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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am VERY VERY frustrated at the moment! :mad: This isn't suppose to happen, I have a new respect for a certain group of people right now.

I got this Manten stone, 10 pounds. I was not happy with what I got, the stuff is too heavy so I didn't get enough for the large tank I wanted to use it in. And I wish I could've picked them out myself, I don't like them and I don't feel like they work together.

Well, I'm in the middle of moving and decided to put my 8gl Finnex reef to rest as I get ready for multiple breakdowns. In the meantime, I figure it's a great chance to utilize these stones with the empty tank sitting around [they don't stay empty for long around here :) ].

Never in my life would I imagine how difficult it is to create one of these Iwagumi things. Maybe the stones aren't right, the tank is too tight, or maybe I'm just overreacting and hitting a creative block. I think it would be much easier with a larger tank and lots of stone to work with, but I want to take this opportunity to apologize to all you ADA freaks who I never really took seriously, and for ever considering the 'paint by numbers' concept!

I've been looking at a lot of other hardscapes and following this article, but nothing feels like it's working out. Maybe if I show you guys what I've done so far you can help me see things more clearly. I think a big problem of mine is that I always have a hard time seeing how plants will work with a hardscape, and I get overly critical about it from the get go.

Here's what I got so far in order of progression, I tried lots of variations in between with more or less rock and different adjustments, and took shots of what I thought looked best...

1


2


2b


3


4



Opinions? Critiques? TIA -J
 

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i like formation #2 and #5 best
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks finfan. So that's one vote for stones sticking up and out. I wish the two larger stones fit that category better, they seem better for rounded mountain peaks, and I wish they were closer in size. I tried beating the big one in two but Manten is HARD STUFF! And my chipping hammer is over at the new house right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hmm, two votes for 2, that was one of my least favorite. I should experiment with it some more. Thanks for the input :wink:

I think 4 could be pretty good with a few less stones.
How bout this?

4b


I have to say, this one looks nicer in person and from different angles. 2 looked kind of weird from a high angle, sorta uniform. Maybe plants would bring it together.
 

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ok 4b is not working for me at all, all your other ones were better imo

imo the face of the big rock in 2 and 2b is the best, so i would keep that face and then work the rest around that, maybe if you slope the substrate on #2 even higher on the right side and have on rock on the right side pointing towards the right it might look better!?
 

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actually on second thought, 3 might actually be very nice if you just make the big rock similar to 2 and higher!
 

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Okay, first things first; leave some void spaces. Iwagumi is as much an art of the arrangement of the stones as it is the spaces between them. The reason #2 is not working for you is due to the fact they all point the same way. It feels unnatural to say the least, but it does have some strengths to it in the elevation, the depth, and the dynamic sensation.

#3 Doesn't show up for me so I cannot comment on that scape.

#4 Probably lacking a bit on void spaces. You need to have some free space around the stones (not just above). Without this balance it is just clutter. Even the Amano scape you reference has a bit of void due to plant growth over the scape or placement of a piece offset from the 'line' or others to imply a separation.

#4b accomplishes this better. Try pivoting the stones a bit to see some alternative faces.

It would be nice to have more height and tall stone(s) would definitely do you some justice. These pieces are small and a bit hard to work with, but relax, you have some usable stone and once the formation is set your plant types can be ironed out to play on the stones weaknesses and help turn this thing into art.

Also, don't feel like you have to use every piece. Certainly more rock helps, but as a way of selecting the pieces most suited to the arrangement. You have enough for the flexibility you desire.

Give a look at Xavier's thread on Iwagumi Design. Its a great read on the subject and may provide you with some beneficial thoughts/techniques. Regardless, at the very least it should serve to inspire you on your new objective. Try a few more based on these principles and we can work from there :)

**Link to the Iwagumi Design thread now included**
 

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I am VERY VERY frustrated at the moment! :mad: This isn't suppose to happen, I have a new respect for a certain group of people right now.

I got this Manten stone, 10 pounds. I was not happy with what I got, the stuff is too heavy so I didn't get enough for the large tank I wanted to use it in. And I wish I could've picked them out myself, I don't like them and I don't feel like they work together.

