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Critique my hardscape Iwagumi with path

Greeny

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26 Nov 2017
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42
Location
Norwich UK
20200430_224211.jpg

Hello everyone,

Initially my plan was to play around with 2 types of hardscape, iwagumi and nature style with wood. The only problem is, now I got to this, I don't want to try the other version now in fear that I may not be able to recreate this if I ended up deciding to go with the iwagumi, so I decided to stick with this scape. Firstly, what do you think of this scape? Is there any room for improvement? The pathway through the rocks was actually by accident in the end but was thinking of making a sandy path through it what do you think?

Moving on to the planting stage, I didn't want to be creating a scape with just mostly carpeting plants like a lot of iwagumi scapes being minimalistic, I would like to have a few plant species within the tank and to plant densely. Do you think this can be done and what plants would you recommend? In the foreground I was thinking of eleocharis mini and anubias nana, Alternanthera reineckii 'mini' looks like could be a nice contrast for the foreground plants but what about midground and background plants? Any suggestions?

Sorry if there's a lot of questions there, if you're short of time just answer a couple but any help would be gratefully appreciated.

Many thanks

Steve


 

igirisujin

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21 Feb 2020
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Between Japan (Kyushu) and the UK (East Anglia)
Looks nice! I love this phase of a setup. So many possibilities!

You have a good variety of sizes of rock. I would be tempted to increase the height of the substrate at the back even more to give quite a steep slope and sense of depth, but that's my personal preference. That would allow the larger rocks to sit higher in the tank and use up some of that empty space. Then, I might have a play with altering the height of one of the larger rocks, so that they are not both at the same level. Also, it's difficult to tell the shape of the rocks from a 2D photo, but what about tilting the left-hand larger rock forward a little to create some shadow and contrast? Shadow helps create separation between rocks.

Again, those are just what I would do. Experimenting is fun!

By the way, you're in Norwich? I was at uni there for 4 years before coming to Japan. Very jealous you now have an aquascaping shop nearby!
 

Greeny

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Norwich UK
Looks nice! I love this phase of a setup. So many possibilities!

You have a good variety of sizes of rock. I would be tempted to increase the height of the substrate at the back even more to give quite a steep slope and sense of depth, but that's my personal preference. That would allow the larger rocks to sit higher in the tank and use up some of that empty space. Then, I might have a play with altering the height of one of the larger rocks, so that they are not both at the same level. Also, it's difficult to tell the shape of the rocks from a 2D photo, but what about tilting the left-hand larger rock forward a little to create some shadow and contrast? Shadow helps create separation between rocks.

Again, those are just what I would do. Experimenting is fun!

By the way, you're in Norwich? I was at uni there for 4 years before coming to Japan. Very jealous you now have an aquascaping shop nearby!

Oh wow that's amazing. You went to the UEA how cool and now you're in Japan. Japan has to be an incredible place to live! What a small world.

The setup I have now, most of the equipment, including the tank, lighting, external filter, the mini landscape rock, substrate etc was bought from Scaped Nature. I also met George Farmer for the first time there too and then attended one of his live aquascaping workshops. I was thrilled to learn Scaped Nature was going to be opening up in Norwich. In fact I popped there today to pick up my last item a co2 art inline diffuser, I couldn't go in though for obvious reasons but Ray the owner is a lovely chap, I'm so pleased to support my local scaping shop! Are you able to readily get items for scaping where you live now?

Nice ideas for improvement thanks a lot. I must admit as a complete amateur I am worried about losing what I have got already lol, I guess I just have to be confident. I don't dislike the 2 rocks being of similar height as it's like they are made for each other and it creates this tall, not sure what I can call it, tunnel perhaps through to the back of the tank. With the shadowing, I could just move the light further back as I did try to tilt the lefthand rock forward but I must be careful not to tip it forward too much otherwise it seems to lose a little of its presence in the tank. However, I may well try steepening the slope further to get a better sense of depth and use up the space and perhaps I may be able to get to be able to tilt it some more. I don't think I will slope it higher on one side which was a thought I had cause I'd like it to be viewed from 3 angles.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1a16xLA3fs-1L_5XPwhCtXoeIsvPRpWm_

It is tilted a little bit further forward from the one in the picture.
 

