ADA = Paint-By-Number? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-29-2008, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
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ADA = Paint-By-Number?

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Originally Posted by macclellan View Post
'All-ADA' tanks are only a few steps removed from more complicated, higher priced, paint-by-number kits and not too much different from buying an outfit off the rack and imagining oneself a fashion designer.
This comment was posted in my 60-P thread. Is this insinuating that anyone who has an ADA setup also is a talentless dolt? Is it saying that when you buy ADA gear, that the aquascape comes with it?

Seems to be an unbelieveably myopic, close minded statement.


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post #2 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-29-2008, 11:27 AM
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Let me start out by saying your tank looks great. I am very new at aquariums (June of this year) but I personally think that all the ADA tank setups that Iíve seen have a very similar look about them. They are different but yet somehow they all look alike. Iím not saying that the person has no talent for aquascaping but to my eyes it looks like all the other ADA tanks. IMHO
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post #3 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-29-2008, 12:58 PM
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I'd like to know exactly how that conclusion was drawn.....

I have seen quite a few ADA aquarium journals on this and other planted aquarium forums that are just painfully awful to look at. Bad selection and placement of hardscape, and bad selection and placement of plants.

If setting up with ADA was as fool proof as the quoted comment leads us to believe, then we'd never see a bad ADA set up.

Nah....that comment seems more than a little unfounded to me.

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post #4 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-29-2008, 01:04 PM
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Since I'm not going back to look at that thread I may be answering a bit out of context but maybe he was referring to ADA setups looking similar in regards to the same glassware, lighting, stands, etc. Which shouldn't be surprising since it's the same glassware, lighting, stands, etc. I've seen some gorgeous ADA tanks along with some ugly ones. To be honest, I really don't understand the animosity some people seem to have towards ADA. If you want that look and to make that financial investment that's fine. If not, that's fine also.
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post #5 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-29-2008, 01:22 PM
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Wow Roybot, that one got to you; I hope this means that it got you thinking about it and wanting to discuss it, both of which are good things. Note, however, the "laugh emoticon" in what you quoted, i.e. don't take it too literally or seriously. The "Paint by the Numbers" line was hyperbole and used for rhetorical effect; it looks like it worked! If I were to phrase it more carefully and less playfully, I'd say something like this:

ADA is a company that markets aquarium products, primarily to produce "Nature Aquarium" style planted freshwater aquascapes. My point was twofold:
1). "Nature Aquarium" is akin to, or is, an art movement. It delimits a style with boundries of inclusion (and thereby exclusion), forming implicit or explicit 'rules' as to what can and cannot be done. This doesn't make one a "talentless dolt" - there are many famous artists that have worked within schools, and many entries in ADA's competitions attest to this (and also many who try and fail, showing that it ain't easy!). It isn't exactly saying that "when you buy ADA gear, the aquascape comes with it" either, but this is closer to the truth, especially if you get hardscaping materials included. It does happen to be the case, not surprisingly, that many who spend the $ on all the ADA gear end up doing a Nature Aquarium-style tank. I'm sure you've seen the countless threads where folks pour over their Amano book to make artistic decisions - the results are all too predictable, and I take it that, while predictability and creativity aren't total opposites, there is definitely some tension between them. I'm surprised ADA doesn't offer "prearranged layouts" with the wood and stone siliconed in place to save their followers some unnecessary headaches (that too was hyperbole).
You may say that working in a school "provides structure for creativity," and I can buy into that to a certain point, but it also imposes limits on creativity and in a sense makes it easy. There is something to the adage that "emulation is the highest form of flattery, but my take is that it speaks more highly of the flattered than the flatterer. Emulation is an important part of almost any learning process, but learning doesn't stop there.

2). In the case of a typical art movement, you just buy the materials (paint or whatever) from whatever store and work in that style, but there's a deeper connection between the business end and the art/architecture/design end when it comes to ADA. I'm sure there are analogues elsewhere, but I don't know of any other examples where participating in a school/movement requires such extensive brand loyalty. In the case of ADA, it seems to be about $200/g for the smaller tanks, most of which consists in high double to low triple figures for small pieces of glass, metal, and overpriced bottles of mostly water. I've never been into "Pay to Play" and have a general dislike for consumerism and view the blending of marketing and art with some suspicion.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate Amano's work, and a lot of the Nature Aquarium tanks look quite nice. But, I see them for what they are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Momotaro View Post
I have seen quite a few ADA aquarium journals on this and other planted aquarium forums that are just painfully awful to look at. Bad selection and placement of hardscape, and bad selection and placement of plants.

If setting up with ADA was as fool proof as the quoted comment leads us to believe, then we'd never see a bad ADA set up. If setting up with ADA was as fool proof as the quoted comment leads us to believe, then we'd never see a bad ADA set up.
Nah....that comment seems more than a little unfounded to me.
Have you ever done a paint-by-number? It's really hard to stay in line! I've seen plenty of bad outfits too.
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post #6 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-29-2008, 02:35 PM
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Bravo Mac! Thanks for saying what I have thinking for a long long while!

