AGA 2008: Jeff Senske: Effective Design

November 19th, 2008

Jeff SenskeJeff Senske, of Aquarium Design Group, spoke at the 2008 Aquatic Gardener’s Association Convention about using Effective Design in your aquascapes. Basically, he like most of us, started trying to aquascape by throwing a lot of different plants together in a tank. Eventually, he learned how to grow the plants properly, but the tank was still a mishmash of healthy plants. He said that at an AGA Convention in the early 2000’s, he brought a picture of his tank to show to Mr. Amano, who was presenting at the time. Mr. Amano looked at the picture, complemented the healthy looking plants, but said that his aquascape lacked philosophy. Ever since then, Jeff has kept that in mind prior to designing any aquarium, whether it’s freshwater planted, reef, or plastic plants, he deploys design principles to his work.

Jeff Senske Design

Running an aquarium service company, Jeff often has to harmonize the aquarium equipment and aquascape with the rest of the room. Above, you can see how Jeff matched the style of the aquarium stand and wood type with the rest of the room. The aquascape itself, is also an open-style scape, just like the open floorplan of the room. Jeff also stressed that design should not have to suffer due to maintenance issues. In his experience, aquariums require water changes regardless of whether they’re high tech or low tech, full of plants, or not. He doesn’t see trimming as a barrier to upkeeping a design. That said, he’s not afraid to use a beautiful ADA setup with zero plants, such as the tank below.

Jeff Senske Barewood Tank

In fact, this tank might be more like the angelfish’s natural habitat in the Amazon River, minus the tannin-stained-water, than a heavily planted tank would be. Still, the wood makes it an interesting tank to look at, as does the top-end equipment. All-in-all, Jeff Senske just wants all of us to design our aquariums with purpose.

5 Responses to “AGA 2008: Jeff Senske: Effective Design”

  1. lolly Says:

    I like the way the angel tank looks with the wood coming out. It does seem to be more like a biotope – much like that discus tank in the AGA contest (except, as you mentioned, with much clearer water…)

  2. Al Says:

    For some reason, the angelfish seem much more graceful than if they were in a planted tank. The tetras make it look even better.

  3. guitarfish Says:

    I don’t know if I fully agree with that, Al, but I definitely agree that they look graceful and happy in this case. Probably because they’re comfortable in that type of environment. Thanks for the comment!

  4. alex Says:

    what size is the tank
    it looks amazing

  5. Joe Kelly Says:

    The second tank is a bit deceiving. Correct me if I’m wrong but there is no hardware in that photo. It isn’t what the tank really looks like IMHO. I don’t think it detracts from the accomplishment of the design just that the photo practices of the hobby don’t actually represent the tanks and its real day to day appearance. The real accomplishment is in the discipline and design that allows it to exist in a constant “natural state” even for photography. When a photo doesn’t mean “unplugging” the aquarium we will have ascended to a new level of design accomplishment within the hobby.

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