Originally Posted by bsmith
Ill comment on the scape and hopefully the OP can handle constructive criticism it is 100% something I wish were used more on this site but since this is a very, very friendly and close knit community people don't want to seem brash or appear to be callus or insensitive. Also from what I have found being a member on this and other sites for as long as I have is that in the vast majority of journals where the OP is looking for comments, they don't like hearing that someone has anything to say other than "WOW gorgeous or what a masterpiece". I think it would be a disservice to this site if everyone said that about everyone's tanks, then we would never learn anything. So hopefully you will use what I'm going to say to make your tank a true aquatic beauty concerning the scape. You look to have the husbandry side down alright as your plants all look relatively healthy and are certainly growing well enough.
So this brings up the actual hard scape which is comprised of anything hard like wood or rock and could be categorized as just about anything in the planted tank that does not grow. Your thin pieces of manzanita are overwhelmed/powered by the shear size of this tank. On top of them being not substantial enough they are in a spot, not sure if its due to the shape of the wood (very finger like) or the lack of something hard rooting it/tying it down to the tank instead of just the nice looking grouping of fern that is behind it. It appears that you have read up on some scaping techniques or have at least heard of the rule of thirds but pretty much what the latter boils down to is that whatever your focal point is it needs to be centered (or almost centered somehow) on an imaginary line if you were to divide the tank in to thirds from left to right. I cant explain why it is more pleasing to the eye laid out that way but I'm sure I can rekindle images of tanks with pink or neon blue inert pebbled substrate that had a bubbling skull/bubbling shipwreck/'no fishing' sign or any other myriad ridiculous petsmart/co tank decoration smack in the center of the tank. For obvious reasons the tank looked very bad but for not so obvious reasons we all knew something else was just not right. Well if they had positioned whichever aforementioned aquatic abomination just a bit more than slightly left/right of center at at least the tank would have been balanced.
You are certainly on the right track and as the plants mature things will get even better. If it were my tank I would be on the lookout for a big black/very dark angular stone that would be at a minimum tall enough to reach halfway up the height of the tank (at a minimum, you wouldn't want to risk it being overshadowed by the tank as well if you didn't rim the tank for a few weeks after when you normally do trimmings. In a perfect world this rock would almost hit the surface and if you couldn't find one that was big enough in width, I would seriously try to find one that was skinny and that you could have protruding from the rear like a mountain bursting from the sea!) to put at the the point where the manzanita emanates from/starts moving from the right to the left. I would also get some more of it that was even MORE curvacious and roughly 2x's-2.5x's thicker in diameter than the existing wood and perhaps even would start from the beginning point on the right and would be long enough and bend enough to where it would, at its highest point be about 2/3's tot he surface of the tank. If you could get 3-6 pieces of wood that could do that and put them over the existing pieces that would be amazing. Then under the branching DW hand you could have a nice thicket of crypt parva or any other very low to the ground, foreground plant you liked. Perhaps a parva thicket with a few bushes of Downoi to create more texture...
Couldn't you imagine your angels swimming playfully through the driftwood tendrils as they would in their native Amazonian home but there it would be through the actual roots and under-structure of the forest surrounding that great river? I sure can!
This is exactly what I like seeing too. Great post should be more like these.