Planted aquaria have been an important part of my life for the past 30 or so years. I consider myself a true hobbyist. I love seeing everyones tanks here wether they are a stem of Hygro in a goldfish bowl or a behemoth 300Gal planted to the hilt. Indeed I surf into this forum 20-30 times a day in an effort to quench my eternal thirst for more of the same.

Sometimes though, I get tired of all the OOOOHS and AHHHHS when it comes to ADA. It seems that everyone wants one and they do all tend to look alike to a certain extent. It is formulaic and a grand marketing scheme at best. For example: I don't think I've ever seen an ADA tank with Flourite used as a substrate...... If Flourite caused the same problems that Aquasoil does it would not be used. Plain and simple. But why do some go to the ends of the Earth to get Aquasoil to work? It is beyond me.

ADA doest not make a "Nature Aquarium" the hobbyist does. With that said I do enjoy looking at ADA scapes. For the most part they are beautiful. But how many times can you paint the Mona Lisa? I am not suggesting that anyone should avoid the ADA template instead they should strive to make it their own.

Please be gentle on me for posting this.
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post #7 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-29-2008, 02:50 PM
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I'm kind of split on ADA tanks and accessories. Like macclellan, I think instead of simply being a tool they are turning into more of an artistic movement with all ADA tanks kind of looking very similar. Of course, they all look beautiful and require more art skill then I would probably ever possess, but ADA tanks with the manzanita driftwood are starting to lose their shine a bit.

Would I ever buy an ADA tank? Maybe. I've thought about buying one as a "show" tank at some point in the future, as the two tanks I currently possess look more like semi-scaped lab tanks.

However, they are prohibitively expensive and sometimes it seems like those that can afford ADA materials have a much easier time aquascaping their tanks. I think that integrating or hiding those green Eheim tubes into a layout is far more difficult then lily pipes.

Like maclellan alluded to, if you buy lily pipes, the ADA tank, the ADA light, the ADA stand, Aquasoil, ADA driftwood, ADA stones...God help your checking account. I think all these things make aquascaping far easier. There's nothing wrong with using ADA products such as glass pipes, rimless tanks, and lights to make a nicer-looking layout, but on the other hand, I do think it takes considerably more talent to tank an old tank, grab whatever rocks, wood, plants you can get your hands on, and create a beautiful aquascape out of that with a considerably smaller budget.

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post #8 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-29-2008, 02:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdTheEdge View Post
Bravo Mac! Thanks for saying what I have thinking for a long long while!

Planted aquaria have been an important part of my life for the past 30 or so years. I consider myself a true hobbyist. I love seeing everyones tanks here wether they are a stem of Hygro in a goldfish bowl or a behemoth 300Gal planted to the hilt. Indeed I surf into this forum 20-30 times a day in an effort to quench my eternal thirst for more of the same.

Sometimes though, I get tired of all the OOOOHS and AHHHHS when it comes to ADA. It seems that everyone wants one and they do all tend to look alike to a certain extent. It is formulaic and a grand marketing scheme at best. For example: I don't think I've ever seen an ADA tank with Flourite used as a substrate...... If Flourite caused the same problems that Aquasoil does it would not be used. Plain and simple. But why do some go to the ends of the Earth to get Aquasoil to work? It is beyond me.

ADA doest not make a "Nature Aquarium" the hobbyist does. With that said I do enjoy looking at ADA scapes. For the most part they are beautiful. But how many times can you paint the Mona Lisa? I am not suggesting that anyone should avoid the ADA template instead they should strive to make it their own.

Please be gentle on me for posting this.
I think you brought up another good point with the Flourite. It's uncommon for ADA tanks to mix and match things. I think an ADA tank with Flourite would be fine, or maybe a cheaper glass pipe instead of the lily pipes.

I think some ADA products are way too overpriced, like the lily pipes, diffusers, and especially the fertilizers. They have cool names like Brightly-K, but do you really think there's anything special in them besides just various mixes of macro and micro fertilizers? I can't see any reason to buy them besides the "cool" factor.

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post #9 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-29-2008, 03:09 PM
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just my thought...

people with ADA drive BMW, Mercedes
people with non-ADA drive HONDA, TOYOTA, etc

both can enjoy ride

but different in style...

and

PRICE....

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post #10 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-29-2008, 03:56 PM
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Wish I could afford one. Cause I am a "talentless dolt" and need everything spelled out.
I'm just happy to have plants. And while mine look like a jungle that a three year old did. That is ok. My complany is always impressed and my fish are happy.

