September 9th, 2015
I did a photoshoot of my 33g this weekend. Normally, I pull out my go-to 24-70mm lens for the majority of my shots, but unfortunately, this weekend that lens was in the shop, necessitating that I experiment with some other options. In doing so, I was amazed at how the exact same aquascape can look radically different based on the focal length of the lens used to shoot it.
33G Aquascape – Photographed with 11mm lens
Take the first shot above as an example. This was start with a super wide-angle lens at just 11mm. Of all of the shots, I love how dramatic it makes the hill look, with so much depth it’s amazing. However, if you submitted this to an aquascaping contest, you’d likely get points knocked off for too much distortion. Just look at the silicon line on the back left — it’s not even remotely a straight line like it should be.
33G Aquascape – Photographed with 13mm lens
Dialing it back a bit only 2mm to 13mm makes a lot of difference. You can see the distortion is not quite so profound, albeit still present, and the warping of the hill itself is less so. Whether or not this is a good thing or not is up to you.
33G Aquascape – Photographed with 17mm lens
Now, jumping to 17mm the lines are much more natural but you still get a good amount of depth. Notice how there’s less and less reflection as the angle gets narrower. In the first shot, you get nearly the entire grouping of Rotala rotundifolia whereas as 17mm we only see the tops.
33G Aquascape – Photographed with 50mm lens
Finally, jumping all the way up to 50mm it almost looks like a totally different aquascape compared to the 11mm shot. There’s barely a foreground to speak of and the mound itself is compressed. The lack of depth is profound. This further demonstrates how important the photography aspect of aquascaping to ensure that you’re capturing the right version of the scape that you want to share with the world. I’d be very interested to hear what you’re personal favorite is of the photos above in the comment section.
August 31st, 2015
The 33G Aquascape continues to do well. Since my June update, I’ve added some Bucephalandra motleyana from Aquaflora, which I think add a nice alternative to the usually Anubias barterii var. nana that have been used for years in these kinds of scapes. The weeping moss is doing a nice job consuming the wood/rocks just enough to cover up the gaps.
I’ve reduced the amount of Riccia fluitans as it can kind of go crazy. I’m going back and forth between leaving a more erratic grouping of Rotala rotundifola like in the picture above, versus trimming it in a more manicured way. I kind of like the chaotic look. Your comments are invited!
August 7th, 2015
I was playing around with a GoPro this weekend, and took this short video from inside my 75G. I imagine this is what it would look like to swim in the tank.
August 6th, 2015
Words cannot describe the loss the planted aquarium community has suffered this week with the passing of Takashi Amano. He was a force in the hobby, and his Nature Aquarium series of books were my own personal inspiration for getting into aquatic plants and aquascaping. I had the pleasure to meet him at the 2004 and 2008 Aquatic Gardener’s Association conventions, and he had a presence about him that commanded respect, but as the picture below illustrates, he wasn’t afraid to have fun as well. We should all continue aquascaping in his memory. Rest in peace, Mr. Amano.
Takashi Amano and Me, 2008 AGA Convention in Atlanta
July 20th, 2015
It’s been awhile since I’ve showed a picture of my 75G aquarium. I rescaped it back in April using the porous mossy rock (probably basalt) I’ve used for years. From the get-go, I kind of loved/hated the big rock for being too big, but you can’t deny it’s a presence in the scape. I decided to see if the presence would be softened a bit if the rock was partly obscured by Hygrophila pinnatifida.
As you see, after a few months, the H. pinnatifida has totally overgrown the big rock. In addition, the other plants have exploded, and have really taken over the aquarium. From a aquascaping perspective, most of the definition of the original scape has been lost.
That said, the plants are very healthy, and I’ve tended to throw in additional species of plants, more to farm them out. Going forward, if I want to rebalance the aquascape, I think I’ll have to remove the large rock altogether and rebuild the left side with smaller rocks. I’m disappointed that this Narrow Red Rubin Sword has grown in as kind of a mess. I was hoping for more vertically inclined leaves, but it’s just a cluster now. Regardless, with healthy plants and happy fish, it’s still one my favorite tanks to sit and admire this summer. Comments welcome!