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ShadowMac's 90 cm Ultratech

Discussion in 'Aquascaping Journals' started by ShadowMac, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Shawn

    I like the way all the wood works in together, then the tall piece on the LH end gives you that extra height.

    For interest to the newer members what did you use to tie the moss down firmly?

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  2. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    I used ADAs moss cotton. Essentially green cotton thread. I've used standard thread in the past and it doesn't really rot away. probably a blend. ADA thread holds the moss long enough for it to attach then is easily removed since it rots quickly. I like it better than the thread I've used previously

    Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk
     
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  3. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Shawn

    Sounds very much like a Nylon type of thread.

    I only ever use a green fishing line being a fisherman I always had plenty and as the plant grew it was always covered.

    Standard sewing cotton is useless as it rots long before the plant is attached to the DW.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  4. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    This isn't true. It is beneficial that it rots away. This makes it easily removed after it is no longer needed. Mosses only take a couple weeks to attach. Nylon thread is very difficult to remove or other synthetics. Best to use standard 100% cotton thread for tying moss.

    Fishing line can be used to attach riccia to flat stones since the riccia will never attach to the stone and must be held there for the duration of the scape. I actually did that in this scape. I have a few riccia stones attached with green fishing line.

    For attaching ferns I like the twist tie method. ADA sells wood tight which is a long spool of twist tie (probably known by different names around the world).

    You can also use glue (Cyanoacrylate) for many applications. It works best on stone as wood rots a bit and sometimes the glue won't hold well.
     
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  5. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Shawn

    [​IMG]
    Is this what you are calling a twist tie method?

    The old standard cotton thread sold in Aust is rubbish you can buy better quality if you go to a sewing shop.

    It will break just tying a simple knot.

    With fishing line the standard nylon line can be lower than a 500gm breaking strain to some heavy stuff I have used 200lb++ then there are all the braided lines, its the old story the right tools for the right job.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  6. Shane P.

    Shane P. Moderator Staff Member

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    Can't wait for Shawn's pics!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  7. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    The ultratech has been "unteched" a bit these days. I thought it was time I got around to sharing my IAPLC 2017 entry. I learned a great deal this year in terms of creating a better layout and there is much I would change or do differently with this layout. I hope to apply my lessons to next year's layout.

    Here is my scape. Ranked 273 "Arigato"

    [​IMG]
     

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  8. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Shawn did you receive a written report on your wonderful Aquascape.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  9. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    No. In the IAPLC only the top 100 are sent to the judging panel. The rest are graded and ranked by a steering committee. Comments are only available for the top layouts.

    If anyone is truly interested I could critique this scape and rip it apart. It was a nice scape, but lots of things that could have been done better. The tank has been taken down part way anyways and a new scape will be coming soon. It will be for IAPLC 2018 so unfortunately I won't be sharing much until this time next year on the upcoming layout.
     
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  10. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Shawn

    My biggest concern with that is how are the contestants going to learn if not given a Constructive Criticism. Its very easy to be self critical but recommending improvements is totally different. Over all the exhibitor is only doing what they think is the correct thing to do.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  11. Ed Villagracia

    Ed Villagracia Active Aquascaper

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    hi shawn congrats on your ranking (y)
     
  12. Ed Villagracia

    Ed Villagracia Active Aquascaper

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    CONGRATULATIONS to Shawn as one of the latest addition to AGA International Aquascaping contest judge!!!
     
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  13. Culprit3

    Culprit3 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I would love that. I think it would help me a lot.

    CONGRATULATIONS on being a judge!! That is so huge!!! Oh my goodness I hope someday I will be even half as good as you. Say hi to Juri for me please! All your plants are so healthy. Absolutely beautiful.
     
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  14. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Does this mean as Shawn is now Judging can he still enter?

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  15. Ed Villagracia

    Ed Villagracia Active Aquascaper

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    if i am in his shoes, i dare not join AGA contest where he is one of the jury while,
    in IAPLC he can always send entries.
     
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  16. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Thank you, Ed. It was an honor and a privilege.

    Keith, I did not enter the contest because I was a judge. I also abstained from making any remarks or feedback on developing aquascapes intended for the contest prior to judging.
     
  17. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Learning has to be self motivated to some degree. There are plenty of comments in the book and with all the comments on top layouts one can learn what makes an effective layout and what does not. All of this has to be taken with the sense that this if for a contest and to consider that outside the contest other factors may be important in making a successful layout.

    They do not comment on all the layouts because that is over 2,000 layouts. Imagine the time and work required for what is essentially a volunteer position. It is an unreasonable request.
     
  18. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Update on the 90. I have taken down the hardscape and removed all the plants. I still need to catch what looks to be hundreds of shrimp and rehome them while I work on my scape. Getting into full swing of the competition cycle. At this stage it is concept development. I have done sketches and have been formulating a scape in my mind for some time. I have a group of competitive hobbyists who I share work with and get feedback. Be on the look out for a big announcement in North American Aquascaping in the next several months ;)

    The focus of the sketches are to hash out the general idea, consider shadows, textures, path of the eye...all kinds of things before beginning to work with actual hardscape.

    I plan to start hardscape work in the next week. I've ordered more wood, maybe more stone. I plan to take a great deal of time with the hardscape...something I've honestly never done in the past. Most often I would scape by intuition from an idea in my mind and the pieces I have available. This work will be slower and more deliberate with a goal of breaking the top 100.

    I will share all the development stages including sketches after IAPLC 2018.
     
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  19. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Critiquing my own scape

    First issue is the utter lack of hardscape. I used very few pieces in its development and made a general outline of the hardscape structures I wanted to create. It would have been much better to reinforce these lines with more hardscape, more deliberate rockwork prior to planting, etc. I made many changes as the layout progressed trying to compensate for the problems that were there before I planted. Lesson 1) take your time with hardscaping and use lots of it

    Second problem is that I dedicate far too much foot print space to stems. Interesting thing about stems, they do not provide a three dimensional impression in a two dimensional format. Meaning, they don't create shadows or shading. They are two dimensional features of an aquascape and should be used as such. I dedicated far too much space to creating stem bushes..this was part of the plan when I started and also the reason for the sparse hardscape work. I wanted something with lots of plants. For a contest it was a weak approach. Lesson 2) Use stems to highlight existing scape structures, not to create scape structure. They can draw the eye, create focal areas, accent negative space or hardscape. They shouldn't be used as the bulk of the scape and take up too much foot print. I could have created a similar effect with the stems utilizing half the space I gave them.

    Third, the arrangement of the pieces added later is awkward. I didn't have enough wood and tried to use what I had. It didn't always work effectively. This goes back to lesson 1 as well.

    Fourth, the path needs something to anchor the eye. It doesn't do much to bring the eye there and rest it there. There are many places to look and nowhere to rest. There needed to be something to cause the viewer to rest in that space if that was supposed to be where they went with their view.

    Lastly, get better with my camera. The image quality could have been and should have been much better. I can't pull it out once a year and expect good results. I need to practice with it if I intend to take better photos.
     
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  20. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    there is much more and I'm learning more every day. I'm turning a corner with my scaping and hope to reach an elite ranking soon.
     

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