A Brief and Incomplete History of Aquascaping

dw1305

Expert
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
10,681
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
There are many clear water creeks and lakes worldwide, but you won't find sunken gardens but monoculture weed beds, algae covered rock or no plants at all.
There is actually some work in the UK on restoring lakes to diverse, macrophyte rich, mesotrophic conditions.

This is for the <"Norfolk Broads">. In Europe they've been a lot more pro-active, and have even managed to clean up Lake Constance ("<"Bodensee">").

cheers Darrel
 

Tim Harrison

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
5 Nov 2011
Messages
7,872
Location
UK
Thanks for posting that Darrel. I remember as a kid canoeing down a long stretch of the Grantham canal and being absolutely amazed at how clear the water was and marvelling at the diverse flora. It just goes to show that not all the examples are exotic and that given half a chance there would be many more such like examples across the world.
 

dw1305

Expert
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
10,681
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
I remember as a kid canoeing down a long stretch of the Grantham canal
When I moved to Bath the Kennet and Avon canal wasn't fully re-open, and the Widcombe lock flight still wasn't in use. The water (there wasn't a lot) was crystal clear, and there was an amazing growth of White Water Lilies.

<"By 1990"> the K&A canal was fully restored (Caen Hill was the final section to be done) and you could go by boat from Bristol to London (via Bristol Avon, Canal and Thames). It is a <"bit different"> these days.

cheers Darrel
 

zozo

Member
Joined
16 Apr 2015
Messages
7,419
Location
Netherlands
Ok some creations if not many or maybe most are a bit over the top and in aspect from used species or number of different species in relation to footprint. Ok again but that's not the point, the point is event ho its a fantasy world creation, but it looks natural and gives a natural feel. You should give the hobby and its artistic freedom some slack from that aspect..

Even the diorama scape with a manicured medow and a path running through into the hills can have a realistic origine in a what if scenario. It's a bit like holywood creating Water World with a realistic scenery of a sunken city in how it would look flooded.

And mater a fact places like that in nature do excist in reality. :) I can take as best example that i could find the Grüner See valey in Austria. Its a valey that floods once a year in the spring with snow melt water. The rest of the year its a wonderfull green park for hikers. And a few month per year it looks like this under water.

[Photos removed by @LondonDragon, this author has asked us previously to remove their photos from forum posts, please google and you will see what Marcel is talking about - Cheers]

Thats Iwagumi and Nature scape diorama sap shots all over.

And that's actualy what aquascaping represents many times, it's a snap shot in time.. There is another Dennerle video published with under water images from a small clear stream that runs behind the Dennerle nursery. Also in that stream they made a few perfect natural created Iwagumi snapshots that could be taken out of the stream and placed into an aqaurium and you would have a price winning scape. And those very little beautifull Wabi Sabi natural creations were the mother of the idea and concept to recreate it into an aqaurium.

Go into nature forget the big picture for once and give your eyes the time to find these little snap shot gems, frame it looking through your hands. They do excist, more then you know they are all around you maybe the best in the smallest negelected gardens on your path.
-hands-framing-comosition-isolated-260nw-118297786.jpg


And imagine it flooded.. It may be surealistic in terms of what you use for it to get the image that you want.. It isn't about the destination only , its more about the journey and the experience while gettting there/to the final idea. :) What's not surealistic is the biological and natural benefit gained with using alternative plants that can do the job. Its not only creative from a view point it's also creative in how to create a healthy invironment.

If you want to take unrealistic in this hobby than rather start with the 100% realistic looking snap shot, plantless so called Biotope aqaurium. That is from a big pictures aspect as far from biotpope as it can get. :thumbup: I even dare to say, for 90% its far from creativity as well. No pun intended.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

tiger15

Member
Joined
14 Mar 2018
Messages
496
Location
USA
I'm not sure about the actual statistics, and maybe those numbers aren't too far off the mark. However, it doesn't really detract from what's been written in response to your original post and neither does it qualify your original criticism of the article.

.

The statistic is fairly accurate with regard to the Amazon River basin. I’ve been to the Peruvian Amazon and the water there are either white in the main channel, or black in the tributaries. I swam in black water there that is so opaque that I can’t count my fingers.

