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New Aquascape in Aquavas Tank

January 26th, 2016

During my winter break I rescaped my Aquavas aquarium that previously been setup for over a year. Below is the new scape, utilizing lots of spiderwood and dragonstone. It’s a pretty simple scape in terms of plants, using mostly weeping moss, Anubias barteri var. nana, Hygrophila corymbosa ‘Angustifolia’, and some crypts.

IMG_0470

The old scape used pretty much the same plants, but had become very overgrown with moss and I was ready for a change.

Aquavas Aquascape

The biggest challenge in the new scape is the darker area created under the branches. I like the intrigue that this area creates, but it definitely makes it more difficult to photograph. The fish, just a few cardinal tetras, usually like to hang out there, however. I still need the Hygrophila to grow in more in the back left and perhaps get a bit more moss established on the wood. Comments/critiques welcome!




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120G Aquascape

December 10th, 2015

My 120G aquascape is growing in nicely! The wood has finally sunked after a couple of months, and the mounds are filling in the gaps between the various pieces of Rosewood. I’m happy with the jungle effect in this tank, with most of the species of plants intermixed throughout each other. I will need to be diligent to keep the Hygrophila pinnatifida from throwing out runners that consume everything, however.

120g - December 9, 2015

The Stuarogyne ‘Bihar’ is another plant that could easily take over the scape. I may pull it out, anyways, opting for more Ludwigia ‘Cuba,’ but I haven’t fully made that decision yet. Comments/critiques welcome!

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Swallow Falls State Park

November 18th, 2015

Over the weekend, we visited Swallow Falls State Park in Garrett County Maryland. The park features a wonderful 1.5 mile trail that follows along the Youghiogheny River and Muddy Creek, which are two beautiful white water waterways. It is also one of the few old growth hemlock forests in the area.

Swallow Falls

Swallow Falls itself is actually not a huge waterfall. Seen above, it’s a still beautiful, but the rock formation to the right is really the more impressive feature.

Swallow Falls

This rock formation reminds me of the sea stacks on the west coast of the U.S. Seen below, it really does stand alone will years of geologic layers of earth and rock visible.

Rock Outcrop

These layers are actually present throughout the park, where huge rocks are haphazardly stack upon one another in layers that resemble many stone walls (or cichlid walls for fish fans) that people put together.

IMG_9924

From the top of the falls, there are good views of the river downstream.

Top of Swallow Falls

The trial has beautiful vistas of forest and rock away from the river as well, featuring ferns and moss under the hemlock canopy. Like the sea stack, this reminds me of the Olympic National Forest in Washington, just with less moss and ferns due to vast differences in annual rainfall.

Swallow Falls State Park

Finally, despite the name of the park featuring Swallow Falls, the largest waterfall in the park (and in Maryland) is on the same trail just upstream from where Muddy Creek and the Youghiogheny River meet. Muddy Falls is impressive, falling 53 feet to a deep lagoon, surrounded by the same massive rock walls.

Muddy Creek Falls

I’d recommend this park highly. It’s not a severely technical or long trail, but there is a lot of beauty and exploration to be had in a small area. Muddy Creek is also handicap accessible via a wooden boardwalk and scenic overlook down on the falls.

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Rachel O’Leary Visits My Fishroom

October 29th, 2015

Rachel O’Leary of Invertebrates by MsJinkzd spoke at the GWAPA meeting I hosted this weekend. She put together a nice tour of my fishroom for her popular Youtube channel.

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It’s a About Perspective…

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 - 11mm

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 - 13mm

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 - 17mm

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 - 50mm

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.

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