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Aquascape of the Month June 2012: "Mountain And River of My Country"

Discussion in 'Aquascape of the Month (AOTM)' started by John N., May 10, 2012.

  1. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    June 2012 Aquascape of the Month
    ______________________________________________
    Mountain and River of My Country
    by Trieu Duong Le

    aquascape_mountain.jpg


    INTRODUCTION

    [float_left] trieu_duong.jpg [/float_left] Hello, my name is Trieu Duong Le (Trieu). I currently live and work in Ha Noi (Viet Nam) my job is interior design. I started developing planted aquariums about five years ago, starting with raising Betta fish. One day when I went to buy some fish, I saw stores selling aquatic plants which have been planted in small plastic cups with mud and sand. I was very surprised and curious when the seller told me, “they can live under water”. So I bought the plants to decorate the home of my Betta fish. Unfortunately, I bought the plant pots which often do not last long or where non-aquatic. So I started looking for information from the internet on how to keep them healthy and growing, this is my first steps to aquariums.

    It took me over a year to get the hang of planted aquariums. I failed mostly on algae problems or the developing DIY substrate. I joined a planted aquariums clubs in my city or join internet aquarium forums, where I learned many things such as the demand characteristics of aquarium plants, how to deal with algae, and various information about types of fish, plants or shrimp. Regarding layout skills, learning design schemes has helped me quite a bit especially once I learned and applied the layout rules. I like the nature aquarium style tank.


    INITIAL AQUASCAPING VISION

    [float_right] aquascape design.jpg [/float_right] In Ha Noi, I am involved in an aquatic club where we once visited and explored the environment and gain inspiration for that natural surroundings. We looked for areas that were close to water sources such as deep streams in the forest, wet grasslands, lakes, and rocky stream beds. We even sailed through underground rivers through limestone mountains and discovered flora there. In our adventure, we looked for potential aquatic plants, creatures that can live in the aquarium, and hardscape materials. While this trip was mostly observational, when we found something of great interest, we took very little to avoid affecting the natural area.

    From this trip, the scenery from rivers, plant life, and the Limestone mountains had all made a great impression on my mind. I decided to do an aquascape made of stone with the idea of recreating the mountains with immense green meadows and rivers flowing through the valley. I am a long time visitor of AquaScaping World, but my english is bad, and only had the courage to post this tank. The title of my aquascape is simple, "Mountain & River of My Country" exactly what I wanted the final layout to portray.


    HARDSCAPE ARRANGEMENT

    [float_right][/float_right] I created an outline for this layout to efficiently utilize the materials that I had on hand. I use tiger stone for this layout. I chose this particular rock because it is lighter than other rocks and easily manipulated. In total they weigh about 15kg.

    I placed the first large rock and shaped a gap between the mountains and the river. I made the layout with a steep slope to create depth and add more space to plant trees. The front part of the layout is about 2 cm and the moving further back it gradually gains a height to 25 cm.

    To keep the substrate at a slope, I use thin plastic sheets to stop them from sliding, much like a tier ladder.

    TRIMMING TECHNIQUES

    [float_right] aquaticplants.jpg [/float_right]With this layout I just choose only one type of plant formerly Fissidens nobilis mini and currently Hemianthus callitrichoides "Cuba", I want to emphasize the feeling of an immense green space. I arranged the layout principles of the format discipline, far to close: it's quite that simple.

    I selected the large stones to represent mountains nearby and the smaller stones to highlight the distant peaks. These smaller stones are closer to eye level verses the larger peaks which increases this visual depth perception. Similarly, creating substrate slopes also make the aquascape appear with more depth, but depth was ultimately achieved through plant trimming.

    I trimmed plants to form clusters or small blocks of plants.

    GREATEST CHALLENGE

    [float_right] cherryshrimps.jpg [/float_right]My greatest challenge right from the start to appear when setting up the flow and filtration in the tank. Rocks and soil has occupied most volume of the tank. My filter had to work in over drive due to the restricted flow from these objects. I also had to find the ideal location for the flow output, so that it would not blow up the soil or unroot the aquatic plants.

    The first time algae appeared in the aquarium, it went away as soon as the tank stabilized and the plants grew in.

