Critique my hardscape Setting up new scape

jsiegmund

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I'm in the process of setting up a new tank, 60x35x35 (beta optiwhite). I've found some pieces of wood that I love and I'm now fiddling around with dragon stone trying to achieve something with potential. So basically I'd just like some feedback.

From the disclaimers section: the cardboard box doesn't do justice to the complete picture unfortunately due to brown on brown. And I don't have decent camera gear so the photo's don't do the real life scape justice either in my opinion. There's more depth in it than what the photo's show. I'll try to get some better lighting somehow.

First attempt yesterday evening:
DSC01256.JPG DSC01257.JPG DSC01259.JPG DSC01262.JPG

1 piece of wood on the left, two pieces on the right. This didn't feel right.

Second attempt today:
DSC01281.JPG DSC01275.JPG DSC01283.JPG DSC01286.JPG DSC01289.JPG

Works better for me. This is now two pieces of wood on the left and one on the front-right. It slopes up quite a bit towards the back making way for a path originating from the rear right. The front-right piece of wood arcs over that path a bit which I like. The left stone (the bigger one) leans towards the front quite a bit but the photo's don't really show that.

One more but with a little bit more dramatic lighting:

DSC01265.JPG


Really interested to find out what you guys think of this.
 

Kezzab

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More seriously, the large left side rock is too close to the front and too vertical to my eye. I think i get what you are trying though. Id move it back a little and tilt it so the pointy end is pointing into the corner. That would help draw the eye to the centre of the tank but keep your mysterious corner tjing going on.
K
 

jsiegmund

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The fish is out of proportion ;)
Haha, literally everyone who's been in our living room since I had the box there made a similar comment :p

More seriously, the large left side rock is too close to the front and too vertical to my eye. I think i get what you are trying though. Id move it back a little and tilt it so the pointy end is pointing into the corner. That would help draw the eye to the centre of the tank but keep your mysterious corner tjing going on.
K
Yes I do think that needs fixing indeed. Which corner are you referring to when pointing it? I had it pointing in its current direction to align with the wood behind it.
 

mick the monkey

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How about raising up that back left corner with substrate? Raise the large piece of wood, this could then be tilted clockwise so that it created some nice shadow over the open area??

Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
 

Paul27

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More seriously, the large left side rock is too close to the front and too vertical to my eye. I think i get what you are trying though. Id move it back a little and tilt it so the pointy end is pointing into the corner. That would help draw the eye to the centre of the tank but keep your mysterious corner tjing going on.
K
Do this and I think it will look great
 

Kezzab

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Point it to the left corner, so the wood an rock.point in opposite directions.

Mick.is right aboutthe substrate too. It will help you get more angles/lines in the tank, left right front back which will.makenit feel.more dynamic and less 'flat'.

Should be good!
 

jsiegmund

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Allrighty, I will try that. I already found the substrate level quite high to be honest. Higher up and the wood will definitely raise above the water level, but that might be nice. I'll try your suggestions tomorrow and follow-up with more photo's. Thanks everyone!
 

Keith GH

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Jasper

You are off to a very good start by using a Mock Tank, Changes can be made very easy compared to the actual glass tank.

The LH side is very interesting, the large stone is way to big I would use another stone a little smaller than the one on its right.

The RH side sorry to say it looks like you used what ever you had left over and made it as you went along especially the wood.

Next what to do????
Two possibilities remove the RH side completely and move the LH more central a very big job would it work again a big ????

The other easier and an excellent chance it will work.
1 leave LH alone.
2 Add more to its RH side and taper it down like a half moon shape stopping about the large fishes mouth.
3 A narrow pathway starting at edge of the front rock and tapering off between the wood and the rock
Just below the lowest big dot.

If I can get my Photo bucket fixed I will try to draw it for you.

If you are very confident you can start the LH side as is in your tank

Keith:wave::greenfinger:
 

jsiegmund

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If I can get my Photo bucket fixed I will try to draw it for you.
Thanks for the feedback Keith, I'm just going to try out a few things, that what the box is for. If you could upload a sketch that would be awesome, not sure what you need Photo bucket for I always just upload to the forum :)
 

jsiegmund

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Quick reply with some phone pics after rearranging the right hand side a bit, the LH side remains as is for now, though I'm curious about the idea of breaking the wood line by tilting the large rock the other way, maybe switching it with the one on the left.

IMG_20200104_123449.jpg IMG_20200104_123458.jpg

I know I should raise the soil level on the right hand side, but I've ran out of old Akadama. So that part I'll leave up for the imagination for now. The stone behind the wood I added on purpose because otherwise that area is very empty. As with every scape I'm running out of hardscape to work with which is always a bad thing, I will order some more but first want to get an idea on where to go with this.
 

jsiegmund

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Shifted things around again. Redid the LH stone and indeed: this works quite well breaking with the lines in the wood. I narrowed the pathway and raised the soil level on the RH side. I think the back right needs to be raised more (working on that) and I wonder whether I should have the pathway go around that corner optically, as if the runs behind the right section, kind of an S-shape. Working on the pathway I do feel as if it might be a distraction from what I though would be the main feature of this tank: the wood on the left. What do you guys think? Improving?

