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post #16 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by jaidexl View Post
Ok, lots of good info here, thanks everyone.

Looks like 2 and 3 are leading the race, so I'll do a few variations of those today, and try to incorporate some of your ideas.

3 was basically me just throwing all the stones in randomly after pushing the big one down. I thought it looked really cluttered and I started working with just 3 small stones and a valley, until I realized plants will most likely kill any hardscape with just the small stones.

BLAIR - Thanks for the link.

SPECIAL||PLANS - I was working directly under a ceiling fan light hoping it would mimic a fixture well. Today it's bright in the room so I'll have to put the lamp on it.

Ok, before I wreck it, here's the last version of 4 that I ended with last night. I was really digging on it, kinda bummed no one likes it, shows what I know...


what does the otherside of the large stone look like? its too flat/ smooth compared to the rest of the stone in this layout.


93g West African Biotope

Originally Posted by cdwill View Post
"C'mon, they're just plants, man, no big deal -- try some"
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post #17 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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It's really saucer shaped, about 8" diam and 4" high, with a few flat surfaces making the most of it, and a round quarter that would make a great peak in a large tank. I tried to make it seem more oblong in the scape by showing the side of the 'saucer' pointing up. It has some awesome character but it's the overall shape that I don't like, really limits what I do in this small tank, but it might just be my stubbornness. I took a bunch of photos of it and will post them in a while.

I tried what you and others suggested and I was really struggling to make it work, but I did stumble into a valley scape and worked it into something I'm digging now. Just have to wait for the camera battery to charge. :\
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post #18 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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Somehow I lost all the pictures of the large rock. Here are todays progressions. I hope this page loads ok.







More angles of 9

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post #19 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 07:17 PM
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I really like 9. might a suggest HC would fill in nicely and stay nice and low as to compliment this scape. I would probably just use HC as anything else taller may ruin the feel this has.


93g West African Biotope

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"C'mon, they're just plants, man, no big deal -- try some"
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post #20 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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That's what I was thinking too. Or possibly hair grass or UG in the back corners, starting just behind little chips on either side? I think the chips will have to be placed on the grown-in plants or pegged up to be significant after everything fills in. They're not dug in at all.
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post #21 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 07:36 PM
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#3 for me!

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post #22 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 07:58 PM
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You're on the right track. Today's layouts are a considerable improvement over yesterday's.

Keep playing around with the rocks. You're really close.
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post #23 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Craigthor View Post
I really like 9. might a suggest HC would fill in nicely and stay nice and low as to compliment this scape. I would probably just use HC as anything else taller may ruin the feel this has.

Agreed although I still like #3

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post #24 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 09:18 PM
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i think in today's layout #8 and #9 you got the best rockface for the big rock, i would keep that rockface for the big rock from #8 & #9 and make a few more arrangements and see where it goes, i agree that you are very close... almost there, but i would like to say that at the end of the day you have to really like whatever it is regardless of what any of us are saying and i feel like you have not reached that moment!

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post #25 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-12-2009, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help, everyone!

Well, it's crunch time for moving and time to start tearing tanks down. Just got a 29 and a 110 moved over and set up, 2 down 5 to go.

So, needless to say, this little thing will have to wait. I'll be back in a few days! -J
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post #26 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-13-2009, 12:38 AM
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number 3
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post #27 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-13-2009, 12:58 AM
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I like numbers 2 & 3.
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post #28 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-13-2009, 11:08 PM
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the substrate carving in #5 has an awesome sense of depth but the way the rocks facing don't really factor in. there positions are good. i took a couple of what i thought were the best aspects of the ones people liked and put them together. this may not even be feasible with the rocks you have but i feel like once the plants are incorporated it will really entertain the eye. bare in mind i did this in 5 minutes.

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post #29 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-14-2009, 01:53 AM
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I just got done moving myself, now i'm playing the waiting game for the tanks to arrive! Leave it to the one day i'm flying across the country for an Iwagumi thread to pop up. Anyway, enough of that, lets roll up the sleeves and get to work.

First observation - EVERY Iwagumi aquascaper on the face of the planet that at least knows the basic concept of what they're doing is almost never satisfied with their rocks. Take solace in the fact that your anguish is shared amongst the rest of us Iwagumi scapers to an almost masochistic extreme. The quest for better stones is a never ending endeavor. However, you do have a good selection to work with, so take heart.

