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-   -   Critique My Scape! (http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=358345)

nofearengineer 06-15-2013 04:27 AM

Critique My Scape!
 
I received a shipment of Buckingham County Black Slate from Virginia, and the USPS was kind enough to break some of it into smaller pieces for me! :red_mouth

As I like making lemonade when life gives me lemons, I thought I would test out the slate with some of the Flourite Black Sand I have sitting around, waiting to be put in my new 75 project.

I had a spare 10 gallon sitting around, so I thought I might try an Iwagumi. Iwagumis are really new to me, and I'm not sure if I have all of the knowledge I need to have success with one, but it's worth a try.

So I spent a couple hours picking the best chips of slate, and arranging and re-arranging them tons of times, and finally came up with something I liked.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pi...ictureid=31417

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pi...ictureid=31409

Give me your thoughts and suggestions, please.

I have some Fissidens available, and I think it would look great on the rocks. Though if I were to try to get some HC, I might leave the rocks more bare?

Jonny 06-15-2013 04:55 AM

I'm still totally new to all this, so I wouldn't take my opinions with much value. But I still like to get involved :P

Firstly, that is some gorgeous rock, really stunning and the substrate makes it pop so well.

I'lld love to see it tried with two main changes to experiment. I think the two rock arrangements look great, but is there any way to raise the left section up just a little higher? Also with the top down view maybe to shift the left section back a few inches and the right section forward a few inches?

The placement within the clusters looks perfect though and wow again that is some gorgeous looking rock!

Subtletanks91 06-15-2013 06:48 AM

I love the rock and substrate, hmmmm.

Maybe if you got some manzanita branch and placed it in the back left corner with the branches coming out across the rocks, over them of course, and placing the dissidents in the branches to make a tree, so you can leave the rocks bare, it would be a great contrast.

mwuf15 06-15-2013 07:09 AM

try move them closer to the back corner. maybe like 1".

Farmer 06-15-2013 08:36 AM

Hi Nofear,

I love the look of your rock as well. Is that a single rock on the left or a stack of lots of pieces?

IMO your main problem is the rocks are not big enough nor high enough. You said you used the smaller ones. I'd be trying some larger ones as well.

Generally you should be trying to get your highest point somewhere around 2/3 of the way up the tank. At the moment it looks as though you aren't even getting half way. One reason is when you plant it the rocks will soon be covered in plant and you won't see them any more. I was talking to a guy who does aquascaping for a living and he told me he always puts his rocks on other rocks or such so they are higher than the substrate. This way when you grow a carpet you don't loose the rock formation you spent ages getting to look good. It's easier said than done though, rocks are easier to put in the substrate than on other rocks.

My advice is to look at lots of other scapes and see what you like about them and try to do similar with yours. In Iwagumi you have one main rock and all the other rocks have to be subservient to it. As in the others have to compliment it. The main rock should be bigger than the rest and placed first, then work from there.

Another thing you may want to consider is that in nature rocks like this generally all lay the same direction. As in all the lines will be on the same angle. See how they are horizontal on the left rocks and not on the right?

I like the left and Don't like the right. It's boring. I'm being blunt, not to put you down but because I know you can do better and you'll be happier when you do.

If it were me i'd be trying to add a bit of drama to the scape by having the rocks on an angle instead of flat.

Have another go and don't be afraid to use bigger rocks. If you can arrange them in a box the same size as your tank with most of the front cut out and substrate in the bottom, that way you can quickly change things and not worry about breaking glass etc.

Linds

Kathyy 06-15-2013 02:23 PM

Here is a scape with the sort of rock you have. Think bigger if not this big.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=294738

Like the rock with the substrate and the left hand structure is very nice but too small to be a main rock. The slanted rock on the right is distracting as it reflects light differently. Perhaps it is more effective in real life? Like the way you have placed the two groupings a lot.

Slippryrock 06-15-2013 02:55 PM

For just throwing it together with "spare parts" you did really well. There are few guide lines for doing iwagumi. Each rock has a role to play. Although your arrangement has some concerns, it still boils down to whether or not YOU like it.
I quite like it and depending on what species you plant and where you plant them you may be able to pull it back towards center. The slate "cliff" on the left seems to be pulling my eyes to it and it alone. But that is just me. Possibly a much smaller rock placed in front of the pile on the right hand side towards the front might add a little balance. just my thoughts. thanks for posting it. look forward to seeing it planted.

nofearengineer 06-15-2013 04:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Farmer (Post 3596881)
Is that a single rock on the left or a stack of lots of pieces?

