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Portinho da Arrábida - uma vista de Troia -22/9/11

Discussion in 'Aquascaping Journals' started by Supercoley1, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Long time since I last started a journal on my main tank :) The last one was 'Once upon a time at the riverbank' which started on 2nd March 2009 and ran until April this year. I thought I would start this journal early so you can laugh at how much I change my plan before I set it up.

    I had already planned the new scape at the prior to breaking down the tank and had named it 'Rio Bonito' however I then decided to change the decor of my lounge and I always tend to scape to the surroundings. Therefore I felt 'Rio Bonito' wouldn't be the scape for the new decor.

    I'll show you pics of the lounge when I set up the tank so you can see what I mean however it is quite modern looking, minimalistic and pretty techy. Not in a gadgety bachelor pad way. It has class (at least I think so) Therefore I want the scape to 'mirror' the modern minimalist feel of the room.

    I will do Rio Bonito later on in my life :)

    So inspired by the new lounge I had in mind something like Felipe Oliveira's 'Rounded Stones' when it was in it's infancy and the plants were still quite low.
    [​IMG]

    This is Felipe's site:
    FAAO - Aquascaping

    I don't want to copy things. just use inspiration and this was the starting point. so I googled aquascapes using lots of stone and less planting or at least discreet planting.

    Low and behold up came a picture that I instantly loved. Clicked on it and it was George's original Project Scree :) George's scapes have always had a heavy influence on my scaping although probably not noticeable from my attempts. lol

    UK Aquatic Plant Society Forum • View topic - [IWAGUMI] Project Scree - New plants and lights

    I am no fan of Iwagumi. I find them uninspiring and pretty boring with stones placed in carpets etc however this scape of George's seems to have taken Iwagumi or at least rock hardscaping to another level.

    At the moment I can't see too far past George's scape in terms of what I want to do. A bit like being inspired by a song and then everything you write yourself sounds just like it. lol. however I want to do something along those lines albeit with the trademark Needle Fern in the scape. I don't mean it is easy to copy a scape. I can easily put rocks in similar positions to George's however I am not so sure I have the eye that George has so of course mine may not have that perfection of placement etc.

    It will of course have to have some thinking over suitable components within the tank as I do not select fish for a scape. My fish move from scape to scape. Therefore I have to make sure the substrate is suitable for my Corys. Another consideration is I can't use sand if I want to have a slope as they will level it out within days.

    As I was planning to return to CO2 and 'higher' light for Rio Bonito I've already bought most of the new CO2 rig. Just need to get an FE and some 4dKH. I have sourced my rocks, started looking for suitable substrates and the plants I plan to use (which will likely change and change back etc prior to starting) are from my little nursery (One of those 3 tier mini greenhouses filled with propogators and the like in my cupboard)

    Never really worked with rock before. Just used stones as accents and I've always let the plants do their thing jungle style. Not letting them get out of hand but enjoying the sight of loads of green :) Therefore tis will be a challenge. First time with no wood in the tank and trying to use the open space well (meaning above the scape)

    Hope things go well and you enjoy the journey. And apologies to George for using his hardscape as a starting point. I will probably try to imitate his completely before I start moving things around a bit.

    Regards
    Andy
     

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  2. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    I should add that I will be hoping to get this up and running in the next 4 weeks. Baby due (yes a real one, its not a pet name I am using for the scape) on 9th August. lol

    Onto the detail:
    TANK- 125Ltr 80 x 35 x 46cm with frosted sheet on rear panel
    FILTER- Eheim 2024 700lph external filter
    HEATER - Hydor ETH200 inline heater
    Pressurised CO2 through inline Up atomizer
    37W 5500K LED lighting 9 hours a day set to sunrise/sunset stagger (Lowered down to 6" = high light)

    Dosing: 2.5ml Kontemplantpro daily

    Substrate will be the usual Mulm and Leonardite at the bottom, A small amount of 4 year old Tropica on top of that and then some small natural gravel to get my slope. A white or light coloured sand will be used for the foreground.

    The hardscape will be identical rocks to the Mini Landscape rocks which I have sourced at a local cash and carry. These are 1ft x 1ft so nice and big yet under a fiver each :)

    Plants will be......Needle Fern, Flame moss and Fissidens Fontanus. I may decide to add something later but want to keep the plant list down and resist the urge to put Crypts/Anubias in.

    IInhabitants are 8 x Corydoras Schultzi (black), 20 x Boraras Merah
    Then there are 1000+ cherry shrimp to go in.

