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Re: Amano mangrove driftwood / "American Aqua-Suburb" Style

	A while back someone posted a question about where he could get mangrove
wood to use in his tanks. If you live in the US be careful.  Mangroves are
a critical species and most states in which they grow take a dim view of
anyone who messes with them. Sure it's dead...but case in point; in Florida
it's against the law to pick up any acorns or saprophytic plants growing on
dead branches from parks. It is very much against the law to mess with
mangroves; their are state statues that will put you away (worst case) for
trimming mangroves on your own property!
	My advice; unfortunately we in Florida face invasion from a willow tree
called Australian pine that seems to be salt tolerant and competes w/
mangroves in many places. Fortunately, the state doesn't care less what we
do to this pest since it costs $$$$ to eliminate.  Also fortunate for us,
is the plant's roots are very dense and die in direct salt water.  The
shifting shoreline and deltas gives us ample driftwood that will not float,
will not discolor the aquarium (unlike the weather blasted wood from the
desert SW you oft see in LFS) Many AP were blown over in the last big
hurricane so with saw in hand there is much AP roots from which to choose. 
	The stuff looks great! I have several WHOLE STUMPS in my aquariums from 2"
diameter trees. When I drill them and plant Hygrofilla corymbosa in them
the stump looks brought back to life! I got the idea from "aquarium plant
paradise" pg. 22 but Amano let the foreground obscure the driftwood, which
weakened the composition (I have extra stumps from small sea-side trees
that  I am willing to trade).  I built an "Amano Cube" (L20"xW20"xH12") and
placed the Hygro-stump in the corner with its roots radiating across the
aquarium. I then extended the roots using other long, 1" thick driftwood
roots to look contiguous with the stump. These extensions acted as
attractive dividers that separated individual patches of Glossostigma,
lilaeopsis, C.wedtii and a funny looking what-zit I got from T,Barr.
	Now Amano is THE plant-god, and I failed to duplicate his complex
naturesque designs. But I suddenly realized...this looks better!! It looks
like something I do when I landscape my garden. I also remember talk of an
"American Aquarium Style". So here is my $0.02; In Florida, landscaping is
BIG! Why not duplicate our garden landscaping scenes in our aquariums? Just
as Amano uses aquatic plants to duplicate naturesque scenes and the
European aquarists are inspired by traditional imperial gardens we should
promote what comes natural to U.S. ....Suburbia! America's contribution to
living and home. 
	This "American style" I am nursing is MUCH easier to maintain than
Amano-style.  Which makes sense since American landscape art has
"low-maintenance", as it's central theme (we are too busy).  I eliminated
the Amano plants that tend to get ratty, use the Hygro-stumps as I would an
Oak tree or Ficus tree, Glossostigma for grass, weditii for croatons,
Rotala for palm trees, micro sag for mondo grass, straight driftwood for
landscaping logs and 1/4"river rock for landscaping gravel. You guys ought
to see this tank, I wish I had a web site. I intrigued me enough that I
drew a GIF of the plan, which I will share with anyone interested. 
	I  believe no idea is entirely original and suspect other list-lurkers may
have stumbled onto certain low maintainance parts of my proposed idea. I
really want some comments on and contributions to the "American Style"
using regional landscaping traditions as inspiration.

~David Boukmn.