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1. Always follow the golden ratio for everything
2. Never mix rock and wood, ever
3. Ignore any do's and don'ts lists.
 

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1. Always follow the golden ratio for everything
2. Never mix rock and wood, ever
3. Ignore any do's and don'ts lists.
:icon_lol: histerical.

I was going to say if you like your scape, then who cares what others think.
I would say just don't center anything.
I like tanks with rocks and wood...
 

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what exactly is this golden ratio you speek of? i probably know what it is... just having a brain fart.
 

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1. Use the search function for past discussions.
2. Realize that you can successfully break just about every rule in some situations.
 

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1. Use the search function for past discussions.
2. Realize that you can successfully break just about every rule in some situations.
i did search by threads, not posts and came up with zip. all i can find is the actual numbers "1.6 : 1." but not what those figures are actually in refrence to.
 

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Do a google search for "aquascaping principles" and you'll find something. There was a write-up on this topic at aquatic-eden.com, among many other places as well.

The golden ratio is not specific to aquascaping. It's used in all forms of art. It is talked about in Art 101 textbooks. The simplest way of looking at it is it means not placing things in the center of the tank, or dividing the scape up in symmetry.

Rocks and wood are used together successfully all the time. For iwagumi style tanks it is not correct to mix wood with rocks.

Just have fun, and let the art form come to you. Don't be afraid to rearrange your tanks around and keep trying new things.

Don't try mixing substrates or being creative with them until you know your aquascaping principles, because uprooting plants to rearrange them will cause much frustration otherwise.
 

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thanks for the info church! its nothing i didnt really know already, just never heard it in refrence to an aquarium! now that you mention art i do remember hearing about the "golden rule" in highschool art. makes sense now...
 

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This question has as many answers as there are styles - but some very general principles for aquascaping in no particular order:

1. Less is More, don't over do it, you aren't trying to cause 'anxiety' in the viewer by them not knowing where to look. Iwagumi is the epitome of 'minimalist' aquascape design, but even if you aren't doing Iwagumi, you want a very clearly defined focal point, and supporting points to 'prop up' the focal.

2. Utilize the Golden Ratio

3. Rules can be broken, but as a beginner STICK to the rules. You can break almost any rule, but you can only really do it successfully if you know how the rules work and 'how to break them' so to speak.

4. Decide what kind of aquascape you want to make and stick to it - do you want it to be impressionistic/emotional (Iwagumi again, is the best example of this, but it's not limited to this), or 'natural' in set up (i.e. emulating something you might see strolling by a stream or the like). These two design styles have vastly different approaches in creation.

5. You CANNOT use wood in an Iwagumi aquascape. Using wood means it is NOT an Iwagumi. You can utilize wood and stone in an aquascape but my advice is for the first aquascape use one or the other - the reason is that stone and driftwood have two entirely different design theories and principles to being utilized, and without some experience with one or the other fusing the two doesn't work out too well, since they will appear awkward.

6. Odd numbers are your friend - regardless of what kind of style, use odd numbers. Odd numbers are both more 'natural' appearing in the literal and figurative sense. Use odd numbers of both hardscape materials AND plants - even in Iwagumi, two plants are a bad idea, use one or three. The reason for this is you absolutely need a transition point plant to act as an accent between plants A and C. This is perhaps one of the biggest common flaws for beginners. Going from say, HC to stem or hair grass plant is an abrupt change that causes tension.

7. It's all in the details - choose a main focal point, and stack on the tiny details, these add a dynamic feel to the aquascape as well as providing subtlety. Tiny details are things such as accent plants, slope variation in substrate, smaller rocks, etc, that add key little details and transitions.

And finally, again, keep it simple (not boring, simple. Big difference), there will be frustrations, you will get algae, you will want to throw your hands up in disgust at the project - don't make it harder than it needs to be for your first attempt. Make it pleasing, and easy for maintenance, and focus on learning and practicing the general rules so that you know how to break them and get even more creative with your designs.

P.S. If you do Iwagumi, please for the love of all that is good in this world, read the article titled "Iwagumi Design" in my signature. Even if you don't do Iwagumi, it can provide you with some good insights.
 

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the golden ratio is 1 to 1.618.

It's basically the only rule that's applicable to all aquascapes, you should learn a general sense of it, but don't abide by it absolutely. In general you want the focal point of the aquascape to fall on the line of the golden ratio, and not just a part of the focal point, the main mass of the focal point. (ex: tip of a rock =/= focal point.)
 

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I did my 75g with the Golden Ratio a while back...the Echinodorus (sp) is the focal point.

Keep in mind that the focal point doesn't have to be a plant, a grouping of plants or piece of wood, it could be a void in the plants.

 

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If one is a beginner;

If a plant isn't growing for you and you have killed it several times, stop trying to grow it until you have more experience.

If a plant IS growing well, use it as a main plant in the aquascape.

If a plant is growing very fast and taking over, trim it a lot and use it as the main attraction.

Floating plants generally aren't as useful in an aquascape as rooted ones.
 

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Best rule I found is to take your time and never rush anything. If it takes you several days to figure out a good hard scape so be it. Rushing will make everything look like crap!

Also unless you really wanto to do otherwise, I'd say go from light in the middle of the tank to dark at the edges in terms of plant colors. And you can use green plants amply, while red plants are always attention grabbers so use them sparingly in strategic locations.
 

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The bottom line is that unless you get into specific styles like Dutch and Iwagumi, there are no concrete rules to aquascaping, so it's nearly impossible to compose a list of dos and don'ts. The vast majority of information you get is usually contradictory, or one items will only work for this tank, and one item will only work for another tank. Most of it is just common sense and a good eye, and do's and don'ts list don't really help with either.
 

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I think these are all great tips - but personally, i don't think there are any Do's or Don'ts. If you're happy with it, then no need to change it. But i do agree with Dollface. If you're trying to create an iwagumi, wood definitely doesn't work.

 

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Just, for what it's worth, the reason why wood doesn't work in an iwagumi is because the literal translation of iwagumi is "collection of rocks."
 
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