Diogo Sousa

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23 Jul 2017
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Location
SE London
Nice rock arrangement, specially the main rocks.

What I think could be improved:
- Main rock on the left a tad higher than the right rock.
- 4 rocks on the foreground all equally spaced and facing the same direction doesn't look very good.

If you go sand path route then I think some red stems on the back would look amazing, sort of brazilian style scape. Without the sand then full green would be best in my opinion.
 

Greeny

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26 Nov 2017
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Norwich UK
Nice rock arrangement, specially the main rocks.

What I think could be improved:
- Main rock on the left a tad higher than the right rock.
- 4 rocks on the foreground all equally spaced and facing the same direction doesn't look very good.

If you go sand path route then I think some red stems on the back would look amazing, sort of brazilian style scape. Without the sand then full green would be best in my opinion.

Really appreciate you taking the time to give me some honest feedback, I see what you mean about the rocks in the foreground, not sure why I didn't think of it, perhaps it's cause the main stones look good and helps to lift a more uniform foreground. I'll do some experimenting and post more pictures when I'm done :thumbup:

Edit: perhaps it would have been easier and less difficult in terms of substrate collapse to use the normal amazonia and top with the powder version. Also feel it's a little bare to the right I don't have any more stones unfortunately as I needed the small stones to create the path again.
 
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Greeny

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I've had a rejig, raised the substrate quite a bit steeper although it doesn't come out brilliantly in the pictures. I've had fun with the substrate to be fair, of course it's trying to fall forwards all the time, everytime I make a change. I also had a lot of fun trying to keep the lefthand rock higher than the other and they topple over occasionally. Anyway trying to persist, I got this far so far. I was thinking that the 3rd largest stone could be turned from the path down to the left like I've seen in quite a few iwagumis. Anyway, will be great to get some feedback on where I got to at the moment :thumbup:
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Greeny

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Actually, scratch that last one, I did what I said I would with the third largest stone and I think I like this one a lot better! What do you guys think?

I do have some more rocks but I will need to break them down in order to add a couple more suitable sized rocks.
 

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Bas Hovius

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Wow that looks pretty neat!
It's kind of hard to explain what I have in my head of course and this is YOUR aquascape, but I would add one more layer in the foreground. So the bottom right section is the lowest layer with some cool rocks and then zigzag your way up. Does that make sense?
Don't get me wrong, it looks super cool!

As for the plants,
I agree with diogo sousa about the red stem plants. How cool would some Rotala H'ra look behind the main rock!? I do think that the stem plants should be planted behind the main rocks at the back and have some monte carlo at the 'open' sides. Maybe some S. Repens between the rocks in the middle. If you do want to add some red, the Alternanthera reineckii 'mini' instead of S. Repens would look sick aswell. The hair grass could be a bit too high in the foreground, but I'm not sure. Perhaps some monte carlo in the front and around the bigger rocks some hair grass...

I'm just typing what comes in my mind haha, I hope it helps.
It is looking great nontheless :)
 

Greeny

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Really appreciate you taking your time to register and giving input and feedback to my scape Bas, great to have met you on George Farmers live stream :thumbup:

I think I know what you mean, I didn't have any more small rocks left so I have had to break up a larger piece in order to get some that fit the scape, I have made some minor adjustments since and I'll post the latest update as soon as I have got it to where I think it looks better. The rocks on the left are already quite close to the front so it will be perhaps a little bit tricky in placing them right but the only way to figure these things out is to keep persisting and trying stuff out. certainly ideas do flow as I'm experimenting so I'm happy that my brain doesn't just become a blank :)

I'll take the plant ideas on board and have a good think, I'm drawn to bacopa too and the potential for a flower or two makes me warm to the idea for sure, do you have any ideas for epiphytes? Just some moss in places on the rocks will do? Anubias nana seems to weigh heavy on my gut instincts at the moment.

