Aquascape Gallery

In this section, I am including some of the most outstanding aquascapes created by the community. The idea is to show the most relevant pieces of work and why they are so good in aquascaping terms. Note that the comments are just my personal opinion, and sometimes, I will not coincide with other people. As in any art, interpreting the work is rather subjective.

Remember that I do not own these photos, but I provide acknowledgement to their creators, as possible. If your work is here and I did not include your name, please, contact me and I will add you as corresponds.

June 2016 - "Longing" by Takayuki Fukada

Grand prize of the IAPLC 2015.  Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.

The reason

As first aquascape of the month, I have selected this marvelous piece of art created by Takayuki Fukada. The work is a masterpiece of aquascaping really deserving the achieved position. The reason why I have selected it is because reflects very well some of the most challenging elements that can be introduced in an aquascape.

Technical details

Dimensions: 150 x 60 x 55 cm (W x D x H). 495 litres.
Plants: Micranthemum  sp. 'Monte Carlo'; Taxiphyllum sp. 'Spiky'; Vesicularia ferriei 'Weeping'; Staurogyne repens; Eleocharis sp.
Fishes: Unidentified.
Hardscape: Unzan stone, driftwood (thin roots, unidentified), cosmetic sand ADA 'La Plata'.

General Analysis

Within the different planted tanks styles, "Longing" belongs to the Nature Aquarium concept developed by Takashi Amano. In this style, the general impression is rather important, appealing to aquatic environments one could find in nature. This means that composition and harmony between hardscape, plants and fishes is critical to obtain a good result.

In this work, Mr. Fukada achieved all of that by mastering three main elements:

1. The sensation of depth achieved through the geometry and sizes of the driftwood is impressive. It is very easy to observe that the tank seems having much more optical depth than the 55 cm it really has. This has been possible thanks to the visual trick of making smaller the pieces of hardscape as it goes closer to the back glass panel, as well as creating a natural slope that puts the vanishing point just at golden proportion below the water surface, a natural point for the eye.

2. The geometrical composition is practically flawless. It perfectly keeps quite close to the famous golden proportion, being the vanishing point the vertical line visually splitting the tank in roughly 6:4 (left:right). As the vanishing point is also located in that way (bottom:top), it has a fully natural looking. Mr. Fukada has also worked with different triangular planes to improve the feeling of depth and introduce shapes in the composition. The main sector of roots, both to the left and right, they are not falling in the same plane, but overlapping each other, with the left one projecting to practically 2/3 of the length of the tank.

3. The composition and layout of plants is also extremely good. Micranthemum  sp. is used for the main composition. This plant grows reasonably well over driftwood and is relatively easy to keep. One of the most beautiful element of this plant is that produces shoots that can naturally hang in the water, capacity that Mr. Fukada has exploited here. Vesicularia ferriei is also smartly applied in the tank. It mainly appears in the bottom of rocks and, more important, in the links between roots and rocks. By doing so, Mr. Fukada achieves to remove any artificial line between both elements of hardscape. This moss has also skillfully trimmed to ensure a dense looking and less spiky aspect, which adds age to the layout. Aging is one of the key elements when using driftwood and one of the principal elements of Nature Aquariums. Taxiphyllum is also very well included, covering the driftwood in the background of the tank, assembling natural branches full of leaves. The spiky nature of this moss helps to allow the light passing through the background, a very important point of this layout. S. repens  and Eleocharis are then used only in specific spots, intending to break also the homogeneity of the 'Monte Carlo' and the mosses. This feature contributes to provide a natural look to the aquarium.

Apart from that, the layout has also characteristics well considered by judges of the IAPLC: It includes plants that can last for long in the tank, and the maintenance is relatively easy. Mr. Fukada also achieves a pristine water and a spotless sand, which are also good symptoms of a devoted aquascaper.

Geometrical analysis

The drawing shows the relationship between the true vanishing point (yellow lines) and the theoretical one (red lines). Even if in this way seems a large error, it is not:

Vertical accuracy: 96.9%, corresponding to a displacement of 1.7 cm to the top.
Horizontal accuracy: 94.4% , corresponding to a displacement of 8.4 cm to the left.

Note also that the back plane is perfectly located, with the driftwood base aligned with the horizontal red line. The same goes for the views through the driftwood in the right side of the layout. In that sense, the only defect I see in the layout corresponds to to the bump situated over the red line at 1/3 distance from the left of the tank. Meanwhile this is intended to create an attraction point, better result would have been achieved by locating it in a less height, with the red line crossing it by half.