I like it a lot George, I didn't like the fish formation when I saw it first of all but they (the fish) are growing on me, very reminiscent of some of Amano's (early shots I think) where the fish are in perfect formation. A nicely executed Iwagumi layout IMHO.
This looks great George. As you know, i saw this a few times from it's conception and i never saw one bit of algae the whole time! The rocks look great, the HC and hair grass carpet are crackin' together and the photography is spot on. What was you dosing etc?...
Thanks, all! Your kind words are very nice to hear.
I really enjoyed creating this and watching it grow in. The whole ADA substrate and ferts system was a pleasure to use with no algae or die-off from day one. I only used 3 pots of Tropica HC and 1 pot of hairgrass too. I dosed ADA stuff to the letter, but also changed 50% water every day for the first 2 weeks. In the first few days I changes 50% twice per day. After one month I change to weekly 50% water changes.
I would anticipate requiring more NP longer-term (as the Aqua Soil depletes), but as my tap water is loaded, I could get away with the leaner ADA dosing.
In retrospect the rock composition could have been a lot better. One constructive comment I've had is that the main stone is too vertical and looks a little unnatural, and I tend to agree. If I had more time I would have spent a lot longer on the rock selection and arrangement.
The planting did thicken considerably in the couple of weeks after this photo and I had to prune the HC back from the front glass twice per week.
I could have kept this layout going for many months with regular pruning but I needed the tank for another project (biotopes).
The biggest lessons I learnt here were -
ADA system really is the bees-knees, but unfortunately at a prohibitive cost to most.
CO2 mist is great for open-style 'scapes, as the water distributes so much better.
HC loves being pruned. Don't be shy with pruning.
You can plant a new set-up with minimal biomass if you change plenty of water, light and dose appropriately.
I can't remember the actual tech specs to the photo, but I used 4 x T5 lighting (no flash). Around f/8, 1/200th and ISO 800 I think (I can't access image data at work).
I caught the fish using burst-mode (6fps) and lifting a broom handle near the edge of the tank to induce a tight shoal. My father-in-law was on hairdryer duty. I took around 100 frames to get the one you see (at 25Mb per frame!)
The black background changed the whole feel to the aquascape and brought out the fish colours really well.
The placing in the contest was a nice surprise! I didn't enter this into the 2009 IALPC but am starting to wish I did!
i think this is the best clean cut algae free set up ive seen in ages,everything looks so lush and healthy,
personally i dont think the oyaishi (main stone)looks that out of place,by the same token we all see things in a different way and to me i think it all ties in nicely,