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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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:


Dimensions: 36 x 24 x 25 in (91 x 61 x 64 cm)
Volume: 100g (378L)
Plants: Alteranthera.Reineckii v. "Roseafolia", Limenophila.sessiliflora (Ambulia), Anubias.Congensis, Eusteralis.Stellata, Glososistigma.Elatinoides, Hygrophila.polysperma v."Tropica Sunset", Lobelia.cardinalis (dwarf form), Ludwigia.Arcuata (Needle), Ludwigia.repens x."Palustris" (Red), Hemianthus.Micranthemoides (Pearlweed), Rotala.Rotundifolia, Indica, Sagittaria.Subulata, Hygrophila.Corymbosa v."Stricta" (Green Temple), Hygrophila.Difformis (Water Wysteria)
Fish: Batanta Island RainbowFish, Clown Loach, Clown Pleco, Otto, Rasbora Het, SAE

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 will have to say that his tanks are my favorite aquascapes -- they come closest to 'art' in my humble opinion. I find the use of color in his tanks extremely invigorating, and a refreshing change from the 'same old same old.'
 

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I too agree with Gomer on the fact that the plants are very well grown.

When I first saw this tank I was "wowed" it really drew me in, all that color and shape. But now that I have seen it a few times and it has time to stew in my mind I don't like it anywhere near as much as that first viewing. I find it to be quite flamboyant in the use of so many bright colors.

The structure is very well done, I enjoy the groupings and the shapes. I especially like the way the right side has a waterfall effect in the plantings. I just can't get past the train wreck of color.
 

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Personally, I think this is a very nice, yet intense aquascape. I agree with gnaster a bit in that I loved it mouch more when I first saw it that I do now. I think much of that lies in the fact that I start to get lost looking at it. I have started trying a simple exercise whenever i llok at an aquascape now. I don't study it but simply look at it for a bit. Then I close my eyes and try to remember as much as I can. Ofther this second "viewing" lets me "see" more than i realized. In this case I find that i dont remember much but the front half of the aquarium. Then I lloka t it more and I realize that even withan open mind I don't really remember much of the back half of the tank. It starts to get to busy for me. So many colors, textures and shapes. Keep in mind though that i feel it is a very well executed planted aquarium. I admire his gardening abilities adn creativness. Remember, art is all on the eye of the beholder:)

Lets look at the questions.
1) Does the aquascape make an original creative impression to the viewers?
To me yes. I can't say this scape brings anyothers to mind

2) Is the aquascape composed well (is there compositional balance within the aquascape)?
I do feel there is a good balance in the plant textures and leaf types used.

3) Are the aquatic plants appropriately positioned within the aquascape? Does the balance exist in the colors and shapes of the plants used?
Yes and no. If you look at the tank in sections, going from plant group to plant group then I feel there is a good balance but when looking at the tank as a whole, I kind of feel seperation between the front and back halves. The front feels very manicured and strictly green to me while the back is very much composed of color(not green) with a very different feels to it. Almost like the front represents spring while the back represents waning fall.

4) Do you feel harmony between the fish and the aquarium layout?
Sure:) Although the intense colors of the plants seems to drown out the lovely colors of the Rainbows and rasporas. On the other hand, I bet they compliment each other much better in person.

5) Is the aquascape laid out well making a natural looking atmosphere?
I don't think so but that was certainly not the intention of this design.

Well, it think I have shared enough. Regardless of what I like and dont like about this aquascape, it is still wonderfuly executed and I would be proud if it were mine:)[/b]
 

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When I first saw this tank I, as did most everyone else, said "WOW"! It actually got my adrenaline flowing.

Now, since I've calmed down, I can't decide whether James' tank is museum quality artwork or a painting on velvet...a childen's classic storybook or a landscape from "Shrek".

Though I know it's not "Amano", that it's not "natural", that it's too colorized, I _really_ like this tank. This is one of two or three prizewinning tanks that I will remember and recognize for a long time.

Mine should be so remarkable.

Later.
 