IMG_20200104_161037.jpg
 

Keith GH

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jsiegmund
not sure what you need Photo bucket for I always just upload to the forum :)
Yes that is correct I can do the PhotoShop but that is far as I can go at the moment. If lucky PB should be all OK later today.

img_20200104_123458-jpg.jpg


Looking at this one
LH side that front LH rock is way to large in fact its over powering the LH side completely.

Pathway a good idea but could be improved.

RH side height substrate definitely required and tapered to pathway.
All I can see is three good rocks all about the same size and height in a row. This does not give you any field depth. As a starter swap the bigger rock front RH corner with the front rock.
It's the middle rock that is the concern as a suggestion I would lean it until it is touching the rock in the pathway.
The rock at the back I would reduce it's height by placing it deeper when you add more substrate.


This is a NONO
LH side six rocks in a perfect curve totally uninteresting.
RH side three rocks in a row and the front one added on sorry to totally uninteresting
img_20200104_161037-jpg.jpg


Keith:wave::greenfinger:
 

jsiegmund

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I completely agree and please be as straightforward as you can be with any advise. I'm Dutch, we are masters of being blunt or as we call it: honest ;) Yesterday evening I redid the RH side which is now much more what I want it to be. The wood there has gone and I found a nice configuration to combine the three pieces, probably will cable-tie those together later today. The "arranged" feeling of the pathway is something that I'm struggling with. I find it quite hard to create arrangements that look natural vs created. This is not news to me, our interior is pretty straight-lined and in my profession (software developer) user interface / graphics has never been my strong suit. That said, doesn't mean that I'm not going to try :) So new attempts later today, first need to do maintenance on my existing tank and going to fill up the new tank for the first time for a leak test and seeing how the cabinet holds up. Work to be done!
 

jsiegmund

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Okay so I redid the LH side, resulting in this:

IMG_20200105_150312.jpg


IMG_20200105_150331.jpg


Judging the photo's I now see how the RH side could be even higher. I'm going to make an LFS trip to get some more volcano and a few extra stones. But I'm liking the overall idea right now. The pieces of wood tied together draw the eye in for first focus and then the pathway will be a natural 'next thing' to look at.
 

jsiegmund

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Yeah I agree, probably mixing hairgrass with HC and on the slopes go a bit bigger to maybe staurogyne repens or something like that. But with the addition of a path from back to front. Just not sure yet on how I would separate the path from the carpet but when I have some more stones I might find a solution for that. The front area is too empty for my taste to begin with, only doing sand is not going to cut it.
 

Keith GH

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jsiegmund
img_20200104_123458-jpg.jpg


I am still saying this is the best LH side except for the large rock it's too overpowering.


img_20200105_150331-jpg.jpg


Over all very sorry to say you have taken a massive step backwards.
LH side all rocks in a perfect curve totally uninteresting.
RH side two straight rows of rocks again totally uninteresting.
The area looks very bare no interest when the wood is missing.

My suggestion now might sound strange but it always works. Cover it up and walk away for a week do some gardening or any thing else that will occupy you completely. One week later you will see it totally different.

Think Nature then all of a sudden you will find it becomes very interesting and relaxing to just sit back and admire your Aquascape

Keith:wave::greenfinger:
 
Last edited:

jsiegmund

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Sorry, I edited this reply and ended up deleting it entirely. Anyway, the stretch of it was that I'd like to understand what is 'uninteresting' about the rocks in the different set-up, as it's exactly the same rocks just tilted a little different. So if I can better understand this that would also improve my rock-picking skills at LFS where the collection is usually pretty limited to begin with. Unfortunately I don't have any Green Aqua-like shops around here.

New (worse):
img_20200105_150312-jpg.jpg


Old (better):
img_20200104_123458-jpg.jpg


The LH side rocks especially are the same ones in pretty much similar configuration. Trying to understand what it is that would make the second one better.
 
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Better or worse, it's all subjective really.
I'll only talk about the LH side to keep things simple. The rock placement in both has it's good and bad points for me. What they both do in a slightly different way is lead you to the focal point.
The new version does this buy making a curve/path. The old version has rocks that tilt a little bit more than the previous rock.
What might make the older version more interesting is the light reflecting from the stones will differ to create a gradient of light. The flat central stone will have the most light hitting and the far left stone will be darker.
I think combining the 2 is an option worth trying, but keep going.

Hope that makes sense!

p.s. You'll know when you've made a really good one when you take it apart and can't make a better one ;)
 

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