Weekly Discussion - Aquascaping - Whaddya like and why?

The basics of keeping a marine aquarium that don't fit into the other catagories of the archives.

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Weekly Discussion - Aquascaping - Whaddya like and why?

Postby Thales » April 7th, 2003, 1:31 pm

Weekly Discussion - Aquascaping - Whaddya like and why?

How do you like to aquascape your tank? Rock wall? Pinnacles? Islands? Something else? Do you try to copy nature, and what does that mean? Besides ascetics, do you think certain aquascaping is better for the inhabitants of our tanks?

*Pics would be helpful if you have them!

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Postby Len » April 8th, 2003, 12:02 pm

I've always enjoyed aquascaping, and can't set up enough tanks to try all the ideas i have in my head.

I love aquascaping that incoporates a lot of "hidden" areas where some decorative inverts aren't immediately visible at first glace. I love designing caves, overhangs, tunnels, "grottos", etc. When diving/snorkeling, I've always been fascinating by the little gems that turn up around each corner, and so I try to copy that on a small scale by aquascaping with a lot of hidden niches .... microcosms within a microcosm, sorta speak :P . It also helps to diversify my stock by setting up many differnt areas in my tank with varying degree of light and water flow.
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Postby brandon429 » April 8th, 2003, 4:52 pm

Aquascaping themes are a very personal choice surely--its one of the main time comsumers in this hobby and science....my current favorite aquascaping approach is the "wall of coral" look. I enjoy seeing a densely stocked invert system, where contrasts between colors are readily apparent even if there is no dominant theme in speciation. I like neon explosion... prefer to see a polyp or coral specimen before I can find a rock surface to look at, and this leaves an almost unending space to glue frags of various types. It has taken me a year to wall aquascape two nano reefs with the right-sized frags, I can't imagine the time and money involved in stacking a 75g+ with this many coral frags.

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Postby danmhippo » April 8th, 2003, 4:58 pm

I prefer a more "open" look to aquascaping a tank. I prefer having all rocks in the center of the tank and leaves a good 5"+ path between the rocks and the tank walls around the tank. This is especially great, in my own observation, for fast swimmers like some tangs and wrass to excercise.

I call this "circular raceway", and it will fit any tank with at least 18"+ tank width.
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Postby reefland » April 8th, 2003, 9:31 pm

I like open rock work with caves - using a spur and groove pattern. I like using Tonga Branch rock to create support columns for Fiji rock. Looks much nicer than PVC supports and such.

I don't like the rock wall look with corals placed like items on a grocery store shelf.
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Postby brandon429 » April 8th, 2003, 10:10 pm

One of the nicest homne displays Ive seen in person was a very flat aquascaping in which several branched SPS specimens were "planted" on low rockscaping on the floor. Several anthias were swimming above the SPS grove, and it had much open space and color. Do any of you guys do major rennovations on your 'scape or do you pretty much leave it the same over the years? Mine pretty much stay the same because I spend alot of time working with close detail, dont have the heart to change it--just build a new system!
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Postby DanConnor » April 9th, 2003, 9:43 am

Like Rich's description, I like a lot of diversity in the terrain. Spur and groove patterns and islands on the floor, open spaces in the rockwork and pinnacles sticking up out of it. Not too much rock, not too little.
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Postby MarkO » April 9th, 2003, 12:47 pm

I prefer a tall, steep rock wall extending nearly to the top. Giving the impression that the tank is a photo snapshot of a reef wall. I also prefer seeing noting artificial... particularly aquarium equipment! Anything naturally colorful is a plus, lots of critters and corals as opposed to just fish and rock. The only thing artificial that I think is ok is a black or dark blue background only to aid in the darkness of the wall. I also think coraline algae should remain on all non-viewable glass.
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Postby Thales » April 9th, 2003, 1:08 pm

I like caves and crevices, expanses of sand and rock you have to look behind to see whats there. I also like rocks going up to the surface of the water, and never really understood the 6 - 8 inches of open space some people have at the top of their tanks.

Here is my current set up, when it was first set up:

Image

The cave on the bottom right is actually a tunnel that you can look through from the right side of the tank, and the middle is actually more open than it looks. You can see all the way to the back of the tank along the side of the right rock structure.
The left side of the tank was concieved as more of the rock wall section of the reef, which is why it goes all the way to the wall of the tank. If I was doing it again, I would have left space between the rock and the glass.

