Scapeless and uninspired, but overwhelmed with plants. What to do? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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Scapeless and uninspired, but overwhelmed with plants. What to do?

I have a ton of plants that just keep growing and growing and growing! The problem is I don't have a scape design and can't seem to figure out how to come up with one.

And, actually, I need four designs, not just one.

Where do you start when you're uninspired? I really need to scape my 75g and 90g high tech tanks. I just cleaned out my 75g tank because it was so overgrown, the plants kept reaching the surface, and now my 90g is having the same problem only there are far more plants in that tank. My plan all along was to move some of the plants from the 90g to the 75g which I'm ready to do, but I don't know which plants to move or how to arrange them.

Making matters worse, I have a bunch of crypts from the days when I let my 75g go low tech. While I plan to keep some of them in my 90g and 75g tanks, I have more crypts than I want for those tanks so I'd like to move some over to my two 29g tanks. Those tanks don't have a scape either. So when I move the crypts over, I really need to scape those tanks, too.

So that means I need to come up with 4 scapes! And I can't even figure out one!

Meanwhile, the plants just keep growing and growing and growing! Any ideas of how to sort out my mess?

Vicki —Rena Filstar pimp #142 (four XP4s/three XP2s/one XP1) • Eheim pimp #301 (Pro II 2128) • Victor pimp #27 (VTS-253B-320)

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 05:31 PM
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I'd sell some plants on the swap n shop or craigslist. You sound overwhelmed - maybe it's time to downgrade the # of tanks you have? If that's not an option, check out the journal threads, someone's tank may inspire you Sometimes it takes one nice piece of manzanita or a group of nice rocks for inspiration too - you could build the tank around them. Good luck!

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 05:44 PM
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sometimes less = more
use only 1 to 4 plant types.


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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 05:46 PM
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Id clear one out and start from scratch. I like going to the "your tanks" section on this form and sorting by rating. There isen't really an uninspireing one for the first few pages. I always have tons of ideas, I just never have the money to buy the hardscape I like. Just pick 2-3 of your favorites and try and copy the aspects you like.

For extra plants, Id try and sell/RAOK your next trimmings. I end up throwing out alot of stems because I dont have room to keep em...
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 05:59 PM
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I used to look at the aquascaping contests for inspiration until they all started becoming slight variations of the same iwagumi layout (or the typical valley in the middle)...

It sounds cliche but I think looking at fish in their wild habitats is fun and you could find inspiration there. Though most of it will be in the form of hardscapes, lol (i.e http://www.aquapress-bleher.com/inde...id=3&Itemid=40)
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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I like Dutch designs, but I don't see very many people do them.

Vicki —Rena Filstar pimp #142 (four XP4s/three XP2s/one XP1) • Eheim pimp #301 (Pro II 2128) • Victor pimp #27 (VTS-253B-320)

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WallaceGrover View Post
I used to look at the aquascaping contests for inspiration until they all started becoming slight variations of the same iwagumi layout (or the typical valley in the middle)...
Bingo! That's exactly the problem I'm running into. That design was fantastic when I first saw it, but I've seen it year after year after year to the point I'm sick of it. I want something else.

Vicki —Rena Filstar pimp #142 (four XP4s/three XP2s/one XP1) • Eheim pimp #301 (Pro II 2128) • Victor pimp #27 (VTS-253B-320)

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Complexity View Post
I like Dutch designs, but I don't see very many people do them.
I say go for it! I think jungle/dutch aquariums don't present as well in photograph but I certainly like watching fish go in and out of thickly planted tanks at the LFS...
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 06:14 PM
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Dutch designs appeared with regularity in the early contest years. They always struck me as the finicky plant collector's dream design: just let the plant's colors, shapes and forms interact with each other.

Look at the early contest tanks.

http://showcase.aquatic-gardeners.org/index.html

Now look at your plants. Which would look nice next to or behind another?

Assemble. Stare at it for two or three weeks, trimming to taste. Move that one. Expand this one. Enjoy the scaping part of the hobby of growing aquatic plants.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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Great link! Thank you! You're right, the older contests do have more dutch designs. At least they have tanks with designs that are different from what I'm seeing right now. That's exactly what I need.

And you're both right, I should just go for it. What's the worst that can happen? I find the need to move the plants around again? It's no worse than what I have now, and I don't mind moving the plants around. My substrate is very amendable to letting me rip up plants and replant as much as I want.

