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Re: aquascaping ramblings

James wrote:
>>One issue, when using Java Moss in tanks with Crypts, is maintenance. Well
grown Crypts form dense stands (at least, mine do) and I find that these
little "forests" act as detritus traps. Pieces of Java Moss can easily get
tangled up in there and then attache themselves to pices of the gravel. <<

I have a different problem with Java moss. I find IT to be a magnet for
collecting detris.The large clumps of java moss gets covered and and looks
like a hairy, dirty "dust bunny", (what my Mother used to call those balls
of dust that hide under your bed!) Sometimes I have a habit of leaving
decaying leaves in the tank too long, and if I re arrange plants, a cloud of
"dust" always manages to get stirred up and collect on my Java moss.

James also said:
>>I know that a lot of us are "collectors" in that we like to be able to get
our hands on the rare and exotic whenever
we can (big time guilt here...) but as Ivo pointed out with the link to the
Dutch site, simpler can be better at times.<<

But this was a showcase and competition of aquascapes, not showing off a
collection of rare plants. Can they go hand in hand? Sure why not. But from
an aquascaping standpoint all that really matters is appearance, what it
looks like, how it all comes together. And if the plants are healthy. Nobody
needs to apologize for how their tank looks! Nor should the skill of a
talented aquascaper be compared to the skills of a collector: it doesnt have
to be an either or thing..After hearing so much about Tom Barr's true dwarf
hairgrass that reaches a maximum height of 3", and is NEVER sold
commercially, I was thrilled to get some. And I can incorporate it into an
aquascape that hopefully works.  My goal is still to have a nice aquascape.
You can do that with common everyday plants, or rare plants.

>>When we were discussing the sort of categories to set up for the
Showcase/Contest, several of the committee members (myself included) wanted
to push for an emphasis on "themed" tanks - ones where the hobbyist set out
to create a definate "look" and selected plants, decorations and fish to
carry this out. Others, equally vocal, derided this approach, stating that
they merely put things where they thought they "looked good" as they went
along, and never worked to a plan.In the hands of a master, this approach
might work, but it can help the average hobbyist to take the time and think
about the final effect in advance. <<

As I remember the discussion it was in relation to REQUIRING people to
submit a floor plan...design plan along with their photos. At least thats
how I took it. I didnt think it was fair to impose that on people that didnt
work from a plan. I suppose it could be argued that such plans would be
helpful to people but I didnt think  not providing one should exclude
someone, or trying to catagorize a tank in a "theme" was appropiate.  I
think the defining lines of the existing catagories got a little fuzzy as it
was. I dont know if anyone in the show qualified as a "master", but there
were sure a lot of gorgeous pictures. It might be interesting to hear from
all the winners as to how much time they put into planning the aquascape,
and to what degree they stuck to it.

And Steve wrote:
>>Its too bad that we don't see showcase entries from more of our experts in
there too! I think we should encourage James and Erik to add more
non-competitive entries to that web page especially the really nice ones
that I know Neil, Karen and the others of you out there have!<<
I am anxious to see any planted tank pictures wether they be from an
"expert" or not...(by expert I guess you are reffering to some people from
this forum) , even though they certainly had every opportunity to
participate! But why not open it up then to anyone who wants to display
their pictures and have it added to the gallery pages. You could make that
an ongoing feature until next years competition.

Robert Paul H