Lots and lots of moss. I'm also planning on Glosso, riccia, and rotala sp. najenshan.
Fauna? I just received the wild cherry shrimp I mailed myself from Hawaii, so they're going to be the first residents. Eventually, I was thinking of adding emerald eye rasbora (I love those guys), and some white cloud minnows!
You might try wrapping them twigs/beaver sticks in either moss or Riccia, or Pellia, then use a small ground cover plants, that would give you in effect,a forest group of trees.
The plants cover up much of the hard scape in this design.
Ah hey Nightshop. I know what you mean about the strength of the rockwork here. I'm hoping to soften it a lot with moss.
The motif motif here is different, so the feel should be different (I hope). The motif is . . . well, I'm just allowing impressions left on me by many different Japanese forests to work their way into the lay out. But the main idea is a wild mountain side where the the cliffs are covered with dark summer greens of Sakura and Maple, interrupted only by crisp bright green bushes of tall Bamboo (in this lay out, R. najenshan).
I was reading through a Japanese garden book over the Winter, and learned a bit about a style of rock arrangement for the sake of creating a sense of "moving water." One uses only stone and sand, but creates the spirit of moving water. Particularly the rocks on the left side are meant to create this impression. Though honestly, I know little of that rock-design school, and mostly relied on instinct and self-teaching. At deviantart, I look at a many photos of nature, and in particular many photos of streams and moving water. I tried to recall these images as best as I could both when choosing the stones for the "stream" and in arranging them.
While I'm at it, I might as well talk about some of my other hardscape innovations. To me, it wasn't enough to just have the idea of using the twigs as trees. I tried to think of using them in a way that could create depth. How can one do this? By considering perspective.
When one studies painting, one of the first things one will learn is that things that are close are big, and things that are far away are small. The sticks in the front right are thick and tall, meant to give the impression of the forest brought right to the viewer. As one moves into the background, the twigs become slim, except for the center where I wished to creat the impression of a break of gigantic trees growing on the cliff. The twigs on the front right side are thick enough to seem closer than the background, but short enough to be farther away from the right side trees. It also took some time to think of how the "bamboo" should be integrated into the forest. What spots would be best to break with the light colored bamboo. Most of the openings in the background are for Rotala Najenshan
The stones for the river are also positioned to strengthen and support the main stones. There is a pretty large difference in the amount of aquasoil in the back and front. The rocks are definitely holding it back there. Of course I tried to do this while balancing them as best as possible aesthetically. The consideration of Japanese rock techniques was easiest, so I just let those habit do its thing. Though this is not "iwagumi," the main stones on left are in some ways, a basic "sanzon," and the ones on the right are also a 3-stone arrangement, though instead using a "leaning vertical stone behind a horizontal stone."
Well, there's some more explanation anyway.
Tom-- That's been my intention from the get-go.
Nightshop-- SnyperP's taking care of them for me until I figure out where they're going.
Steven, I just took the opportunity to visit your Aquasketch Book and read your article "Aquascaping Philosophy 101". May I say, what an eloquent write-up about our hobby. It was very insightful. I look forward to the evolution of your beautiful tank.
Christen-- Thanks a lot for looking at my sketchbook. In a certain way, hearing a compliment on my writing is even more gratifying than a compliment on my scaping. I'm hoping to see a great future for aquascaping.