The few crystal clear water habitats you cited are exceptions than the norm. Most crystal clear waters are fed by underground water (aquifer) or mountain streams. The water is filtered by rock and not exposed to tannin from leaf litters or silt from runoff. Bonito Brazil is famous for its crystal clear lakes that originates from limestone aquifer not typical of Amazon habitats. There are crystal clear sinkhole lakes in Yucatán and Florida in limestone formation in North America, but they are relatively rare. Chalk lakes in England originate from chalk formation comparable to limestone.
 

Tim Harrison

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
5 Nov 2011
Messages
7,872
Location
UK
Ok some creations if not many or maybe most are a bit over the top and in aspect from used species or number of different species in relation to footprint. Ok again but that's not the point, the point is event ho its a fantasy world creation, but it looks natural and gives a natural feel. You should give the hobby and its artistic freedom some slack from that aspect..

Even the diorama scape with a manicured medow and a path running through into the hills can have a realistic origine in a what if scenario. It's a bit like holywood creating Water World with a realistic scenery of a sunken city in how it would look flooded.

And mater a fact places like that in nature do excist in reality. :) I can take as best example that i could find the Grüner See valey in Austria. Its a valey that floods once a year in the spring with snow melt water. The rest of the year its a wonderfull green park for hikers. And a few month per year it looks like this under water.

dafd0c2a-2d16-4b17-fc01-40f82fd71bad.jpg


Gr%C3%BCner-See-Austria.jpg


f77312c5af11a996_241f92684c91efa8.jpg


Thats Iwagumi and Nature scape diorama sap shots all over.

And that's actualy what aquascaping represents many times, it's a snap shot in time.. There is another Dennerle video published with under water images from a small clear stream that runs behind the Dennerle nursery. Also in that stream they made a few perfect natural created Iwagumi snapshots that could be taken out of the stream and placed into an aqaurium and you would have a price winning scape. And those very little beautifull Wabi Sabi natural creations were the mother of the idea and concept to recreate it into an aqaurium.

Go into nature forget the big picture for once and give your eyes the time to find these little snap shot gems, frame it looking through your hands. They do excist, more then you know they are all around you maybe the best in the smallest negelected gardens on your path.
-hands-framing-comosition-isolated-260nw-118297786.jpg


And imagine it flooded.. It may be surealistic in terms of what you use for it to get the image that you want.. It isn't about the destination only , its more about the journey and the experience while gettting there/to the final idea. :) What's not surealistic is the biological and natural benefit gained with using alternative plants that can do the job. Its not only creative from a view point it's also creative in how to create a healthy invironment.

If you want to take unrealistic in this hobby than rather start with the 100% realistic looking snap shot, plantless so called Biotope aqaurium. That is from a big pictures aspect as far from biotpope as it can get. :thumbup: I even dare to say, for 90% its far from creativity as well. No pun intended.
I came across this as well. Even though I suspect the area has a karst geomorphology, I think it perhaps illustrates that if a river basin or catchment is managed appropriately even floodwater will remain clear. And that conversely human activity perhaps contributes significantly to water turbidity. I therefore think that clear water wetlands would probably have been much more common in the past.

 

zozo

Member
Joined
16 Apr 2015
Messages
7,419
Location
Netherlands
Hi all,We had a house swap in the Swabian Alps, about ten years ago, near <"Blaubeuren">.

A lot of the karst rivers there were really clear and plant rich.

cheers Darrel

Yes Germany is littered with places like that.. :) It already begins in the Belgium Ardennes into the Eifel area about 3 to 4 hours drive from Calais (France). Where the river Roer springs to life in the Eifel with all its tributaries down stream. And it originates from a large number of smaller mountain streams An area littered with clear planted forest streams. I live in the Eifel foot hills (Dutch Mountains) 20 minutes and i'm already in Whalhala with still hours to go. Still not seen it all.
https://www.nationalpark-eifel.de/en/
 

zozo

Member
Joined
16 Apr 2015
Messages
7,419
Location
Netherlands
[Photos removed by @LondonDragon, this author has asked us previously to remove their photos from forum posts, please google and you will see what Marcel is talking about - Cheers]

