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Think Tank This Tank: Lost in Transition

Discussion in 'Critique My Aquascape' started by John N., May 28, 2012.

  1. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    aswthinktank1.png

    For our first ever "Think Tank This Tank", we have Jimi's "Lost in Transition".

    lostintransition.jpg

    Remember, we're trying to give some raw honesty and constructive criticism to help refine and design this aquascape.

    Think Tank, what can be done to help improve this aquascape?

    -John N.
     

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  2. abhradip1986

    abhradip1986 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    My opinion:

    LHS:
    1) A larger stone is needed to make that the focal point, the other green rocks need to be arranged around it to give a feeling of completeness.
    2) Some tall grass type plant can be put behind the main focal rock to give the sense of fullness

    RHS:
    1) DW needs to moved to the corner, and mounter on top of rocks to give it the additional height.
    2) Adding some more DW would be a very good option put in with some Java Fern again with some tall grass at the back to give the sense of height/depth.

    Middle tank:
    1) create a sand based river pathway making the two sides depicting an island, this would make the scaping from point of view of visualization much easier(reason: tank size is quite big.. :) )

    Flora has to increased a lot otherwise it will take up a very long time and may result in long term algae issues. Flora that I would have gone with

    LHS - HC as used with transition to HG a tad touch of blyxa and E. acicularis
    RHS - HC as used with transition to E. Tenellus/pigmy sword to a small clump of Hydrocotyle Honda then the DW with java fern and any dark green shaded grass based plant.

    Hope I was not brutal in the post, tried to be as constructive as possible.
     
  3. Shadow

    Shadow Moderator Staff Member

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    Before I start, I need to ask what is the scaper trying to express?
    I see discontinuity, on left side you have rocks arrangement and on the right side you have wood arrangement. Also do take care on the hardscape material size and quantity. At the moment I feel the hardscape size are too small and/or too little
     
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  4. Supercoley1

    Supercoley1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Agree with Robert. Depending on the scaper's intended vision.

    To my eyes of what I would be doing it looks like 3 separate scapes to me. Iwagumi on the left, Wood NA in the Centre and a bit of Dutch on the right for good luck :) However it is young and I think we would need to know how the scaper intends it to look when finished. It may all blend together nicely :)

    Andy
     
  5. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Robert and Andy hit on the first thing I noticed. The scape lacks cohesiveness across the board. The wood is nice, but I think more is needed. I think adding some height to the hardscape by consolidating the driftwood and stones as a focal region would be great. Using the stones as a base for the wood and filling the spaces with epiphytes or stones covered in mosses.

    IMO, one of the hardest things to get right in a scape is the midground. A proper transition between the low growing foreground and the taller background adds depth, dimension, and texture to the scape. This tank is missing much of a midground other than hardscape. As Robert said, I think more hardscape is needed more wood and more stones. I would have tried to choose stones with more texture or character. Flat smooth stones do not work well most often. Scapes where I have seen them work well are in scapes where they are the dominant feature of the tank or only used to accent other more dramatic hardscape.

    I would start by reworking the hardscape before deciding on where to go with plants.
     
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  6. John N.

    John N. Administrator Staff Member

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    This is what Think Tank This Tank is All About! Great feedback for this scape so far guys. I asked Jimi to comment and provide his vision, so we'll be hearing his design ideas and goals soon enough.

    In the meantime, maybe take a look at the existing aquatic plants and hardscape that's shown in the tank. Perhaps you can provide him with some aquascaping ideas and direction.

    -John N.
     
  7. youjettisonme

    youjettisonme Aspiring Aquascaper

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    This is an interesting thread idea. I was just composing a small list of "mistakes" I see aquascapers make that distinguish their scape from a "nice scape" to something more memorable. Copy/pasting from that other post I wrote, followed by my critique of your individual scape:

    - Too many varieties of plants.
    Can't say this one applies to your scape.

    - Not enough repetition of elements.
    The only repetition I see are the 5 green rocks on the left. There are no other rocks in your scape to tie this element together. Further, the repetition is somewhat redundant as there is not enough variance in the repeating elements. You have a type of plant in the back right. A type of plant in the back left. A type of plant in the front right. A type of plant in the front left. No repetition of elements, but rather, a bunch of tiny "mini scapes" comprised of plants. You also have wood in once place, the center, and then rocks in one place, the left. Basically, it turns the entire scape into something compartmentalized meaning it lacks any chance to provide for flow and continuity.

