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Peace @ UKAPS, please

George Farmer

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Interesting comments there, Andy. Thanks for your insight.

I'm certainly 'guilty' of paying more attention to the 'higher-tech' side of things, but try to help out in the other areas where I can. Heck, I even wrote a PFK blog - "Who needs CO2?!" :lol:

We can only really give advice on what we have experience of, after all. I pretty much went from trying to grow non-aquatics with fake decor, to high-light, CO2 and EI.

I think the 'Nature Aquarium' style of aquascaping is generally more popular and the layouts we see on here are a reflection of that, some of your own layouts included, IMO.

However, I do like the 'jungle-style' too, and will often say so when I feel appropriate. I know some 'big players' that do so too. It would be nice to see some more Dutch styles, as well.

UKAPS is a specialist planted aquarium site, so we try to cater for all levels, from the beginner to the experienced. Of course, it's going to be tough to reach the 'perfect' balance, indeed impossible.

We cannot please everyone all the time, but we can try, and I thank you for pointing out a potential area where we may be able to improve. Some food for thought, for sure. :D
 

Themuleous

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SuperColey1 said:
Doesn't mean spending hours posting, can just be a case of reading a few more 'standard' posts than usual and if another of the 'big boys' is already in the post can mean that you can go for another.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I had thought/hoped/felt that this was happening already? Maybe thats just me though :) :lol:

I guess I dont have to do any work...:lol:

Sam
 

GreenNeedle

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Its just something I have noticed for quite a while and I admit has meant I have been veering off to other sites as a result. We need to get away from the appearance that forum gives of the 'back patting' for people in 'the club'. this is what others are seeing. I think you guys have done a great job but need to slow down, take some time to look from outside and see what is happening. I don't mean stand down, just look at the forum from the viewpoint of someone who is creating their first journal, struggling away, not getting very far and then seeing the same old faces posting on the each other's threads.

Personally I prefer my journals being short and not 40+ pages so I am pretty happy. I have enough encouragement from the many forums I am on to keep me happy :lol: Makes me feel good to lead someone via pm or thread from the beginning through to having a good tank. Can take a month of pms or regularly posting and the result may be a tank full of stems that looks a mess butthe other person is overjoyed that they have good healthy plants and can then move onward to structuring, preferably from advice from someone else as planning and structure is definately not my strongpoint.

However I am not suggesting I want more jungle and less nature. A bit more balance would be nice. I like to be thought of as an aquascaper but not one-dimensional. You will be surprised before the end of April ;)

AC
 

plantbrain

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Since the non CO2 no water change method is so laborious and all.............it does not hurt to try it if you are techy scapeaholic?

It's a good exercise.

Likewise, for the low tech folks, try DIY CO2 and see if you can scape.
I wrote an old article about the 12 stages of the aquscaper many years ago.
It might apply well here:

Neil Frank's "Stages of the aquatic gardener" inspired me to think further as a scaping viewpoint.

Differentiating from the plant _gardener_, the plant aquascaper has a much longer, and less frustrating path in development. "Gardening" involves the growing aspects of aquatic horticulture. This includes the physiology, ecology, pruning, aquarium maintenance and mastering the ability to use the "colors"... the plants themselves.

I started off aquascaping with rock, next came coral and marine tanks, then driftwood and finally to plants both Marine and Freshwater. The "Aquascaper" uses the colors(the plants) to paint their design. Aquascaping involves all aspects of design and layout. This extends beyond the confines of the tank itself as a well placed tank in a home, office or or other dwelling will greatly enhance the over look and impact. One can be a great aquascaper yet a poor gardener, but most are good gardeners first then later develop their artistic abilities with more focus on the design.

Some wish to dissect the elements of the aquascape, immerse themselves in the artistic elements of space, design and layout. Some wish to focus on techniques such as attaching moss to wood for a natural effect. Some, like perhaps the majority of folks, wish simply to have a tank full of plants without algae and to have their choice of plants to grow. Most discussions about aquarium plants revolve around how to keep plants rather than design.

This trend is changing as the horticultural methods are becoming demystified.

Many people start off choosing plants that are not easy to grow for the beginner and change their design plans. Later, after a period of algae woes, they simply want to keep the tank free of algae. Many folks feel they need to work more on algae control and growing the plants than the aquascape. Some folks stay true to their original design. Other folks let the tank evolve on it's own. These stages are not in any sort of _definite order_ since many folks may jump from one area to another unlike many aspects of the mechanical/biological "gardening/horticulture". Nor is this all inclusive nor exhaustive listing.

Stage one: "Hey!, It's growing, I saw a new leaf today! I see pearling! It's Alive!(with a Dr. Frankenstein tone)". This stage is fun, but often the only goal is growing the plants but adding any plants to an aquarium is a design choice. Often, it's just what will grow in their tank and added anywhere. Many folks start off like this and later develop design interest.

