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Have you ever wondered how a judge can score a Dutch scape verses a Japanese Style aquascape equally?

I mean I couldn't imagine how to decide which one is better then the other. They are incomparable!

Dutch tanks to me seem extremely intricate and complicated. Besides the variety of plant species posing as a challenge, a Dutch tank takes into account trimming techniques, plant height, grouping, scape depth, colors and many other factors not really emphasized in a Japanese aquascape.

Japanese Aquascapes to me are more harmony oriented, meaning the goal is to recreate nature's beauty using a balance of hardscape and plants. You'll notice in the ADA contests and AGA aquascaping competitions the winning nature scapes are often composed of "easier" slow growing, plant species. Unlike Dutch tanks where the focus is on plants species, groups and trimming, this style's challenge appears to be more with hardscape and plant arrangement.

Can you compare the two tanks and judge them equally?
I know some our esteemed aquascapers in our community have judged some of competitions in their day. I hope to hear what you think on the subject too.
 

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I dont think they could ever be judged side by side that would be like judgeing a foo foo dog against a gun dog --cant do it did you ever look at the list of entries in a ada contest? no one from the USA is ever in the top 200 --why do u think?
 

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I agree that when standing side-by-side an impartial judgement can be made but the amount of objectivity and knowledge needed regarding both methods is well beyond the scope of most of us tankers. If this was truely attempted I would think that the only judging criteria that could be used would be the dedication to the method itself and not beauty. If the judgement was based off of beauty I believe the placement between the two different scapes would be subjective because regardless of how hard someone tried the mental ranking given between the two would be based on your love for one scaping method over another.

The ability to be an impartial judge is really a gift, hehe.
 

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I would like to quote my wife, an intermittent savant regarding witt and common sense, who said... "How are you going to judge that which you can't compare?"

To me that sums it up right there, a judgement or even a competition is the selection of the best out of like items. I know to the untrained individual there really isn't a difference between iwagumi, jungle, and dutch but to us tankers and other planted enthusiasts around the world I would like to think that the respect that we have for each style would put them far enough away on the same spectrum that comparison would be unlikely, if not impossible.
 

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In my opinion, each contest should provide a category for Dutch scaping. Usually a category is provided for Biotopes, which are included in Dutch rules; a start to making the art of aquascaping inclusive to all styles.
 

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Lately it seems like Amano style aquariums have been taking the show in all the competitions, particularly the ones that try and mimick terrestrial scenes (also the sand paths that go to the back of the tank to create depth). I guess they try their best to be subjective but in the end most people tend to veer towards the Amano style because jungle looks messy and dutch looks sterile and a bit boring...
 

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it's really very simple. you don't judge one against the other. you judge one against itself, against it's ideal, against it's style.

Judging, in these sort of matters are not "which one is better than the other", it's "which one accomplished it's own goal the best? which exemplifies their own style? "

if you judge an item against itself you don't need to worry about any other tank in the competition. it's just that one, single tank you're looking at. at the end of the day, it's the one with the highest score that achieved it within it's own little bubble of a world.

that's how beer judging goes anyway, things are broken down into styles but there are generally a few substyles within each main style.
 

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Most are missing a few things, the Dutch are not judging anyone but themselves,a dedicated group of hobbyists and it is done in person by committee.

The Dutch plant hobbyists are not a company, nor put on an international competition, logistically it is impossible to judge the dutch method over the internet.

they do not market themselves and put out magazines, they are not a company...............

ADA most certainly is............

That alone makes a huge different in selling the style, the products and aesthetic to the crowds on the net. ADA is selling their own thing, so the judging will reflect their taste and aesthetic, not the Dutch.

If you look at the various Japanese landscaping gardens, you can immediately see where Amano took his ideas from.........
I enjoy the essence of a natural scene as much as I enjoy the diversity of the plants themselves.

These styles have 2 very different goals using the same media.

These styles are judged on VERY different criteria.

These styles have 2 very different groups(non profit and for profit) driving their promotion.
 

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I do not know, I like both.

I prefer the landscapes of Japanese gardens personally for terrestrial systems and the bright color for the aquariums.

But...........if you lack a garden or natural space..........then the nature aquarium is a good substitute. Sukiya living environment includes not just the aquarium, it includes all the space, and it is not about creatively, it is about craftsmanship. That is not something of high value in many Western cultures with regards to gardens. A nice mowed lawn and some color, that's good enough for most of them.

This is paraphrased from Mr Roth:
"When they(western tourist) see a well done Japanese landscape garden, they often say "OOO, so creative!" which is non sense. they honor traditional patterns and techniques which are distinctively not creative. This does not imply they are stale in anyway...the opposite in fact. Envoking the timeless natural patterns and are beautiful because they stick to time tested techniques, innovation has little to do with this. Craftsmanship does."

I think this same thing occurs with aquarist as much as tourist.

I think Frank from ADG implored folks here a couple of months back about the issues with scaping in the USA. I agreed.

I love me some funk and rock, as much as I love some jazz and classical, does not imply one is better than the other. But if you put effort and craftsmanship into the style and music, you get something beautiful.

Timeless classics.
 

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In dog shows the same judge rates all breeds, but dog breeds all have very specific standards which have to be met. Aquascapes haven't evolved to that, nor should it, in my opinion. The closest contest i can recall, that rates both or any other style tank, and doesn't try to put the ADA style tanks at the top, is the AGA contest (Aquatic Gardeners Association). Any tank can win there in any category.
 

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I dont think they could ever be judged side by side that would be like judgeing a foo foo dog against a gun dog --cant do it did you ever look at the list of entries in a ada contest? no one from the USA is ever in the top 200 --why do u think?
Bad analogy. I show my dogs.

In the Best of Breed class, the best of each group do compete. But the judge doesn't compare them against each other, the judge compares them to the standard (or description of the perfect whatever dog) So the near perfect Lab will win over very good toy poodle, very good Malamute etc. etc.

So a good judge that understands what a Japanese or Dutch style should be able to pick a winner based on execution of the style.

Yes, judges of anything are human, I own/train/show working & herding dogs. I am prejudice to those breeds. But, I'm also more demanding on them. I would not let that affect my job as a judge as my personal integrity is more important. Most good judges I've meet feel that way.
 
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