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Is Iwagumi now over done?

Discussion in 'General Aquascaping and Planted Tank Discussions' started by Robert Hudson, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. Robert Hudson

    Robert Hudson ASW Sponsor

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    Is the simplicity of Iwagumi its downfall? Is it becoming too common now? Or is it still possible people have yet to tap into their creativity to create uniqie looking Iwagumi but still be true to form? What are the boundries?
     

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  2. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    Great Question! Although yes, I think Iwagumi's are more common place, I don't think they are overdone necessarily. Iwagumi aquascapes are fairly difficult to do, but at the same time it's one of the easiest scapes to do...I would consider Iwagumi Style aquascapes as the stepping stone to more advance and also creative layouts.

    In terms of boundaries...hmm I don't know. I suppose if one sticks with the layout basics, there aren't any...or if they are they are up for interpretation.

    -John N.
     
  3. J House

    J House Moderator Staff Member

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    No I definitely don't think it's overdone. There are two many combinations of rock formations alone that are appealing to look at. When you add in plant species, etc. each one can have it's own unique charateristics. That's my personal opinion, but of course there will also be a segment that the Iwagumi style will not appeal to.
     
  4. defdac

    defdac New Member

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    Some people like mountains some like the jungle. I hope folks in general tend to do aquascapes they like, not what is in fashion.

    Iwagumis are a very specific minimalist taste that will always appeal to a certain type of crowd I think.
     
  5. StanChung

    StanChung Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Agree, and there's many types of rocks that have not been used as well!

    Not everybody can create a fantastic looking iwagumi considering the rocks have to be really the right size and shape/texture pattern and colour.

    This to me is the most challenging aspect of iwagumi, it's like a bikini suit contest where all is laid bare to see.:nolook:
     
  6. Shadow

    Shadow Moderator Staff Member

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    Bikini contest huh... interesting point of view :Toofunny:
     
  7. nikko

    nikko New Member

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    I would suggest that to achieve a convincing Iwagumi, where the eye is completely at ease with the result, is one of the hardest games in town.

    I also see many possibilities of using Iwagumi principles loosely, rather than rigidly to explore natural stone arrangements. If we define 'Iwagumi' as 'an arrangement of stones', then there are many stylised paths to tread.
     
  8. plantbrain

    plantbrain Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I think anyone seeing a well done example is still taken by it's dramatic look.
    Also, it makes a great starting point to add other complexity to the design if desired.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    I think so too in terms of the people who attempt them. In my conversations with aquascapers over the years, it always seems Iwagumi aquascapers, or a variation of them, is the intial reason why they start getting into planted aquariums in the first place.

    I think for the new hobbyist (and somed advanced folks) an Iwagumi aquascape looks simple enough that they attempt it for themselves. Like Nikko suggested, Iwagumi aquascapes may look easy, but they can be very difficult to create.

    The challenges of designing an Iwagumi aquascape such as
    • Creating the harmonious rock layout;
    • Selecting the right low growing foreground plant(s) and combining two or more plant species to form a ideal balanced contrast; and
    • Growing the foreground plants since they are many species that require higher lighting conditions which requires more effort to "balance" nutrients)
    are all difficulties that either inspire the hobbyist to keep on going, or it may turn them into a different direction of doing a different type aquarium.

    I haven't heard failing to create an Iwagumi aquascpe as a reason why a hobbyist quits planted aquariums. Instead, I think more people get deeper into the hobby because of it. So in my opinion Iwagumi's aren't over done, and knowing the challenges involved, I think there is something to appreciate in each and every successful Iwagumi that we have the pleasure of viewing.

    -John N.
     
  10. zig

    zig New Member

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    nikko I have agree with you.

    I think "we" as in the hobby have constrained the term Iwagumi with a certain type of layout and certain rules which really don't exist as far as I can tell, you can only use 3 rocks or 5 rocks etc, uneven numbers, anything else is, well, something else but not real Iwagumi. Any natural arrangement of rocks is Iwagumi IMHO. It is just a term for stone arrangement.

