How do you do aquascaping?

Discussion in 'Aquascape Discussion' started by mdbannister, Oct 19, 2018.

  1. mdbannister

    mdbannister Ahh...the Reef Life Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Photo of the Month Award R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    How do you do aquascaping? What is the "method to your madness" in rock scape building? Do you go for a wall? Do you shape rocks with an idea of what you're aiming for? Do you kind of stack them to see what you can make with shapes you already have? Are you a minimalist, or do you go for a pound (or more) per gallon?

    Answer any or all of the questions above. We just want you to tell us how you work at building aquascapes!

    And share pics of any aquascapes that you have built or that serve as your inspiration!
     
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  2. mta_morrow

    mta_morrow It costs HOW much?!!! R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award SCAA Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I did this scape based on the types of fish I planned for. Only 1 over 4”. Burrows for gobies, caves for cardinals and a gramma, rock work with nooks and crannies for small damsels and Blennys. Plenty of open space for the open water fish. This also allowed for lots of room at all levels for corals
     
  3. Retro Reefer

    Retro Reefer Been there done that.. R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Hospitality Award

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    I have always just did the traditional wall of rock type reefs however on my current build I’m going for a minimalistic aquascaping approach, still need to add a little more rock but I’m almost there.. this open scape gives better flow, less dead spots, lots of room for coral placement and ample space for fish to swim.

    272FB9BA-79D4-4E69-9559-5A2ED96AB64F.png
     
  4. yungreefer2410

    yungreefer2410 Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    caves and coral placement drives my design
     
  5. TheWalkman99

    TheWalkman99 Active Member

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    First reef tank I’ve owned. I set it up for an interesting scape and overhangs and holes for the fish so I’ve found it hard to place corals.

    9CF6809A-450B-4697-8875-163D6FE9806F.jpeg
     
  6. albano

    albano Active Member

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    3E7DBE3C-B641-48C7-8C2F-C79DE7C0D97C.jpeg When setting up new tanks, I usually have an idea in mind... I draw an outline on the styrofoam pad before the tank is placed on the stand, so that I have a ‘map’ to look at when I’m standing on a ladder over the tank.
    Still need to look from in front and rearrange a few times to get it right.

    Photo: look closely, rocks hover over tank floor...Most of my base rock is drilled and have acrylic rod ‘legs’ so that there are very few rocks that are actually sitting on the sand bed. Sand is not added to tank until rock scaping is done.
    Pic is of first rock placements, not final aquascape
     
  7. revhtree

    revhtree Owner Administrator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter Photo of the Month Award R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Cyber Monday Sponsor

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    How do you do aquascaping? I usually scour for awesome aquascape photos and then come up with this grand idea only to get a reality check when I start working on it! :)

    What is the "method to your madness" in rock scape building? Honestly I just start going at it and usually end up tired and mad but finally come to something I like. I've tried methods but usually just go for it.

    Do you go for a wall? Never. I do not like walls in tanks.

    Do you shape rocks with an idea of what you're aiming for?
    I will chisel off pieces or connect pieces to try to achieve a certain look.

    Do you kind of stack them to see what you can make with shapes you already have?
    This is what I normally end up doing. :/

    Are you a minimalist, or do you go for a pound (or more) per gallon?
    I was more minimalist until I had the space, front to back, to create "layers." Now I still try to go less but will add what I need to achieve the look I want. Not near 1 gallon per pound.
     
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  8. don_chuwish

    don_chuwish Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    Basically what looks good to my eye, based on some reading on Japanese gardening and having observed a lot of good examples. I'm horrible at planning for what the coral will do to fill in the space though. I end up with a beautiful pile of rocks though.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. blackizzz

    blackizzz Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    How do you do aquascaping?: Always been a big fan of "islands" and bonsai. Much better at achieving the former :p Stacking, rocks first, sand later.

    What is the "method to your madness" in rock scape building?: Find interesting shapes of rock, I've always used live rock, and searching through the big tub of live-rock at the LFS can be quite rewarding!

    Do you go for a wall?: Never.

    Do you shape rocks with an idea of what you're aiming for?: I'd more say I let the rocks shape the vision.