As for the aquascape, you have good instincts, listen to them. in terms of Iwagumi design and rules #4 of the day one set was indeed your best composition, and I will explain why.

#1 Has potential - and is probably your second best aquascape of the fold (from day 1), because it uses the texture of the rock to it's advantage to create a mountainscape (which Manten is more mountainesque than say, rugged coastline or jagged cliff). However you need to have the rocks be more present - they'd get engulfed by plants the second they were planted, so you'd need to maintain the height, and lessen the soil to emphasize the stone placement - otherwise you'd have ended up with a mound of plants and forgot that the rocks are even there.

#2 as blair pointed out is moving too much in one direction - which works sometimes, but not in this case. Here it just throws off the balance. Also, the stones are kind of used in a similar fashion to how you would use, say Shou or other slate-like stones. This causes the manten stones to be placed at weird angles that just doesn't fit right with the feel of the stones (as I mentioned earlier, they aren't so much the jagged look). Usually 'points' used in Manten stones are reserved only for the main and main support stones to create impressions in the way the rock might naturally fall. Basically, the striaght edges of your stone works against you.

#3 is too low - there is too much open space above the rocks that de-emphasize their presence in the scape (which is very important in a rock only aquascape), they're simply not set high enough (or not big enough) to make much of an impact in the long run. Also, as blair mentioned, they are crowded together too aggressively, which when I look at it, it's hard to discern which stone is the main stone (since all the stones are on an even height level just about, and blended together too well), without the prior knowledge of which stone you've been actively using as your main stone. However it is a step in the right direction.

#4 hit the whammy. #4 is a very good layout choice for the feel of manten stone, to me it looks almost instantly balanced as far as initial placement and soil work is concerned and I can instantly discern where the main stone is. The space in front of the main stone area also serves as a good focal area to emphasize a section of the carpet, and it seems like the shadows would work to your advantage when the lighting is used. However, there are a few adjustments, first you need more soil, the main hill has to be higher up to avoid the "too much" open space up top syndrome, which as previously stated would understate the impression of the stonework. It's a very common error to not have enough appropriate height in an Iwagumi layout, so don't fret it too much (in fact in some of my aquascapes i've gone the opposite way and had -too much- height in the layout). Also the stone in the left back should not be at the same height as the main stone. Think of it this way: The main stone is the alpha male lion, the main support stones are the female lions, and the small support stones are the cubs. Now, the cubs have -zero- business toying around or even pretending they're of the same calibur as the alpha male, and have to be submissive to the alpha. The female lions, act as the primary support network for the alpha by hunting and providing more cubs for the pride - ergo they've earned the right to be in the immediate presence of the alpha and at -almost- an even keel with the alpha, but still not quite, they're still lower.

The other thing to adjust, is to try to show us other faces of the main stone, while in the same position it's in now, i'm sure that rock has a more personable side it's dying to show us and bring the scape together. Past that it would come down to basically making small adjustments in the spacing between the stones and their basic positionings and angles. But I think this one has the most hidden potential. As a side note, #9 from your recent scapes does has potential too, and I think it's your best scape from day 2, but whether to work iwth #4 or #9 is dependent on what kind of impression you want to give off - #4 is more about balance and stability, #9 is more about domination.
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post #30 of 48 (permalink) Old 07-14-2009, 02:55 AM
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After close scrutiny I would have to agree with Francis. To put it bluntly, without a doubt the other scapes are either boring or just plain lack the quality necessary to make an iwagumi interesting and successful. The scape of #4 with an immaculate carpet in the foreground really would work well. I'll eat my words on the crowded part as I have never personally worked with Manten stone, but after looking at other examples and reevaluating this arrangement, I have to concur that you have really hit it on the nose. The distant piece in the back left and the small pieces on the right help it stay dynamic. With plant growth these will hide a bit, but I think that will truly be a great advantage. Well done!

Arrangement #9 is also excellent. It is a powerful or 'dominating' scape as previously stated as that large stone commands the others who seem to bow at its feet. With that said, compared to #4 I just don't see the same long term satisfaction. However, side-by-side with most iwagumi's out there, it far surpasses 90% of them and should not be tossed out for consideration if you are feeling that this emotion is better for you and your purpose.

If it was my tank: Number 4.
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