Stage two: How much of the tank do I want to use for plants? Many folks start off with the goal to plant only a part of the tank or sparingly. This is not surprising since most folks are comfortable with rock and/or wood already. Seldom do folks jump right into a planted without other aquarium experiences so this allows them to "stick their big toe into the water" without fully committing to a full blown planted tank which might seem a bit too intimidating initially. These tanks can look very nice depending on the layout and the aquarist design and ideas and is perhaps a sub area of design versus a fully planted tank. Many aquarist want the fish to be the main focus and the plants to be a secondary consideration. Floating plants only can be added to most all freshwater aquariums and can be included in this stage. These tanks can be done to a very level of design and impact.

Stage three: The psychological disease known as "Collectoritus". This person wants every new plant that comes along (which includes most of us). This is a good exercise, though not at first glance. Since plants are the colors, learning how to grow each one of them is very helpful to execute later designs. You need the "colors" to "paint". It also helps the aquarist to get to know and understand each plant on a personal level and realize it's long term potential for placement in the tank design. Many plants may grow too fast for placement in a design for example while other may grow too slow to maintain the design choice without a great deal of work. Collectoritis is somewhat like a zoo, a few species here and there, mixed in, seldom looking like a natural design. But one of the most interesting of all tanks is the one that has many rare and interesting plants with a good design as well. This can be very challenging.

Stage four: "Darn, I can grow plants well, now I have to design something?" Many folks slowly increase the groups of plants they keep over the years. They start off with a little bit of Riccia in one corner. A couple of years later, they have added it as most of the foreground or the entire tank. Many folks are torn between having more species and having a large field of one to few species. But the overall impact can be seen in many aquarium of the large groupings of a single species. Nowhere has this been shown to be true than in Amano's book one with the Glossotigma. But the emphasis on the groupings impact becomes increasingly important and the aquarist is more willing to try larger grouping designs to see how the tank looks. This involves reducing other species which many aquarist have difficulty with. A good way around that: the plants will be there later when you want to redesign the tank, nothing is permanent. The tank grows and evolves, so does the aquascaper. Think of it as "renting" a few plants for awhile. If you change your mind, you can always go back and use the other plants, after all, planted tanks are anything but static, they are constantly changing.

Stage five: The technique freak. Using java fern attached to wood was the first real planted goal I had when I first decided to get serious about a fully planted tank. I thought that the Aponogeton bulbs I bought were Java fern and proceed to crush them into the wood cracks. Two out of the 20 lived. This stage involves some very gratifying work. It is somewhat like using the plant "colors" as it gives three dimensionality to many designs with a minimum of a maintenance. Moss looks very impressive on thin crooked branches stuffed into a group of rocks. Everyone loves Riccia rocks and branches. Using cotton thread, thin (but not too thin!), glues, like silicone folks can attach plants to rocks, driftwood or cork the back of the tank's wall(e.g. cork wall tanks). Folks that are interested in design and execution using these techniques often will make this the central theme and leave much of the remainder of tank more subdued.

Stage six: The sloper. The Sloper realizes that the tank's look and impact can be radically changed by adding hills and valleys to gravel/substrate. Sloping the gravel can create three dimensionality. Many aquascapers try to use the plants and trimming techniques to do this. This make the tank more labor intensive and often results in "flat tank syndrome" with overgrown plants most of the time. Sloping also opens a tank up more and keeps a sense of order and design in the tank.

Stage seven: The micro grouper. No, it's not a small Grouper fish. These folks will get a nice looking groups within a tank and try to add them together in an over all design. Sort of a collage of different micro scenes.

Stage eight: The external aquascaper. These folks often work outside of the tank with a nice cabinet design, lighting, house plants near by, nice location in the house, some put waterfalls, garden style rooms around their tank. Anything to do with the external tank designs.

Stage nine: The imitator. These folks see a design and try to emulate it. A good work study for folks. Although many are often too hard on themselves for not getting exact details down, later more seasoned folks realize that close to the same design with a different plant, or slightly differing rock arrangement, driftwood etc, does not ruin the design but actually gives each and every work it's own personality and uniqueness.A sub group here worth mentioning is the Canvasser. This aquarist uses a backdrop of a single plant, such as Glosstigm or Riccia are the background for design and then added color and texture to the tank. They can remove the plants and build or layer on the "plant canvas" and rearrange designs quickly without disturbing the tank or the general layout too much.

Stage ten: The Dutch aquarist. The focus is on design elements of the Dutch European style, gardens. Lots of pruning, generally easier plants are kept.

Stage eleven: The Natural aquarist: Design inspiration from natural scenes.

Stage twelve: The innovator: Makes their own style and techniques and attempts to break the conventions associated with aquascaping with a stunning impact.

Many of these stages are interwoven, intermingled and interconnected. Some folks start off with great designs, others take many years to find interest in this area. Some may never find much interest in this topic. But I think everyone is awed by a spectacularly designed tank. But folks need to take the risk and try out their ideas, there's no limit to the creativity if this hobby. A new person with a good interesting design will win out over the best grower in the world for an aquascaping competition. So try it!