    The frosted sheet has been bought and am awaiting it's arrival. The hardscape rock will be bought by the end of this week. Will have to break some up as they are huge rocks. The substrate will be pondered over between visits to various 'gravel sellers' including Maidenhead. The sand will be bought as and when I am next to a shop selling a nice light coloured one and the FE will be bought when I am ready to start.

    One thing holding me back a little is I have to paint and varnish the skirting boards still before I move the tank back in from the Kitchen where it has been for the past 2 months.

    One thing I am going to experiment with along the line are RGB LED strips. I bought some of these to use for ambient 'effects' in my lounge. behind the TV etc and I think they would be useful to use with the tank lighting for special effects etc. I can choose from an array of differing colours and it should look cool through the frosted pane. I may even buy 2 so I can shine one down and one up and get 2 differing colours to meet. That is something for later though and only for photos.

    Regards Andy
     
  3. lljdma06

    lljdma06 New Member

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    Hi Andy, good to see a new scape from you. I like the platinum tetras, a good choice. Will be a shame to see the espeis die off. I remember them from when you first started planted tanks. Has it been that long?

    I like Oliveira's scape, but be careful that your main rounded rocks don't look like um... how do I put this delicately... Well, I've got a pair... LOLOLOL

    Scree is lovely, but a bit stark for me. Just my opinion. Perhaps it's the lighting, a bit on the crisp side.

    Liz
     
  4. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Lol I've seen the bodice pictures in your marine thread....oooh you didn't mean that. lol

    I'm not using Rounded stones. That was my initial starting point. I'm using rougher stones similar to the seiryu rock.

    The Espeis weren't from when I started planted.

    I started planted with the usual one of everything. then moved onto a group of pitbull plecs with cardinals.

    I bought the Espei in February 2005 (Told the wife they were my birthday present from my Mum. lol) so they have been there for 2 years and 4 months now. From 25 down to 6 and another is starting to look faded colourwise at the moment. Don't think it will be too long before they've all gone but be just my luck to have 1 that lasts forever. lol

    AC
     
  5. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Maybe boring these days but I go to Portugal every year, sometimes twice (Thats what you get for marrying a foreigner :) ) therefore if I create something it tends to be based on something I've seen in Portugal or England.

    The name I have chosen is the name of a beach near my wife's family village. They live in Palmela near Setubal. This is on the edge of the Serra da Arrabida which is a line of hills along the coastline on the edge of the Arrabida national park. Her village is one side of a stretch of hills and the other side is the coastline. You can see the sea from her parents' apartment window :)

    A little unuseful bit of info for you:
    If you have seen the James Bond film 'On her majesty's Secret Service' you have seen these hills. When Diana Rigg's character is shot whilst Bond is driving along after they are married it is along one of the roads in this 'range'.

    Portinho is a pretty beach and if you view it from the sea (or in this case as the title suggests from Troia) the beach is lovely and almost white and the hills immediately rise up behind the beach.

    http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm94/Fresh-fil/PortinhodaArrabida_sandraandTo.jpg

    Troia is the other side of the opening of the river/harbour of Setubal. Along one side the beach stretches as far as the eye can see. Dolphins swim in the harbour. Basically this little area of the world is a real 'feel good' place to be.

    This picture looks at Troia from the top of the hills above the beach (a bit further along than Portinho)
    http://v21.nonxt4.c.bigcache.google...otos/original/13885460.jpg?redirect_counter=1

    So using rock and creating a sort of long beach along the front with the sand I am using for the Corys immediately I thought of the beach in front of the mountains :)

    It is a loosely related title rather than a recreation. I can't remember giant needle ferns poking out from behind these hills but then I do go there when its Festa das vindimas (Wine festival) and after a couple of bottles of Moscatel washed down with euro fizz beer maybe I do see things a little differently :)

    I'm not going there this year because of baby no3's impending arrival however will definitely be going next year and hopefully I may have learnt Portuguese by then instead of using babelfish for my titles. lol

    AC
     
  6. ghostsword

    ghostsword Aspiring Aquascaper Staff Member

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    I am so looking forward to your scape, it will be fab if you can somehow mimic the natural look of the Arrabida.

    :) Please post pictures, before, during and after.
     
  7. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    OK guys I've got my stones and they cost me £25.13 (plus 2 knackered wrists ;) .)

    See this thread for where I bought them.
    UK Aquatic Plant Society Forum • View topic - Good source for cheap rock/stone

    On with the journal.

