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For Discussion: When does a planted tank become an aquascape?

Discussion in 'General Aquascaping and Planted Tank Discussions' started by ShadowMac, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm curious to hear from ASW members about when they think a planted tank becomes an aquascape or whether or not there is even a distinction. I knew of planted aquariums long before I discovered aquascaping. I was never particularly interested in planted tanks until I saw the aquascapes of Amano. These aquariums are what led me becoming very involved in the hobby, so to me, there is a distinction. What are those distinctions? How do we decide? Who should decide?

    I would like to avoid a conversation about what is or isn't art since that can be littered with pitfalls. It is also difficult to discuss because it is easy to sound elitist when excluding someone's work from a categorization despite the creator's proclamation "look at my aquascape", and all I see is some half hazardly placed pieces of driftwood among an array of plants sticking out of the gravel with no sense of order, purpose, or cohesion. I'm reluctant to consider it an aquascape.

    Please discuss and share your thoughts. Thanks ASW!
     
    John N., greenfinger 2 and keithgh like this.
  2. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Aquascaping is the craft of arranging aquatic plants, as well as rocks, stones, cavework, or driftwood, in an aesthetically pleasing manner within aquarium in effect, gardening under water. Aquascape designs include a number of distinct styles, including the garden-like Dutch style and the Japanese-inspired nature style. Typically, an aquascape house fish as well as plants, although it is possible to create an aquascape with plants only, or with rockwork or other hardscape and no plants.


    Although the primary aim of aquascaping is to create an artful underwater landscape , the technical aspects of aquatic plant maintenance must also be taken into consideration. Many factors must be balanced in the closed systemof an aquarium tank to ensure the success of an aquascape. These factors include filtration, maintaining carbon dioxide at levels sufficient to support photosynthesis underwater, substrate and filtration , lighting , and algae control.


    Aquascape hobbyists trade plants, conduct contests, and share photographs and information via the Internet.
    The United States-based Aquatic Gardeners Association has about 1,200 members.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquascaping


    Shawn even with all the above its open to the many Interpretations.

    My interpretation would be.
    A glass container that has an underwater scene that can contain items that would be naturally found in creeks and rivers etc then most important is very pleasing to view as in nature.

    Keith:):)


     
    greenfinger 2 likes this.
  3. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    I wasn't exactly looking for a wikipedia definition. The phrase "aesthetically pleasing manner" is very subjective and gets more to the heart of what I was hoping to see people discuss.

    Just because I throw some stones and plants in an aquarium and arrange them in a way I find pleasing, in my opinion, does not necessarily make that display an aquascape.

    Likewise, many stones we use aren't often dominant parts of the river or lake natural landscape. Most of the plants are marginal plants that have adapted to grow underwater since throughout portions of the year they will be submerged. Permanent submerged growth is not part of their "life plan". Consider how many require flowers for sexual reproduction.

    Is this an aquascape?
    [​IMG]

    or is this?
    [​IMG]

    Or are these aquascapes?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    credit: Aquarium Design Group

    [​IMG]
    credit: Project Aquarium

    There is clearly a distinction between the two sets. But both would fit that wikipedia definition, however are miles apart. In my opinion, there needs to be more purpose and thought to the scape in order for it to escape the definition of planted aquarium and move towards being an aquascape.

    We all begin as planted tank enthusiasts and some of us move to being aquascapers. Where is that distinction? Is it okay to make such a distinction? Would it be a big deal to call something a planted tank instead of an aquascape if the viewer did not feel it met the criteria of an aquascape? What should that criteria be? I think it has to be more stringent than a pleasing arrangement of plants or hardscape within an aquarium. "Pleasing" is so subjective.
     

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  4. greenfinger 2

    greenfinger 2 Active Aquascaper

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    Hi All, An Aquascape its like looking at great art you stand and look.Then work out what the artist is telling you.

