Does it even make sense to have a Saltwater Aquascaping Contest?

Does is make sense to have a Saltwater Aquascaping Competition?

  • Yes with a sponsor

    Votes: 20 38.5%
  • Yes without a sponsor

    Votes: 5 9.6%
  • It depends (please explain)

    Votes: 6 11.5%
  • No

    Votes: 21 40.4%

  • Total voters
    52

Sleeping Giant

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Aquascapeing is not art, as you would like it to be.
It has to serve purpose and be utilized properly for the tank inhabitants. Many of us start with what we think will work, then eventually change and add/remove parts of it that are or are not working. Flow needs to be examined, inhabitants use needs to be examined, height and width need to be examined.

There is no art to it, it's more so functionality than anything.

If your looking for the artist value, I know what your saying, but knowing that... freshwater tanks and fish look bored, unmotivated, don't actually use the aquascapeing as it mostly looks like obstacles more than it is for functionality for the freshwater inhabitants.

I'm not sure why you keep pushing this debate, but it's way too far out of line for any decent reefer to try or want to achieve.
 
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Ardeus

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Aquascapeing is not art, as you would like it to be.
It has to serve purpose and be utilized properly for the tank inhabitants. Many of us start with what we think will work, then eventually change and add/remove parts of it that are or are not working. Flow needs to be examined, inhabitants use needs to be examined, height and width need to be examined.

There is no art to it, it's more so functionality than anything.

If your looking for the artist value, I know what your saying, but knowing that... freshwater tanks and fish look bored, unmotivated, don't actually use the aquascapeing as it mostly looks like obstacles more than it is for functionality for the freshwater inhabitants.

I'm not sure why you keep pushing this debate, but it's way too far out of line for any decent reefer to try or want to achieve.

You can say what you want in prose, or you can use all sorts of literary forms, rhym and the result is poetry. It's way harder though.

Just imagine what could be achieved if we were able to build our reefs satisfying the needs of all the animals regarding flow, light, habitat, etc and simultaneously apply the same level of aesthetic considerations that freshwater aquascapers use.

It's not easy to apply the techniques that freshwater aquascapers use in their tanks to a reef, but it's not impossible.

I have never setup a tank from scratch applying these techniques, but I tried to make changes to my tank based on what I could learn from freshwater aquascapers. Some of these changes were easy to implement and I liked the results.

It also changed they way I keep my tank. I am much less tempted to get another coral because I prefer repetition rather than one of each. That's what I see in the ocean. In fact I doubt I will make any purchase of any fish or coral this year (maybe ever).

It made me look with more attention to what natural reefs look like and understand why my tank doesn't look at all like something you could find anywhere in the ocean.
 

jamie1210

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I'm on the side of admiring reef scapes. Heck, aquascaping and coral placement is my favorite part of the hobby! With that said, I'm wondering how this contest would be different from the Reef of the Month contest. ROTM takes into account maturity, aquascape, basically how great things look. Sounds a bit like a repetititve contest.
 

MichaelReefer

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Personally, I dont think my Aquascape is really "attractive;" but some people on here, there tanks look amazing. Unfortunately I was not born with a creative part of my brain lol.

20210413_195515-01.jpeg
 

Cell

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Aquascapeing is not art, as you would like it to be.
It has to serve purpose and be utilized properly for the tank inhabitants. Many of us start with what we think will work, then eventually change and add/remove parts of it that are or are not working. Flow needs to be examined, inhabitants use needs to be examined, height and width need to be examined.

There is no art to it, it's more so functionality than anything.

If your looking for the artist value, I know what your saying, but knowing that... freshwater tanks and fish look bored, unmotivated, don't actually use the aquascapeing as it mostly looks like obstacles more than it is for functionality for the freshwater inhabitants.

I'm not sure why you keep pushing this debate, but it's way too far out of line for any decent reefer to try or want to achieve.

I disagree. For some, sure, it might just be a utilitarian pile of rocks and box of water, but for others, it's a highly curated presentation of shapes and colors. Balance and ratio matter and add to aesthetic beauty. In other words...Art.
 

