all the time, so their position in this photo is not a feature of the aquascape. In my own tanks I find that tetra's -- with the possible exception of rummy nose -- don't school as tightly as they are in this photograph unless they are disturbed. So this is to me not a picture of harmony. It is a picture of mildly stressed fish.

5) Is the aquascape laid out well making a natural looking atmosphere?
I don't like the layout, but the effect is fairly natural-looking -- at least if you use the paradgm that Amano has established. It must look natural because it is a nature aquarium. Personally I've never seen anything in nature that looked much like this aquasape.

Some questions of my own:

1) What compositional rules does this layout follow? Which compositional rules does it break?
The use of the golden section is fairly obvious. I feel like the large feather duster on the left might contribute more to the aquascape if it were positioned more foreward. I don't think it's a very good idea to put off-green plant groups in both of the possible optical centers.

2) What are the main elements in this layout? How do they work together harmoniously (or unharmoniously)?
The photograph emphasizes the orange plant group on the left. That emphasis is created partly by the ripples that originate over the group; those ripplies are a feature of the photograph but I wouldn't consider them part of the aquascape unless he kept the hair drier running there all the time.

I think the more natural main features of the tank are the wood arrangement and foreground growth. Part of my problem with the aquascape may be that he has chosen to emphasize elements that don't seem to me to be either important or well-done.

3) What type of atmosphere/impression does this layout seem to create for the viewer?
None other than discomfort. I want to look away from the blinding background. More generally I find that the "poetic names" assigned to aquascapes do more to create an atmosphere then does the layout itself. In this case there is no poetic name and no particular atmosphere.

It may seem presumptuous of me to be so critical of a master's work, but all in all, I don't think this is one of Amano's better creations.

Roger Miller
 

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Roger Miller said:
It may seem presumptuous of me to be so critical of a master's work, but all in all, I don't think this is one of Amano's better creations.

Roger Miller
It's an entry from the contest, not one of Amano's tanks, I'm sure you haven't offended him.

I think the R. wallichi was allowed to grow too tall for the picture, there is overall too much scraggly growth for me. I don't even like the way the wood is arraigned as it generates too much tension.

I like what Roger wrote, I share his opinions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sean,

That is one of Amano's layouts. However, we'll be doing mixing and matching with Amano's works, top ADA works, and even sprinkle in some works from other people.

Carlos
 

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The wood needs moved some. Pulled in towards it's center.
The plants need trimmed well and allowed to fill in better.
I think these two things could tighten the tank up without too much work.
Some gravel sloping might also help.
I do not like photo's of gravel either. 10% of the photo is gravel.

The tank can be changed around a little and improved easily I think w/o too much work.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 
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