    - No real focal point
    This also applies to your scape. I do not know where my eyes are suppose to go. I remember taking a beginner's photography class in college all of 20 years ago. The first day of class our teacher told us that "if you have no focal point in your photo, then you have merely snapped a picture. You have not created a photo." I see 5 major elements in your scape right now. One is rocks, one is a piece of wood, and the other three are individual groups of plants. Further, every element is about the same size. That means that my brain does not know where to tell my eyes to look. This will make someone shuffle their attention to the next picture rather than to another element of your tank unfortunately.

    - Not enough thought given to flow from one side of the tank to the other
    For most scapes, you should be able to tell the direction of the flow. You can have multiple directions in some cases, but the element should usually exist on some level. You have actually provided that to some degree, right to left, as the pointiness of the wood directs your eyes toward the rock arrangement. However, the right side of the aquarium ends up a "dead spot" in the flow equation by default.

    - The tank is all basically the same height
    This, right now, is one of the two main critiques I have with your scape along with the lack of repetitive elements. Whether it be rock, wood, or plants, everything is about the same height. You could draw a line right across the tank about a third of the way up and it would almost hit the top of every element. No doubt, once your background plants grow in you will have somewhat helped to solved this deficient element in your tank, but until then, it misses a bit.

    - no depth created because the foreground, midground, and background plants are placed too traditionally
    This one also applies. You have background plants in back, some foreground plants in front, and, I guess, a "midground piece of wood". With as many aquascapes as we see and as often as we see them, our eyes are going to tell our brains subconsciously "seen this one before" before we've even had a change to register it.

    - spacing out the elements in uniform gaps (this is probably the biggest mistake I see)
    Again, this critique applies to your scape. The rocks are perfectly spaced out like you were recreating Stonehenge. And, as we know, Stonehenge was man-made... or was it Alien!! In any case, if you measured the distance in between each rock, it would be about the same. Unlike your foreground plants, which will eventually grow together, your rocks never will.

    So, if we tie everything together, we end up with something more like this from my mock.
    [​IMG]
    This tank now features:
    - A real focal point. I just used your same wood piece and tripled it.
    - Flow. From the bottom of each piece of wood, and from some rock formations, out into the open spaces.
    - No longer the same height. The focal point changes the scape completely from this standpoint.
    - Depth. This element could still be worked on, but now wood leads all the way to the front of the tank, making you have to peak over it to reach the background plants.
    - Elements no longer uniform in their distance from each other.
    We have lots of groupings of elements, lots of repetition everywhere.

    Obviously, a rescape like this would require quite a lot more of the same plants and hardscape that you already possess. I limited this picture to only elements you already own though.
     
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  8. Garuf

    Garuf Moderator Staff Member

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    Definitely not red plants in the foreground. Red should always be used little and once to give it punch otherwise it makes the tank totally unreadable visually, just all over the place. I like what you did by doubling up the hardscape but it should be further over towards the middle to give a better balance.
    I honestly think this type of scape would suit what's available more.
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_GBrtC5njf...A/VStba_0sHa8/s1600/aquaforestaquarium.18.jpg
    http://www.aquascapingworld.com/gallery/images/1/1_Aquarium_1.jpg
     
  9. youjettisonme

    youjettisonme Aspiring Aquascaper

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    "Red should always be used little and once to give it punch otherwise it makes the tank totally unreadable visually"

    I'm not sure that I buy or understand this "rule" as it's not present in any other design medium. Where did you hear/read/come to take this as fact? If it is a rule as you contend, it seems like I'd have a good time breaking it successfully.

    The focal point hardscape I include is right in the rule of 3rds. So, although I agree with you that a far right driftwood assortment would be nice, it can work either way and is only a matter of taste.

    I like the pic you include, but that's an entirely different scape on almost every level. From the rocks, to the plants, to the tank size, to the substrate even. I simply used what he already possesses for the rescape hints.
     
  10. Garuf

    Garuf Moderator Staff Member

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    It's just an aquascaping adage that I've always adhered to and noticed in the most successful of scapes, lots of red always looks hard to because it's such a foregrounding colour and against green it really comes forward therefore its used as a focal point, too much and it loses it's punch. Seas of rotala rotundifolia were all the rage a few years ago but they just never worked because your eyes naturally end up drawn to either corner that is stuffed full of them over the focal point that they wished to create.
    George Farmers scape here http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/content.php?sid=3094
    is so successful because it adheres to the less red is more school of thought, it wouldn't work at all if every stem in there was red, it creates a strong visual focal point which reinforces the subtlty of the wood and rock placement rather than sitting counter to it. This is what I'm alluding to, impact through small interventions rather than large brush strokes.
     