    After selecting 6 stones of varying sizes (choosing ones that looked the bestest and not worrying too much about grabbing the largest) I loaded up the utility vehicle:
    [​IMG]

    Then I started out a baseline hardscape using 5 of the stones (comments/suggestions/advice welcome.) The upright one is the same but not much veining on the front side I have here. Would be a shame to turn it around and lose the character of it. Wicked fissure in this stone. There is another stone left which I will break up and use in some areas to ''blend'. I may well also have to break the largest stone on the left.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    This is from the side with the Utility vehicle in the background.
    [​IMG]

    And a gauge for size. This is from above and the ruler is 61cm (why not 60? I have no idea) This is going in an 80cm tank and the picture above is already touching front and back glass in places (35cm depth)
    [​IMG]

    And some close ups of the rocks:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Like I said earlier this stone is pretty similar to mini landscape seiryu but not so jagged. I think it has a softer more weathered natural aesthetic to it.

    Will get the hose on it later to see what it looks like clean.

    Regards
    Andy
     
  8. ghostsword

    ghostsword Aspiring Aquascaper Staff Member

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    Great rocks!! I really like them, good find.
     
  9. Petr

    Petr New Member

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    Hi, very nice rocks! I like them too but according to the white parts, won´t they leach calcium ?
     
  10. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Lol. They'll struggle to compete with Lincoln 'liquid rock' water :)

    Its a task weekly to remove the calcium line on the tank. takes a razor blade :)

    I think these rocks are actually blue slate with very thick quartz and limestone bands. I'll get a pic of a square piece later. Looks like a liqorice allsort :)

    AC
     
  11. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Come on guys. For once I am wanting the advice of the 'rock police'. Not making fun. Would like some opinions on the above. I will continue moving things about in the meantime and have broke 1.5 stones already.

    Seems these rocks are actually layers of slate and quartz. Some of the broken pieces look like liquorice allsorts

    I quite like this layout however I anticipate comparisons to armadillos, Stegosaurus' and Sydney Opera house. lol
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Some of the fractured edges from my bludgeoning are really sharp. Would sanding do any goo to soften them a little?

    AC
     
  12. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    sanding with sandpaper? i'm not sure that will smooth the edges much.

    will the lower parts of the rocks be buried in the substrate? will there be a mound from which the rocks jut out like in your inspiration piece?

    If so, then I like the last arrangement.

    I would avoid it looking like the rocks are stacked onto eachother. I don't think that will look as natural.

    The large piece with the fissure seems to stick out a bit due to its lack of banding like the other rocks. If you turn it does it have more banding? Depending on what that looks like, I might trade the texture for a consistent pattern in the rocks.
     
  13. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    How about this for a sort of sketch. The dark green dots are Fontanus, the light green dots are flame moss and the long green bits are Needle. sand at the front and lightish gravel the rest:
    [​IMG]

    Andy
     
  14. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    I'll get the file out then :)

    Some will but not much. Pretty much what you see in the pics above is them pushed into the garden soil :)

    The rear has 'some' banding so may try turning it

    AC
     
  15. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    I like the idea of putting some moss in the crevices between the rocks. It will smooth the transition from stone to stone.

    The file it is!

    How did you break up your rock? I had some solid pieces I wanted to break up, but the 10 lbs sledge hammer wouldn't do it. So I heated them up on the outdoor grill, then moved them to a cooler of icewater, then smashed them with the 10lbs sledge inside of an old pillow case. That worked.
     
  16. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Errrm I did it with an 8lb sledge hammer. didn't use a pillow. Put them on the soil and let the soil soak up the blast from below while the top took the direct hit :)

    Andy
     
  17. Petr

    Petr New Member

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    I really like the scatch. What about place some stone more towards the front glass to create more depth?
     
  18. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    just so we are clear... i'm not a weakling Boxing

    My rock was different, not sure what kind. Shale and granite, I think. I don't have a yard really, so I placed it on old patio cement I was removing. I broke the cement instead of the rock when I didn't heat and cool.

    I used the pillowcase to catch all the shards.

    I think the best way to deal with the sharp edges are going to be covering with the moss or substrate. But the file is worth a shot.

    I like your plant selection. Maybe some C. parva in the foreground among your smaller pieces of rock? It should be nice and low maintenance.
     