My planted tank. 55 gallon fluorite substrate over soil, 64 watts of light, excel twice a week. Weekly water changes. Angelfish pair, guppies, BN plecos and otos. Redone 11/13/2012
One non planted tanks. 75 gallon.
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post #11 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-29-2008, 03:57 PM
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Copy a good design, pay a fortune, you should do better than a DIY route

Nothing wrong with that.
This is not exclusive to ADA, Dupla suggested it 25 years before.
Some saw it as cookie cutter.
Many railed against all the $$$ equipment etc.
Turned out that we could buy local CO2 equipment, make our own Poor Man Dupla Drops, did not need cables and a dozen of other things, but Dupla did bring CO2 gas systems to the hobby in a big widespread way. So that was a huge benefit to the hobby.

However, as far as design and scaping goes, the person, the amount and consistency of effort they put into their tank, not the product, not the method....... is 99% of the result.

This is gardening and over time, the amount of care shows.

Perhaps some of the perceived animosity is really just the faith based approach and some of the kooky claims(penac- come on, you are mindless if you fall for that and ADA does support and sell that garbage). Some of the products work and work well, some are obvious, the tanks are well made and very nice. Some products are nothing short of extremely debatable/questionable at best........

But this was true with Dupla 25 years before..........
So some critique is good, but you need to be fair about it.

Still, both bring some nice items to the hobby, even if 50% are baloney.
Now figuring out which part is real is key here, something many hobbyists did in the past with Dupla.

They used common sense, testing and DIY to find cheaper and more simple approaches. Look at DIY ADA light rails, DIY ADA Cabinets-some are downright nice and a full 800$ cheaper.

ADA is far more elusive than Dupla about what is in any of their products, perhaps product protection, Seachem does this to some degree, but is a lot more forthcoming..........at least I do not get wise crack responses from Dupla or Seachem or lame poetry.

There will always be folks out there that toss common sense and testing out the window and take things on faith.

Those folks are mindless...........that's what occurs when you do not use the mind and common sense.......the very definition of mindless. It is not an ADA issue however no more than a diet pill issue, a Dupla issue, a political zealot issue. Some simply do not care either way, many are apathetic about it all.

Still, ADA makes a nice product line and you pay for it. Some are worth it to me. Some are not and I cannot find anyway to offer support for them. Some are just outright kooky. Dupla had some particular items, but nothing as whacked as Penac.

Penac ought to be stopped. Supporting that monkey business, selling it, selling ADA "wine" etc......Sort of begs for folks to go after it if you ask me.

If you make a product line that makes it easier for folks to produce a nice looking SCAPE then it does help the hobby, whether they make $ at it or not, is a business question/issue. I certainly do not think Amano/ADA should give a darn thing away for free. However, I still need to know if the product is useful and presented/,MARKETED in such a way that I will buy it and keep buying it.

If I use it and it does not do as claimed or I cannot tell either way.... I do not give $$ away based on faith or marketing.
but that's just me, maybe you do and that's your business, but do not argue like that is some sort of logic or criticize those that do ask the basic questions


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post #12 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-29-2008, 03:57 PM
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The prices that ADA charges are a non issue to me. I could care less how much someone spends on their hobby. It's analogous to a Black Escalade with bright shiny rims. They all tend to be the same. Sure it would be nice to drive an Escalade but so many people do and they have become common place. It's just that I tend to be more impressed when someone does more with less.....

Again.... please be gentle.
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post #13 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-29-2008, 04:00 PM
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Most of the folks you see bash ADA stuff have never even tried the products. Ill admit, I was once weary of them, after having tried several products and seen several tanks and setups, its a quality name with quality products. Those haters are just to cheap to fork over the cash.


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post #14 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-29-2008, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdTheEdge View Post
The prices that ADA charges are a non issue to me. I could care less how much someone spends on their hobby. It's analogous to a Black Escalade with bright shiny rims. They all tend to be the same. Sure it would be nice to drive an Escalade but so many people do and they have become common place. It's just that I tend to be more impressed when someone does more with less.....

Again.... please be gentle.
And more with less is something that is often admired in art.

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post #15 of 67 (permalink) Old 08-29-2008, 04:37 PM
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I ain't bashin' nobody. If that is what some misconstrue I am sorry.

I am quite certain that ADA makes a superior product. Although I've never owned any myself. I am sure their stuff is TOP NOTCH and no doubt work.

But I ask once again.... why do people follow in lock step? It's a corporate product template. And why have I never seen an ADA tank with Flourite in it? I am sure there are.... but I haven't seen any.

I am becoming apathetic with "yet another ADA" setup and the praises that come along with "yet another ADA setup".

If someone has the money that they want to spend on ADA product good for them. But to drool over "yet another ADA setup" is getting old. I can't understand all of the threads that show an empty ADA tank sitting on an ADA stand with all of the ADA boxes and bags of Aquasoil scattered around. And all of the accolades that go along with said threads.

A quality aquascaper is what makes an excellent aquascape not ADA. Although they would like everyone to think they do.
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