Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Hawaii, but Claremont for school
Petrified wood is a great material, both structurally and aesthetically. However, the decision to use it means turning down many possible designs. On the other hand, this narrowing of options is often welcomed by artists in any discipline-- we call it focus. I have to admit I myself have never had the chance to use petrified wood, but I've seen it used effectively in 1 of 2 ways--
--In an "open field tank" using strictly ground cover plants, with the petrified wood sticking out. If conservative pieces are chosen the lay out becomes more gentle, while if sharply shaped pieces are chosen the lay out becomes dynamic.
--As the foundation of an "island" of plants. The island can be positioned left, right, or middle. Middle is generally only preferable in a large tank, because it will split the lay out in half. If islands are created with equal shape on both sides, I would recommend the two islands have very different plants, because having a mirror-image tank is usually ineffective. The golden ratio can be used for better balance. If you do this style, I would try to over shade the petrified wood with plants in the island, because the light color of the petrified wood might take all the attention. Bolbitis is a perfect plant for shading over the petrified wood.
I'd also consider doing a "light feel" tank, because lighter plants can compete for attention with the light color of the petrified wood. Such a lay out would use plants like glosso, hemianthus/micranthemoide sp., riccia, cypris helferi, and other plants that have light colors. In such a tank, focal points could be accented by darker plants such as anubias and mosses.
It's also good to be creative, maybe you can find your own way of using it.