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October 2010 Aquascape of the Month: "Ikebana"

Discussion in 'Aquascape of the Month (AOTM)' started by John N., Oct 4, 2010.

  1. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    October 2010 Aquascape of the Month
    ______________________________________________
    Ikebana
    by Julian Nguyen

    [​IMG]


    INTRODUCTION

    [float_left][​IMG][/float_left]
    My name is Julian Nguyen, and I currently live in Southern California, United States. I first got into keeping fish when I was about 7-8 years old. Being the youngest boy with two older brothers does have its benefits. My brothers use to buy me Bettas for me to keep since they are hardy and easy to keep. Eventually I moved on to guppies and goldfishes but I noticed the water was never clean. I didn’t know much about filters and water changes like I do now. As a teenager, I kept mainly small fish tanks. By my 18th birthday my mom bought me an Australian Arowana and a 125 gallon fish tank as a birthday gift. Cool gift huh? I had that fish for about three years until one night it jumped through a tiny space between the glass lid and died. Ever since that happen I stopped keep fish and took a break from aquariums.

    I just got back into the hobby again about a year ago. I was just planning on keeping fishes but I noticed a lot of beautiful planted tanks online. I started doing research, joined many of the forums, and started to ask many questions. At first all the information seems very overwhelming but eventually through trial and error I was able to grow something.

    As of right now, I have had moderate success at aquascaping and planted aquariums, but I still have lots to learn. While I have spent tons of money and time every day on this addicting hobby, in the end, it relaxes me from a long day of work and commuting.
    [float_right][​IMG][/float_right]


    Aquascaping an Ikebana Layout

    Accidentally Inspired
    I was first introduced to the art of Ikebana roughly a year ago. I was on a dinner and movie date with my "Corazon" and while we waited for our movies to start, we decided to head downstairs into a Barnes and Nobles Bookstore for some light reading to pass the time. My girlfriend usually gets fictional novels while I usually get nature, bonsai and aquarium books. For some strange reason that evening I spotted the Ikebana books from across the room. I don’t remember the author of the book but I know the book had a glossy black cover with a simple vase of floral arrangement on it.

    What is the Ikebana Style?

    For those who don’t know what Ikebana is, according to Wikipedia: Ikebana is more than simply putting flowers in a container, Ikebana is a disciplined art form in which nature and humanity are brought together. Contrary to the idea of [float_right][​IMG][/float_right] floral arrangement as a collection of semi-colored or multicolored arrangement of blooms, Ikebana often emphasizes other areas of the plant, such as its stems and leaves, and draws emphasis toward shape, line, form. Though Ikebana is a creative expression, it has certain rules governing its form. The artist's intention behind each arrangement is shown through the piece's color combination, natural shapes, graceful lines, and the usually implied meaning of the arrangement.

    Another aspect present in Ikebana is its employment of minimalism. That is, an arrangement may consist of only a minimal number of blooms interspersed among stalks and leaves. The structure of a Japanese flower arrangement is based on a scalene triangle delineated by three main points, usually twigs, considered in some schools to symbolize heaven, earth, and man and in others sun, moon, and earth. The container is a key element of the composition, and various styles of pottery may be used in their construction.

    I considered myself to be an insomniac and I usually work on my tanks either really late in the evening or early in the morning such as 12-3 AM. About three months ago, I bought a used ADA 30c from a friend of mine and I wanted to do something new and share it with everyone and that’s how I got the ball rolling. I don’t really have a specific name of this layout but just simply refer to it as “Ikebana”. [float_right] [​IMG][/float_right]

    Gathering Materials

    Everything I used for this tank was from things that I already had on hand and given to me by friends from the Southern California Aquatic Plant Enthusiasts Club (SCAPE).

    The main center piece is a fancy bowl I bought awhile back to eat Pho with. Pho is a well known Vietnamese dish, beef noodle soup. The substrate I decided to use was Azoo planted substrate because I had some on hand and the grains were small enough to work with.

    As for the drift wood, I had a small branch of Manzanita wood from a previous tank. I also used natural sand to support the whole center piece. They layout I wanted to keep it as simple as I can, using simple plants that is easy to grow and not very demanding at all.

    Overall the finished aquascape look very close to what I have envisioned in my mind and I am very pleased with my first attempt at an Ikebana tank.