Yes i remember a notification of that previous post being removed, but didn't reveive the reason why. The complete thread about it was removed. Now i know why, thanks Paulo. And i let it be.. Why is the author targetting UKAPS?... Grüner See on Google images is bursting at the seams with pictures from that place and all over the place the same pics repeating one after the other. Strange isn't it!? Never mind...
 

tiger15

Member
Joined
14 Mar 2018
Messages
496
Location
USA
After watching the above posted videos of natural aquascape, it hasn’t changed my assessment that nature aquarium is imitation of landscape, not aquascape. There are clear water creeks and lakes with vegetation, but they are not numerous and tend to be dominated by one or few plant species, sort like matured temperate forests. Biotope scapes are true representation of natural aquascape, but they are replicated more often in public aquariums than in home aquariums. Nature aquarium is essentially an aquatic adaptation of landscape bonsai that has been in practice for centuries in China and Japan and no surprise that Diorama style is more popular out east.

https://www.bonsaiempire.com/inspiration/top-10/chinese-penjing

The reality doesn’t diminish my interest in nature aquarium. I am thinking of taking a vacation in Brazil where Bonito is one of my destinations. Good freshwater diving spots are hard to find. On my last trip to Peruvian Amazon, I brought an underwater camera with me but had no chance to use. There are lot of floating plants, mainly water lettuce, hyacinth and lily, no submerged plants because the water is too opaque. Interestingly, the most colorful tetra and discus are found in the darkest water, and I was told by a fish collector that colorful fish in clear water is more susceptible to predation from the sky than in murky water.
 

zozo

Member
Joined
16 Apr 2015
Messages
7,419
Location
Netherlands
After watching the above posted videos of natural aquascape, it hasn’t changed my assessment that nature aquarium is imitation of landscape, not aquascape.

The videos weren't intended to proof origine of inspration, more like a proof that enough inspiration excists bellow the water line and it can be and often is/was used.

Obviously as long as the hobby excists, the majority of people practising it are naked apes that exclusively roam over land. Most of them don't go beyond dipping the bathtub now and then and very few of them ever dived into natural waters. And a small percentage of this few that ever dived have aqauscaping as side hobby next to diving. Hence the majority finds inspiration traditionaly in landscapes or creates a fantasy aquatic scape inspired by pictures taken by divers. Or imitating others with a lot of imagination to fit alternative materials to make it look somewhat natural. For example Savana Drift Wood that probably never have seen a drop of rain in its life, lets stand it ever drifted. Looking at it from that perspective the hobby is litered with unrealistic pot holes. But that still is not the point, simmular to its not a point that the wagons from the model rail road hobbyist are from plastic.. Its enough that it looks realistic.


The aqauscaping contests popularizing the hobby are absolutely not biotope related from a true realistic view point. And if you look realy closely at high ranking contest scapes, to a degree you often can see the origine of scapers location. Why?.. Simply because their inspiration obviously is derived from land scape sceneries they see every day. Something that is burned to their retina and there for it can be easily and very realisticaly recreated from imagination. It simmular to painting, it gets pretty hard without a reference model.

Make a guess?.. Both high ranking contest scapes.
78268e8a683ad1772e20c3b7af0cf60f.jpg

The creator is from Russia, what do you see?.. A typical Russian flooded forrest.

Another one. :)

AGA-Winning-Aquascapes-2018-One-Faith.jpg


The creator is from the Philippines.. It depics a typical flooded rain forest with vines and all.

If you would demand from both creators to switch the theme. Let the Russian guy make the rain forest and the Phillppino the Russian forest. Both most likely wouldn't be ranked that high.

The inspiration source doesn't matter as soon as you flood it, it becomes an aquascape.. If it depics a forest scene diorama than its in the category Nature scape.

Look up Oliver Knot's creations, he is an often high ranked German aquascaper and he often tries to explore the Avant-garde side in aqauscaping.. Never mind where he finds his inspiration and what he smokes for it.. It still is an Aquascape when he's done.

Doing a guess that's why there also is a so called Biotope category in the aqauscaping scene for the realists.

And even in this biotope category, the majority of hobbyist works primarily with imagination, making it more like a theme scape than a true biotope. Simply because they never ever been to the tropical part of the world from which they try to imitate that biotope. Than how can they have a clue how it would look and work in reality? Most of them don't, they imitate the next best thing available and its called a Biotope aqaurium in the aqauscaping language. Only thing they have is a bit of hope that its probably close.

