Iwagumi hardscape advice
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:06 PM   #1
rice n curry man
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Iwagumi hardscape advice


Hi guys. I'm starting a 10g iwagumi style tank and I'm looking for feedback on my hardscape. I'm not sure if I understand the golden ratio rule. The photos are just two different angles.

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Thanks!!
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Old 03-05-2013, 07:59 PM   #2
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The rocks lack cohesion. I find it looks best when most rocks slide in the same direction. Or slide away from a certain point, I'm not sure how to explain it... imagine there had been an explosion and you would place the rocks around the point where the explosion happened... except, nothing so dramatic, and not all rocks around that spot, but on either side they all have their slope in the same direction, pointing away from that spot.

You could just try inverting the slope of your rocks. Those on the left would point toward the left, and those on the right would point toward the right. See how that goes.

Also, your smallest rock is probably too small, it would be hidded by the plants, and for iwagumi scapes you need too see an odd number of rocks.

All that being said, I've never done any iwagumi, but I've been looking at lots of aquascaping pictures, videos and theory lately.
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Old 03-05-2013, 08:55 PM   #3
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Rocks are way too small.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:10 PM   #4
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I think for a first attempt it's okay, but there is quite a bit you could do to improve the scape. With a little bit of thoughtfulness on how you are placing the rock things really come together. Lets go into some basic nature style aquarium aquascaping principles:

Focal Point

In a small aquarium like this you really want to create one focal point. Focal points can be created by positive or negative space. The focal point should draw the viewer to naturally rest their eyes on one spot; this allows the viewer to relax and contemplate. Aquascapes with too many or too few focal points are stressful for the viewer.

Here is an Iwagumi scape that creates a focal point with negative space:



An Iwagumi scape that creates a focal point with positive space:



The Golden Ratio

The Golden Ratio seems complicated at first, but it's really not. The basic idea is that there is a ratio of visible space that is most appealing to the human eye. In photography it's taught as the principle of thirds. In aquascaping there is really only one number you need to understand: 1.6. The Golden Ratio indicates that 1:1.6 is most visibly appealing to the human eye. What does this mean for aquascaping? That your focal point should not be centered in the tank. To figure out where the focal point should be in your tank, measure it lengthwise and divide by 2.618. This will tell you how many inches or cm the focal should be in from the left or ride side of the tank.



A quick example (Standard 10 gallon tank is 20" wide): 20 / 2.618 = 7.64".

So, you can take a ruler, mark the two points on your tank that are 7.64 inches from the left and ride side and choose one of those points as the focal point.

Iwagumi

It seems like you already understand what Iwagumi is but there are a few tips that you can use to really improve the layout. One, always use an odd number of "main" stones. This prevents you from laying them out in an "even split" and inadvertently violating the golden ratio. Second, you should choose a direction of water flow in the tank and the main stone should "flow" in that direction. Imagine that the flow of the tank has eroded the main stone over hundreds of years - the entire idea behind nature style aquariums is to try and create a scene from nature. The secondary stone can oppose the flow of the first stone to create a dramatic affect or all the stones can flow together to create a tranquil, peaceful, aquascape - it's really up to you. Regardless, just keep trying different layouts until you find something you like.

Finally, if you're interested, this is a very traditional style of Iwagumi layout called Sanzon Iwagumi. Each "named" stone has a very specific purpose. You can read more about it here [The Green Machine].

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Old 03-06-2013, 03:13 AM   #5
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Thanks for the input everyone!! I really appreciate the feedback especially because I'm new at this. So this is another scape that I came up with after a while. I think I'm going to move the right most rock back a little. I wanted to grow some glosso in the center of the rocks. Tell me what you think!
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Old 03-06-2013, 05:07 AM   #6
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Dude keep the substrate inside the tank lol
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Old 03-06-2013, 01:23 PM   #7
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The second scape is better for sure, but I would suggest one small change. Lower the angle of the tallest rock so that it's more "flat". This will take some of the depth out of the tank but the rock just isn't large enough to stand it up that tall - it's too skinny and looks unnatural. I think if you lower that main rock's angle and plant glosso in the middle you'll have a nice positive space focal point that looks like it's placed properly with the golden ratio. Also, you might want to consider sloping the substrate even more up to that focal point, might give it the allusion of more depth even though the rocks are a little small.
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:45 PM   #8
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Okay so I tilted the main rock down and made the hill a little more exaggerated. I attached a photo of what it looks like now but I don't think the picture is showing depth that awesome. The rock on the right is actually in the back between the main rock and the other small rock. I think the scape is getting better each time though. Thanks for the feedback!
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Old 03-07-2013, 01:04 AM   #9
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I like the last one a lot. If it were me, I would move on and plant - up to you though!
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Old 03-07-2013, 02:48 AM   #10
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It does look better. A few suggestions:

Level out the soil in the front.

Increase the amount of soil under the rocks. Since your rocks are smaller, a way to compensate for that is to put more soil under them. Make sure you slope towards the back of the tank. Try to visualize the scape grown in and taking up a space of the tank that you want. Where your rocks sit currently, once filled in, the whole scape will be pretty low. If you are doing a carpeted plant you will have a ton of empty space above the scape. It almost makes the scape look disproportionally small in comparison to the size of the whole tank. Or if you have biggers rocks, you could swap them out for those.
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:51 PM   #11
rice n curry man
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So this is what my tank looks like now. I might actually swap the current rocks for bigger rocks at my LFS. Should I increase the amount of soil under the rocks still? I read online that the tallest rock should be about 2/3 the the height of the tank and my tallest rock is close to that.
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:56 PM   #12
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Default Re: Iwagumi hardscape advice

Looks good. Reminds me of the lion king lmao

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Old 03-08-2013, 01:26 AM   #13
rice n curry man
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Haha ya I get that vibe too. I'm gonna keep that rock layout and plant some hc and glossy. Thanks for the feedback everyone!
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:07 AM   #14
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I think Perry wants in the tank.
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