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Colour of substrate compared to hard scape

dean

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Hi all
I’ve noticed that aquascapers generally use a topping that contrasts to the rocks used

Firstly the colour is totally irrelevant if it’s going to be covered completely with plants so why buy ADA sand etc ?

Secondly in nature the sand substrate will come from the surrounding area and sand will be worn off the rocks the water flows over so actually the sand would be the same colour as the rocks but no one does this in an aquascape ! Why ?


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ScareCrow

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Secondly in nature the sand substrate will come from the surrounding area and sand will be worn off the rocks the water flows over so actually the sand would be the same colour as the rocks but no one does this in an aquascape ! Why ?
I totally agree and have often thought this. I understand the contrast sets off the hardscape and planting but it makes it look artificial, especially when the contrast is quite stark. However, I don't think my colour matching of hardscape and substrate is the only reason my tanks won't be winning any aquascaping contests and I still appreciate the beauty of scapes with contrast between substrate and hardscape.
 

Tim Harrison

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Secondly in nature the sand substrate will come from the surrounding area and sand will be worn off the rocks the water flows over so actually the sand would be the same colour as the rocks but no one does this in an aquascape ! Why ?
Because that's not necessarily true. Weathering by definition occurs in situ, without displacement. But river channels and floodplains are dynamic high energy systems and subject to erosion, which has a transportation element. So it is entirely possible, and not unusual to have substrate that contrasts sharply with local geology in terms of mineral content and therefore colour. Especially where the geology is complex and in areas prone to flash flooding.
 

alto

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I’ve seen very few creeks, streams, rivers, lakes, (natural) ponds where the “substrate” and rocks match

Most aquascapes are art and would be quite boring if constrained to be “natural”

These videos are well worth the time of you’re interested in aquascaping elements/perceptions


 

Maf 2500

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On a related note, why are jagged, sharp and pointy rocks so popular in aquascapes? In nature stone would either be rounded off by erosion (in higher flow environments) or buried by silt and sediment (in low flow environments).

I know many aquascapes are created for their diorama effect, trying to imitate a miniature underwater mountain or whatever, but apart from this is there something I am missing?
 

zozo

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If you are referring to rivers or streams in nature when it comes to soil or rock colour or even shapes. Then look up what Meandering means and does in nature. :)

In a nutshell, Meandering rivers erode sediment from the "outer curve" of each meander bend and deposit it on an "inner curve" further downstream. This causes individual meanders to grow larger and larger over time.

Whatever colour or material contents of and in the soil in this outer curve is not up to the river. It could be sand it could be gravel, it could be clay etc. It is deposited long before the river is eroding it. But the water is eroding/washing the lighter materials away and it can expose sharp-edged rocks that yet have not been eroded before.

Then further downstream in this rivers inner bend the from upstream outer bend eroded material is depositing. It can be anything that the eroded soil from this outer bend contains and it can change. depending on the surrounding geology.. :)

Varieties are actually endlessly considering its size and lengtht if the stream flows fast (occasionally) this process can go fast and visa versa so slow that we don't live long enough to see it change.

An aquarium is only a tiny snapshot in a small footprint in centimetres² that can depict any of these endless varieties.

See this and you'll see some rather sharp-edged rocks.
 
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Wookii

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I agree with @Onoma1 - in most nature aquariums is more a matter of artistic choice - to create contrast and interest - than attempting to represent nature directly.

I think representing nature, or creating a scape that looks like it has truly occurred naturally, particularly with rock based hardscape must be incredibly difficult to achieve. I have huge respect for some of the Biotope guys, I can't image the effort required to create something that looks as natural and realistic as many of them do:

ational-Park-North-Queensland-Australia-1-1024x410.jpg


the_dry_season_Mount_Zaomu_Foshan_China_1-1024x410.jpg

lka_River_near_Be%C5%82%C5%BCyce_Poland_1-1024x172.jpg
 

Tim Harrison

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Obviously there's a certain degree of artistic license in any aquascape, even many of those claiming to be biotopes, but the really good ones incorporate features found in nature.

It's like Marcel mentions above and like I've already mentioned, river basins are very dynamic systems carving their way through both superficial deposits and solid geology jagged or otherwise.