Anyway, I think that's the best thing, go with the flow and don't over think it. I will post again as soon as I got some more improvements.
 

Greeny

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Hi guys,

I decided this was the finished hardscape, I'd been messing with it long enough and here it is below..

finished hardscape without sand.jpg


And then carefully added the sand..

finished hardscape with sand.jpg


And put in all the plants I ordered..

first completed planting.jpg


I'd love to know what you guys think good or bad, I'll start from the front and work my way back.

As a carpet, I have a mix of Eleocharis acicularis mini and Hemianthus callitrichoides 'Cuba'

Planted in front of the main rock (lefthand side) - Staurogyne repens, Cryptocoryne albida 'Brown' (I have a space to plant another there which will likely be another type of crypt as its shaded by the big rock). There is Staurogyne repens just to the left of the main rock too next to the taller Eleocharis plug.

On the main rock and the right hand 2nd large rock are Anubias nana 'Mini Mini' and Hygrophila pinnatifida, I'm not sure on the Hygrophila pinnatifida on the rocks, I think they'll need to be trimmed to become bushy and compact in order for them to be more aesthetic. There is another Cryptocoryne albida 'Brown' underneith the 2nd main rock too.

On the far lefthand side are Bacopa Compact (in front of them are a couple more Staurogyne repens) and next to that behind the main rock is the emersed form of Ludwigia sp. mini super red that will change in time as we know.

On the right hand side behind the 2nd large stone there are 3 more Bacopa Compact stems that I had extra (can't see them on this pic).

On the far right are cuttings of the Hygrophila pinnatifida, I was thinking of planting something else there but for now I may as well use the cuttings. In front of them and in front of the far righthand rock are also Staurogyne repens.

I think that's covered everything, I can create a pic with arrows and highlights of whats in there if anyone would like and if it makes it easier.

I have space behind the 2nd main rock and when I look at the scape, I feel that another batch of Ludwigia sp. mini super red could balance the scape nicely and create a really beautiful backdrop. However there is space for some more stems there, what do you think? Also just to the right of the 2nd main rock is a space there too. I can add another plant there, I was trying to keep a space for Alternanthera reineckii 'mini' or may be a crypt or some sort of brown plant there

I'm not totally convinced by the epiphytes on the main rocks, perhaps cause it looks patchy, what do you guys think? That's probably what I'd like a bit of help on most. However, I'm super happy how it's turned out, better than I expected and this is my first real aquascape.

Thanks all who view, special thanks to all that contribute.
 

alto

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24 Dec 2014
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Tank size? (or did I just miss that)

It looks as if it might be a 45P but photos can be deceptive (especially with various lens)
If yes, then skip the ARM (Green Aqua abbrev - or at least Balazs) as the leafs are really too large for this tank size

Your L sp Mini super red should grow quickly enough that you can just use trimmings from that to fill in other areas
I’d look at R Vietnam H’ra (or similar), Didiplis diandra, R wallichii etc for fine red leafs (rather than ARM)no

If you decide to add more/different plant species I’d wait a couple weeks so as to see how current plants get on (you may need to replace some non-cooperative ones ;) )
 

Greeny

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Oh yeah, the tank is a 45P so 45cm length, 27cm width and 30cm in height for anyone reading this thread and didn't know.

I have taken your advice and skipped the ARM as abbreviated by Balazs :) and decided not to go with reds and swap the eleocharis mini with crypt parva as suggested by Joe at Scaped Nature. Im pleased with the choice looks like a nice plant. I do have one other species coming cause I couldn't resist it, can't remember the name of it now though. Anyhow, I decided to not go with anymore reds as the Ludwigia super red should give plenty of it I'm hoping and I'm going to trim them like you said and add them behind the other rock.