It's a stack. I really worked with the little pieces I had and found the best (imho) combination.

Quote:

IMO your main problem is the rocks are not big enough nor high enough. You said you used the smaller ones. I'd be trying some larger ones as well.

Generally you should be trying to get your highest point somewhere around 2/3 of the way up the tank. At the moment it looks as though you aren't even getting half way. One reason is when you plant it the rocks will soon be covered in plant and you won't see them any more. I was talking to a guy who does aquascaping for a living and he told me he always puts his rocks on other rocks or such so they are higher than the substrate. This way when you grow a carpet you don't loose the rock formation you spent ages getting to look good. It's easier said than done though, rocks are easier to put in the substrate than on other rocks.
I see your point here! I've got about 70 lbs more of the slate, so I think I will find some slightly larger "base" pieces and put them under the one on the left to get it up to the 2/3 mark.

Quote:

In Iwagumi you have one main rock and all the other rocks have to be subservient to it. As in the others have to compliment it. The main rock should be bigger than the rest and placed first, then work from there.
I think once I address this issue, all of the other points will have returned to square one, so we'll see where it goes from there. The one on the right will probably have to be completely re-evaluated.

nofearengineer 06-15-2013 08:08 PM

Okay. I took what everybody said to heart and did some more work on it. I think you guys were spot on, because I'm loving it.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pi...ictureid=31497

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pi...ictureid=31489

As always, feel free to add any more suggestions!

Jonny 06-15-2013 08:45 PM

Looks fantastic from the front, on the top down view I would be interested to see if spinning the right hand stack round 180 degrees would look better. Making the overall formation of rock look thickest on the back left and thinnest on the front right.

nofearengineer 06-15-2013 10:51 PM

You're right, Jonny. I do like that better.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pi...ictureid=31505

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pi...ictureid=31513

Jonny 06-16-2013 12:14 AM

I think the tank looks amazing, I definitely want to get some similar slate for the next tank I do. Can't wait to follow as you add in the plants, any idea what you are going to do on that front?

pinkman 06-16-2013 03:44 AM

that slate looks awsm. my next tank must have slate :D

nofearengineer 06-16-2013 04:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pinkman (Post 3601641)
that slate looks awsm. my next tank must have slate :D

Thank you and everyone else for the comments and compliments. This particular type of slate has a lot of mica in it, so it shimmers in the lights at particular angles. I wish you could see it in person.

I'm not sure exactly what plants yet, though I know a couple will be fissdens, and riccia.

Other plants that have my interest right now:
Hottonia palustris
Hydrothrix gardneri
Downoi
Ranunculus Inundatus

I also want something red. Maybe a stem plant for the background or the corners.

Farmer 06-18-2013 12:24 PM

Haha! That's the way.

I don't think you can call this Iwagumi, but who cares? Looking much better. It's almost as though it's a scene from a south American jungle with Mayan pyramids.

IMO the first way you had the RHS rock stack is more fitting with the man made look. The second is more natural. So I suppose it depends what you are looking for.
I think you can get away with it the height it is. You could also make it higher. I think it would work either way. But I'm certtainly leaning toward you making the right just a bit bigger to.

To me, if it is kept the same you really need to lower the substrate a bit. Not too much, and not at the front but because the rocks down the bottom are really nice, it would be a shame to cover them. I'd be looking for plants that don't grow very high at all near the front and sides of the rock. Perhaps some taller ones at the back. I can really see a jungle clearing with an ancient ruin.

I'll comment on the plants you have suggested, but purely based on looks, I know little about individual plants.

Hottonia palustris, is nice, but I'd only put it in the far background as I'd imagine it grows tall pretty quick.
Hydrothrix gardneri, same with this one, mix it up with the others perhaps. (note it says very fast growth).
Downoi, Perfect plant IMO. Hope it's suitable. You could plant it in the very foreground and against the sides of your rocks hear and there.
Ranunculus Inundatus, Again, awesome looking plant (ooo, it's Australian, I'll have to find some.

Well done

Linds


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