ReefBeta

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I took some heat when a few days ago I expressed my opinion that most reef tanks are ugly, a lot of people felt offended.

The fact is that freshwater aquascapers really study and practice aquascaping as an art/science and we do not.

I would like to help to change that, so I thought about organizing a Saltwater Aquascaping Contest along the lines of the freshwater aquascaping contests.

I have 3 options:

- Put my own money for the prizes
- Get a sponsor and have bigger prizes
- Keep this idea as a "lets don't and say we did" project

I feel more comfortable with the 1st option because this contest would be very experimental and even if I could find a sponsor, I run the risk of not having many entries because I don't have the means to promote the contest and in the end let that sponsor down. If things went well, then get a sponsor for the next contest.

Grand Prize:1 Person
Prize:50 eur

Gold Prize:1 Person
Prize:25 eur

Silver Prize:2 People
Prize:10 eur

Bronze Prize:3 People
Prize:5 eur

Honor Prize:13 people
Prize: (bragging rights )

Given the much slower development of a saltwater tank, the contest would have to put much more value on the maturity of the system and on how healthy it looks and how well it provides a proper habitat for the animals inside.

Also, instead of just submitting 1 photo, the contestants would have to submit at least 3 photos, 1 short video and a list of the fish in the tank.

I am unware if a real saltwater aquascaper even exists, so I would have to bring a couple of freshwater aquascaping experts to judge the aesthetic component of the tanks and saltwater experts to judge the specific aspects of a saltwater tank.

What do you all think?

I'm with you on most reef tanks and scapes look ugly. Most of the time I see post of people's scape and I have so many criticism about it while all the comments saying it looks good. I just scroll past it instead.

But a reef scaping competition is not very practical compares to planted tank.

For one, the availability of coral colony is nowhere to be compared with plants. For serious aquascaping contest contender, they will fill their tank complete with plants. It's doable with couple thousands of dollars. But for a reef tank, that would be couple magnitudes higher, given you can find big enough colonies to begin with.

Then for the second, grow rate is dramatically different. Planted tank in ideal condition will grow in within a month or two. Reef tank it's couple years to a decade. You can't really appreciate or judge the true beauty of a scape before the coral colonies are sufficiently grown in.

So it comes down to the pay out circle. In planted tank, aquascaper only need couple months from start to submission. A reef scaping contest would take many years. The prize will need to be dramatically higher to really attract true contenders. It's not a practical career like a planted aquascaper is.

The most practical format is more like a Tank of the Month format. It can be Tank of the Year/Quarter with empathize on scapes. But then I don't know if we even have reputable judges in the hobby for aesthetic to begin with. Many tanks of reputable personnel in the hobby looks from meh to down right ugly, despite super healthy. Without judges, it would just fall as popularity contest instead.
 

ReefBeta

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Aquascapeing is not art, as you would like it to be.
It has to serve purpose and be utilized properly for the tank inhabitants. Many of us start with what we think will work, then eventually change and add/remove parts of it that are or are not working. Flow needs to be examined, inhabitants use needs to be examined, height and width need to be examined.

There is no art to it, it's more so functionality than anything.

If your looking for the artist value, I know what your saying, but knowing that... freshwater tanks and fish look bored, unmotivated, don't actually use the aquascapeing as it mostly looks like obstacles more than it is for functionality for the freshwater inhabitants.

I'm not sure why you keep pushing this debate, but it's way too far out of line for any decent reefer to try or want to achieve.

Aquascaping can definitively be art, as it can be an express of beauty. But I see where you're coming from. Most in this hobby are still struggling in keeping things alive, then grow, that barely anything spare effort available on the aesthetic aspect. But for those that got over the learning curve of how to make coral thrive, it naturally comes back the aesthetic planning of the tank to express one's vision of beauty.

