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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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33G Aquascape – Rolling Along

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.

33G Aquascape

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!

 

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33G – Coming into Shape…

July 16th, 2015

I snapped another quick photo of my 33G aquarium this week, and wanted to share. As you can see, the Rotala rotundifolia is growing in, as are all of the other plants. The Riccia is staying put, although I’m not 100% sold on its placement. Ignore the moss ball in the upper-left — I’m just stashing a mound of weeping moss there temporarily. Comments welcome!

33G - June 13, 2015

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New Hardscape and Blended Moss

June 7th, 2015

This weekend I started to rescape my 33g aquarium. This is my Green Leaf Aquarium tank that’s exactly half of a standard 75g tank. So far, I’ve only completed the hardscape, that you can see below.

Hardscape in 33g

I use my camera phone to take pictures of the hardscape as I go. This allows me to very easily see if I like the positioning of the rocks/wood, and make adjustments on the fly. The GIF below shows a demonstration of how things changed as I moved along. Before I even started, I did a prototype on the floor in front of the tank to try and work out what kind of hardscape layout I would aim for.

20150605_210336-ANIMATION

You can see that I used a mixture of rosewood and ohko stone, sometimes referred to as dragonstone. I was inspired by many of the cliffs and elements on the U.S. West Coast at the Olympic and Mount Rainier National Parks near Seattle, Washington. There, many trees grow out of amazing rock faces, and I was hoping to capture some element of that in this scape.

Shot of Mossy Hardscape

 

I’m also doing a dry start for this aquascape, which is something I do not usually do. I wanted to try George Farmer’s suggestion of blending moss with Greek yogurt and painting on the millions of tiny fronds that result.

Moss in a Blender

I got my wife’s permission to use the Vitamix to blend the moss, and the result was this soupy mixture below. I literally used a paintbrush to apply the moss to the wood. You can see the result of that in the close-up above.

Yogurt Moss Mixture

Now, the tank is sealed off with plastic wrap, and I’ll mist it each day for the next few weeks. With luck, the moss will begin to attach to the wood, and I’ll be able to continue with the full planting and filling of the tank. Comments welcome!

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33G and 50G Updates

July 28th, 2014

I previously posted pictures of my 33G and 50G aquascapes. Both are growing in pretty nicely. The 50G started to get some BBA on the wood, but a combination of peroxide treatment and adding additional algae eaters seems to have eliminated most of that problem. It did, however, harm some of the foreground Monte Carlo plant, slowing it’s growth. I’m sure that it will rebound.

50G - July 28, 2014 Update

I’m still figuring out the exact amounts to dose this aquarium, slowly increasing the dosage as the plants have been growing in. The LED lights are quite bright and are actually dialed back slightly to slow things down.

33G Update - Two Weeks In

Two weeks in, the 33G cube (above) is doing okay as well. I have been getting some algae on the Blyxa japonica especially, but I think that it’s just a matter of all of the bacterial colonies stabilizing to help me with some of the organics. The foreground is starting to grow, but definitely has a ways to go. The most prolific plant thus far is the North American native, Heteranthera dubia, which is growing up behind the peak of the hill. Comments/critiques welcome!

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33G New Aquascape

July 13th, 2014

This weekend I rescaped another one of my aquariums, the 33g cube. Previously, this tank had several iterations of my Bermuda-inspired aquascape. This time, I wanted to reuse some Africa Bogwood that’s been sitting idle for awhile. This wood is pretty chunky, but it sinks well, mosses attach to it well, and it stacks nicely without too many obvious gaps. As proof, you hopefully can’t tell that there are actually about a dozen different pieces of wood in the new scape that are woven together with the intention of making it look like one comprehensive stump.
33g New Aquascape

In terms of plants, I reused most of the plants that I had in the previous aquascape. In the foreground/midground, I have Micrantherum umbrosum “monte carlo”, Staurogyne ‘Porto Velho’, Ludwigia sphaerocarpa, and Riccardia chamedryfolia. Surrounding the wood I use Blyxa japonica, and in the background there’s a mismatch of Syngonanthus ‘Madiera’ and ‘Belem’, Ludwigia simpsonii, Ludwigia octovalvis, and Dioda virginiania. Once the stems are more visible I’ll pick which ones I’m actually going to keep. The fish are the same that have been in there for awhile, highlighted by the trio of blackbanded sunfish. Comments/suggestions welcome!

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Bermuda Scape Progression

January 17th, 2014

A few days ago I introduced the Bermuda inspired aquascape in my 33g cube. Here is a bit more of a progression from hardscape to more/less completion from July to October.

33g Bermuda Inspired Aquascape

Hardscape – July 6, 2013

The hardscape is quite barren, but I really wanted the represent the sandy beach.

