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Ameristyle Aquascaping

I just love a devil's advocate! Tom wrote;

>Okay, I'll bite.  I think it is insane to use landscapes as inspiration for
>aquascapes.  Unless they are done to the level of the Amano style tanks
>(which are ridiculously labor intensive and contrived), they usually look
>pretttty hokey.  Little paths and bushes?  Give me a break. And I can't
>think of a single fish that would feel comfortable swimming (flapping?)
>around in a xeriscape environment.  Rather than draw on landscapes for a
>tank design, I would propose that the natural habitat(s) of the tank
>inhabitants provides a far more valid basis for design.  A riverbank, a
>running stream, a calm pool, etceteras.  From that perspective the Dutch
>style tanks are far more natural, even though they tend to be forced through
>frequent trimming. IMHO of course...

This seems reminicent of the art establishments criticisim of "Pop-Art"
That DOES in fact use soda cans, advertisements and icons to inspire
modernistic interpretations of reality; instead of a bowl of "Still Life"
fruit. Before your thinking get too focused on the human affectations of a
suburban landscape (stone footpaths, hedges to keep out the prying eyes of
neighbours etc) remember I noted the use of solid decorative items in more
or less symetric shapes to define borders of identical plants. Sensei Amano
also had a critical idea regarding fish: The fish should fit the decore not
the decor fitted to fish. The guy can make a tank of 95% Glossostigma, two
dozen flag fish and a few stones look like a scene from "The Sound of
Music"! Frankley, as long as your pollutants are low, and your fish have a
place to hide, they never had it so good! Three main questions I ask myself
before I import a Landscape Form (LF) to my aquarium is:

1. 	Does this LF have MY aesthetic appeal?  If not, forget it.
2. 	Does this LF contrast plantings on both sides of the border? If not, I
change my choice of plants or border. Greater contrast IMHO, strengthens
3.	Does this LF have functionality?  For example, does it prevent the
Glossostigma from invading the micro grass? 
4.	Does this LF decrease my work? ex; Roger Miller (I think) suggested
eliminating the use of stems for palm trees because of the trim work. I
agree. Why import a "hard-work-Martha" LF to my tank when I eliminated trim
hedges from my garden for just that reason?!

Just then I tried another idea, if you invert a stump, the roots now look
like a dead tree. I then tie java moss to the "branches" interspersed w/
Dwarf sag and I suppose after a few beers it looks like an old oak tree w/
willow moss and saprophites growing from it!

I'm going to try to enhance this look on another stump by first tying peat
moss to the branches w/ fishing line and planting Glossostigma on its
branches. Picture a hilly grassy scene; like the rolling hills (curved
sponge under substrate)of a Florida golf course or a retro scene from "the
Highlander" with a single oak tree(Upturned stump), few branches, several
small leaves(Glossostigma,moss). Think "Aqua-bonzai" w/ black backbround;
simple, understated. I'll let you guys know how it looks when I finish it.

~D. Boukmn, 
"A-stumpin' in Fort Lauderdale":-)