It's really just the same thing for planted tank decades ago. Then people are still figuring out how to even keep plants alive and algae free, barely much effort were put into the art of scaping. It's only when CO2 injection and fertilization become common knowledge that keeping plants thrives is no longer the challenge, that planted aquascaping started to take off.

It's the same thing for reef. When lots of hobbyists are able to grow coral readily, which is probably still many years away, more and more focus of a reef tank will be switch from the functional to the aesthetic.

I'm on my 6th tanks and am already got over most of the functional aspects of growing coral, and paying more attention on coral bonsai and scaping in my latest setup.
 

ApoIsland

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I took some heat when a few days ago I expressed my opinion that most reef tanks are ugly, a lot of people felt offended.

The fact is that freshwater aquascapers really study and practice aquascaping as an art/science and we do not.

I would like to help to change that, so I thought about organizing a Saltwater Aquascaping Contest along the lines of the freshwater aquascaping contests.

I have 3 options:

- Put my own money for the prizes
- Get a sponsor and have bigger prizes
- Keep this idea as a "lets don't and say we did" project

I feel more comfortable with the 1st option because this contest would be very experimental and even if I could find a sponsor, I run the risk of not having many entries because I don't have the means to promote the contest and in the end let that sponsor down. If things went well, then get a sponsor for the next contest.

Grand Prize:1 Person
Prize:50 eur

Gold Prize:1 Person
Prize:25 eur

Silver Prize:2 People
Prize:10 eur

Bronze Prize:3 People
Prize:5 eur

Honor Prize:13 people
Prize: (bragging rights )

Given the much slower development of a saltwater tank, the contest would have to put much more value on the maturity of the system and on how healthy it looks and how well it provides a proper habitat for the animals inside.

Also, instead of just submitting 1 photo, the contestants would have to submit at least 3 photos, 1 short video and a list of the fish in the tank.

I am unware if a real saltwater aquascaper even exists, so I would have to bring a couple of freshwater aquascaping experts to judge the aesthetic component of the tanks and saltwater experts to judge the specific aspects of a saltwater tank.

What do you all think?
This is such a good idea. Makes me wish I was more artistically inclined. Can't believe so many people are not interested. If nothing else it will at least provide inspiration to some.

I would go the opposite of the mature tank aspect though for various reasons:
1) The detail of a really nice rock scape gets totally covered/marginalized by coral growth.
2) Takes too much time for coral to grow in most cases. Would have to plan far in advance which would prohibit competitors who did not know about the competition early on.
3) I'm guessing higher entry costs (corals) would deter a good amount of potential competitors as well.

Or maybe have a separate category for FOWLR if you are dead set on the mature reef look.

I don't think you need to offer cash prizes. Bragging rights are usually enough.
 
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Ardeus

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I thought about naming the contest ISAC - International Saltwater Aquascaping Contest

I created this post to help me decide if it's even worth trying and I'm still on the fence.

The possible benefits would be to bring some of the knowledge of the freshwater aquascaping judges to the reef world.

The analysis they could do of our tanks could be extremely interesting and point in directions we haven't imagined.

On the other hand, the few freshwater aquascapers I approached just to try to talk about how would they approach reef aquascaping showed no interest at all.

I showed this photo to one of them and he thought it was unremarkable and pointed out what he didn't like.

unnamed (2).jpg


The idea at this moment is still to appoint freshwater aquascaping judges to the aesthetic criteria and reef gurus to other criteria.

It's likely that there would be very little participation for all the reasons many people pointed out in this thread on top of my limited ability to promote the contest.

That's the reason I still think a monetary prize is needed.

Lets say only 12 people enter the contest. No problem... as long as there are a few interesting tanks.

One way to proceed would be to make the contest adaptable to the level of participation.

If there's less than 50 tanks, I would do the whole judging thing myself and that's it.

If there's more, i would make a preselection of 50 and send them to the judges.
 

sp1187

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I thought about naming the contest ISAC - International Saltwater Aquascaping Contest

I created this post to help me decide if it's even worth trying and I'm still on the fence.

The possible benefits would be to bring some of the knowledge of the freshwater aquascaping judges to the reef world.