  19. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    If you see in the picture below I have the rulers and the fence. These are to show me the rear and front pane of glass. So the fence is the rear and the stones are an inch or so away from it. The rocks are about the same distance away from the ruler (front glass so not much room for movement :)

    So in this picture there are 3-4 inches space at each side of the hardscape and 1-2 inches space from front and back

    [​IMG]

    I do want to keep this very simple with not too many plants however if you look at the picture of Portinho beach linked to above, The effect doesn't have the usual aspect of scale we would use. It is basically beach then goes straight up to the mountain.

    Thats why I am choosing mosses and fissidens for the foregound. The Needle shouldn't really be there and I will take photos at the end with and without. That's the beauty of the ferns. They can be attached to small stones and moved or removed with ease.

    Parva would preak the scale at the front IMO. I do have some in my emersed cupboard but not for this scape. Even at the front it would look like 'palm trees' and make it seem like you are viewing a much smaller area from closer in.

    You can't see behind but it is like a ridge. The other side of the ridge are the southern flood plains of the River Tagus. About 20 miles of flat landscape. Lisbon nestles directly on the north of the river Tagus.

    I may try some trickery on a photoshoot once it is nearly finished and put a flat piece of carboard behind the tank. On the cardboard could be a picture I will take from the top of the ridge facing Lisbon. Then if I take an 'aerial' shot of the tank looking past the hills you'll be able to see the flood plains (and all the towns and villages that are now on it through the rear pane :)

    That landscape is a pretty unspectacular view being quite dry and barron, however it will be a bit of fun and the view of Lisbon set into the hills 20 miles away is like an oasis in the distance.

    Just a bit of fun but for the end really :)

    Lol, shall we have a 'who's weaker' contest. lol. Some people used to nickname me 'ethiopian' at school. This was at the height of publicity r.e. famine in the mid eighties, Live Aid time and all that so was a 'current' name for very skinny people. I am not much bigger now. lol 5ft 11 and only 10 stone.

    However I have good co-ordination and the swing from the ground behind me over the shoulder and down on the rock in front is probably better than a fat man's 'tap'. lol

    On the subject of the slightly different rock, I turned it round and I don't like it. I will see if any more rocks come into the store though that may fit better (needs to be within 2 weeks as I am going to do this next weekend) but if not I'll use this one as seen in the photos above.

    It's a pretty long term scape using mosses and Fissidens and hopefully once the Fissidens takes and a year has passed it will be covering most of the hardscape (with some bare patches like in the photo linked to above and as can be seen in the next post.

    Next post I'll post some pictures I have taken (or somebody else has taken if I am in it) showing the are in question so you can get a feel for it. Like I said before though. this is a base inspiration and intended to replicate the actual scenery. I think although it is beautiful in life an attempt at replicating it in a scape could look quite dull.

    AC
     
  20. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Lol. I've taken countless photos from this area looking to Lisbon 20 miles in the distance and I can't find a single one. Must've lost them however here are a few of the area I am talking about that seem to have survived. lol

    Article 1 in the 'I'm weaker than you case :) is me in the car park behind one of the beaches on this coast in 2009. I don't think it is Portinho but maybe the next one along from it. About half a mile up the coastline. I just noticed my youngest (second youngest in a month's time) hiding between the cars. lol
    [​IMG]

    Article 2 is me on Troia beach facing the Serra da Arrabida hills (or the start of them.) Setubal would be just to right side of the picture the other side of the estuary. I think this is in 2005. Was only 30 then. lol. This is at peak beach time and probs about 35C in August. Yes peak time, empty beach and the atlantic to the left. If you look to the left of my head there is a drop of water on the lense. Draw an arrow down and my wife lives (or lived) in a village behind the hills you see.
    [​IMG]

    Again 2005 (seems the best year for me taking photos of this area) This is a photo I took on top of the Serra da Arrabida looking down on the Troia Peninsual. The beach you can see over the estuary is the one I was on in the photo above.
    [​IMG]

    Just to show the rocks these hills comprise of. Ignore the car, wife and mother in law :)
    [​IMG]

    A couple of pics from on the hills looking down at Portinho beach:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And to end a picture of me and my mother in law. Can you tell that neither of us like our photographs being taken:
    [​IMG]

    The wife will love me putting photos up her just after giving birth. lol. this one is taken from Palmela castle (The Sera da Arrabida) is behind me as I take this picture) and looks out over the Tagus flood plain. Palmela is a hill on it's own next to the Serra da Arrabida so it slopes down into the flood plain.

    The hills in the far horizon are 20 miles away and Lisbon is set into them. Lisbon would be just out of picture to the left. Its half a photo away. lol
    [​IMG]

    Andy

    Regards
    Andy
     

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