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Let's Talk About ~Aquascaping~

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NaH2O

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Jan 25, 2004
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Alright - thank you to Szidls for getting this topic started. It will be very beneficial for future aquascaping projects.

When it comes to Aquascaping....what approach do you take? How do you plan what you are going to do, or do you just try it and change it if needed? What type of equipment do you feel is essential for aquascaping? What about placement? If you have a favorite rock that you like to use toss that in as well.


I'll start off with mine, since I aquascaped my tank a few weeks ago. The first thing I did was try to visualize how I wanted my scape to look. I really think this is essential to getting what you want. I spent a lot of time looking in the People's Reefs section at tanks, and looked at a lot of gallery pictures. I decided to go with 2 islands and some connecting pieces in the middle. I also wanted to be sure to have ledges and overhangs, as well as caverns.

I used 170 pounds of uncured Pukani live rock, zip ties, epoxy, hammer, chisel, some cardboard and a tarp. My process was to lay out the rock on the tarp, and then, decide which pieces went well together, match them up. I tried different rocks together to see how I liked them. If a piece wasn't looking the way I liked it....out came the chisel - to create the piece I needed. I worked with a dry tank to ease the process....then filled her up after aquascape was complete. The epoxy didn't work worth a @#&^, so I don't recommend using that. Zip ties were the best thing for me - I dread the thought of an avalanche into the beautiful acrylic, so I wanted added security. The cardboard was to protect the inside of the tank during the rock placement - it kept a disaster from happening when a few pieces being placed decided to fall.

On placement - I made sure to have enough space behind the rock for flow.

Another recommendation is to get friends to help!!! It eases the process!
 

bpm2000

smokin' reefer
Joined
Jul 23, 2003
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42
Location
U-Dist, Seattle
My tank is small and high (20H) so I initially just loaded rocks into there in a large towerish formation. I later realized that having just a few pieces of large LR was a bad idea compared to having many pieces of smaller rock. I recently took out all of my rock and smashed the larger pieces down to managable sizes, and was able to shape my scaping much more easily. It is still basically a pile of rocks, but there is a lot more waterflow space in-between and the surface area is much more suitable for holding corals. The scaping also made the sandbed/rocks a lot more visible, which is good since it now houses a N. wennerae mantis shrimp ;).
 

plumber_bob

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Jan 22, 2004
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207
Location
Federal Way
#1 Tip
- Never be affraid to smack that rock with a hammer or even a 20lbs Sledge :) Remember you shape your tank, don't let the rock shape your tank even if you don't have peices that are the sizes you need. Break those things open, bust the chisel out and re-shape those bad boys. JMO
Bobby
 

Elmo18

Clownfish
Joined
Aug 5, 2003
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Location
Seattle
On a sidenote, and one that most of us really do not pay attention to, is the possibility of looking at our tanks from 'right to left' instead of the usual western approach of looking at the live rock arrangement from 'left to right'.

Many Japanese tanks seem a little odd to us when first viewed, albeit they are awesome looking, because they usually view tanks from right to left. This is the same as the way they read (i.e. from back to front).

With this in mind, I think it adds another thing to think about when finalizing rockwork. Personally I do not like rocks touching the back glass/acrylic. I want my fish to be able to go around them as if they are small islands. Currently I have my 75 gal setup with 2 small islands on opposite sides, with a lower connecting facade. There are just so many that come to mind, with regards to design. However, for me, it seems that if i plan on making it look a certain way, i always end up with something else, so i usually just go at it without planning the final actual rockwork and how it looks, and plan and fix as i go.

- Elmo ;)
 

CarlaW

Scarlet Begonias
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Feb 8, 2004
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Columbia Falls, MT.
When I did my 300, I tried to picture the tank as I bought the rock. I got to hand pick my rock, so that made life a little easier. I did not want the same look as my 80, which was basically thrown together. I wanted a lower 'scape.
I ended up with a bunch (250 lbs) of Kaelini, and probably close to 75 lbs. of Tonga branch. As was said before, I used the larger pieces of Kaelini for a base, and built some nice caves. Up until about a week ago, I didn't have any rock touching the walls of the tank. I have since added some pieces of branch that barely touch the back wall and go back to the main structure. So far I haven't used any tywraps to connect the rock.
 

NaH2O

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Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
How about aquascaping with substrates? Anyone have tips on how they did theirs?
 

Macbeth417

Reef Monkey
Joined
Oct 18, 2003
Messages
562
Location
Seattle, WA
Elmo, I thought those Marroon clowns did all your aquascaping for you?