The analysis they could do of our tanks could be extremely interesting and point in directions we haven't imagined.

On the other hand, the few freshwater aquascapers I approached just to try to talk about how would they approach reef aquascaping showed no interest at all.

I showed this photo to one of them and he thought it was unremarkable and pointed out what he didn't like.

unnamed (2).jpg


The idea at this moment is still to appoint freshwater aquascaping judges to the aesthetic criteria and reef gurus to other criteria.

It's likely that there would be very little participation for all the reasons many people pointed out in this thread on top of my limited ability to promote the contest.

That's the reason I still think a monetary prize is needed.

Lets say only 12 people enter the contest. No problem... as long as there are a few interesting tanks.

One way to proceed would be to make the contest adaptable to the level of participation.

If there's less than 50 tanks, I would do the whole judging thing myself and that's it.

If there's more, i would make a preselection of 50 and send them to the judges.
you should come down off the fence.
reefing isn't a contest.
 
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Ardeus

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you should come down off the fence.
reefing isn't a contest.

The contest is just a tool to, on one hand, bring the knowledge of freshwater aquascapers to the reefs (as judges) and to make more people notice that they can create tanks that they enjoy even more by researching aquascaping techniques and figuring out how to combine them with functionality.

I haven't decided yet, because the whole thing will most likely flop and it's not a motivating thought.

When I reach a point where I accept the flop but still can get something positive out of the whole thing, I will go ahead.
 

sp1187

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freshwater contests take above the surface views and try to replicate them in there tanks in water.
none of it is natural.
3084f22c98bc8a01f6689265a719d9fa.jpg
6190.jpg
6439ec018affe8823566f7470d92ac7d.jpg
a88a1fbcce2640c0e1abc791f20ae77c.jpg
f2ba8c4865d4e78ea55b124b8fb1ad45.jpg


if people did reefs, like these planted tanks and asked "what do you think?" they'd get ripped.
and if some freshwater guy wasn't impressed with the pic you showed him, that's laughable.
 
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Ardeus

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Freshwater aquascaping has different styles. The ones you showed are Diorama. There are a few others.

Diorama is the easiest to do, the more natural looking ones are much more difficult because they don't rely on dramatic ideas that hide other potencial flaws.

The more natural ones are really difficult to pull off because any flaw will be much more evident.

Reef aquascaping can't do that Diorama style without risking ridicule.

That being said, these guys are masters at creating tanks that look deep and much larger than they really are and that's something we can learn from them without necessarily attempting to recreate a forest or mountains.

You often hear that the main reason people have reef tanks is because they want a piece of the ocean in their home.

But how many of those tanks look like someone has cut a piece of a reef, put 5 glasses around it and brought it home?

IMO, if we want a natural looking tank, we have 2 basic options:

- Either we create a slice of something we could find in the ocean or

- We create a miniature of an area.

Either way, we should decide exactly what are we trying to recreate and then look, examine closely, analyse it and then make our own plan.

That's what we do with everything else in this hobby, so why can't it be done with aquascaping?

Is it a calm lagoon? Which part? Closer to the surface? A bit deeper? Is it close or far from the entrance of the lagoon?

Is it a reef crest? Is it a transition area? How deep?

Is it a drop off? Is it a bommie? A few bommies?

I'm not even talking about biotopes here, more about "biotypes", you look at videos or photos of what you want to recreate and pick ideas from those images and incorporate them into your tank.

Tanks that look like something we could confuse with a piece of a reef are extremely rare and that's an understatement.

Almost all of them break the sense of proportion between fish and corals, have too much diversity and have unnatural looking lights.

I challenge anyone to show me a full frontal shot of a tank that can be mistaken for a photo of a natural reef. We are an unsophisticated bunch when compared to the freshwater aquascapers in how they are able to observe nature, even if it is a forest and recreate it.