All in all, I like this set up very much. It is open so it allows lots of swimming room, complex enough that you see more the more you bother to look, and has enough surface area to host a bunch of stuff.

Here it is a few weeks ago:
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Postby brandon429 » April 9th, 2003, 3:17 pm

Righty, never seen your tank before man, Nice! I like that aquascaping approach for that size setup, theres a dense rock/coral load and still room for fish. Nice tank and very colorful.
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Postby Jamesurq » April 9th, 2003, 3:44 pm

did anyone else see this in Righty's tank. It popped out at me and freaked me out for some reason. It's on the right side about half way up.
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Postby npaden » April 9th, 2003, 7:01 pm

I like the low open look. It gives the SPS room to grow and fill in the rest of the way. You can't really tell in this pic but I have several grooves that run diagonally with open sand between different sections of rock.

Image

I went so far as to draw out tenative plan before I put the rock in. Of course it has changed a bit since then but here was the original idea.

Image

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Postby Mouse » April 10th, 2003, 8:17 am

Recently ive enjoyed the look of a more open atolled look. I do like it when the structure reaches the top of the water, but nott all the way across Quote "grocery store style". Does anyone here remember that guy from Amsterdams tank, Toy***, Tob** damn cant remember his name but that was cool. Also plenty of caves and swimthroughs. I think many fish like to have "evasion routes" or escape paths that go through tight holes in the reef. Again no equipment on veiw is allways a touch that can really get your head spinning. But then again, you know what its like after a while, your just sure you have more room for that one special specimin youve picked up, and as a result everything looks about the same size. Larger colonys with smaller ones surroundingthem looks very natural, you can allways tell when a tanks been stocked overnight. Nice thread righty, need more pics though.
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Postby DanConnor » April 10th, 2003, 2:00 pm

Tanu!
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Postby Thales » April 10th, 2003, 2:11 pm

Thanks Brandon!
Nathan, I love the diagram.
Jamesurq, what do you see in that pic?


Anyone else have pics of their tank, so we can check out the aquascaping?

Here is my old tank. Ended up being a rock wall, even though there is space behind the rock wall with circulation. There were caves and such as well. Mostly this layout came about because the tank was a 50 gallon aquasystem, with the sump and return chamber and overflow built into the tank taking up valuable space.

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Postby DanConnor » April 10th, 2003, 4:55 pm

Well, with some hesitation- here's my tank back in october when the rock was first put in. I have changed it somewhat, and added a bunch of tiny frags.

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Postby brandon429 » April 11th, 2003, 9:41 pm

Nathan, Id like to take you up on the offer to come out there and see your Lubbock ocean. Can my daughter and I come out this weekend or next to check it out>>>and when we do, is it cool if I bring a little pony dive bottle and small mask for her to cruise around in there a bit, she could help with any lower-level aquascaping you might need adjusted :)

Seriously though, we'd like to see it when you guys are free.

Thanks,

Brandon
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Postby CAT » April 12th, 2003, 12:15 am

Righty, I really like your aquascaping. The large tunnels underneath add shadows that makes the structure look like it's floating. Very cool :)

I'm not into the 'wall of rock' look. My favourite pic of a tank is one that pops up occasionally. It's not mine, but I saved the pic a couple of years ago because It struck my fancy. Don't know who it belongs to and it's probably changed by now.
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Postby Thales » April 12th, 2003, 12:46 am

Thanks Cat!

I think the pic you posted is one of those crazy Japanese tanks.
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Aquascaping

Postby Goldstein » April 14th, 2003, 2:31 am

I recently redid mine when I moved my 46 to my 75 gallon. I had a lot of rock to work with but instead of just piles I made open spots in the center supported by live rock pillars with tables built over. As a result my fish can swim behind the rock from one end of the tank to the other behind the rockwork and it looks nice. I need to get a little more flow down there without blowing sand everywhere.


Here's my new aquascaping on my 75 - looks a little bare at the moment.

Image

Here's a pic of he right center showing the caves and tables I built on top. I have lots of space to put frags up there which is what I wanted the flat are for.

Image

I'm still playing with flow in the tank - planning on adding a 60 gallon refugium to the side that gravity feeds into top.
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