33G - Bermuda Scape

Just Planted – July 6, 2013

After planting, the original goal was to continue to leave a lot of exposed sand, with just minimal scrubby plants lining some of the rocks.

33g Bermuda Inspired Aquascape

A few weeks of growth – July 27, 2013

I added more varieties of plants to provide lots of different textures from the plants. This seems to be fairly representative of the dunes that have lots of different flora.

33g Bermuda Inspired Aquascape

Several months of growth – October 13, 2013

The plants all grew in, reclaiming most of the sand. While this is not necessarily the original intent of the scape, I like how it’s evolved and like the mixture of different plants. I never completely groomed the plants to create that final photo, but enjoyed it nevertheless. It is still up and running today, but is even more overgrown. I’ll post an update soon.

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Bermuda Inspired Aquascape

January 14th, 2014

Back in April I had the pleasure to travel to Bermuda to speak to the Bermuda Fry-Angle Aquarium Society. While I was there, my wife and I took some time to site see, walk the beaches, etc. I noticed that the beaches are all lined with a gray sandstone, with scrub brush and palms above them. Many of the scrub is mixed in with dead underbrush, bleached white by the sun.

IMG_9920_1_2

Up close, the sandstone really looks similar to basalt and the underbrush looks a lot like sandblasted manzanita. I had all of these materials in my fishroom, so I decided to put together a Bermuda-inspired scape. I mainly used Syngonanthus anomalous ‘Madiera’ with some Staurogyne ‘Porto Velho’ in the foreground.

33G - Bermuda Scape

This picture was taken back in July. In a future post, I’ll show how it’s evolved and grown in…

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Bookshelf and 33g Aquascape Updates

February 27th, 2013

I snapped a few pictures before feeding the fish today. The Bookshelf tank is basically filled in. I’m starting to get a little bit of algae in this tank, but the combination of shrimp/baby bristlenose are keeping the problem at bay. If anyone has found a good solution for getting consistent and constant water circulation in a tank of this dimension, please comment below.

Bookshelf Tank Update

The 33g tank has exploded in growth. I was suffering from a terrible spirogyra outbreak, but managed to successfully eradicate that with AlgaeFix. I am not usually a proponent of chemical solutions, but the infestation was bad enough, and this tank does not have any invertebrates, so I decided to drop the bomb. I’m wary of any product that lists its ingredients as known carcinogens, therefore, during treatment and for several water changes later, I took extra effort to avoid any physical contact with water from this tank.

33g Update

 

The only issue I’m having now is some green spot on the glass. I’ve adjusted my phosphate dosing upwards to address this issue. Otherwise, I’ve added a dozen black-neon-tetras which hang out in the open. I’ve noticed that they seem to have calmed down the sunfish some, so they are out in the open more as well, which is a nice development. Comments/critiques welcome!

Dungeon Striker
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33g – Rescape Debut!

January 29th, 2013

This weekend, I decided it was time to rescape my 33g cube. This aquarium has a few other changes, namely that I replaced the 4x24w HOT5 + 250W MH light with two Finnex Ray2 LED bars. It doesn’t take a mathematician to calculate the energy reduction from this change to “a lot.” The amazing thing is that as soon as I put the LEDs on top, the plants in my previous aquascape started pearling more than they normally did with the metal halides on.

33g Hardscape

 

For the hardscape, I’m using some new Manzanita from Msjinkzd.com that I got over the summer. If you’ve never looked at Rachel’s stocklist, check it out now, as she carries amazing nano fish and inverts for our planted aquariums. For this hardscape, I wanted to do something a little bit different than I’ve done before. I wanted to have the hardscape flow throughout the aquarium in a more artistic way, while still looking somewhat natural.  You can see the bare hardscape above. Since I didn’t soak the manzanita ahead of time, I tied all of the piece together using florist wire so that I could keep them from floating via angular resistance between pieces, and a large rock that I put on the largest pieces for a couple days.

33g Rescape

 

In planting the tank, I had a bunch of plants from the previous aquascape that I wanted to carryover, namely the Anubias barterii ‘nana petite’, Java Fern ‘Trident’, Cryptocoryne lucens, Limnophila repens ‘mini’, and chain sword. I also pulled some Ranalisma rostrata, Gratiola viscidula, Syngonanthus anomalous ‘Madeira’, Fontinalis hypnoides, Nymphaea micrantha, and Didiplis diandra to the tank. I’m still figuring out exactly what direction I want to take this time in terms of how the plants should fill in, but I’m happy that the first planting is complete and looking forward to see how the LEDs perform in their first aquascape. Comments welcome!

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