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Rocks and use in Iwagumi 'scape

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Signus, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. Signus

    Signus Prolific Poster

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    I'm arranging the rocks I've collected over the years for my 29 gallon tank and keep thinking that it feels disjointed. The grey, rougher type of rocks are lace rock, the smooth ones are smoothed river stones, and the red-brown rock is petrified wood.


    This is what I initially intended, but the balance seems terribly off:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Outside of the tank, this is their size.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Can someone help me out with unifying the theme? Maybe by replacing the river rock with more lace rock? I was hoping to use the petrified wood as a focal point due to its color.
     
  2. jtparsons

    jtparsons Prolific Poster

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    Signus,
    Take a close look at the Iwagami style tanks you like. One big thing is definatly use all the same type rock. The other is "less is more" You have lace rock, mixed with round river stones, mixed with redish blocky type rocks. This will never look natural or have the balanced artsy look.

    Once you have all the same type rocks in varying sizes. You start working on composition. Do some reading on tank layout and composition there are several good websites. Some general ideas are creating depth in the tank, using odd numbers of objects, proper size relationships. dont center anything or make anything look equal or balanced. Hope this helps. -Jon
     
  3. Signus

    Signus Prolific Poster

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    Thanks JT. It did start to look overly symmetrical and not balanced. Is lace rock even useful in those types of 'scapes?

    I've noticed the rocks Amano uses may have a texture or roughness to them, but overall will be smooth. Slate maybe? Or some sort of granite?
     
  4. jtparsons

    jtparsons Prolific Poster

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    My opinion is that its up to the idividual on type of rock used. More important is uniformaty in color and texture, but not size in the rock used. Think of a field or pasture with a rock outcroping on top gently sloping hill. How would this look if you took a photo of it. How would you crop the photo. What would the scale look like. The front of your aquarium is like the lense of a camera its dictates the scale of the objects in view.

    -Rock outcroppings in nature usually have a uniform or like geology.
    -Fields and pastures usually have one dominant grass.
    -Same for forests.
     
  5. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Simple, but very helpful. I never looked at aquascaping like this before.
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Vaughn, et al, go up to the foothills with the GRanite sticking out, a few scrub oaks and the wild oat weeds growing.

    Same thing.

    Most of the foothills with grass oak savanna have similar scenes.

    Same with Africa, many places, deserts after a nice good rain and when it blooms.........

    I agree, different sized stones give the larger stones a much larger feel, since you have a perspective to compare it to. Small grass, HC looks best become it makes the scene appear even larger.

    I'm redoing my 38 Gal for a Dry start method for HC. Took out all the fish etc.
    Will finish today.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. Signus

    Signus Prolific Poster

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  8. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Don't forget that you are creating a huge outcrop of rock, scaled down, so the base of the rock has to be buried, so the rock rises out of the substrate. Nice looking rock though.
     
  9. jtparsons

    jtparsons Prolific Poster

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    I like where your going with that. Agree with Vaughn. 3 or five of those in different sized should do it. I have stared at and re-arranged tanks for a week before filling.

    I dont want to talk a "big aquascaping game here" My new square tank will show if I can put my money where my mouth is.
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Just play around and "do", move the rocks around, think about it for some time, ook around at other examples, see what they did, particularly rock gardens or japanese style(or chinese style, they are pretty different) and model a few examples.

    I think this is less intimidating and getsyou where you need to be with design.
    Reading about Art is fine............knowing the lingo etc, but doing is more important.

    Those that tend to be good at rock, also tend to not fill the tank up quickly, they mess with various scapes for sometime, that's a fun process for them as well.

    If that is the case, and you have access to good rock that represents what scene you want and is the right size, then you really can come out way ahead and have a nice design.

    Even with 500lbs, I sill am frustrated with having the rock for each spot.
    The groups work nicely for a specific size tank, just not MY tank:)
    Maybe we should be build the tanks around the scape?

    There are some good Japanese gardening books which are very useful. They will also help understand the general ideas better than on line aquascape articles in general.

    It's a much broader art than just aquariums. Take your time and be pateince and persistent. Do not give up and try new rocks and layouts.




    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. Signus

    Signus Prolific Poster

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    $1.99/lb rock at the aquarium supply store

    $.19/lb rock at the stone supplier store (Maybe we should tell novice aquarium hobbyists to go there instead.)

    I ended up with 100 lbs today of granite from TN and KY. The last one pictured was from a similar quarry as another, larger piece that I found today. Maybe it's time to get out the hammer and break it down or arrange, then see.

    3 separate geologic formations seem to be in my collection. Will come back with pictures tomorrow.
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yep, landscape places are often where many of the rock scapers end up, or local collected themselves. Highest price I've ever paid was 65 cents a pound for any rock.

    Never the perfect rock.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  13. Signus

    Signus Prolific Poster

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    Oh yea. Investing in a mason/brick hammer and some gloves helps too. ... also not ordering the plants till you get the rocks arranged and the aquarium gravel in


    many of the rocks are too big:confused: so all that's left is to shape them. here's the 2nd "smallest" rock with the one from earlier:

    View attachment 812
    View attachment 813


    PS. Has anyone realized how multi-disciplinary an aquarium can get? You have to keep in mind hydrodynamics, electrical motors/systems, plumbing, aesthetic values, gas laws and properties, electrical lighting systems, geology, and keep the fish alive! What a great hobby!

    IS590 093.jpg

    IS590 095.jpg
     
  14. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Some like these other parts of the hobby, some hate it:)
    Many come directly from these fields, then get into the plants.
    So they often are really good at some of these areas, you get 5-8 different area experts ina local plant club, then you get dramatc crafty results.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  15. Signus

    Signus Prolific Poster

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    This is what I have so far. The rock on the right seems like it needs to be brought in towards the center, angled more, or something. What do you all think?

    View attachment 815


    Ok, new layout. Right side rock will have a partner rock, though the fill will create the impression of one continuous rock:

    IS590 098.jpg

    IS590 099.jpg
     
  16. Signus

    Signus Prolific Poster

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    The rock on the right will look like one continuous one once the gravel is in. I think this looks better, though the center rock is a bit heavy.

    View attachment 817

    Comments? Opinions?

    IS590 102.jpg
     
  17. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    All are too symmetrical. Try something with the biggest rock about 35-40% of the way from one end, off center. Then make the entire grouping off center also. I think having the lower rocks tilted towards the biggest rock looks best too. However, as an aquascaper, I am somewhat like a kindergarten student tutoring a high school senior.
     
  18. Signus

    Signus Prolific Poster

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    Hm...

    mistakes made, now to undo. I guess I should just count this one as something to look at, but maybe not submit for a contest. Filled in the gravel, then started watering and have this now:

    View attachment 818

    Got impatient since my 5 pots of HC (starting to think that was overkill) had been in the 10 gallon tank for two days already.

    ----
    BTW Vaughn, if you're a kindergarten student, then the vast majority of us are still yet to be born!

    Edited the 'scape like how you said to. Let's see how it goes.

    IS590 108.jpg
     
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