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Advice my hardscape please

Discussion in 'Aquascaping' started by jonny_ftm, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Hi,

    I'm dry staring a 11gal Aquatic Natur cocoon 7 tank

    Please, help me enhance my hardscaping. Any suggestions are welcome.
    It will be planted in 2 days

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Or that rock is too big and better be removed or even replaced by a smaller?
    [​IMG]

    Soil is a lower layer of 2.5L earthworm casting mixed with same volume of Flourite Black Sand. It is topped with a thik layer of Flourite Black Sand. Moisted with mulm and water from my 60gal EI tank
     
  2. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    The large rock in the back should go on the left where the medium one is, placed maybe a bit farther forward. The medium rock should go where the small one is, and the small rock should go where the large one started in the back. It will add balance and depth to your design; large objects appear smaller from farther away.

    I'm a little concerned about that wood. While it has nice lines, and you've placed it in a good spot, the bark looks fresh. Most Fresh wood won't sink, and it will release some very interesting compounds in to your tank depending on what kind it is.

    Otherwise, I'd say get a plant list going, and figure out what you want and where it should go.

    -Philosophos
     
  3. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Many thanks Philosophos for your directions,

    I, in deed, much like the new results after following your hints:

    Different views:

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Any other suggestions please?
    The wood is well dry, just was boiled before

    As of the plants, they will be:

    Echino Tenellus, Crypto Parva, P Helferi, Crypto Wendtii Tropica, Anubia Nana and Windlov java moss

    Some stems: R Wallichii and another stem plant to choose (some P. Stellatus or Cuba... maybe)

    I know I ask much, but any advices on how to arrange them for the best effect?

    Really I appreciate any help
     
  4. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    You aren't asking much at all; layout suggestions are easy, and this forum is here for people to help each other out.

    It's hard to visualize that many plants without drawing a full layout first. Try doing this for your self, it helps. It doesn't have to be detailed, just enough to be able to fill in the blanks with your imagination.

    My general principles, which others may or may not agree with, tends to focus on drawing the eye around the tank. The lines of one plant group, in its shape, should draw the eye along it to rest on another line created by other plants or hardscape.

    Short rosette plants look good when they look like they're growing out from under things on an angle.

    rhyzome plants are hardscape reliant as well; it's generally nice to keep them tied to wood or stone.

    A quick general layout (one of many possibilities) would be:

    P. helferi: springing out in a row from under the big rock, possibly between the small ones on the right

    E. tenellus: behind the wood, or in front if you can prevent it from growing taller than the P. helferi

    M. pteropus 'windlove' and/or crypts: mixed in with the wood, stems near its base.

    Stems: back left corner, if you want more room for the, perhaps try angling the big rock the other way. 11 gal isn't much space for a lot of stems; P. stellatus would be cramped in my opinion.

    A. nana: tied loosely with cotton thread to the bottom branch of the wood in a row. Get some petite to mix in if you like, it adds a nice texture variance.

    Something growing over the small rock in the back right might look good as well.

    I'd recommend reading up on the principles of good balance in art and photography.

    -Philosophos
     
  5. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Thank you again philosophous

    What do you think of this layout?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Looks pretty good. The rotala is going to need more room though, and the slivers of E. tenellus on the left and right might be tricky to maintain; worth a shot though.

    The C. Wendtii tropica might make for a bit of a top heavy look, but then again it might also work quite well. If it becomes a problem, you can always fill with the tenellus.

    I believe the java moss you're referring to is actually java fern; M. pteropus "windlov"

    The P. helferi in by the wood may create a busy look, or get crowded by the crypt, but that's hard to say depending on how you keep the tank. From the perspective of artwork, It's good to over design first anyhow, and then scale back.

    The plants are definitely more flexible than the hardscape; if you mess the hardscape up, you may be forced to disturb perfectly good plants to change it. If the plants don't work out, then only they need to be changed.