    Anyhow I hope it doesn't go out of fashion any time soon (this side of christmas:D) because I started an Iwagumi layout today!!:-"
     
  11. nikko

    nikko New Member

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    Fashion be dammned, do what you like and just strive to improve each time!

    I have a strong affinity to stone arrangements and the day I stop doing them will be the day I stop aquascaping.

    I began studying Iwagumi arrangements avidly from the moment I saw my first Amano tank. Now I prefer to observe and be inspired by nature itself - in the way that I imagine the originators of the Iwagumi style once did.

    Looking forward to seeing your efforts Peter.:hi:
     
  12. Church

    Church New Member

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    Well, I'm personally involved in the beginnings of my first-ever iwagumi layout, and I can tell you that the main reason I chose to do one is that I wanted a learning experience! I understand that they are one of the most difficult types of arrangements to get going, because of the initial low-plant-mass. I still think of myself as an advanced noob in the world of aquascaping, and I thought this would be the perfect, educational challenge to try flexing some muscles and get a better intrinsic understanding of the balance of nutes, CO2, and light.

    I must say, even though people talk about the setup being easy because of its minimalist nature, I found it to be rather difficult! I spent about 5 hours (with a few breaks here and there!) arranging and rearranging the rocks and substrate, until I liked what I saw. This is a very challenging type of layout, in spite of (or because of?) its simplicity! Here's a picture I have of the layout, before the algae set in. I'm still dealing with a little algae, as I wait for the plant mass to take off, but it's under control now. Sorry but I have no new pics. I just wanted to show that something that seems very easy is in fact very NOT.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. plantbrain

    plantbrain Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I disagree that foreground plants require more light.
    I have a light meter and know otherwise. They are pretty much low light plants near as I can tell. Folks have issues because they add too much light, not enough light. Then they get a weed infested mound of plants later. I have not seen a single species that cannot grow with 1.5W of T5 type lighting at a distance of about 20". This is a common standard distance and typical for many aquariums. Gloss did well in 1/2 this amount(see below)

    Gloss easily grows at 20 micromols, it will grow like mad at 200 micromols however. What rate can you manage easier?

    Folks get impatient with this style also, they want it to grow in fast and then stop. But then do not do anything different, do not trim the plants etc. There is no issue with balancing the nutrients, the issue with the CO2 and light. Example, I've had 30ppm of NO3 or more and 3ppm of PO4 in such tanks over time without issue, and the same for denser planting stem plant tanks without issues in either case.

    If it's all about nutrients, I should have had issues, however, I did not.
    Foreground plants tend to be picky in terms of CO2.
    They grow very fast after a couple of weeks of new growth and rooting.

    CO2 and reducing the light is where folks should spend considerable amounts of time if they have trouble.

    It's certainly a good style if you have not tried it the past, you have something to look forward to and try again and again to really master.

    And the darn fish cannot hide in the plant beds nearly as much!
    You can see the fish.:proud:

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  14. StanChung

    StanChung Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Then we can agree to disagree. :-p
    Growing them and growing them nice are two different matters. 20" with 1.5W of light is either a typo or you are using some fancy light that I don't know about.
     
  15. defdac

    defdac New Member

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    That must be dang near it's compensation point? I have had the feeling most plants compensation point was around 40-60 micromols. Some extremely easy plants near 20 and the tougher plants near 80.
     
  16. plantbrain

    plantbrain Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Okay, you took the bait.

    I have a light meter than measures the practical units for light comparison, you, near as I can tell, have not done so. So what are you basing the measurements on then? Your eyes?

    Further, here is a pic of a 1.5 W gallon tank, if you can do better or feel that it is not a nice looking tank, foreground etc, feel free to state your case:

    [​IMG]

    another at 50 micromols:
    [​IMG]

    My own tank is a darker spot at 40 micromols:

    [​IMG]

    Hardly high light, which is about 200-400 micromoles.
    Even under for HQI's, the light is still only about 120-150 in the hot spots.
    Stem plants are exposed to much higher levels.