So a couple of questions really, how far down should I trim the Ludwigia? I know that they will split 2 ways at the cut so I was thinking fairly low down although the trimmings will be quite long so I'm not sure what to do there.

Second question, should I started dosing ferts asap? I got CO2 injection and it looks like its at a good level according to my drop checker.
 

Diogo Sousa

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You can just replant the tops of the trimmings, no need to keep the whole thing if it's too long. When replanting stem trimmings I keep at least 2 leaf nodes with leafs above the substrate and 2 without leaves buried in the substrate, where the new roots will grow from.
 

Greeny

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You can just replant the tops of the trimmings, no need to keep the whole thing if it's too long. When replanting stem trimmings I keep at least 2 leaf nodes with leafs above the substrate and 2 without leaves buried in the substrate, where the new roots will grow from.

This was a great piece of advise and I did exactly that. because they were pretty tall anyway I had plenty to use, I chopped them down pretty low like you said, trimmed off the tops of the cuttings like you said and discarded the mids. It's now about 3 or 4 days on and they are already doing great! I see what you mean by fast growing and I love them, the colour is amazing! Thanks a lot for your help on this one!
 

Greeny

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Wow that looks so cool bud! How is it looking at the moment? Is everything growing in nicely?

Hi Bas :)

It's day 10 and so far so good, I've not had any issues with the plants at all, I left them for the last couple of days (co2 and lights are on a timer) and when I got back to look there was plenty of pearling going on especially with my 'cuba' carpet and I can see the plants look to be settling in nicely. It's early days but I am happy with it so far. Today I added one more plant species, even though it wasn't that easy to find a space for it but I managed it. This one is a hard plant but I love the look of it! Hydrocotyle verticillata! I've got the setup so I thought why the hell not, if it fails, it fails I haven't lost anything. I love all the plants but I'm surprised how nice the Ludwigia super red looks at the back.

I've been doing water changes at least every other day, no algae at all yet including Diatoms. The Oase thermo 100 filter is so quiet, I'm amazed! This is my first real full on setup with good quality equipment and I'm being rewarded by it already! I've spent a lot including a submersable pump, hose for easy waterchanges etc etc, I've even got an auto ferts doser to setup too haha!

I had a bit of a hiccup with the sand path, I thought the hose being attached to an inflow pipe with the water change would disperse the water gently when re-filling the water using the submersable pump but it was too close to the sand and it made a bit of a hole and pushed soil onto it. Wasn't too bad but I fixed it today which was a little finicky but it's looking better again. I do want to break down some of the spare rock to small pieces to add to the path for detail. I hope to do that before the end of week 2 on my next waterchange..

Thanks so much for the compliment, it's been hard work, a lot of time and effort has gone in and it's really rewarding to get recognition for it as well as having a very beautiful and pleasing aquascape... How are you doing on your aquascaping journey?
 

Greeny

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Oh and I have been recording most of my journey and hope to be putting it on youtube when the scape matures to a satisfactory level. Perhaps in 3 months or even 6 months time so that it can all be viewed from start to mature in one or a series of videos. It won't be the best video I'm sure but I hope it will get across most of what I done to achieve my goal. :thumbup:
 

Bas Hovius

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Great to hear! Can't wait for the video ;)
What fish and/or shrimp are you planning on adding?


IMG_9326.jpg


So I recently got the chance to go to the Aquaflora headquarters in Vinkeveen, the Netherlands. It was so cool to see the scapes of worldclass scapers like Dave Chow and Filipe Oliveira! (I hope I spelled their names right...).
I also bought some millenium/seiryu stone and some other nice wood pieces :)).

I was planning on rescaping my 60cm aquarium and I was just looking for some cool scapes to put in the tank, I ended up with this!
But then my dad surprised me with a new 80cm aquarium! So the scape in the tank will probably look way different, but I'm sure I can come up with something new :).