These are great examples of what these guys achieve.


pittsburgh-zoo-and-ppg-aquarium-logo-large.jpg


0001_pc (1).jpg


JoshSim2018_AGA_1800x.jpg


3e0cb846fa6a1d1a989e2383d00d7786.jpg
 
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Ardeus

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Maybe? Just for fun though, I don’t care about prizes. Would you be the judge, I assume?

As of now, the idea is that if there's very little participation, I will do the whole judging thing.

If there's over 50 participants, I will preselect 50 tanks and send them to the judges.

There will be freshwater aquascaping judges that will only judge the aesthetic component of the aquascape and there will be reef gurus that will judge the health, maturity and well being of the corals and fish.

The judges will rank the 50 tanks and write their coments for their top 10.
 

UkiahTheTurtle

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As of now, the idea is that if there's very little participation, I will do the whole judging thing.

If there's over 50 participants, I will preselect 50 tanks and send them to the judges.

There will be freshwater aquascaping judges that will only judge the aesthetic component of the aquascape and there will be reef gurus that will judge the health, maturity and well being of the corals and fish.

The judges will rank the 50 tanks and write their coments for their top 10.
that sounds cool I would definitely join this
 

ReefBeta

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Freshwater aquascaping has different styles. The ones you showed are Diorama. There are a few others.

Diorama is the easiest to do, the more natural looking ones are much more difficult because they don't rely on dramatic ideas that hide other potencial flaws.

The more natural ones are really difficult to pull off because any flaw will be much more evident.

Reef aquascaping can't do that Diorama style without risking ridicule.

That being said, these guys are masters at creating tanks that look deep and much larger than they really are and that's something we can learn from them without necessarily attempting to recreate a forest or mountains.

You often hear that the main reason people have reef tanks is because they want a piece of the ocean in their home.

But how many of those tanks look like someone has cut a piece of a reef, put 5 glasses around it and brought it home?

IMO, if we want a natural looking tank, we have 2 basic options:

- Either we create a slice of something we could find in the ocean or

- We create a miniature of an area.

Either way, we should decide exactly what are we trying to recreate and then look, examine closely, analyse it and then make our own plan.

That's what we do with everything else in this hobby, so why can't it be done with aquascaping?

Is it a calm lagoon? Which part? Closer to the surface? A bit deeper? Is it close or far from the entrance of the lagoon?

Is it a reef crest? Is it a transition area? How deep?

Is it a drop off? Is it a bommie? A few bommies?

I'm not even talking about biotopes here, more about "biotypes", you look at videos or photos of what you want to recreate and pick ideas from those images and incorporate them into your tank.

Tanks that look like something we could confuse with a piece of a reef are extremely rare and that's an understatement.

Almost all of them break the sense of proportion between fish and corals, have too much diversity and have unnatural looking lights.

I challenge anyone to show me a full frontal shot of a tank that can be mistaken for a photo of a natural reef. We are an unsophisticated bunch when compared to the freshwater aquascapers in how they are able to observe nature, even if it is a forest and recreate it.

These are great examples of what these guys achieve.


pittsburgh-zoo-and-ppg-aquarium-logo-large.jpg


0001_pc (1).jpg


JoshSim2018_AGA_1800x.jpg


3e0cb846fa6a1d1a989e2383d00d7786.jpg

I'm not sure recreating a piece of nature is a good goal to have for reef scaping. Reef animals have such unique look that it won't really resemble other stuff under or above water. To accurately mimic a natural reef it would be one or two big colony of coral, with plenty of algae and other nasty looking stuff growing between gaps.

The way I see it, reef scaping is more like gardening. Building something that's nice and impactful to the eyes, but not necessarily resemble what you will find in nature. It's more about color theory and composition than looks natural.

I think the key for this is to steer the conversation and criteria towards the aesthetic.
 

Speaking of your latest coral purchase...

  • It was a GREAT deal

    Votes: 97 35.8%
  • It was a good deal

    Votes: 88 32.5%
  • It was nether good nor bad

    Votes: 65 24.0%
  • It was a bad deal

    Votes: 17 6.3%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 4 1.5%
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