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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:


Title: Cave Stone
Volume: 560L
Dimensions: W160xD70xH50(cm)
Plants: Rotala wallichii, Vesicularia dubyana, Rotala spec. "nanjean", Glossostigma elatinoides, Vallisneria americana var. biwaensis
Fish: Crossocheilus siamensis

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 love this scape. It actually illicited an audible "ooh" when the page loaded. The red "flames" licking up around the edges of the rocks and the corkscrew val(?) give your eyes 3 off-color places to rest, while the beauty of the rocks and their arrangement sets in.

My only complaint: where are the fish? I have nothing against siamese algae eaters, but they're neither large enough for a tank of this size nor prominant enough in the photo to give the impression that this is an "alive", inhabited work.
 

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Fish would definately be nice to see here :)

This scape reminds me of some of the areas out here in terms of the mingling of the plants and the rock work.

While I don't personally find a well defined focal point (the wallichii while contrasting and attractive, do not draw me as "typical" focal points do), I do not at all feel lost and wanting one.

I give it two thumbs up.
 

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Mike makes a good point, what species of fish would make a great addition to this scape? Flame tetras maybe?
 

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It does make an original impresssion.

I think the composition is very well planned and executed.

Maybe the plants are not appropriately positioned... as lack of major focal point.

I do not feel harmony between fish and plants. I dont see any fish really. This pictures reminds me of mountains in the spring... i've never seen it but i think this is what it would look like... except the flaming red plants.

Extremely natural looking atmosphere.


All in all i really like ole's works. He tries things i dont see anywhere else.
 

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I wonder how moss and wallichii are grown with SAE in the tank. My fish eat them faster than I can grow them.

I am not sure... but blacking out the background in photoshop seems to eliminate the horizon. Its kinda better to see tank corners and have some real life context.
___
Jeff
 

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I agree with what everbody is saying really. I do like this alot, it certainly has an original feel and I find it very refreshing. I can see why it did so well in ADA.

That brings up my one issue, not really with this scape but rather its "display". I know that ADA is about the shot, the effect, the impression given by the photograph but I can't help but wonder wha this tank looks like in real life. We live with our tanks, we see them everyday yet the photos, especially for ADA, are always very un-life like to me. THe lighting and almost lack of background is certainly not what Ole sees everday. I would like to see that.

I relly do like this tank though. I agree with the audible "oohh"
 

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Only some sae eat plants. I have 7 and i have a ton of moss... they dont go near it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
1) Does the aquascape make an original creative impression to the viewers?
Definitely. I have never seen another aquarium quite like this one, despite open rock scapes being quite common. The flaming R. wallichii and absence of fish also help shape a very original impression.

2) Is the aquascape composed well (is there compositional balance within the aquascape)?
Yes. The mountains are in a very appealing arrangement. The stem plants inserted between the rocks add a nice touch. This aquarium 'feels' like an old, craggy mountain range. However, I believe that the black background makes this aquascape too powerful and up front. I wonder what it would look like if the background were sky blue.

3) Are the aquatic plants appropriately positioned within the aquascape? Does the balance exist in the colors and shapes of the plants used?
Yes. I really like the use of stem plants, although the viability of having R. wallichii pruned so short for a long period of time seems infeasible. However, I don't know of a suitable replacement as fine leaved plants are absolutely necessary for the type of feel this layout creates.

4) Do you feel harmony between the fish and the aquarium layout?
No decorative fish in this layout. It feels very empty and somewhat cold.

I guess if you take Roger's point of view, there would be plenty of harmony between the fish and the layout because the Siamese Algae Eaters would be flitting around the scape cleaning and scraping algae off all those fine leaved plants.

5) Is the aquascape laid out well making a natural looking atmosphere?
Yes. This layout feels natural to me, in that it does create the impression of a tree covered mountain range with jagged peaks.

Some questions of my own:

1) What compositional rules does this layout follow? Which compositional rules does it break?
This composition uses a convex layout --one of the 'basic' layout shapes expoused by Takashi Amano. Also, the biggest rock in the arrangement (and closest to the front) is right on one of the possible optical centers.

2) What are the main elements in this layout? How do they work together harmoniously (or unharmoniously)?
The jagged, powerful stones which are softened somewhat by the mosses and fine leaved plants arranged around them.

3) What type of atmosphere/impression does this layout seem to create for the viewer?
One of vast emptinesss. Actually, the lack of any visible fish and background/tank corners makes this aquarium look too sterile. A school of silvery Hemigrammus armstrongi might work.

Carlos
 

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Yep, kinda reminds me of Garden of the Gods.

It evokes terrestrial landscape on a minature scale. Makes me think of my model railroading youth. Perhaps, if it was a bit more overgrown with fish, it would then regain an aquatic context? Or perhaps, the sharp angular charicture of the rocks evokes terrestrial landscape such that more growth nor fish could change this nature.

Nonetheless it is an fine gardening and photographic achievment.
___
Jeff
 

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It is a beautifl aquascape. The central rise and jagged shape of the rocks give me a very alpine impresssion, like the northern Rockies, the Brooks Range or the Swiss Alps. There is even a shadow across the center of the composition that looks like the shadow of a high cloud crossing over the peaks. The red plants bring to mind patches of deciduous trees (gambel oak, for instance) turning red in early autumn.

As Jeff pointed out a part of that impression comes from the photography and/or from treatment of the digital image. It's hard to say how much of the impression is real and how much is a digital treatment. Certainly the pool of light over the center and the darkened corners could be real if the photographer placed studio lights over the center of the tank for the photograph. The shadow could even be a digital effect, or it could be caused by a tank brace or even by a fortuitously timed ripple. As much as the effects *can* be real,I suspect that a lot is digital. I downloaded the image and looked for features in the dakr background and found almost none. If the effects were real then I should have been able to find more information in the background.

The basic idea is essentially the same as Amano's "Shining on the plateau" from Nature Aquarium World. The aquascape is a little more original in its use of plants -- particularly the red plants that frame the large stone at the optical center of the 'scape.

I think that the composition is weighted a little too heavily to the right. The stone to the right of the focus is almost as massive as the center piece. The digital enhancement probably also plays a large role here. I'd like to see what it looked like without the background being brushed away.

The lack of fish causes me no problem. In fact in "Shining on the plateau" the shimp on Amano's stones tend to wreck the sense of massive scale the aquascape conveys. I think fish would have the same effect here. The fish would provide an unavoidalble scale for the photograph and reduce part of the (probably intended) effect.


Roger Miller
 

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I don't really think the Vals work too well in this aquascape...It seems like a weed in the middle of a garden of roses. Maybe an Anubias sp. would look better?

Sorry if my suggestions and comments sound stupid. :roll:
 

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Excuse me for being slightly off-topic in that this comment/question does not directly relate to the art but the mechanics of the aquascape.

How does one manage to build and then maintain a scarp slope of 20-40 degrees in water? I assume there must be a fair amount of rock (or filler) underlying the mountain with pockets of growing substrate, some pockets deep while other pockets less so. And there must have been a fine balance maintained between getting the ground cover plants to grow fast and keeping the substrate sloped to such a high degree. Once the ground cover is in place, I assume the plant roots will hold the aquatic soil pretty firm and sloped (much like stabilizing a sand dune with various grass types etc).

The trade secrets are what we need.

Andrew Cribb
 

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To get something that steep i would just lay a ton of rocks in a mound and dump gravel over it. I do that with driftwood in tanks at work and there is enough gravel inbetween plants to get it to be covered with Lileoapsis and hairgrass. Glosso and HC too. A lot can be done in shallow gravel.
 
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