Vicki —Rena Filstar pimp #142 (four XP4s/three XP2s/one XP1) • Eheim pimp #301 (Pro II 2128) • Victor pimp #27 (VTS-253B-320)

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 07:59 PM
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I think it would be neat to try to reproduce an iconic landscape that has special meaning. For instance, there is a small mountain near my home that rises out of a rolling piedmont. Technically, it's called a monadnock. That would be very inspiring and beautiful to me. Is there anything of similar interest for you? I also draw inspiration from landscape photography and paintings and impressionist paintings. I think for Dutch-style tanks, with the combination of colors and textures, impressionist paintings could be an excellent source of inspiration.

There is an author/speaker named Seth Godin who talks about a purple cow...something so different, it grabs your attention. You can always do something that has never even been considered in a planted tank. Purple cow!

Salty


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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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For me, it's the combination of colors and textures. I simply love the plants. All of them! I especially love red plants. I've always liked red in my outside gardens, as well (I tend to plant red flowers).

That just made me realize something else. I'm not really that much of a hardscape person. Even in my outside gardens, I use monkey grass for borders instead of a hardscape border. I prefer the green color and the soft, natural curves of the grass over hard stone. I'm sitting at my patio right now, and when I look at my gardens, there's very little hardscape (only some where it's required for a purpose), but it's way over planted. I guess I liked collecting plants when I was gardening outside long before I stared with planted tanks.

So I guess that's my style so to speak. Plants. Lots of them. With red mixed in. So that's what I'll go for.

Vicki —Rena Filstar pimp #142 (four XP4s/three XP2s/one XP1) • Eheim pimp #301 (Pro II 2128) • Victor pimp #27 (VTS-253B-320)

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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I think I just figured out how I might be able to sort through my overwhelming number of plants. Since I keep a database of my plants, I'll just use that to sort through which plants I can keep in each tank, and then select the plants for a scape from those.

I'll have to start with my 29g tanks since I need to pull out the crypts from the 75g and 90g to put in the two 29g tanks. So I can make a list of all the plants that I know will do well in my 29g tanks and draw up a design. That way I won't end up with plants in all four tanks ripped up at the same time.

Vicki —Rena Filstar pimp #142 (four XP4s/three XP2s/one XP1) • Eheim pimp #301 (Pro II 2128) • Victor pimp #27 (VTS-253B-320)

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2012, 11:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Complexity View Post
For me, it's the combination of colors and textures. I simply love the plants. All of them! I especially love red plants. I've always liked red in my outside gardens, as well (I tend to plant red flowers).

That just made me realize something else. I'm not really that much of a hardscape person. Even in my outside gardens, I use monkey grass for borders instead of a hardscape border. I prefer the green color and the soft, natural curves of the grass over hard stone. I'm sitting at my patio right now, and when I look at my gardens, there's very little hardscape (only some where it's required for a purpose), but it's way over planted. I guess I liked collecting plants when I was gardening outside long before I stared with planted tanks.

So I guess that's my style so to speak. Plants. Lots of them. With red mixed in. So that's what I'll go for.
If you don't like hardscape then its even more important to plant in groupings that are separated by height/color/texture/etc. If you don't, all those beautiful plants just get jumbled together and "lost in translation"...which is where I think you might be at now.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2012, 01:07 AM
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Welcome to my world

The 'scaping' that I like the most in my tank happened by accident. It was supposed to be a grow out / holding tank. When I had extra plants from other tanks I would just dump them into that tank in the spots that instinctively and subconsciously felt 'right'. I used some stones and driftwood to just keep the plants in the substrate. After about a week or so I looked at that tank and I liked it. And that's how I been keeping it for about a year now.

In short, if you try and try, and dig and move and overthink, it becomes a chore and never reaches the 'perfection' you might have in your head. Let it out, be an artista, make it come from your heart... do what feels natural and pleasing. I think that's how the best art 'happens'.

Of course, it's much harder to do with an established tank. So, I followed my own advise. Sent the girls shopping for a day and just moved the majority of the plants from my 65G into kitchen sinks. Took a bunch of the same plants from the sink - dump it into the tank. Once it looked about right, I arranged the groups of the plants by size. Took an hour break and planted the plants. I like that tank a lot better now. What was left in the sink went to SnS.

You can do it!

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