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James's tank has gone a long way. I remember seeing it for the first in its initial stages back in 2003. He has worked meticulously and profusely ever since the beginning; from tank construction to CO2 chamber building to plant and fish selection. In a way, this tank is like a living diary. Also, he was one of the mods back then who got me all hyped up and started in this hobby. The green road of no return;) I can't say for others what this tank stands for, but for me it is a bold artistic statement. It is unlike either the Amano's nature or the Dutch's stoic arrangement. It is in a class of its own. Maybe because I have been exposed to this tank many times before so I don't really think it is too distracting to me in terms of colors. All in all, it is one of those tanks that you wish someday your own will be as good as it is in terms of fish health and plant liveliness.

Paul
 

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It is interesting that a piece that gets such varied comments each time it is brought up won first place in the same year in both my contest and the AGA. When I got the picture published in FAMA, they told me it generated the most mail of any article they have ever published!

What you really should do is now put up the picture of the same tank after his re do this year and see what comments people make. It is a whole different look. Several of you I think were involved with Wet Thumb when James first started to make his tank chronology, and it was fascinating to watch it develop. He was one of the rare newbies that heavily researched everything before doing anything and maticulously planned the whole tank from the equipment to the aquascape. He knew exactly what he wanted before he started.
 

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I can appreciate the healthy plant growth and foreground areas, but to me, the background of strongly colored stem plants is overwhelming and visually confusing. It's a nice tank that would have benefitted from a broader variety of background plants, IMO. I suppose though, that it's probably more a matter of personal preference than anything.


From Nature Aquarium World book 1:
"Red plants are the flowers of the aquarium, so be sure the light and co2 needs of these plants are exactly met so that they can show their best colors. These must be used sparingly, however, so as not to overwhelm with color and destroy the quiet refinement with gaudiness."
 

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You do really have to hand it to James for created something different and pushing the aquascapaing envelope. One could almost call it an American style since it is loud and brash with lots of flash.
 

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I've had the good luck to have seen James' tank in person a number of times in the past few years and have to say it looks much better in person. Very few aquascapes have ever given me goose bumps, but I got them looking at that tank when it was in its prime. Even now, after a large change, it looks good, but unfortunately isn't as nice as it was in that photo.

Personally, I think there were aquascapes in the AGA last year that were more deserving of Best of Show, but James certainly earned his accolades in researching and properly setting up the hardware before putting anything in it.

Best,
Phil
 

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I have to agree with most of what's been said about Jame's accomplishment in this tank. But, like others I can't really look at the scape very long without wincing. The colors are too garish for comfort.

In fact, I think the colors are too garish to be real. If you look at the stump in the left rear you see that it is pinkish, not the neutral or greenish brown that it should be. The bog wood knob on the back right is not just pinkish, but actually near purple on my screen.

This is what you get with a slight "gamma" increase in green.



It might take a few more colors adjustments to get the picture to a true color balance. This is far easier for me to look at and guessing from the color of the wood, also a far more natural color balance.

Roger Miller
 

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Robert Hudson said:
Now you guys are just being polite! "Nice growth" is something you say when you don't like an aquascape! :lol:
No, I really do like how healthy his plants look. The stellatus in particular is quite nice. The tank is healthy, vibrant, and does have some good aquascaping points. There's just too much red. Surely, that can be taken as constructive criticism and not as simply "being polite".

I think what Roger did to the picture really helps. I think the above picture would benefit from the same treatment.
 

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If (and there is no reason there should be one) there was a North American (USA) aquatic design style, I would say that James's aquatic study is the American Style. It is a study in the art and science of growing plants and of presenting a clean image almost advert-like in clarity; not an emulation of nature or of a terrestrial gardening style.

I like this aquascape as much as I like examples of Nature Aquarium and Dutch Style. It's simply different.

Andrew Cribb
 

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Andrew,
Thank you very much. You nailed it. It's simply different- and quite beautiful in it's own right. We don't need to in any way compare this aquascape to anything else. If we can maintain this way of seeing, progression is inevitable.
 
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