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July 2010 Aquascape of the Month: "Anyplace... Anytime."

Discussion in 'Aquascape of the Month (AOTM)' started by Jurijs mit JS, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. Jurijs mit JS

    Jurijs mit JS Admin Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    July 2010 Aquascape of the Month
    ______________________________________________
    Anyplace... Anytime.
    by Marcel Dykierek

    [​IMG]

    INTRODUCTION

    [float_left][​IMG][/float_left]Hi all! My Name is Marcel Dykierek (MarcelD), I am currently 27 years old and live together with my lovely girlfriend in Braunschweig, Germany.

    Since my father kept aquariums already for years when I was a young child it might not surprise you that one day he gave me an aquarium for myself when I was about seven years old. He was taking care of a huge planted aquarium (it was two meters long) at that time and was pretty successful in the local aquarium association. My own tank was a planted one, too but of course, I didn’t really understand what I was doing with the tank at that time so my work on the tank was limited to changing water and cleaning the canister filter. I’m pretty sure that my Dad did the rest for me, but I can’t really remember the details.
    When growing up, there comes a quite “hard” time called puberty. That was the time when I finally did not take care of the take tank anymore and so it was taken down.

    With the age of 22, now living in my own flat, my Dad once called me and said that a colleague of him had a used tank to sell. After a week or so of thinking about again having an aquarium, I finally decided to buy that used aquarium (200l volume). Back then, I didn’t really have an idea of the plant’s needs but I again wanted a planted tank since this type of aquariums always fascinated me. I set the tank up, it was kind of an aquascape, already with hardscape, not even knowing that driftwood is called so. The tank was started without CO2 supplementation and a cheap liquid (micro-) fertilizer was used. I don’t have to tell you that I hadn’t had as much as success with the plants as I expected. So I went out and bought a pressurized CO2 system and changed the fertilization, while still only using a micro-element one.
    [float_right][​IMG][/float_right]
    I bought books and started reading magazines to improve my knowledge concerning aquatic plants and the needed technical equipment. It turned out that me proverbially soke up the information written in those books and magazines. I could soon call the plants by their scientific names instead of hardly knowing the common german ones. But growing the plants I had did quite kind of difficult since macro elements were kind of a “bad thing” as written in my books and magazines.
    So it was no real wonder that algae appeared and my plants more or less stopped growing if I could ever call that procedure “growing” back then.
    The years went by and I started looking for further information on the internet. To my great luck, I stumbled upon Flowgrow which I am now a moderator of.
    Additionally, I also got to know the aquarium style of Takashi Amano at that time. At Flowgrow, I read that macro-elements were essentially needed by the plants and I started dosing a -completely new to me- macro-fertilizer in my newly bought 300l tank in an also new flat which I moved in together with my girlfriend. As it turned out, the tap water in the new flat was quite ideal for planted aquariums since it is very soft with a carbonate hardness of about 2°dKH and total hardness of around 3°dGH. But this tank couldn’t even be called an aquascape; it was a planted tank with some stones and driftwood which changed from time to time.
    While further looking around on the internet, I saw the aquariums of two other persons: Oliver Knott and Harald Schneider. I finally wanted to have one of these amazing aquariums, too.

    [float_right][​IMG][/float_right]

    So I set up my first real aquascape “Hybrid Theory” in the already mentioned 300l tank. It placed 13th in the ASE 2009 (Aquascaping Contest - Aquatic Scapers Europe) while my nano tank called “Eternal Unity” won the first price in the same contest. The nano aquarium was set up only two months before the contest closed application. But with the knowledge I had then, it turned out pretty successful. I couldn’t really get it that I really won a contest with one of my first aquascapes.

    I bought some other aquariums and arranged more aquascapes, my substrate of choice was natural gravel (without any additions) for all of them. With a balanced fertilization it is possible to keep the plants in a healthy condition. But with the urge in me, to always try better then before, I started using a well known soil type of substrate in a few tanks. The plants grew even healthier and more densely in this kind of substrate, while still supplying a balanced fertilization. So it finally got my substrate of choice for all my following scapes.



    Unfortunately, my scape “Anyplace... Anytime.”, what is stake here, was set up in April 2009 with natural gravel as its substrate. Since it was dominated by the used Microsorum species, it made a pretty healthy impression overall nevertheless. This scape won the first prize in the ASE 2010 contest (standard category). I did not enter the nano category this time because I was just not satisfied with the layout in my nano tank.

    In February 2010, there was a live-scaping competition in Hannover, Germany (The Art of the Planted Aquarium| The Art of the Planted Aquarium) which I also entered in both categories (XL: 250l & Nano: 20l): I placed 1st in the XL- and 2nd in the Nano-category.



