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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the past I've tried to use digital drawings to give me a sense of what I wanted to do in an aquascape. This time though, I decided to do a painting instead:


The motif here is a stream running through the forest in Miyajima-- it's fall, and the maple trees have turned a bright red. For this I wanted a deeper tank.





Measurements are 12"x12"x8"!! Super deep!! lol

First I used a good amount of old aquasoil from my 60cm.


Initial Hardscape:


And the finally . . .


You can't see at all in there!! Haha!! More later . . .
 

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SC...looks like you definitely have the reds in place like your painting. The rock and sloping looks spot on....I can't wait ti see it when the dust settles.....pretty
 

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Great idea and nice odd ball tank. Another good start Steven.
 

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I like it. At first I disliked the rock placement, but the photo of it planted pushed that Idea aside, it looks like you have the right balence of hardscape vs. plants. Beautiful painting too, I could never paint as well as I can draw haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I can't wait to see it when the dust settles too. XD

To be honest my initial impression is . . . I don't like it. :D

But after thinking about it a bit, I think this is just one of those lay outs where it won't look good at all until the stems are trained, and the real trick to the end result will be in the shaping of the stems because there are so many. 90+% of the plants in this tank are red stems.

Plant list:
Nesea sp.
Ludwigia arcuata (right now in green emersed form)
Rotala rotundifolia (normal, not green)
Combomba furcata

The plants are listed in their order in the tank from front to back. With this tank, I tried to do some "perspective" tricks in the planting.

When you do a painting (or when you look around you) things that are close appear "big" while things that are far away appear "small." Because of "perspective" things get smaller and blurrier as they recede into the distance. You can see it in this painting too-- I used the texture of the oil paint to really "pop out" the leaves closest to the viewer, and tried to decrease texture as it recedes.

One of the questions that pops up from time to time in aquascaping discussion is, "Considering the well-known rule of perspective, why do we always plant small plants in front, and large plants in back!?" It's very contrary to a very old composition rule after all. Generally, the answer has been that since aquascaping is "3d," there should naturally be a recession from the front to the back, according to how far away from the viewer the plants are.

My issue with that arguement, is that most of us aren't going for the natural size and depth-- we're trying to make the aquarium look a lot bigger. If that's the case, than maybe (maybe since I don't really have the experience to know) it's better to plant to give the illusion of perspective. This is what I've tried to do in this lay out, and what I will try to do in the 60cm once the rest of the plants for that tank arrive.

For me, the trick here is leaf size.

In the front, I've used nesea-- a relatively large-leafed plant. I think it's short stature (relative to other stems) also makes it suitable for this "mid-ground" position. The fact is that the plant is practically in the foreground since there's no other plants in front of it (though I do plan on some moss by the edges of some rocks and by the roots of the nesea), but I think it's size will make it work out.

Next is the major "foundation" plant of the tank-- Rotala rotundifolia. A sturdy, easily trained plant with the history of excellence in aquaria. It might be hard to really get it to go red, but I think it's not only the cheapest pick, but the best pick as well. It's semi-creeping abilities will be important for pulling it together.

On the left there's a group of ludwigia arcuata. They will give some contrast to the rotala and nesea, and act as a highlight since I'm planning on letting them grow taller than the others.

The rotala takes up quite a bit of room until the very back where cabomba has been planted. The cobomba will be thickened, but in the end allowed to grow to the surface in the back corners of the tank. It's job is to "fuzzy" the background, in an attempt to give the illusion of blurring decreasing leaf size with distance. Getting this to work will require that the rotala and cabomba thicken and work together-- in other words, be pretty testing of my trimming skills. XD

The tank is a "U" shape tank. Though traditionally aquascapers haven't thought about perspective with plant choice, the "U" shape lay out with larger plant groups on the left and right shortening to disappear into a "vanishing" point in the background has always been our tip of the hat to acknowledge this idea of perspective. My hope is to combine these ideas to get a lay out that truly looks much larger than it is.

As Amano mentions in Nature Aquarium v.2, small tanks are the most demanding when it comes to the need to make visual complexity.
 

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I can't wait to see it when the dust settles too. XD

To be honest my initial impression is . . . I don't like it. :D
Well this is what I thought right away too, I love that painting though!

I think that this tank as you said won't really look amazing right away, it will be an ongoing project for you since you will need to train the plants and work with it for a while.

I really like the view you are coming from in this scape and think it should be interesting! I think the reason most people do it the way they do is because that's how most people do their tanks and they look good. Most people don't take huge crazy risks when scaping a tank, but In my opinion the ones who do and pull the tank together well have the best scapes! Some that come to mind quick for example, Satu's (rain) tank with the emersed stuff, Scolley's tank, And I also think DC's discus tank he is redoing will come out really good because it's a bit different. Usually the different tanks work the best for people who already know how to grow plants.