    Trimming Technique
    [float_right][​IMG][/float_right]
    I trim the tank about once month when the plants gets too much out of control. I don’t trim everything down to the substrate because I wanted to achieve have this layout appear as natural and organic as it can.

    Additionally, I didn’t use any of the tradition aquascaping/visual rules because I just wanted to experiment and see how everything would fit neatly into the bowl. To enhance depth, I selected lower growing foreground plants such as Eleocharis acicularis (hairgrass) and Glossostigma elatinoides in the front. In the background, taller stem plants such as Cabomba caroliniana, Echinodorus tenellus, Hygrophila polysperma “sunset”, Rotala indica and Rotala sp. “green”, and Ludwigia arcuata completed the back areas.

    You can use any kind of plants you want but remember to chose one centerpiece plant and the rest should be easy plants to handle and maintain.


    GREATEST CHALLENGES
    [float_right][​IMG][/float_right]
    When working on an Ikebana aquasscape in such a small space, the major challenge is keeping everything neat and tidy in the bowl itself. You can’t rush because everything is growing in such a tight spot. Any sudden movements could disturb the sand, plant arrangement and positioning of the bowl.

    Water changes and regular tank maintenance were also time consuming especially when since I was keeping shrimp who loved to dig out the substrate. But with anything, as a saying goes, “infinite patience brings immediate results”.


    FINAL THOUGHTS & ADVICE

    If you are trying to create a Ikebana aquarium layout, when attempting to try this method try to have fun, take your time and make sure you are creating an aquascape that you enjoy. Also, I realized the bigger the set up the easier it is on you. When working on a small tank, make sure you have fine tweezers and scissors to make trimming and tank maintenance easier.

    As for myself in the future, I plan do more Ikebana layouts so I can fine tune this aquascaping style. To me, an Ikebana layout is a simple, minimalist approach to aquascaping that almost anyone can do. However, while it is deceivingly simple compared to other aquascaping styles an Ikebana layout produces an equivalent, if not better, visual stunning effect in its simplicity, balance, and natural presentation.



     

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    greenfinger 2 and hgfx like this.
  2. wearsbunnyslippers

    wearsbunnyslippers New Member

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    wow, thats really nice!

    i like it, nice to see something new and fresh...
     
  3. CHUNTC

    CHUNTC New Member

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    It is a great idea. Refreshing and artistically presented. Love it!^:)^
     
  4. redcable

    redcable New Member

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    woww... this really motivates me Boxing
     
  5. ngookkk

    ngookkk New Member

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    nicee broo, scaping with philosophy :)
     
  6. Crispino Ramos

    Crispino Ramos New Member

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    what are your thoughts about a hybrid design: an ikebana-wabikusa fusion?
     
  7. MARIMOBALL

    MARIMOBALL New Member

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    Very inspirational buddy. Being in the flower business a while back I was aware of Ikebana techniques but never had the vision to implement it in an aquaruim. Im going to try one myself but as far as I know you were the first congrats. BTW nice ADA tank LOL.
     
  8. 4f1hmi

    4f1hmi New Member

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    Congratulation Jules! That is one SCAPE member! Proud to be one too:yo:
     
  9. Orlando

    Orlando Supporting Member

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    Wow this looks incredible! However, if we could achieve the same result without the glass box that would be cool, but impossible. None the less, its really cool.
     
  10. Snoopygirl

    Snoopygirl New Member

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    absolutely stunning
     
  11. wearsbunnyslippers

    wearsbunnyslippers New Member

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    this has given me an idea...
     
  12. fjc973

    fjc973 New Member

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    Great ,I really like the idea .
     
  13. andynguyen030282

    andynguyen030282 New Member

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    Simple but Nice :">
     
  14. Flo

    Flo Aspiring Aquascaper

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    nice idea and great work :). makes me thinking what all can be possible with a simple dish or any other stuff we can find at home. really inspiring. :proud:
     
  15. plantbrain

    plantbrain Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Best use of a pot I've seen in an aquarium.
     
  16. greenfinger 2

    greenfinger 2 Active Aquascaper

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    Hgfx, Thank you for put a like on this :cool: How did i miss this one:eek: Ikebana So so cool
    Julian Nguyen, Bravo bravo (y) On a superb work of art :love:
     

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