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Road Trip to Hakkai Mountain!

Discussion in 'General Aquascaping and Planted Tank Discussions' started by Steven Chong, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. Steven Chong

    Steven Chong Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    It has been a long time since I actually worked on putting a tank together. Simply put, between going back and forth between Japan and home for school/work and eventually moving back to Japan for my new job-- I've been busy, and totally unable to put together the 3 months in 1 place needed for a layout. But, I've recently started back on one! And it's starting off with a real adventure!

    For anyone who has looked at an ADA magazine, book or catalogue, you probably know these rocks:

    [​IMG]

    These stones are called Hakkai-Seki 八海石, and it comes from Hakkai mountain in Niigata prefecture (yes, the same prefecture as the the ADA Headquarters and Gallery). It also happens to be where I call home now.

    Now if you have ever looked into getting your hands on Hakkai seki, you know it is . . . near impossible. Even if you scour bonsai and aquarium stores throughout Tokyo, you simply will not find it . . . well, it would be extremely rare, I've tried. At the last IAPLC, Jeff Senske also told me about some crazy adventures about getting the chance to pick from Amano's private stash (lucky bastard, but he's definitely earned it!).


    [​IMG]

    I love you Kuro-Neko delivery service! <3 Seventh Heavens sent me my new Do!Aqua 60x45x45 Cube Glass Aquarium, and its stand. Can you believe that in this country, you can pay the delivery man, in cash-- and they will pay the store for you!? It's crazy! Oh the Japanese and their crazy system of trust . . . they're crazy . . . but I'm probably not one to talk.

    [​IMG]

    There she is baby, all waiting for setup. This weekend I will go back to the shop and pickup a Solar II, some extra goodies to refit my ADA CO2 system for a standard Japanese large canister and timer, Aquasoil, and some other goodies I'll need to set this baby up properly. Seventh Heavens also arranged to get together all the plants I wanted. Gotta love Japanese service!


    Anyway, without further ado, rock photos:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    ;)

    Will be setting her up this weekend! Please stay tuned!
     

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  2. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Great story!:rock: thank you for sharing. Good luck with your scape. I look forward to updates.
     
  3. Krak

    Krak New Member

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    Ukraina,Khmelnitskiy
    Think much all beautifully must be, good luck, wait with report
     
  4. Jurijs mit JS

    Jurijs mit JS Admin Staff Member

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    Wow, a real adventure trip. Is there any place in the middle europe for hunting hardscape?
     
  5. Steven Chong

    Steven Chong Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Thanks guys :D

    I don't know about Germany, but I've seen Polish guys post with some really unique looking rocks so there's got to be good stuff, no?
     
  6. Maciek

    Maciek Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Great story!
    The rocks are really beautiful, but even more beatiful is the effort you put to collect them. I envy you, Japanese people (and most other Asian aquascapers), the passion and special approach to aquascaping. In Europe, we may actually treat this area to "technically" and cold. That's why we shall probably never become as gifted aquascapers as you are.
    Steven, I am a big fan of your talent since always. I am looking forward to see the results of your work with the Hakkai Seki. This specific tank dimmensions are great and give lots of opportunities. One can create a great optical depth within the aquascape. I know you won't miss it!
     
  7. Enrico Serena

    Enrico Serena New Member

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    Thank to sharing with us this adventure Steven.
    Can't wait to see how you'll arrange that beautiful stones in a tank of that dimensions.
    Cheers.


    Ciao
     
  8. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    Location:
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    Hi Steven, what a story and an adventure! It's good to see you finding some time and getting back into aquascaping.

    What did you do with the killifish you caught? Are they somehow going into your planned aquascape?

    Oh, the rocks are very cool too! Very round, but I know you have some way of tranforming them into a great layout.

    Watch out AquaScaping World, Steven Chong is BACK!! :muscle:

    -John N.
     
  9. Steven Chong

    Steven Chong Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Thanks again guys! Maciek-- I think everyone who dives into Aquascaping has great passion! I am continuously impressed by the ingenuity and creative trail-blazing done by Europe's aquascapers. 日本人に負けてないや! You do not lose to the Japanese at all!