Than there are very few that actualy have seen planted submersed sceneries in reality and create biotope aqauriums inspired by this. And by now there also excists a Biotope Aquascape contest for it. With the scape named after the location it depics. And these scapes are indeed also judged on realistic representation.

The winner from the 2018 contest. A river bank scenery from Argentina.. Obviously the winner lives right next door to it.
season_Magdalena_Buenos-Aires_Argentina_1-1024x384.jpg


The scape would be equaly realsitic if he took another plantlless snapshot 10 yards further down stream and recrated that. But he didn't.. :)
http://biotope-aquarium.info/
 
Last edited:

LondonDragon

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
21 Feb 2008
Messages
10,967
Location
London
I think some people are missing the point, aquascaping is not biotopes, if you want to mimic what is available in nature you setup a biotope, aquascaping is an aquarium with natural hardscape and plants and the limit is only the persons imagination.
Biotopes tend to be boring although if you get it right the best environment for the right fish, and people want something more eye pleasing and that looks great in their living rooms and to share online ;)
 

Iain Sutherland

Global Moderator
Staff member
Joined
7 Jul 2011
Messages
3,704
Location
Cambridge
Worth following my mate Tai Strietman on Instagram and Facebook. He lives and studies around the pantanal and also creates lovely biotope correct aquascapes (small amount of artistic licence and availability of the plants/fauna) or nature aquariums that represent the diverse plants from a locality albeit compressed into a 4ft tank such as below...
https://www.instagram.com/p/BrY3922H-an/?igshid=1h43u3ftgv87u

Sure lots of nature is mud, leaves and algae but there are also plenty of beautiful clear water habitats diverse in fauna and flora out there, the art of conveying that nature into a confined space is the art that is the nature aquarium


Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
 

tiger15

Member
Joined
14 Mar 2018
Messages
496
Location
USA
Public aquariums display biotope aquascapes regularly as it is their mission to educate the public of the true habitats. Some displays I've seen replicated nature so honestly to include human trash, tainted and murky water. For home aquariums, reef and African rock cichlid tanks are often biotope correct and beautiful, but plantless.

Returning to the OP article, Takashi Amano's contribution to pioneering the use of mosses and carpet plants to simulate green mountains and lawn has not been credited. Although use of mosses in landscape bonsai is not new, Amano is the first one introduce them to aquascape. Similarly, CO2 use in green house is not new and probably predated Amano who pioneered its use in aquascape.
 

zozo

Member
Joined
16 Apr 2015
Messages
7,419
Location
Netherlands
The Facebook profile posting it is Vietnamese, some plants look suspiciously alike a pogostemon spp. so i figured at least its somewhere in tropical Asia.
All posted comments are Vietnamese as well.. One was particularly funny and said.. Super Sized Dutch XXL. :cool: Funny the vietnamese aquascaping community knows our style by name and makes the comparison. While the Dutch scaping style most likely was inspired by natural sceneries like this.. And a Dutch biologist/explorer/aqaurist seen it and introduced it as scaping style at home. :rolleyes: I don't think the Dutch scaping style was inspired on fantasy only. Proof is in the pudding.
 

Joel S

Member
Joined
13 May 2013
Messages
203
Location
Oxford
It’s hard to put into words, but I feel like what Amano was often able to do, and is rarer in most styles, was evoke the spirit of nature, and make it look comfortable in the given proportions of an aquarium. This is a delicate thing, and I guess comes under the banner of “art.” It seems like there are a lot of aspects of Japanese culture that underpinned his technique -not least the familiarity with damp, green, mossy places, but there is also a veneration of those delicate aspects of nature deeply imbedded in the culture -though he seemed to have a taste for allowing that veneration to run a bit more wild.

To my taste diorama style tends to look kitsch in comparison -a little like the difference between a tightly rendered pencil drawing that looks omg Just Like a Photograph, and a flowing expressive brush painting. Taste for that kind of thing does seem to vary around the world...

As to the idea that a reef tank is realistic and a freshwater planted one with clear water isn’t, reefs are not a great proportion of the ocean are they? Also there are loads of gaudy, unnaturally lit, slapdash collections of unrelated species in reef aquariums.
 
Top