Guide to Aquascaping

Discussion in 'Aquascaping' started by ziyaadb, 5 Jun 2011.

  1. ziyaadb

    ziyaadb

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    Taken from here:

    Coral Tank from Canada (1350gal Display Tank) - Page 41 - Reef Central Online Community
    Post #1004

    Here are a few general aquascaping tips...

    - try to make it asymmetrical. Symmetry makes it look fake.
    - use the small (orange size) pieces on the bottom to make a smaller footprint in the sand and create caves.
    - hide plumbing etc. first, then continue with the rest of the tank.
    - make sure you orient each rock with the "good side" up, while maintaining the natural strata (the position the rock was formed in) of the rock.
    - don't place rocks precariously, for function (balance & stability) and aesthetic reasons.
    - every rock has a centre of gravity you need to ascertain and respect.
    - add substrate when the rock work is half done so the rock sits on the glass and not the sand. Otherwise fish and inverts will undermine, and collapse the structure.
    - make an effort to have a low foreground, medium height mid-ground, and taller background, but don't make it too contrived or it will look fake.
    - add more depth by using flat rocks on the back and end walls and through smaller islands or steps in the foreground. You can link these to the mid-ground with bridges, but don't make it too cute... and no Chinese fisherman statues [​IMG]
    - remember to leave room for coral to grow at the top of the tank (don't go too high).
    - try not to make a straight line of uniform height, break it up with peaks and valleys.
    - leave some caves for non-photosynthetic corals and cave dwelling fish.
    - create stable shelves for corals. You can use a pedestal to hold it up.
    - drill the rock for coral pegs or magnets to hold corals in place.
    - keep in mind that you want as much area as possible exposed to light. Too many overhangs or steep drop-offs will cause excess shadowing.
    - use key stones to hold the reef structure together. These can double as bridges. Longer, flat bridge-stones will tie the mid-ground and background together for more stability.
    - Test the stability of the reef as you go. Gently push down on it from above so the rocks lock together naturally.
    - when it's done, go around the base and middle and remove rocks that aren't structural. This will open up the reef and create caves without losing structural integrity.
    - try to picture what kind of corals you want in each location and design around that. Create a gentle sweeping base for mushrooms or colonial polyps on the bottom, and holes in the middle regions to hold euphylia branches for an overhang effect. Leave large areas for leather corals to fill. SPS corals look best if they are perched with little rock surrounding it.
    - avoid the straight brick wall style at all costs.
    - use the biggest rocks before you get stuck with them at the end, when they no longer fit. You can always break them into smaller pieces, but it's a shame when they traveled so far to get to your tank. You have all the puzzle pieces to complete the landscape, you just don't have the box with the picture of the finished product on it [​IMG]
    - diversity in rock shape and size is key. Branches and flat pieces look great, but not if you have too many of them.
    - most cable ties only last a few years under water, but they can help hold it together as you build and later as corals grow and bond it together. The clear/white cable ties last longer than the black ones.
    - if you use powerheads, build caves to hide them and make sure you are able to remove them every couple of months to service.
    - make sure that your rock-work doesn't impede with flow from returns or powerheads.
    - leave access points for closed loop intakes, so you can use a tooth brush to clean them periodically.
    - incorporate large enough coral perches and nooks to avoid stinging from neighbouring corals.
    - use large shells or rock rubble at the base so sand sifting fish & inverts can build permanent, stable tunnels. This will stop them from constantly digging.
    - leave room between the rock-work and glass for cleaning pads and magnets.
    - use the ugly rocks at the back for stability, but don't pack it tight, as you need room for fish and water flow.
    - try to leave a channel across the back at the bottom for a closed loop return or powerhead, to eliminate dead spots.
    - test fit pieces out of the tank before you put them in.
    - large island look good, but even better if one of them is somehow linked to another by rock. This helps with eye flow and continuity.
    - don't be afraid of breaking pieces to fit. A small hammer is al you need.
    - use only as much rock as you need. Don't feel obligated to add more rock just because you have it.
    - if you don't like the way it looks, start again.
    - always aquascape while the tank is empty (no water).
    - remember to keep looking at the tank from different perspectives as you work, as you need to be sympathetic to all views of the reef. What looks great from one side of the tank may not from another. Even from a sitting or standing position, the look can be affected.
    - drill out the rock with a diamond hole saw so you can place the rock over a PVC pipe skeleton.
    - drill holes in rocks to allow effluent ports to have free flow while concealing them.
    - you can use expanding spray foam to hold rock together, but don't fill void spaces for the sake of doing it, and cover it with aragocrete when it is finished.
    - bond your reef structure together with waterproof marine grade cement that is protected against sulphide attack. Microsilica as a 10% admix will help make it more sculptable, cure faster, PH balanced, stickier, and stringer without shrinkage cracks.
     
