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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:


Tank size: 122 x 46 x 61 cm (48 x 18 x 24 in)
Tank volume: 340L (90 gallons)
Lighting: 2x 96w PC Fluorescent
Plants: Anubias barteri v. coffeefolia, Cryptocoryne crispulata v. balansae, Cryptocoryne spiralis, Cryptocoryne wendtii, Echinodorus tenellus, Glossostigma elatinoides
Fish: Symphysodon aquaefasciatus aquaefasciatus "Green Discus, Apistogramma bitaenata, Apistogramma agassizii, Corydoras julii, Farlowella acus, Ottocinclus affinis, Crossochelius siamensis, Caridina japonica, Malaysian Trumpet Snail

More information on this aquascape can be found here:

http://showcase.aquatic-gardeners.org/2003.cgi?&op=showcase&category=0&vol=2&id=66

The ADA bases its decisions on the following: 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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Amazing photograph... but i would say that the same thing that makes this aquascape so captivating, is also a flaw.

... It's hard to focus on the focal point cause the discus are blocking it! Thus the discus become the focal point, nice, but i'd still like to see what i'm missing.

I'm wondering how he managed to regularly trim the glosso so neat without freaking out the discus.
 

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I would just like to have seen the tank when the crypts grew in thicker. It is great, i especially like the foreground. It grew together well.
 

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I think this is one of the more successful "discus-scapes" I've seen. I'm left wishing that the ferns in the back were a little thicker and more lush. Other than that, I like this tank a lot. Edit: oops, those are the balansae I was referring to :oops:
 

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I didn't know this was here!

I'm glad y'all are saying that you feel the discus are the focal point, because that's exactly what I wanted. When I did this I intentionally kept from creating a strong focal point with the plants and hardscape because I wanted the focus on the fish.

As far as the crypts, at the time of the photograph the tallest balansae leaves were over 30" long. They filled in well, but the overall aquascape looked the best at this point in time. As the background filled in it started to look overly full and began to lose the rounded effect seen in the picture.

As for trimming the Glosso and grass, I just took a razor blade to the areas I wanted to trim out and pulled whole chunks out and let it grow back in. Careful replanting of the Echinodorus allowed it to fill in where I wanted it and kept sections of the foreground free for the Glosso.

Best,
Phil
 

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Phil,

This photo has been out there for a year now and I know you have been congratulated over and over. But one more can't hurt. Congratulations. It's a beautiful tank, an accomplishment and a statement.

To me there are two features of this aquascape (aside from the discus) that stand out.

First is that the composition is strongly centered; the big centerpiece seems to be offset a little to the left, but not so far as to place it in the "golden section". I haven't seen the tank myself, but I would guess that the centering has an important effect when people see it "live".

Second is that the composition is strong and simple and your choice of plants expresses the composition without unnecessary clutter. Your species list is only six plants long and one of those (the wendtii) is pretty much invisible.

So what next? Will we see something new in this years AGA contest?


Roger Miller
 

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Thanks Roger!

As far as the centering issue, yes it was pretty well centered. The wood was placed so that the Anubias climbing into the crotch in the wood would point to the GI. The intention was to have a mound style aquascape with the main body centered in the tank. It just so happens that the shape of the wood didn't work out 100% with my original desires and so does appear to be off center slightly even though it's really not.

Second is that the composition is strong and simple and your choice of plants expresses the composition without unnecessary clutter.
I'm glad you think so, that was the intent. With such large and showy fish as discus are I feel it's important to use the aquascape to enhance the fish rather than the usual vice versa. I really wanted this to be a "less is more" statement that harkened back to some of Amano's earlier work as seen in some of the larger tanks in NAW#1.

So what next? Will we see something new in this years AGA contest?
You'll defintely see something new from me in this year's contest. 8) I've put the discus out to stud with a local hobbyist so the next incarnation of this aquarium is going to be something new for me. Then again, it might not. I guess it all depends on the mood I'm in when I re-scape it next.

Best,
Phil
 

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Phil Edwards said:
As far as the centering issue, yes it was pretty well centered.
I just wanted to get back to this for a second. I think that the centering is a good point in this aquascape. I really wonder how it looks in it's setting at home.

All of our tanks sit in some kind of context -- they aren't really stand-alone compositions. Sometimes centering an aquascape will work better in some room arrangements, sometimes it works better to use the golden section. There are probably times where it works better to make the aquascape internally unbalanced so that it appears more balanced in the context of the room where it is displayed.

One of the problems with composing aquascapes based on the golden section is that the composition appears balanced only when viewed from one standpoint. When you look at the aquascape from an angle any effect you get from the golden section composition is lost. Centering an aquascapes should provide a more balanced-looking composition when viewed from multiple angles, as when walking by a tank or when viewing from different places in a room.

Roger Miller
 

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Thanks for all the compliments guys, it means a lot coming from y'all here.

Roger,

To answer your question, the aquarium sits across a 5' section of wall (the tank's 4') in the middle of one of the long sides of the room. There are openings for another room and hallway on either side of the wall so it's pretty much a stand alone section. If looked at in terms of inches, I wouldn't be surprised if the main wood structure were almost perfectly centered in the wall. I did try to get the crotch of the Y shape off center since it was going to be a focal point simply because of its prominence and I wanted to avoid a super strong central visual cue. Thankfully, a small branch to the right rear of the vertex of the Y helped to draw the eye backwards at an angle. It's just barely visible behind the topmost fish in the school.

The main viewing area is a couch directly across the room from the tank so one is looking head on to a well defined area rather than simply a fish tank along a large wall. The other viewing area that I took into consideration is my computer desk about 5' to one side of the couch. When looking at the tank from this angle (about 45* from center to the right) the slope of Anubias on the rock provided a strong path into the background of the tank.

I got super lucky in that the darker color of the old "oak" rim and stain on the stand are an almost perfect match for the knotty pine panelling on the wall behind the tank. Those two effects conspire to give an almost built-in feel to the setup that enhances the centered feel of the tank. I didn't think about it at the time, but since I placed the wood based on how it felt when looking at the tank rather than numerical calculations of focal points.

That should be a sufficient over explanation of a relatively simple question. If I didn't know better I would think I was a college professor! ;)
 
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