Regards, Tom Barr
 

Themuleous

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Yeh guess so, Andy though I also guess we can only comment on what people post on which at the mo is mainly nature, but then that just makes it a vicious cycle! I cant say I look any any other forums now, I just dont have the time and I like to get to know one place really well than a few not so well. I know I certainly wouldn't be able to do this place justice if I had to keep tabs of a few forums.

Sam
 

GreenNeedle

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Whilst the membership is smaller we have an advantage over many forums in that there are a large number of 'expert/gurus' in this membership. I would say a higher ratio than other forums. We need to use that to our advantage and 'create' more gurus over time :)

AC
 

George Farmer

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There are plans in progress to have these so-called 'gurus' and 'experts' to be more active in replying to the less experienced members' threads, so please bear with us.

There are only so many hours in the day (I'm writing this whilst I should be on my way home from work....), so some of the busier and more experienced members may be more likely to reply to 'easier' questions, threads and journals.

Most of the beginner's questions need more comprehensive answers, so take more time, that some of us don't have. Most of my posts are pretty short, for this reason. The longest posts are trying to promote peace! ;)

Anyway, as I say, we're aware of the situation and hopefully things will improve soon.

Thanks, again.
 

Dave Spencer

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George Farmer said:
It would be nice to see some more Dutch styles, as well.

Here is a style in which I think you would really shine, George.

The way I see it is this:

I work hard and long hours, so aquascaping is one of my releases from this. I do it for myself for my own pleasure. If that means that I don`t want to do a journal, or just don`t have the time, then so be it. It is my hobby and my choice.

CO2, EI and Amazonia, heavily influenced by Amano is my prefered choice at the moment, and a very narrow corridor down which I wander in this hobby. For me , now that I have a very firm grasp of the foundations of the hobby, I have just become very tired of going over the same old sand v gravel threads, plus all the myths that get regurgitated verbatim without a moments thought by the poster (not a problem on this particular forum).

I can become very jaded by forums at times, where people never search the forum for answers, or use Google. Why ask what a plant looks like when there is Google images.I wish people would have more get up and go and find things out for themselves, rather than expect to be spoon fed answers. Maybe it is just because I come from a working background where you have to think on your feet.

I have answered considerably more questions than I have asked, but there are certain questions that I find I no longer can be bothered with. I leave these to the more enthusiastic, less jaded members. :D . However, I do like to make a point of commenting on any newbie tanks that I think show a lot of promise.

This site should be welcoming to all abilities, but I just want to get on with sticking plants in mud. It`s why I started this hobby.

Dave.
 

Dan Crawford

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This thread is getting off topic folks, George was trying to promote peace on the forum and it seems to be doing the opposite. Some valid points have been made and i'll open a new thread to for those who feel like they need to say their piece.
 

John Starkey

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Hi all,
you say that dutch or jungle styles would be nice to see,well Dan posted some pics in my journal for me and the critiques i got were few and far between,

thats why i dont bother with pics that much.
John.
 

aaronnorth

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wouldn't say I was anything special nor I guess would Aaron but on TFF we regularly help people and they are chuffed when one of us posts on their threads/journals.
well...... only joking :lol:

I get a good feeling when anyone posts on my journals,

I can become very jaded by forums at times, where people never search the forum for answers, or use Google. Why ask what a plant looks like when there is Google images.I wish people would have more get up and go and find things out for themselves, rather than expect to be spoon fed answers. Maybe it is just because I come from a working background where you have to think on your feet.

i agree 100% on that.
 

Themuleous

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aaronnorth said:
I can become very jaded by forums at times, where people never search the forum for answers, or use Google. Why ask what a plant looks like when there is Google images.I wish people would have more get up and go and find things out for themselves, rather than expect to be spoon fed answers. Maybe it is just because I come from a working background where you have to think on your feet.

i agree 100% on that.

Whilst I agree, just think back to when we all started in the hobby. Did we know any better? I was useless and tff was the first forum I had ever joined so I didn't know any better. I know better now, and always search a forum before posting. But if people stopped helping out newbies we'd never get anyone new. Surely that is also the point of a forum to give something back once you've been helped.

Sam
 

aaronnorth

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Themuleous said:
aaronnorth said:
I can become very jaded by forums at times, where people never search the forum for answers, or use Google. Why ask what a plant looks like when there is Google images.I wish people would have more get up and go and find things out for themselves, rather than expect to be spoon fed answers. Maybe it is just because I come from a working background where you have to think on your feet.

i agree 100% on that.

Whilst I agree, just think back to when we all started in the hobby. Did we know any better? I was useless and tff was the first forum I had ever joined so I didn't know any better. I know better now, and always search a forum before posting. But if people stopped helping out newbies we'd never get anyone new. Surely that is also the point of a forum to give something back once you've been helped.

Sam

i suppose i agree on that too, although i didnt ask what a plant looks like. :D
 
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