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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
NOTE: All of the following is research and opinion so it is impossible for me to provide complete objectivity although I will put forth my best effort. I also understand that aquascaping methods are guidelines and that artistic vision and budget play a role in the development of a planted tank so please minimize the posts barking about the provided information not being 100% correct or acheivable.

After doing some research online about the main types of aquascaping I became intrigued regarding the different types of plants that are commonly used in each method... iwaumi, dutch, and jungle and the plants that accompany them. More importantly after researching all of the common methods used I was eager to find on which side of the fence my natrual eye for aquascaping laid. When you design your layout the way you like it which method does your tank resemble by way of species used and plant positioning? Do you like different hues and seperation? Are you a minimalist who places value on aquatic, artistic vision? Do you plant and forget and let nature take its course? I've tried to provide good examples of each genre in order to allow common aquarists the opportunity to provide a classification of their subconscious effort.

Please feel free to post your tank along with the reasoning behind why you have scaped it the way you have.

For instance, Iwagumi sytle typically demands minimalism by way of not only color but also diversity in species. The main idea is to accentuate the focal point between the Oyaishi, Soeishi, and Fukuseki stones by using a single foreground type plant to cover the 'landscape'. So, notable species, depending on the light provided, can be HC, dwarf HG, dwarf sag, micro sword, and a few others. A great example of the flow and design of iwagumi can be seen here. I don't believe that most of us as hobbyists aspire to reach the artistic design of iwagumi and those enthusiasts that do, I commend you because of the discipline involved. When done correctly the beauty can be hard to match. Most notable about iwagumi is the lack of wood work inside the tank and the presence of rock work in the majority of the professionally aquascaped tanks.

Go dutch? Dutch style aquariums are the oldest and most prolific type of aqaurium around the world. Judges still go to homes to judge dutch style aquariums in certain parts of the world. When you get a chance read the contest section of the wikipedia page regarding aquascaping, it is very interesting. When you are filling out the foot print of your tank regardless of how small or large do you bunch colors together to break up the never ending green hues? When you pick plants is it based off of the color, how bushy a stem plant becomes with trimming, or maximum plant height? This seems to be the way that my eyes work when I am 'filling out space' in an aquarium. I look for break ups and focal points in the 9 areas of an aquarium without really knowing it. I try to carpet at least 90% of the substrate and fill out the aquarium in its entirety leaving a "swim window" for the small unobtrusive fish. The focus is on the plants usually with no rocks or wood blocking the view of the plants.

Last but not least and just as beautiful in its own right is the jungle method of creating an aquascape. The jungle aquascape combines wood, rock, and pretty much any species of plant although long slender growth seems to be the standard choice. Some view this aquarium aquascape as a catch all for those that do not fit into the dutch or iwagumi categories. However, recent popularity of this style because of the wood and rock work along with the ability of driftwood to break up the viewing window has thrusted this scaping method into a judgeable category in certain clubs and during multiple events.

Among other templates exist biotopes, nature styles, and multiple hodgepodge-type ways of putting an aquarium together. The main reason behind this post is to open a discussion regarding how you subconsciously put a tank together. Can your taste be matched against a notable aquascaping method? Post your tank and lets find out.
 

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idk that i really have a preference... Any tank can be amazing if it is put together properly.

look at these. all completely different, but all very beautiful.

iwagumi: http://www.google.ca/imgres?q=iwagu...tbnw=188&start=60&ndsp=15&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:60

blackwater: http://www.google.ca/imgres?q=black...rt=0&ndsp=15&ved=1t:429,r:3,s:0&tx=162&ty=103

jungle:http://www.google.ca/imgres?q=plant...0&tbnw=161&start=0&ndsp=23&ved=1t:429,r:5,s:0

i'm a collector of multiple different styles.

my current tank is a jungle (can't put up pics because the forum won't accept the camera format), and the tank i am currently working on is going to be a south american blackwater. in the future, i will get a 20L or other long tank and create an iwagumi, as in my opinion they look best in long shallow tanks.

there is just so many different styles, i can't pick just one!
 

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I've created a few Bonsai and I understand and truly appreciate the "Zen" of the Iwagumi style. I also enjoy the Dutch style, the compliments of color & texture and diversity of plants make think of a coral reef with fresh water plants.

Both styles speak to the artist in me but the realist in me always wins and I gravitate to a loose Bio-type tank after tank, year after year.