    AQUASCAPING TECHNIQUES

    Initial Conception of the Scape

    [float_right] [​IMG][/float_right]
    Well, I have to admit that I don’t really have a source of inspiration. All my aquascapes “grow” in my head since I am not really able to draw my ideas before I begin to set a tank up.
    First, I have a basic idea of what I will try next time. This is certainly just the kind of hardscape being used which I collect (to be more precise: I buy it) in the next step. With the hardscape lying around in my flat, I develop the basic idea of the scape further until I have a pretty complete “picture” of the final scape in mind.
    I think about the plants I could use, write their names down and let some time pass by. Sometimes, in the very least cases, this planting plan is the final version, too. But often, I add some plants and delete other ones and so on until the final plant combination is found. The “picture” in my mind is getting more and more detailed this way.
    Once I think the idea is pretty complete I do order the plants.

    Giving my scapes titles is quite difficult sometimes. In very few cases, I have a title for the scape in mind when the scape is not even started physically. In case of “Anyplace... Anytime.” it was hard for me to find a matching title. I finally decided to call it as mentioned because of a song title which I have shortened a bit.


    Arranging the Hardscape

    As mentioned above, I have a pretty complete idea of the scape in mind before I actually start to set a tank up. So, mostly I use the wood as it is, but sometimes there are some branches that have to be changed. I do mostly not cut the wood with a saw but just break it to make it look like I want. This way I avoid unnatural looking cut ends which would have to be covered by mosses.
    [float_right][​IMG][/float_right]

    Really a lot of wood was used in “Anyplace… Anytime.” but on the final picture, one can just see the tips of it... most of it had been overgrown by the Microsorum species.

    Planting and Trimming Techniques

    When I was in Hannover in February 2010, I joined a lecture of Karen Randall, who was one of the judges there. She talked about the principles of aquascaping mentioned in your question. I have to say that I do not set a tank up by strictly thinking of these rules. It seems as I instinctively follow them. I just arrange the hardscape and the plants in a way that I think is attractive to the eye.


    GREATEST CHALLENGES

    This certainly was the fact that I changed the foreground plant from the actually planned Marsilea sp. to Glossostigma elatinoides only two months before the ASE 2010 contest closed application. I had to do this because the Marsilea just did not grow the way I wanted it to, it looked really unhealthy to me (in natural gravel as the substrate).
    [float_right][​IMG][/float_right]

    I had the same plants in the already mentioned soil type substrate in an other tank, where it grew much larger leaves and was even healthier (while the fertilization and lighting were comparable).




    FINAL THOUGHTS & ADVICE

    The most important thing is to set you the highest possible goals. At least, I do so for me, personally. I always try to make my new scapes look better then the older ones while developing new techniques or enhancing already existing ones.

    If you are completely new to this hobby, you should first try to get some basic knowledge concerning plants and their needs and understanding the basic water chemistry can’t do harm, either. Even the needed technical equipment like filtration, CO2, lighting and so on should be studied before actually starting an aquarium for the first time.

    Reading about something is good but doing it yourself is quite better, so just follow the principles of try and error. This is what really helps you learn something. The first time will be hard -at least it is in most cases, so for me- but don’t let it get you down, simply enjoy every progress you and your scape make/s. After some time of failure, meaning algae and unhealthy plants, you will definitely have success if you really want to and keep on trying.


    When it comes to me, I recently set up two new scapes (60x30x36cm and 120x50x50cm). The small one has just been set up for trying some new ideas, but with the 300l tank I am planning to enter the IAPLC 2011. It would be the first time for me to take part in this leading contest. So, we’ll see what the future brings.

    Lastly, I want to thank my girlfriend for being patient and tolerating my hobby as it is: time-consuming.


     

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    Eboeagles and Ian like this.
  2. Crispino Ramos

    Crispino Ramos New Member

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    Location:
    North East Phoenix, Arizona, USA
    Thanks for the awesome article and pictures.

    I feel humbly inspired.
     
  3. jabol997

    jabol997 New Member

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    beautiful aquarium
     
  4. Big Dog

    Big Dog New Member

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    Sweet looking aquarium. :muscle: :plane:
     
  5. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    California
    Stunning, and lush aquascape. The angle shot really highlights how detailed and well designed the layout is.

    -John N.
     
  6. CatfishSoupFTW

    CatfishSoupFTW Aspiring Aquascaper

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    i really hope one day i get to understand how on earth this happens.
     
  7. Scorpio

    Scorpio New Member

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    Beautiful and lush green aquarium. Nice!!
     
  8. kafeel_salman

    kafeel_salman New Member

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  9. Ian

    Ian Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Location:
    Lincoln, UK
    Marcel,
    VERY Nice indeed Thanks for showing
     

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