    Folks in the local clubs have seen these tanks, they are publicly displayed.

    Can you show better and measure the light stating your claim and disagreement?

    I did.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  17. plantbrain

    plantbrain Aspiring Aquascaper

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    12 is the lowest compensation point I know of.
    Hydrilla.

    But, if we consider the variation of micromols, there are regions that are lower in our aquariums and places that are higher. Shadows, wood, other plants etc shade the light out.

    Still, many plants can still invade such regions because the other areas are feeding the lower light plants. So the entire mat needs consideration.

    To do that, you need to take a meter and measure the entire area and points within it and integrate.

    Such data is point source, not integrated over the entire surface.
    I out some other examples of tanks that have a wide range of micromols above.

    Note the 1.5 W gal tank's edges over to one side on the right, there's no plants there, and the micromols was under 10. In the middle is was about 60. Edges, on the front, about 20-30.

    You get the idea.
    Folks think the light is all uniform, the wood, rock, etc, other stem plants have little role, well, that's simply not true.

    Also as a stem grows, it really changes as far as light goes, the foreground plants are more prostrate, they generally do not reach for the light and are poor competitors for light.

    So you will want to trim to allow them enough light, but they really do not seem to need that much, most aquatic species don't, they are low light plants in general. since they are fartherest away from the light, the amount that actually reaches them is a much less than many think/believe.

    Easy way to change that is for folks to test using a PAR meter.
    The funny thing is, what folks said 15-20 years ago seems to still apply today about light.

    More = more growth is all.
    Not better, unless you want faster rates of growth, more CO2 demand, algae etc. Some do, I myself like fast growth for most of my personal tanks, but I like to prune and garden etc. Otherwise, 2 w/gal seems plenty for most any case until,you get really small or really large.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  18. StanChung

    StanChung Aspiring Aquascaper

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    LOL, ok I took it whole line hook and sinker. But what did you mean by 'Gloss'? I'm assuming Glossostigma elatinoides
    Since I don't have the luxury of a mol meter. I will be a monkey and grudgingly trust your measurements. :(|)

    You mention
    This is 1.5W per gallon? Ok then probably misunderstanding.

    The tanks look nice and I'm thinking you wouldn't cheat by having some strong light come in from the window would you? 8)

    Last but not least I don't see any glosso, that's hairgrass, HC and HC. :-?

    I've grown HG in low light and they grow but very slowly. Not impossible but would surely test a newbie's patience especially when they are impatient and want to see fishes swimming around.[that will inevitably pull it out] Glosso is quite difficult in low light. 24-36W for a 1ft cube and it's nice but anything lower it looks tall stringy. I know- I got at least 10 people to grow it in nano tanks. Most of them cheated by putting 60W or more and then putting back in the 22W fixture. One honest fellow made 3" glosso towers. LOL.

    Tom, am I swallowing the rod as well? :))
     
  19. defdac

    defdac New Member

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    1.5 watts per gallon is almost considered high light in Sweden or "high-tech light", expecially a tank that large, so now I understand =) That level is about what I had in the tank in this comp considered I didn't use reflectors: Tank Details (second place after Oliver Knott).
     
  20. StanChung

    StanChung Aspiring Aquascaper

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    4ft tank with efficient reflectors can make a big difference if using T5's if that's your point Tom with regards to WPG. It's not exactly accurate in any case but the mols measurement for sure is more accurate. Are we talking submerging the equipment into the tank at the depth of the plants or just measuring output with the sensor right next to the light? Some difference as clearer water would obviously mean more light. A variable to consider.

    Defdac-1.5WPG for a 4ft is medium to low lighting for us here in the tropics. :yo:
    I don't have a 4ft tank to compare but my 3X1.5X1.5' with 120W grows HG-E parvula nice and fast. [2.5 WPG-considered medium light] Carpets in a month or so.
    Japanese HG need more light to grow like wildfire. E acicularis is similar in needs of E parvula IME.

    Oops-I just realised the topic has gone way off tangent. Perhaps mods can help split the thread.
     

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