    -Philosophos
     
  7. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Hi,

    Thank you again Philosophos,

    I planted the tank, dry start, and will post the photos this evening or tomorrow when I install the lights.

    I'll also open another topic on the evolution of this dry starting tank. Hopefully, once planted, it'll be easier to see how the scape evolves

    By the way, what do you think if I replace the big stone on the left with a narrower one, but higher, like a mountain? Will it overload the scene? Also, what if that new rock have a brown color, instead of grey like the other stones? I thought of a petrified wood like rock. They are expensive, so can't afford buy and try thing

    What do you think of my idea? Or better I keep it like it is, or maybe the mountain idea but grey? And the mountain would be backword, forword or same line as the wood? Really lost

    Thank you again for your help
     
  8. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Taller would encroach on the lines created by the wood possibly. One that achieves about the same height and width visually without taking up so much room towards the back of the tank would give you more room for planting that rotala though.

    Petrified wood is one of my considerations for hardscape right now as well; it's nice looking stuff.

    Changing rock color is tricky. If you want to do two colors of rock, I'd suggest maybe doing one a very different size than the other. The human eye/sense of aesthetics usually likes odd numbers, so doing two similar but different things divides a work visually and leaves it unbalanced.

    By changing size, as well as possibly the pattern of placement, you can sort of do a 2/3 and 1/3 size distribution that will help to balance the work. Maybe try piling up a 3rd grey rock in the back, then work in a smaller sized group of 3-5 pieces of petrified wood down below, in some sort of looser or linear shape. Definitely consider keeping the theme of placing a flatter face complimenting the lowest branch. I like how you did that with the bigger rock.

    Honestly, I think the petrified wood will make things much trickier, but it could add to the tank. Play with them both some, take pictures of multiple configurations for your self, and sort through them.

    -Philosophos
     
  9. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Hi,

    Your directions Philosophos are helping me a lot,

    Here's how it looks now, once planted and with a direct front view

    [​IMG]

    Maybe I should turn it all petrified wood, the grey rock isn't well contrasted with the black substrate. Or I could keep the grey dark theme and just use a smaller grey rock to replace the too large one on the left and have more room for my Rotala as you advised. What do you think?

    I didn't get what you mean exactely!!, sorry but sure is my english :eek:
     
  10. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    All petrified wood could be very nice as well. The grand prize winner for the International Aquatic Plants Layout Competition 2008 (Takashi Amano's big contest) featured some nice tan colored petrified wood, so I'd expect it to become quite popular.

    Pesonally, I like to fit the rock to the light and, if exposed, the substrate. Contrast is good some times. Covering where the rock meets the substrate with plants makes it look less barren. This is something you've done already.

    It looks like you've got a lot of substrate in there. You could probably remove some in the front, and add a little more in the back to improve the slanting if you wanted. If you want to skip it to save the plant stress though, I completely understand; crypt melt is ugly. I usually give at very least 3-6 months between rescapes for cryptocorynes.

    I think I was seeing things. One shot in one specific angle. The rock on the left is still well placed, though the small flat surface on the bottom right of it is a bit distracting. This may change when you fill the tank up; I think the glare from being out of water is accentuating that face in particular.

    I also like the almost ribbed texture to the one on the right; it has a similar texture with your driftwood in a way.

    -Philosophos
     
  11. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    Hi,

    Yes, I got more substrate than I was planning for, sadely. The earthworm casting layer is too thick, so, will be hard to adapt it, even if it could be better to do it now than later, but I'm so lazy...

    I'll add some aluminium cover to the bottom part to cover part of the substrate maybe

    I'd look also to add more flourite on the back side later, even that if with the tenellus higher than P. Helferi, it could give some depth later.

    Thank you again for your advices, I'll look at switching that big rock for another smaller one, yet same place maybe

    Thank you again for having helped me so much with your directions. The tank, is in part yours finally :)
     
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