Lake Superior hardscape critique
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Old 05-25-2013, 12:39 AM   #1
lullafishi
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Lake Superior hardscape critique


I was hoping to get some thoughts on my very first hardscape attempt.

I thought I'd start placing a few rocks in with my driftwood... and ended up getting carried away in the moment. I only have two pieces of driftwood and absolutely no plants yet, so I'm relying heavily on the rocks for composition. I imagine once I start adding in plants, I'll have to start removing rocks to keep a balanced composition.

The rocks are all from Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, and I rather like the look of it, but I'm planning for a tropical community tank. So tropical fish may or may not look ridiculous paired with these rocks, lol.

Any thoughts or suggestions to make it stronger?

Since taking the photos, I've already noticed the cluster of rocks in the left foreground looks unnatural, so I may try bringing the small piece of driftwood in front of them and re-arranging them behind/around the wood.





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Old 05-25-2013, 12:51 AM   #2
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JMO, but overall I think it looks too "arranged" for my liking. The big stone on the right side also looks out of place. Not trying to be hard on ya... again, that's JMO.
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Old 05-25-2013, 12:56 AM   #3
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I love the color contrast against the darker substrate.

The wood branches look great where they are but i feel the stones in the left foreground could be repositioned to look more natural and less linear, perhaps either staggering or simply remove just one to keep an odd number of stones in that corner.
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Old 05-25-2013, 12:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan's85 View Post
JMO, but overall I think it looks too "arranged" for my liking. The big stone on the right side also looks out of place. Not trying to be hard on ya... again, that's JMO.
No worries, you're not being too hard. I can see what you mean by it looking "arranged". Most of my rocks are very smooth and round from waves, and its proving to be a difficult shape to work with.
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Old 05-25-2013, 01:01 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by acitydweller View Post
I love the color contrast against the darker substrate.

The wood branches look great where they are but i feel the stones in the left foreground could be repositioned to look more natural and less linear, perhaps either staggering or simply remove just one to keep an odd number of stones in that corner.
Yes, those ones started bugging me, too. I've removed one and staggered them more, and brought the little piece of driftwood forward to give it more focus.

I think maybe the background clump on the left side is also starting to feel too uniform in height.
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Old 05-25-2013, 07:58 AM   #6
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Lullafishi, if your rocks are too smooth, put them in a burlap sack (read pillowcase haha) and bash against some concrete, or a much larger rock. nice rock shards should come from this exercise.

What kind of Black sand did you get, as I must have missed that glancing through.


also, on the Scape it's self, I like the right side and the driftwood.
Personally I would remove all the tan or all the red rocks, only one off Chromatic color scheme Kinda guy that I am.
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Old 05-25-2013, 01:05 PM   #7
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Personally I like all the different color rocks, I too few like there are parts a bit too organized...

One thing that i see is missing though are smalls, like pea sized to quarter size, I would say get a handful and dump it over what you have. Yea its not a huge detail, but there always small stones in the mix of large ones.

As for the tropical fish looking "off" in the scape, just don't go for the very flashy colorful ones... look into black and silver (ish) colors such as black skirts for example
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Old 05-25-2013, 03:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maechael View Post
Lullafishi, if your rocks are too smooth, put them in a burlap sack (read pillowcase haha) and bash against some concrete, or a much larger rock. nice rock shards should come from this exercise.

What kind of Black sand did you get, as I must have missed that glancing through.
Fantastic suggestion to get shards, but unfortunately I'm borrowing most of these from my parents and they would be devastated if I broke them, haha. A lot of them were collected on various trips they took and they have sentimental value. Playing the daughter card was the only way I could get my dad to even agree to let me use them in my scape, lol.

I'm using Black Diamond 20/40 blasting grit, rinsed in several times in a bucket. I've got root tabs I'll be adding for plants.

I bought two bags of Black Diamond for my 40B, but surprisingly this is only one bag. It's about 1" in the front, 1.5" in the middle, and 2" in the background. Is this a good depth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardy85 View Post
Personally I like all the different color rocks, I too few like there are parts a bit too organized...

One thing that i see is missing though are smalls, like pea sized to quarter size, I would say get a handful and dump it over what you have. Yea its not a huge detail, but there always small stones in the mix of large ones.

As for the tropical fish looking "off" in the scape, just don't go for the very flashy colorful ones... look into black and silver (ish) colors such as black skirts for example
I like the colors, too. You're right about the lack of small stones, thanks for pointing that out!

Lol, I totally want the flashy ones. I just love color so much. I'm thinking I'll start with a rock-dominate scape because that's what I currently have and I reeeeally want to start cycling this, but then work on getting more driftwood to create something with more tropical flare.
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Old 05-25-2013, 03:31 PM   #9
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Look into apistos, I think they'd fit that. Kinda tough looking, but the males can be very colorful

Even the females when they get into breeding mood can turn bright yellow. You could toss 1 or 2 cichlid stones in there that would fit in and they would love them
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:47 PM   #10
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The depth of your sand is entirely up to you, however if you have larger rooted plants planned for this, I'd recommend a bit deeper substrate, not required but Could help.

My black sand was a pain to truly rinse, but I went with TCC black blasting grit, it took forever.
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Old 05-25-2013, 11:27 PM   #11
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your big branch needs a rock or substrate covering up that cut end showing in the front. Besides that, everything else looks good. definitely will be awesome to see some grow on the ground and the wood =)
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Old 05-26-2013, 04:13 AM   #12
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Default Re: Lake Superior hardscape critique

Overall I like the way things look, I do agree that the front left looks a little too arranged. Also done smaller rocks will help to make it more natural. If you don't have smaller rocks that have been collected, you could always pick up a small bag of river rocks.

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Old 05-26-2013, 12:26 PM   #13
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i also agee with arranged rocks, the wood might fit better if some of it was under the substrate, that way it looks more natural, this would also be a good focal point for some rocks to hide the substrate/wood interface
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Old 05-26-2013, 06:01 PM   #14
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Followed the advice of sinking the cut edge of the wood into the substrate (how did I miss that detail?!) and did some re-arranging. I had to ditch the large rock that was behind the wood because I'm fairly certain it has calcium carbonate deposits. Too bad, because it has gorgeous green veins when wet. But I do like how the focus is more on the wood in this scape.

I also stole some river rocks from my little guppy tank and found a few other quartz pieces I had in my collection. Much more variation now. Hopefully it's a big improvement?



(P.S. some of the smaller stones may be standing out as too bright/colorful in comparison, but that's only because the large rocks are currently dry and the small ones are wet)
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Old 05-26-2013, 06:21 PM   #15
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I think it looks great. Very natural.
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