    AndrévN likes this.
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  3. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Nice one! Thanks Ziyaad :)
     
  4. crispin

    crispin

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    excelent tips, nice find thanks :)
     
  5. ziyaadb

    ziyaadb Thread Starter

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    ALL - please go through that thread yes its 290 pages and increasing but there is a guy there called "Mr Wilson" (same guy who gave the tips above) this guy is legendary and says awesome things in all aspects of reefkeeping. I am just looking for posts made by him
     
  6. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Thread made sticky. Some valuable information here.
     
  7. Seabass

    Seabass

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    Mr Wilson rules, very informative.
     
  8. AndrévN

    AndrévN

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    Nice read well done.
     
  9. Mauritius-aquarist

    Mauritius-aquarist

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    Thanks for sharing.....
    Some nice advice there....:peroni:
     
    Last edited: 6 Jun 2011
  10. Loki

    Loki cable tie ninja

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    nice 1
     
  11. leslie hempel

    leslie hempel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    excellent info there,

    one of the most important things is to try get rocks that will work together and not a mixture of different rock, EG: smooth vs jagged or sandstone vs limestone..

    the more uniform it is from the start the more you will be able to flow with your scaping and less time will be spent staring at the odd rock out..

    scaping should be something that slot of time is dedicated to.. if this is done there will be less tendancy to disturb the tank after it is filled and coral growing..

    i take up to a month to place rock.. this last time was pretty quick for me...(2 weeks)
     
  12. dv8

    dv8

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    just to add to this thread if a may, my own little invention, floating icelands. the best way to describe them would be a coment some one els made about them. "they look like the floating iselands in avater" the benafits: 1 no rock touching the sand so no dead spots, 2 you can place them at any hight close to the serface or deaper depending in the lighting need of whatever is on it. 3 you can atach nps under them , in the shadow and have no algea growing on you gorgonian for example. 4 they are easy to move or remove if you should need to kill some aptasea etc. 5 most importantly IMHO , IT LOOKS AWSOME!

    do i need to load pics?
     
  13. dv8

    dv8

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    some pics to give you an idea. i know, the overflow pipe and the heaters. its an early pic
    [​IMG]
     
  14. dv8

    dv8

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    and.... some close ups... well closer
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 6 Jun 2011
  15. slless9

    slless9

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    awsome pics
     
  16. rakabos

    rakabos

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  17. rakabos

    rakabos

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    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  18. dv8

    dv8

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    dude, this isn't my thread, but i guess i could load a pic or two, otherwise check out my thread. i may be more inclined to post more pics if i saw some more pics from you guys.

    perhaps we should start a thread with just tank pics. i mean just the display, the full tank shots. then you find a tank you like and then you can go to that persons tank thread and get more details:thumbup:
     
  19. Potions

    Potions

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    Not sure if you guys have heard of the golden ratio or simplified 'the rule of thirds'. I read up on it when reading up on Aquascaping for a new tank I'm starting, and it's a concept of design that's been used for 1000's of years by the Greeks and Egyptians to modern day photography etc. Basically you just take your image or rectangular/square area, and draw evenly spaced two vertical lines across it, and two horizontal lines, so you end up with a grid of 9 squares. Drew up examples as follows:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Setting up focal points along the vertical lines and the intersections as sweet spots is supposed to give the most aesthetically pleasing view to our eyes and brains - as well as give balance and reduce stress on the eyes going from one place to another. ;)

    Here's an example of the same setup rescaped that follows the rule of thirds by building up the scaping along on those 'imaginery' vertical lines. You can see how much more aesthetically pleasing the second setup is. Generally you can have multiple focal points and in larger tanks multiple grids with the main grid of the tank with their own focal point setup. Its best to have one 'main' focal point though and then a secondary one that complements it as in the above pics which have the one at the higher up intersection and the other at the lower.

    There's no set rules tho, and its just a general guideline. :)


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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