Hi Wolf! Sorry about the delayed response back! Thank you....I'm not sure if it's a "great" story, really. It's the story of how most of us start in this hobby: from humble beginnings, we pick up the skills and knowledge necessary to keep improving on our previous experiences and set ups. Patience and persistence both play huge roles in anything, especially when you are starting out. I go back in this thread and read some of the comments regarding how the "top" of this set current set up looks so much better than the aquatic portion. My response was that they need to be patient, and that the aquatic portion needed more time to catch up to the top as I have predominantly slow-growing buces and crypts. A "long-term" scape is not a "Shake N' Bake" type of thing. It takes a bit of vision to see the potential of what the tank will look like over the course of a few months, to a year, to a few years. My last set up with this tank was a high growth stem plan, and it was easy to see new or dramatic results quickly. It was colorful, grew like mad, and required a ton of maintenance that I just don't have time for. Iwagumi tanks are created in a similar vein: the rock placement takes time, the substrate sloping takes time, but after planting with a fast carpeting species, an Iwagumi typically looks fairly polished and complete within a month or two. The same can be said about a Dutch scape or really any tank that employs the use of fast-growing carpets or stems. This current tank I have going really isn't meant to look "finished" for about another year or so, after the anubia and buces have had time to grow over more of the Seriyu stone and the top plants have had a little more time to fill in some of the gaps and spacing. And, with such low maintenance, it's much easier on my lower back!
I would suggest to anyone that before they start a new tank, consider not only what you want it to look like in the near-future, but what it's going to look like in a year after set up. How hard or easy will it be to accomplish that vision, and how often do you want to change things around? For me, I love working on my tank, but I don't like having to give it constant attention....that's what kids and spouses are for (I'm glad my wife doesn't read these posts, btw!
zzrguy: Thank you very much! The last two starts have been pretty successful for me, and I'm very grateful for all of the nice compliments and attention they have gotten. And duly so. Nature makes some pretty fantastic stuff, man! We're just curators.
Slammed: You are always more than welcome to swing by! However, this is a pressurized set up!! I run CO2 through a needle wheel impeller-based pump. Sorry buddy....I should be more clear.