Well, I'm in the middle of moving and decided to put my 8gl Finnex reef to rest as I get ready for multiple breakdowns. In the meantime, I figure it's a great chance to utilize these stones with the empty tank sitting around [they don't stay empty for long around here :) ].

Never in my life would I imagine how difficult it is to create one of these Iwagumi things. Maybe the stones aren't right, the tank is too tight, or maybe I'm just overreacting and hitting a creative block. I think it would be much easier with a larger tank and lots of stone to work with, but I want to take this opportunity to apologize to all you ADA freaks who I never really took seriously, and for ever considering the 'paint by numbers' concept!

I've been looking at a lot of other hardscapes and following this article, but nothing feels like it's working out. Maybe if I show you guys what I've done so far you can help me see things more clearly. I think a big problem of mine is that I always have a hard time seeing how plants will work with a hardscape, and I get overly critical about it from the get go.

Here's what I got so far in order of progression, I tried lots of variations in between with more or less rock and different adjustments, and took shots of what I thought looked best...


2b




Opinions? Critiques? TIA -J
With this one what if you remove the ront right corner rock all together, switch locations of the 2 rocks in the center and point the front one towards the large stone maybe slightly move the rock to the left also. Also the hole formation is too centered and linear. rotate the whole formation about 30 degrees counter clockwise with the large stone going into the back right corner somewhat.

Also a carpet of E. Belem, Mini Microsword, or HC would be higly recommended as a full carpet as to not hide the stones appeal once planted.

Try that and post a couple fo pics and lets tweak more from there.

Craig
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ok, lots of good info here, thanks everyone. :)

Looks like 2 and 3 are leading the race, so I'll do a few variations of those today, and try to incorporate some of your ideas.

3 was basically me just throwing all the stones in randomly after pushing the big one down. I thought it looked really cluttered and I started working with just 3 small stones and a valley, until I realized plants will most likely kill any hardscape with just the small stones.

BLAIR - Thanks for the link.

SPECIAL||PLANS - I was working directly under a ceiling fan light hoping it would mimic a fixture well. Today it's bright in the room so I'll have to put the lamp on it.

Ok, before I wreck it, here's the last version of 4 that I ended with last night. I was really digging on it, kinda bummed no one likes it, shows what I know...

4c
 

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Ok, lots of good info here, thanks everyone. :)

Looks like 2 and 3 are leading the race, so I'll do a few variations of those today, and try to incorporate some of your ideas.

3 was basically me just throwing all the stones in randomly after pushing the big one down. I thought it looked really cluttered and I started working with just 3 small stones and a valley, until I realized plants will most likely kill any hardscape with just the small stones.

BLAIR - Thanks for the link.

SPECIAL||PLANS - I was working directly under a ceiling fan light hoping it would mimic a fixture well. Today it's bright in the room so I'll have to put the lamp on it.

Ok, before I wreck it, here's the last version of 4 that I ended with last night. I was really digging on it, kinda bummed no one likes it, shows what I know...

4c

what does the otherside of the large stone look like? its too flat/ smooth compared to the rest of the stone in this layout.

craig
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's really saucer shaped, about 8" diam and 4" high, with a few flat surfaces making the most of it, and a round quarter that would make a great peak in a large tank. I tried to make it seem more oblong in the scape by showing the side of the 'saucer' pointing up. It has some awesome character but it's the overall shape that I don't like, really limits what I do in this small tank, but it might just be my stubbornness. I took a bunch of photos of it and will post them in a while.

I tried what you and others suggested and I was really struggling to make it work, but I did stumble into a valley scape and worked it into something I'm digging now. Just have to wait for the camera battery to charge. :\
 

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I really like 9. might a suggest HC would fill in nicely and stay nice and low as to compliment this scape. I would probably just use HC as anything else taller may ruin the feel this has.

Craig
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
That's what I was thinking too. Or possibly hair grass or UG in the back corners, starting just behind little chips on either side? I think the chips will have to be placed on the grown-in plants or pegged up to be significant after everything fills in. They're not dug in at all.
 
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