    Same with a great Aquascape's you stand and look to see what the Aquascaper is telling you through there work.

    You may pass 100 paintings that have nothing to say like the first 3 tanks you posted run of the mill with nothing to say or think about.

    On the other hand the last 3. You would want to look at and try to work out what the aquascape is saying to you.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2015
    John N. and keithgh like this.
  5. Solcielo lawrencia

    Solcielo lawrencia Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Speaking as a classical artist, what distinguishes art from non-art is communication. Does it express ideas coherently and comprehensibly? The comparison of aquascaping to writing can be used to understand these differences. Analogy: writing gibberish VS writing comprehensibly... which would you be most likely to understand?

    In the non-aquascaped tanks, there is no clear communication of ideas. It's just a tank with a bunch of plants growing about. Like a piece of paper with a bunch of words written on it. It's not communicating anything.

    In the aquascaped tanks, there are very clear ideas. However, the first isn't as clearly communicated as the other two; there are extraneous ideas (the plants on the left and right) that distract from the main idea (in the middle.) The second aquascape communicates the clearest; the growth and arrangement are very obviously stated. The last has slight structural issues which makes the ideas less clear so it requires careful scrutiny to see and understand.

    Lastly, regarding the misunderstanding of what is considered art or "art", the culmination of artistic progress was destroyed during the 20th century due to various international conflicts. As a result, art needed to rebuild itself. Those works of "art" that no one understood are like babies babbling, learning to make sounds. Only after a period of time does "art" becomes sophisticated and ideas are clearly communicated. Unfortunately, the many decades of gibberish resulted in art teachers teaching the same gibberish. Literally anything that was created was considered art for a period. It is only recently that real art instruction started to return. Anyway, all of this should provide some reassurance that when you are completely confused looking at what someone else is calling "art", that confusion is justified since what you are looking at may not actually be art. Trust your senses.
     
  6. bookwench

    bookwench New Member

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    A planted tank is any tank with plants in it which aren't just thrown in and dying, right? So technically those tanks chock full of plants at the pet store, with no effort made to make them pretty - that's a planted tank. Anything you put plants in is a planted tank, really. (I would say that a lone moss ball does not a planted tank make though. Maybe there's a minimum number of plants it takes to become s planted tank. Like critical mass.)

    Aquascaping is any effort made to create a beautiful tank with an underwater scene of some sort. It could be made entirely of stone with no plants. So, a 50 gallon zen rock garden underwater with one lone beta swimming around could be an aquascaping scene. Possibly a sad one, but still an aquascaping scene.

    Then there's the overlap, where you have aquascaping in a planted tank and you end up with a garden, or a forest, or a fairyand. Those are the overlap in the venn diagram which includes aquascaping and planted tanks....

    I think aquascaping is maybe more focused on the aesthetics, whereas planted tanks are more focused on the techniques and what's necessary to keep the plants alive and healthy.
     
    keithgh, John N. and ShadowMac like this.
  7. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    bookwench

    I am in the process of designing my third, each totally different Terrascape, I have tried to make all three pleasing to the eye yet very balanced.

    Keith:):)
     
  8. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Bookwench pretty much says the same as I think.

    An aquascape can be Art but you can't single only the ones that could be called Art as being aquascapes. Aquascapes are any setup where the owner has attempted (good or bad) to arrange the tank into a structure.

    The 'Art' part is a different argument where we argue for days whether the modern style scapes that are manicured to the max to replicate scenery are actually craft rather than Art or can we now say that the scenery that a master model railway enthusiast creates is art?

    I think aquscaping as an Art has lost it's way since Amano's origins of Nature aquarium where it was a representation of something rather than a replication of something.

    So all 6 of the scapes above are aquascapes. Even the first 3 you can see the owner has positioned the plants and hardscapes deliberately. They may not be as aesthetically pleasing or as sophisticated as the latter 3 and not going to win any competitions but they have still been aquascaped :)
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2015
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