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RE: Dutch tank and aquascaping style

>Tom Barr wrote:
>What then, if not a Dutch tank, is it<g>? Utiliterinism or American weed
>choked swamp technique?
Robert wrote:
>I dont know what those big words mean Tom...:) but definetly not American
>weed swamp...Maybe you are setting the standard for the "American" style!
>Robert Paul H

Utility=I keep only certain odd plants rather than the conventional nice big
uniform groups. Emphasis is placed on species and ability to keep those rare
plant collections together and have them still look somewhat decent. It's a
little bit like a zoo. Only a few of each type rather than the "herd" which
is also impressive IMO. Looking into a tank and judging a tank many things
need to be considered rather than the preconceived notions **many** have
regarding planted tanks.
I have 70 species in that 90 gallon. It could look great with one or two
species also. My main reason for doing this is not for artistic
purposes........I don't want to have to search for these rare plants no one
else has but still have enough of them to play with to grow out into a large
group if I want to in the future sometime. It is based on the getting the
most out of the tank but still have it look fine. It can have a "flow" that
at the surface might not seem evident but upon closer inspection might have
a certain rhythm rather than the wild mish-mashed collection of rare plants.

Some folks look into a tank for a bunch of nice rare plants, perhaps lots of
them or ones they've never seen before. They would judge a tank with Riccia
only as "limited" perhaps due to the lack of species and Riccia being quite
"easy". On the other hand, most folks that like the Big Group effect. The
beginner tends to like the big groups and Riccia tanks more. The seasoned
veteran might like the collection of Crypt species better("I've seen all the
same big groups of the same plants before!" they may say.).  The different
effects seem to have different effect on the viewer. There's a larger
emphasis on detail with the smaller groups and more species. It can easily
become far more confusing than larger groups. There can be many small
"windows" offering the viewer a glimpse of what a larger group or contrast
might hold. When you first see a nice Big group tank you get an impression
from a distance. The smaller groupings, more a close up and a detailed look
that sucks you in. Both of these blend together in some tanks, if not all. I
look for success in the tank myself. A healthy "easy" plant is worth more
than a so-so "hard" plant. But you'd get more points for trying the hard
plant if it worked. Then there's the plants themselves. The big group may
hold an interesting plant and details within the group itself too (Riccia is
a great example). The plant is the detail rather than the grouping itself.
The group frames the details(the plants) basically in the (Big group) and
the reverse is the details framing the group(s). Guess which one's harder to
pull off<g>?  

I approached plants from trying to  how to grow healthy plant species first,
then doing grouping later. This is opposite from many folks. I think there
are many that do this opposite approach though. At least you can grow them
and have something to work with when you concern yourself with this more.
"Oh well, that plant just couldn't make it in my tank" is not something I
can live with.
 Duplication is a great way to try out these different ideas. Try some of
those Amano tanks. You may find them not as hard as you might think! 

 Being able to expand your technique and mind beyond the simple same sized
groups is a great skill. Planting a nice "street" or "stairway" is a great
gardening skill. Picking that odd plant for it can be even harder. Combining
these can be even more difficult. Adding rocks,wood, different colors of
gravel, spaces, backgrounds,cork & what ever else can keep us busy for years
and years. A really big group will be difficult for most of us. We get set
in  our ways to being use to seeing something a certain way as "acceptable"
or "conformist". Please do not adhere to these ways! Go forth and create!
Tom Barr