I'd also like to make a youtube video on in, so I'm filming the entire process aswell!

If you have any feedback on my scape, let me know!
Cheers
 
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Greeny

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Hi Bas,

Sorry for the delay, I've been very busy! I will be transferring my betta 'Fin' into it as a great new home and I will be adding shrimp, not sure what kind yet but I'm looking forward to when it's ready for them! 👌

Sounds like an amazing trip to Aquaflora! Like meeting your scaping heroes! I'd love to visit, such inspiration there I bet! I got seiryu stone in mine, love the textures and looks so good under water with a great light! I like your scape, looks really intricate. Is there soil between the rocks or is it an epiphyte heaven scape? A really great surprise from your dad, I suspect he enjoys and supports your hobby too, I look forward to seeing the progress on here and youtube!

Going to do an update on mine here in a bit..
 

Greeny

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Hi everyone, this is a double update as I've just done another maintainance today. So 3 days ago which I think is roughly day 15 algae begins..

day 15 aquascape.jpg


Got some green hair algae in there by the looks of it and of course diatoms which is to be expected and I'm not really bothered about that as I know it should just disappear when the tank cycles. Close ups in the thumb nails..

Day 15 aquascape close up.jpgday 15 AS close up.jpg

These pics were taken before the maintainance that day and I did sython some of the green hair algae and it did look better although needed to get a couple of cleaning utensils as I didn't want to use any that had already been used in my previous tanks, so decided to leave it until the next water change. I dialled down the CO2 as I think the drop checker was indicating slightly yellow, I checked at a later date and its now dark green so that's all good. I also reduced the time the light is on from 8 to 6 hours for now to try and reduce algae growth.

So day 18 today and I have performed a trim of the Eleocharis acicularis mini and Hemianthus callitrichoides 'Cuba' carpet on the left and right sides, scrubbed the rocks gently with a toothbrush as they were getting a film of diatoms. Took a couple of the Staurogyne repens out from the right side which were in the carpet, they were growing funny, I don't think I have any space for them unfortunately, I have had a good look (anyone in the Norwich area can have them if they want). Anyhow, this is what the scape looks like now..

day 18 AS full pic.jpg


I'm just amazed how fast everything is growing! I've never had a setup with a decent light and co2 combo before and it really does make a difference wow! The carpet is pearling like crazy which is a pleasure to see. The Bacopa compact on the back left has grown really well and fast as the Ludwigia mini sp. super red. The Hydrocotile is doing fine too, I know it's a hard plant to deal with. Also, I don't know whether it's the finer powder soil or the fact the plants have routed fast or both, whichever it is, I'm having a lot less headache with plants not coming loose and floating, it's really made a difference!

A little downside, apart from the last 2 times where I used a hose (with submersable pump) and collander to disperse the water, the previous 3 times I messed up the path, fixed it the first time but then had a collapse so i am just deciding whether to just keep the sand at the front then plant a carpet of something instead up the path to the back or fix the path again like it was before. I'll have a little think about it.

I'm a bit bummed about having had a little bit of blue/green algae on the Anubias nana 'Mini Mini' and Cryptocoryne albida 'Brown'. I may have transfered it from my other tank which has had a running battle with the stuff for a long time. Although I never did a black out which I could do with this tank as there are no fish in it yet (always felt bad to put my betta through a blackout so never did it). I'll see how the next few days go with all the algae that is currently present.

Lastly, I'm happy with pretty much all of it just one thing is the albida 'Brown' is being a bit smothered by the Eleocharis mini at the moment and not sure whether to pull the Eleocharis out or move the Albida. Close up below..

day 18 AS close up Albida.jpg


And that's about it, I'm looking forward to seeing what my Betta fish 'Fin' will make of his new home when the time comes and I hope to say some lucky shrimp that will get to enjoy it too!
 
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