    John-- xD You'll make me nervous if you expect too much out of me. As for the killies, Medaka are this country's "feeder guppy," your typical tiny grey fish that is sold everywhere for dirt cheap. I just caught some for fun that day, and the feeling of adventure! I let them back since I have no place to keep them at home, but I do plan on buying and using Medaka for the actual tank!

    I'm thinking along the lines of "cool" theme with deep green plants and silver color-less fish, trying to stick to Japanese species exclusively except for otos and SAE's which are sold in bulk even at the local home-improvement store! Of course, Amano shrimp are also on the menu.

    The other fish I am planning on (also from the home-improvements store) is the baratanago, or rosy bitterling from Japan. It's a small, silver, and in my opinion very attractive fish with a full body compared to the thin medaka or SAE.

    Rosy bitterling - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  10. GeorgJ

    GeorgJ Team Flowgrow

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    Hi Steven,

    very nice story and great pictures and of course a very good choice of Hakkai Seki - i hope your back does not hurt so much ;). Thank you very much for sharing! I'm looking forward to see the result too. In Germany it's very hard to find "endemic" stones - I guess in Japan it is easier.
     
  11. viktorlantos

    viktorlantos Aspiring Aquascaper

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    very nice stones you got there. enjoyed a lot reading about the adventures. this stones looks awesome in many tanks from Amano / ADA. can't wait to see yours.
     
  12. Chazzam

    Chazzam New Member

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    This looks great, cant wait to see the tank scaped and filled! Next time i visit Japan, ill have to do a little hunting for these stones my self :p I hope i can take them back as carry on!
     
  13. Shadow

    Shadow Moderator Staff Member

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    should put this article on the next ASW magazine ;)
     
  14. wearsbunnyslippers

    wearsbunnyslippers New Member

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    great story, cant wait to see the scape!
     
  15. Steven Chong

    Steven Chong Aspiring Aquascaper

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    @Shadow-- if someone wants to clean up the grammar, feel free to use. :p

    Also here is a video[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3ufX_3lrrQ"]video[/ame] of the setup. Too lazy to post the actual photos, so I just made it a youtube video. My EHEIM just arrived in the mail today (from my folks back home), but I need to go get some tubing before I set it up. Probably will run the Tetra HOB and the EHEIM for the first few weeks. Otherwise, looking fine. :D

    My goal was to make the main rock in particular look as big as possible, hence the use of small wood. The wood in the foreground is surrounded by moss rocks. I am hoping to make the illusion of a mos covered root lost amongst the surrounding moss covered cliff side it clings too.

    One interesting feature I'm proud of, is that the foreground is thicker gravel and it gradients into fine sand in the mid and background. This was also done to enhance the illusion of perspective, and make the stream fade deeper back.

    Eventually, there will be better pictures where I hope this will be better viewed.

    Plants include:
    -Java Moss (What everyone in Japan calls Willow Moss thanks to Amano >_>)
    -Echinodorus Tenellus
    -Vallisnaria nana
    -Some unknown Crypts
     
  16. Jurijs mit JS

    Jurijs mit JS Admin Staff Member

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    We will for sure ;)

    only after the hardscape photo I realized how big those stones are and how difficult it must have been to pick them up. Respect :proud:
     
  17. royvd

    royvd New Member

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    Location:
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    great trip!
    great stones!
    great pics!
    great result!
    thanks for sharing men.
    its realy awsome to read!
    i like it and like to see how it develops
    keep on posting the updates of your tank!!
    greetings
     
  18. Enrico Serena

    Enrico Serena New Member

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    Don't know way I'm having a deja vu from this picture, a taste of the starting sequence of 千と千尋の神隠し Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi , nice :)

    Excuse me for the OT

    Ciao
     
  19. Steven Chong

    Steven Chong Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Actually, now that you mention it I can't help but feel similarly-- o_O

    Well, a lot of places in Japan look similar (especially in the country side) and I would say that my own town and nearby forests are not all that different from Chihiro's town.

    Also, the old Grandma in Totoro speaks a dialect from a region fairly close to where I am now. :)
     
  20. CHUNTC

    CHUNTC New Member

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    Location:
    Brunei
    Mr. Chong just curios - the place that you got the stones from is it a forest reserve? Is there any restrictions from getting the stones there. I have gone to our forest reserve to look for plants and stone and was told to be careful not to be seen by the forestry officers.^:)^
     

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