Nikki: I don't generally think of substrate as something you aquascape. You design it for a system, but in my tanks flow and fish always ended up having the final say in the layout of the substrate.

I have been tinkering with the idea of sand coves in BB tanks and that might fall into that catagory. Pehaps a crecent of LR with sand in it for fleshy brains or maybe even a goby. Just something I have been tooling over in my head.

-Erik
 

mojoreef

Reef Keeper
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Jul 5, 2003
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Sumner
Good topic. To me aquascaping is the most important part of your reef. Its like a car body, you can have the nicest paint job in the world, but if its a studabaker...well its a studabaker.
Trying to keep the rocks open as you build is always a good plan, good flow through them will make a big difference. As per design...the sky is the limit. I think most folks are a little to tender when it comes to playing with rockscaping. I love the look of ledges and trenchs and thier are many ways to do it. here are a couple tricks.
One is the electrical tie. as mentioned in the other thread you can get a tool called the Bundler. It makes electrical type ties to any size or shape you may want, really neat for over hangs and such. the plastic from the tie covers with corraline very quickly so its out of sight no problem.
If your going to get real tricky and you have some neat shelving and overhangs you want to put up. What I do is to get a 1/2 inch masonary bit (long one) and drill through both the ledge roch and the one below it. once done, I drive a 1/2 inch acrylic dowel through both, this makes it ver strong.

Anyway thier a couple for the books. I really think folks should spend good time and effort in doing thier aquascaping, it makes all the difference in the world.


Mike
 

NaH2O

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Jan 25, 2004
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Nikki: I don't generally think of substrate as something you aquascape.
LOL - I meant how do you place your rockwork when dealing with a substrate. (i.e. Place the rocks on the bottom, then fill in with the substrate, use pvc pylons, pvc racks, etc.) hehehe...I didn't mean, how do you structure your sand.
 

reedman

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Jun 30, 2003
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Mukilteo, WA
Nikki,

I have done the sand both with rocks on top for the DSB and now with the rocks in the tank on bottom and with a little sand around them for the looks. I like the latter much better. No worries about fish burrowing under a rock and causing an avalanche, no dead spots under the rock, etc.

I like to fit my rockwork together like legos. I spent a great deal of time getting the pieces that I have to fit together in a nice sturdy configuration. The result is that I don't have to worry about the rockwork falling and its really open allowing alot of flow throughout the tank.
 

Schottman

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Mar 22, 2004
Messages
166
Location
Tacoma Washington
Now if Tampa Bay Saltwater could make their aquacultured LR fit like legos...just imagine what they could charge!!! I like this thread a lot. I think it will save me much grief from aquascaping my tank more than a few times.
 

DonW

R.I.P.
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Dec 15, 2003
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Tacoma, WA
mojoreef said:
Good topic. To me aquascaping is the most important part of your reef. Its like a car body, you can have the nicest paint job in the world, but if its a studabaker...well its a studabaker.
Mike
Good thing your reef does'nt look like that Ford in your driveway :eek2:

Don
 

Maxx

Staff Housemonkey
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Jul 31, 2003
Messages
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All these posts and not a single picture?????????
Here are some from a 7 year old 800 gallon reef. I like how the rockwork goes straight up to the waters surface.


 

Maxx

Staff Housemonkey
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Jul 31, 2003
Messages
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here is a 90 gallon that has some cool aquascaping....
This is his start...

More rock added...
Sorry bout the different sizes....the last image was saved to my computer.....wasnt available through another site so I had to attach it as opposed to linking to the host server if that makes sense.....
 

NaH2O

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Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
Here is a link to the product Mike was talking about: Handy Bundler.

Thanks for posting up some pics, Nick. When I aquascaped, I wanted there to be plenty of flow from behind the rocks. Here is a shot from above the tank showing the distance from the bottom outputs....(excuse the nasty water...the rock is curing)...
 

Curtswearing

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Nov 20, 2003
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St. Louis, MO
For reasons that scientists don't understand, the human brain likes symmetry. Symmetry to most people means that one side is the same as the other. That is actually the typical definition of symmetry.....it's just not the only one....it can also refer to balance (or proportional). If we are trying to recreate nature, it is important to be proportional and not equal.

Here are some proportional guidelines for Aquascaping

The photographers among us will recognize these guidelines and they can explain the rule of thirds (which closely approximate divine proportion) a lot better than I can. The mathletes among us will recognize the Fibonacci sequence. I'm not going to discuss either of these in great detail.

Even though I live in the same city as Maxx, I can assure you we had no prior conversation regarding this thread. However, I look at the pics he provided and see a proportional aquascaping that follows the proportional rules in my link.
 
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