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Re: Design and Aquascaping for a novice

On Thu, 21 Jun 2001,  Andres Mumma wrote:

>     I have a 37 Gallon tank that has been in operation since Feb, 2001.  It
> is doing quite well, and so far I am very pleased, and thoroughly enjoy just
> to sit there and look at the many elements in the tank.  Unfortunately I but
> a novice to this art of aquascaping, and I think the tank shows it.
> something is just not right about the arrangement, and being the nevertiring
> tinkerer that I am, seem to move objects and plants to find a good design.

Planted aquariums never stay the way we put them; plants wax and wane and
(most often) spread.  That guarantees that we always have something to do
in our hobby.  I suppose that anyone else who is concerned with the
aesthetics of their tank also tinkers with it more-or-less constantly.
Hopefully, in time we settle on a framework for our layout, and our
tinkering mostly stays within that framework.

> So I bring this up to  you, as I have been purchasing several books on
> aquatic plants and gardening, I would like to find some books on the subject
> of the design element of the hobby.  How to aquascape from a design
> perspective, techniques, elements, and the whys and why nots of design.  Any
> specific books would be helpful.

Amano's first book ("Nature Aquarium World") contains very good
information on layout, without going to the point of giving actual
diagrams.  A later book (called something dubious like "Aquatic Plants
Paradise") contains a few more concepts and hints.  "The Natural Aquarium"
(sorry, the authors' names are not with me now) gives actual layout
diagrams, but seems otherwise a little short on design concept.  All of
those examples are of the Japanese style.

"Aquarium Style" (Matthews I think, published by Barrons) is a book of
British origin that shows some very creative designs for artificially
decorated aquariums.  Some of the aquarium-keeping advice in the book is
goofy beyond belief, do don't get it for anything but the designs.

I think there's at least one good source for information on aquascaping in
the Dutch style.  I don't remember exactly what it is, but I think that
Robert H. included references in some of his earlier posts.

> I KNOW there must be something printed on
> the matter, last time I visited the AGA yearly contest Showcase for
> aquascaped aquariums, I looked at every single picture and noticed the judge
> had made very specific design and aquascaping notions that their judging was
> based upon.  I want to know what those notions are.  Any help for this
> novice?

If you really want dogma to go by (as opposed to concepts, suggestions and
guidance) then maybe you want to look into the Dutch style.  Japanese
aquarists may be just as dogmatic as the Dutch aquarists, but they don't
seem to be as straightforward about their rules.

Roger Miller