Nature aquarium is essentially miniature aquatic Japanese garden. Diorama is essentially aquatic Chinese landscape bonsai, not a deviation of nature aquarium. Both have been around for a very Long time, but only recently adapted to aquatic setting due to availability of technology. It is actually easier to maintain a Nature or Diorama aquarium than a bonsai as the latter needs to receive a few hours direct sunlight daily, delicately manage proper moisture levels, and to winterize.It is no coincidence that the Nature Aquarium style came from Japan with their sophisticated garden tradition. Japanese gardens are sensitive and venerating human condensations of the beauty of nature. I see the Nature Aquarium style in much the same way. The diorama style is a pretty extreme deviation from this philosophy. I think there is a future need to clearly separate these styles for competions as they are not really comparable in terms of their philosophical basis. A few thoughts.
Good point. It may be unjust to speak of the diorama style as a deviation when you see things in this broader historical perspective. At the same time it is hard not see the diorama as a kind of further development of NA when you look at the sequence, but yeah, it could be argued that it actually draws on its own tradition. Thanks for the link.Nature aquarium is essentially miniature aquatic Japanese garden. Diorama is essentially aquatic Chinese landscape bonsai, not a deviation of nature aquarium
I think there is every reason to admire these diorama works. They really are impressive artistic creations. The problem for me is not that there is such a style, but rather that they compete against more classical NA styles. It is just pears and oranges. Also, as the diorama dominance becomes stronger in the top places of competitions (see Tim's post above) it tends to become a sort of self-fulfilling propehecy where proponents of classical NA are likely to refrain from entering their scapes because they consider them to not stand much of a chance. In my view competions need to separate these categories. One way of doing this might be to judge the "sustainability" of scapes. As some one else mentions above, one has the suspicion that dioramas are often very temporary creations timed to peak within a very short time frame. It also seems to me (although I am not sufficiently skilled in photography to say this with any conviction) that dioramas owe a good deal of their effect to photographic techniques and post-production effects. But making distinctions is obviously easier said than done, not least because, as Tim notes, many scapes are in reality hybrids between NA and diorama.As said above, the time spend to create it with all the details in such small footprint and than the time spend to maintain it. It's completely out of my ball park and don't even dare to criticize it.