They meander and migrate across the flood plain continually exposing geology. Superimposed on that are the 100 and 1000 year flood events which can drastically alter the hydrology of whole valleys.

I think one of the main problems encountered, is one of public perception. Many of our rivers in the UK are heavily engineered especially through cities. Many have been canalised and channelised sometimes through subterranean tunnels and our view of what constitutes a natural river basin has changed accordingly.

It's a subject that has received quite a lot of attention over the years in relation to river valley and channel restoration, primarily for flood defence, water quality and nature conservation.
 

Garuf

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If you look at a beach in say, Wales, it isn't slate grey? I grew up in an area where we have red sandstone, famously so, yet the small streams I knew in my youth are glaciation rubble with very fine grey/yellow sands, almost white in many areas. My current aquascape has rocks and sand from the same place but now I'm looking at it, I don't read it as natural like I do looking at the hard grey, warm yellow sand so typical of a Nature Aquarium.
 

alto

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On a related note, why are jagged, sharp and pointy rocks so popular in aquascapes? In nature stone would either be rounded off by erosion (in higher flow environments) or buried by silt and sediment (in low flow environments)
You’ve never crossed streams and cut your bare feet on the sharp rocks :wideyed:

- the jagged, nonuniform rocks create interest with texture, shade, light effects for the eye
 

Maf 2500

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You’ve never crossed streams and cut your bare feet on the sharp rocks :wideyed:

- the jagged, nonuniform rocks create interest with texture, shade, light effects for the eye
n a nutshell, Meandering rivers erode sediment from the "outer curve" of each meander bend and deposit it on an "inner curve" further downstream. This causes individual meanders to grow larger and larger over time.

Whatever colour or material contents of and in the soil in this outer curve is not up to the river. It could be sand it could be gravel, it could be clay etc. It is deposited long before the river is eroding it. But the water is eroding/washing the lighter materials away and it can expose sharp-edged rocks that yet have not been eroded before.
It's like Marcel mentions above and like I've already mentioned, river basins are very dynamic systems carving their way through both superficial deposits and solid geology jagged or otherwise.

They meander and migrate across the flood plain continually exposing geology. Superimposed on that are the 100 and 1000 year flood events which can drastically alter the hydrology of whole valleys.
Fair points all, and obviously I agree that new material of various shapes and sizes is constantly exposed by erosion as rivers and streams flood. This is especially true in regions such as UK and Northern Europe where the subsoil in the valley floor often contains glacial till left over from the ice ages, and forests have historically been cut down thus increasing the rate of river bank erosion.

Substrates and rocks found in the wild can clearly vary in all manner of characteristics depending on the location. Where cliffs are collapsing into the waterway there will be many large and sharp edged rocks, for example in hilly and mountainous areas. In tropical rain forests the soil can be several metres thick and there will be very little, if any, rocky material released (either round or jagged) during erosion events; and rates of erosion will be slower due to root structures... And there are all manner of other scenarios... different bedrocks with different erosion patterns... it would probably be possible to find anything you like given the almost infinite variety of nature.

At the end of the day it just seems more natural to me to see an eroded and round edged stone underwater than it is to see a freshly broken piece of rock. The smooth, rounded rock is telling me it belongs underwater and has lived there a long time, while the jagged rock is telling me it just arrived. Others will prefer different rocks and that is Ok too, we all like different things.
 

rebel

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Secondly in nature the sand substrate will come from the surrounding area and sand will be worn off the rocks the water flows over so actually the sand would be the same colour as the rocks
Most certainly not. Have a look through various rivers etc and see. I have seen many examples where there are many types/shapes of rock with various colours of pebbles etc.
 

Tim Harrison

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Truth! before rocks become blunt and rounded with age, they break off and settle into a stream. the very old rocks are rounded if they are carved by water constantly.
Especially where the geology is composed of hard igneous rocks. For instance, Diorite where I live. It's resistant to erosion so it stays fairly sharp and angular even in stream beds.
 

alto

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The perfectly matched Aquascape :D
( I so miss the old emoticons ... is this really supposed to be a Big Grin :rolleyes: - looks more like some sort of unfortunate body experience)

 

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