Why people usually have smaller stuff in front? I think it's tradition, and that if it's in front you can see it better. That being said, when reversed it should have a really really nice effect and have people looking further back into the tank.

So yeah, I think you're going to have a really nice scape in this tank!

-Andrew

Ohh BTW that the ADA spatula or an off name?
 

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hmmm... not to skew the topic much, but I like smaller plants in the front/middle and taller plants all along the back and side mostly so it's like... um.. like you're looking into a little clearing in the "forest" and you can then peer through it to see those fishes who choose to be in the middle at that time...

As an aside, is that painting done in Acrylic or Oils? I can't really tell as it still looks wet - and thick, which could mean a high quality acrylic, OR recent thick oil painting. :) you're makin' me want to get out my oils!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Fishnewb-- it should be interesting! And yes, that is an ADA sand-leveler. When I first saw an ad for them I thought it was the stupidest thing ever-- until I tried using one. Then I decided it's really useful!

Mangela-- It's not the height so much I wonder about. It's the leaf sizes. Probably the most typical/popular foreground plant now is HC, and its counterpart in the background world would be something like Ludwigia sp. Cuba. I wonder about that. Having HC in the front and a big plant like that in the back makes me feel like I'm walking on grass, then look up and see a 30ft. tall Rose bush. Very odd feeling. In this lay out, cabomba's a much taller plant than nesea, but has a much finer leaf size.
 

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Yeah, that is a deep tank Steven! Student deep... LOL Nice rock layout from what I can see. As tall as your tank is, you better keep your sissors sharp! LOL Looks great from above. BTW, what does XD mean?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My second impression is . . . I like it :D



A step back:



Wild cherries



The dust's settled, the plants from Aquaspot world arrived so I put some moss in some of the nooks and crannies in the hardscape in hopes they'll grow in with time. I also moved the hardscape and plants a bit-- it really was too semetrical. I'm much happier with it now.

Even though the tank's just started now and the stems need training, I'm already liking what I see-- from this I think the theory of receding stem size is really going to work!

BTW-- since the ASW plants came in, I also finished planting the 60cm so look for an update on that soon.


Betowess-- XD I think I'll be trimming them next week! Or rather, as soon as they get established and growing, I'm going to trim because they're already at the surface as you can see.

Also, XD is a smiley like :D or :). One seen a lot at devart, and religiously on anime forums. I hope it's not too confusing! With eyes scrunched in, and smile big, it means slightly embarressed or just kidding but regardless, cracking up like crazy. Sort of. :)
 

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Beautiful Tank, you really have talent when it comes to aquascaping idea :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Cooper :)

I don't think I'm all that talented-- I just like to spend time thinking
 

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My second impression is . . . I like it :D
I have to agree! It looks great now and sooner or later it will just look stunning! It seems to go on forever... and ever!

The front also looks much better with the changed hardscape, those round rocks before just didn't seem to fit!

Awesome job!

-Andrew
 

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Hey Steven, you are a great aqua-scaper man ! Thanks for share your beautiful new creation, great as usual !
 

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Stunning !!

Hey Steven

You could make a lot of money setting up tanks for others if you don't already do so. I know if I could afford it I would hire such as yourself to create a Master piece like that.

Dan
 

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When you do a painting (or when you look around you) things that are close appear "big" while things that are far away appear "small." Because of "perspective" things get smaller and blurrier as they recede into the distance. You can see it in this painting too-- I used the texture of the oil paint to really "pop out" the leaves closest to the viewer, and tried to decrease texture as it recedes.
Steven,

Very good observation ! Being a painter myself (*back in school days) I have to agree with your comments. This sounds like standard Rule of Perspective. Seeing detailed texture, big leaves, bright colors up front and less texture, smaller leaves, dark colors would be "perfection." If there is such thing ?

"Knowledge of perspective greatly enhances your perception and understanding of light and space, and attunes you to spatial recession as the power line of visual design. It is a powerful guide to drawing in all situations, and a fascinating case study of the ways that a painting is shaped by purely conceptual considerations. It is also indispensable to understand the design problems that inspired and challenged artists of the past." - Bruce MacEvoy

Rules like one above, Golden Ratio, Rule of Thirds and many other are there to be broken. When you start thinking out-of-the-box, you become famous.
 

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Rules like one above, Golden Ratio, Rule of Thirds and many other are there to be broken. When you start thinking out-of-the-box, you become famous.
Oh I have no doubt that Steven will eventually become "Famous" and then we can all tell the others, yeah that guy Steven he's cool met him in his "rookie" years:icon_lol:

But yeah I see big things from Steven as well!

-Andrew
 
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