    Lastly, I work away from home, so thankfully I had a brother who could feed the fish and replace any evaporated tank water.

    INTERESTING SIDE NOTE

    One interesting element to my aquascape is that I designed small little aquascapes using glass cup placed into the tank. These small stone layouts use the same light, CO2, and filter from the big tank. Once grown out I take out the glass cup and give the mini aquascape to my friends, who absolutely love them.


    FINAL THOUGHTS

    If you asked me “What advice I have for new aquascapers?”, I would say “believe”. In previous years I've seen beautiful tanks featured ias Aquascape of the Months (AOTM). I dreamed one day my tank will achieve the same. And finally today I join the many expert aquascapes as one of the AOTM acheivers.

    [float_right] cupofshrimp.jpg [/float_right]
    Even now, I still see a lot of tanks better than my layouts a lot of times (especially on ASW). I still have lots to learn, and my journey will continue, as I try to get even better at aquascaping.

    When you start an aquascape or any planted aquarium, make sure the initial problems such as algae, plants not growing well, or equipment issues do not overwhelm you. Problems usually are easily address with a little more research and patience. It is inevitable to encounter problems. I experience it, and I'm sure the great Takashi Amano has his share of problems. These are obstacles are destined to be encountered and you will surely overcome them on your journey of aquascaping.



    Other Aquascapes 2009-2011
    aquascape_vietnam1.jpg risingsun.jpg oneheart.jpg
     

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    Jack, Cecska, Shadow and 3 others like this.
  2. mltk

    mltk New Member

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    Congratulation! I was live view these tanks. Very beautiful.:)
     
  3. Flo

    Flo Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Congratulation! :) a very interesting interview and your tank is a true beauty.
     
  4. mats

    mats New Member

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    Very nice. Really enjoyed watching your scape.
    Happy scaping
    Regards
    Kuldip
     
  5. Arami Gurami

    Arami Gurami Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Congrats!
    A really nice layout!
     
  6. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    One thing I found really interesting about this aquascape was how Trieu created the slope foundation for the plants and Tiger stone.

    In his interview he describes using plastic sheets to hold the substrate in place like a terraced ladder. From my experience, this is a very tough technique simply because over time, the sheets in between the different substrate heights tend to melt down. This leaves you with two things, 1) sloppy looking substrate gradient and 2) pieces of plastic, or metal material poking out of the soil.

    In Trieu's layout, you see none of those issues. That is to be highly commended! :)

    -John N.
     
    Jennifer likes this.
  7. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    You're lucky. The scape is amazing in photos, it must be even better in person.

    -John N.
     
  8. Trieu

    Trieu New Member

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    thanks John, this is very memorable anniversary for me
     
  9. mltk

    mltk New Member

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    Hi John N,
    Trieu's my friend. I was very lucky to visit and live view of his tank .It's wondeful . I admire Trieu. Trieu taught me about aquatic plant.:)
     
  10. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    Trieu or Mltk, do you guys have a video of the aquacsape by any chance?

    -John N.
     
  11. parthapratim22

    parthapratim22 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    its so nice looking!!!
     
  12. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Beautiful tank - and I love the mini-aquascape idea. Congratulations!!
     
  13. tim.cincotta

    tim.cincotta New Member

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    great aquascape, and a a great idea with the glass to create miniature aquascapes as gifts!
     
  14. Father Fish

    Father Fish New Member

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    I am thrilled with the miniscapes. These are a delightful way to present bettas. I will begin working on this concept immediately. Your scape is magnificent. I was especially interested in the way you pointed the rocks. All lean to the left except the 4 on the right which point in the opposite direction. This is a remarkable piece. I have not yet tried the dams approach to building deep slopes. I am anxious to work with this technique.
     
  15. Ericadesign

    Ericadesign Aspiring Aquascaper

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    your tank reminds my rock climbing trip!
    is fun and beautiful!
     
  16. thaDUKE

    thaDUKE New Member

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    awesome layout, and very inspiring story about your aquascaping life.. made me motivate to my every life about aquascaping;)(y)
     
  17. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    thaDUKE

    Its great to be motivated by another Aquascaper.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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