  11. youjettisonme

    youjettisonme Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I think it's an absolutely valid point. I don't know if it could be considering a rule though. I think a single red element could distract from a focal point much more than many red elements scattered about the scape in repetition, especially if the focal point itself is wrapped in red so that those secondary elements compliment the focal point. An adept aquascaper can make a scape like that work. That said, most red flora doesn't fall into the foreground category anyway so it's mostly a non-starter.
     
  12. Garuf

    Garuf Moderator Staff Member

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    I personally would only use red if the hardscape wasn't a natural focal point, it's such a strong element it's often not worth going near unless you're happy to experiment and see where it takes you.
     
  13. youjettisonme

    youjettisonme Aspiring Aquascaper

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    This I can agree with. It all depends on what type of scape you're sporting. Most scapes will be only hindered by the added red... but it's the exceptions which intrigue me!
     
  14. jimi

    jimi New Member

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    Hi All!

    Many many thanks for all you have written so far. My apologies for not replying and giving an explanation of why my tank is like it is at the moment until now but I have been away on holiday and cant write an indepth reply on my phone.

    Unfortunately I still cannot do one yet as I have just got in from a 6 hour drive and I am knackered. So please bear with me and I will write a better response tomorrow.

    Thanks again for all your replies so far, I am sure it will help me with this scape of this tank.

    Kind Regards
    Jimi
     
  15. jimi

    jimi New Member

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    Hi All,

    Sorry for the wait on replying properly.

    Thank you all for your posts so far. The jist I am getting from all your posts is 'where are you going with this' or 'what are are you trying to achieve'. I also get the feeling people are looking at this as though it is staying like this. Well I can honestly say its not. This has not been planted from scratch and built up like this.

    The reason it is called Lost in Transition is because it is going from one scape to another without clearing out the tank. Long story but basically I moved, everything died while my mate was looking after it, I salvaged what was left and chucked it all in. Then I started on the tank from the left hand side but then ran out of cash. So basically the left hand side is how I want it and the right and middle I have no idea.

    I agree about the rocks are too uniform, this I will try to change and tbh I am thinking of getting rid of the wood and having more of the same rock on the right hand side and bringing it together somehow in the middle. for an Iwagumi style. I used to have sand going through the middle and then spread from left to right at the front to make two islands but sand did not work well and in the end I took it out.

    So in closing all the comments about no focal point, discontinuity and no real aim are all correct as I had no idea where I was going with it and some plants in there are from the old scape. But now I know that I want to go for the Iwagumi style with more rocks on the right and take out those plants on the right and the wood. I just think I need some direction with this.

    Hope you can all help :)

    Thanks again
    Jimi :)
     
  16. randy0319

    randy0319 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    One thing that always helps me gain focal points and areas of interest is using the golden ratio. If you google it you can get G.R. generators to give you the intended numbers. You measure your hight and length of your tank, punch in the numbers, put string on pieces of tape on the front of your tank where the ratios #'s are so that it looks a bit like 'tik- tak- toe-' made out of thread and there you have it., instant focal points ( four to be exact). Using one of them to put the main gathering of your wood and stones makes life a lot easier. Then you can work with perspective, depth line etc etc. Think guidelines for Japanese landscape or Bonsai. I hope that helps. Youjettisonme did a great job of helping as well.
     
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  17. jimi

    jimi New Member

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    I have taken your advice everyone and tried to make something. I will post a pic of it as soon as I get the last bit of Hair Grass in. I know its not right and there is too much something, I dont know. Most of the rock I have bought ended up looking different once it was in the tank as well which doesnt help as I know all the rock should be the same but I have bought it now and am not made of money lol.

    Pic to follow soon.

    Jimi
     
  18. CatfishSoupFTW

    CatfishSoupFTW Aspiring Aquascaper

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    excited to see what you have done. But if you may ditch the driftwood, and you want more of an iwagumi set up, my only small concern is that the rocks covered in.. moss? seem too round. but maybe its the perspective. But if you do keeep the driftwood, adding more would for sure help imo. The potential is there. And dont worry about not always having cash to put into a tank, we all know how expensive things can be XD
     
  19. Garuf

    Garuf Moderator Staff Member

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    I think it's only as expensive as you make it, do research and cut costs. :)

    Have you been having a look about for inspiration? Jason baliban would be one worth looking at.
     
  20. jimi

    jimi New Member

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    Thanks Garuf, I will try and get a picture up tonight. By the way Garuf, did you have time to look at the dry dosing regime I would need?

    Jimi
     

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