Sharing my desk with my Mac is my 4gl Finnex. 2' of MTS with a sand cap. A pc of Cholla wood with a root on it, broken at the top 1/3 to give a look of a tree stump. it has "fallen" from the front right hand side toward the rear left corner, it sticks out the top of the tank. The stump shades the left 1/4 of the tank. All the light falls directly on the middle of the stump, like sunlight might come through the tree cover. indirect light brighten the right side and front of the space.

It has Java Trident attached to the top 1/3, to the right a patch of Crypt Parva, some Taiwan moss has clung to the shade side of the stump, baby water lettuce floats over the dark shaded sided left corner.

A HalfMoon Plakat Betta with a deep blue body red fins trimmed in blue and white pectoral fins patrols his world. He hangs out under the floating plants lurking, waiting for a meal. He has to defend his world from his only rival his reflection in the glass. For my amusement he will swim in a small hole in the center of his stump and swim out the open bottom.

To me there should be a baseline of realism in an Aquascape.

In the real underwater world you would never see the jagged sharp rocks of Iwagumi jutting out like mountains in a sea of HC while neons swim by like migrating cranes.

In the real underwater world you would never see 24 types of stem and rooted plants from every corner of the world growing side by side.

I'm not so naive to think bio types are completely correct and accurate either. Most wild habit is seldom neat, manicured and crystal clear.

I would say that if one keeps 3-4 types of plants together that are at least from the same part of the world along with fish or inverts that would co-exist in nature with those plants that bio-type interpretation has stronger merit than pure fantisy design types that get maybe a bit more fame & glory than they deserve.
 

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Well for right now I am about to begin my first (real) tank, Iwagumi. I love the flowing look and very calming. I am a little nevous about my hardscape, because if it doesn't work out I'd have to get more shipped to me $$ It will have a bit of a nature style in it too. In the front I will have "bushes" of stem plants to create perspective with the plants getting smaller until Riccia is in the background.

I like nature style second, it is so lush. I would only want a small one though mini-m, made to showcase an understated fish.
 

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I aqua scape the same way I garden. Carry a pretty plant without a spot around the garden until I find a place to plant it that has about the right amount of light and water [terrestrial] or space and light [aquatic]. Now that my garden and tank are packed with plants I edit, move thrifty plants so they get more space and remove plants that aren't thriving. Guess that is a jungle - survival of the fittest. Someday art may come into it but now I just garden.

I very much enjoy all the various types of scapes and some aspects of all the major schools of aquascaping are great but this is my fish tank in my living room, not a moment in time photograph. I never get the golden ratio or even rule of thirds right and my scape is all lopsided but healthy plants that aren't squashed up against the tank sides are fine by me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Haha, good approach Kat. I guess plant health and gardening take priority over the scape itself which is why jungle pops up more times than not. When I look at my tank I look for healthy growth before the flow or view. If I did a tank purely for the method I would do dutch though.
 

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NOT sure if mine has a category
still working on it
50 gallon low light- no CO2
so i am limited to plants but from what i can see I have a nice amount of choices
If its a low light plant

GONZO METHOD
IF I LIKE IT -I'LL BUY IT

 

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I have little artistic vision. :hihi:

I'm a computer programmer. I understand rules, including the rules of scaping. But I simply cannot envision a tank layout in my head ahead of time, and make it happen. I've tried and it never works out. So I just start putting things in and see what the result is. I do sometimes use the rules on a small portion of the tank at a time, for example this plant would look/grow best next to this one; but I never manage to achieve that on the tank as a whole.

Even if there's particular hardscape I want to incorporate, I usually end up leaving it out. Just takes up room that could be used for another plant. I keep fish tanks improved by plants, not the other way around. And the plants are there for the fish as much as they are for me. What originally got me into this hobby was a desire to improve fish health and environment, and a plant certainly does that more than a rock.

Out of all my posts, I don't think I've ever made suggestions on anyone else's layout, and it's probably better that way. ;)

As far as least amount of plants, and greatest amount of hardscape and artistic layout, this is the best I've ever managed:



While I liked that a lot, I just couldn't bear to trim the plants enough to keep it so minimal; so within a couple of months it had reverted to the usual jungle.

I don't usually let things get quite this crowded, and it desperately needs a trim, but it's the only other photo of that layout I have:

 
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