    Do you kind of stack them to see what you can make with shapes you already have?: Definitely, I'm a big proponent of using existing shapes, as that usually leads away from "bridges" and other things that usually look "man made".

    Are you a minimalist, or do you go for a pound (or more) per gallon?: Minimalist, rocking a whopping 15 pound in just under 40 gallon reef.
     
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  10. NY_Caveman

    NY_Caveman Troglodyte R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    I prefer live rock and using gravity to hold them in place. I always plan out my ideas before hand and then hope I can select my own pieces from an LFS. I prefer two islands to a wall. I like one island to be about 2/3 the tank height and the second island to be 2/3 the height of the first. I love interesting shapes and protrusions.

    Spent months planning this and I am very happy with the result. Not as minimalist as I had originally hoped, but I could not pass on how these shapes fit together. Wanted about 0.75 pounds per gallon and ended up with 0.90 pounds.

    C9965A19-126C-4138-ABF5-63C1624D5F90.jpeg

     
  11. Nburg

    Nburg Reefing since 2006 R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    I used some Caribsea Life Rock Shapes in my recent build and I have been impressed. The arches are great for making caves, tunnels and different features. I like the Bommie look, with a few islands of rocks rather than a rock wall. With the mine, I have one big central bommie, one semi large on one side and a small on the other. Plenty of open swimming space and grow-out space while still havign plenty of caves and hiding spots
    20180930_091504.jpg
     
  12. Lostreefin

    Lostreefin Member

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    I had always done the wall, but this time put a focus on building islands for coral. I am trying to balance leaving room for growth and plenty of places for placement. My scape seems to go against all the "rules" as far as islands of similar heights and sizes, I don't regret it yet, I can't help but want symmetry.

    0924182019a_HDR.jpg
     
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  13. norfolkgarden

    norfolkgarden Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019

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    How do you do aquascaping? What is the "method to your madness" in rock scape building? Do you go for a wall? Do you shape rocks with an idea of what you're aiming for? Do you kind of stack them to see what you can make with shapes you already have? Are you a minimalist, or do you go for a pound (or more) per gallon?

    Answer any or all of the questions above. We just want you to tell us how you work at building aquascapes!

    And share pics of any aquascapes that you have built or that serve as your inspiration!

    Lol, more of a layered cubist than a wall.

    200 pounds of rock in a 75 gallon tank.

    I'm only a minimalist in the amount of outside gear supporting the tank.

    Tank is bare bottom with egg crate supporting the rock and to help keep it from sliding.
    Egg crate (and the live rock) collects a horrible amount of detritus.
    I should have used a lattice platform, with the bottom lattice running front to back, for easier occasional power washing with the output of a canister filter.

    I used large pieces of dry lace rock and 20 pounds of live pukani this time.

    Original goal was 1.5 pounds per gallon as primary nitrification source.
    Ended up at 2 pounds per gallon when finished with the structure I was happy with.

    Second goal was to reduce line of sight across the 4 foot span. I like a lot of smaller fish and having multiple homes and hiding areas was a priority.

    Rock work has several angled slot canyons with an entire layer of multiple caves underneath.
    Wanted the fish to feel like they still had somewhere new to explore as much as possible.
    I was fortunate enough to live in Hawaii for 5 years and fully understand the concept of "rock fever".
    It only takes 3 hours to circle Oahu. (Lol, not counting traffic) Eventually you feel like there's nowhere else to go.
    I wanted to reduce that effect as much as physically possible in a 4' span.

    With mostly 3 inch fish that's not quite as silly as it sounds.


    Fortunate enough to have some large pieces and some nice shapes, so mostly worked with what I had. Very minimal chisling or drilling.

    The bottom 5" footprint is mostly a solid block of 8 pieces with about an inch or more between them with multiple caves/sleeping holes/swim through arched areas in it and even under it.
    The second layer is set up as roofing for the first layer and several small lagoons and a few slot canyons. (Yeah, I'm really stretching it here. But that was the base idea.)

    Tank has mostly soft corals under 8" tall. Gorgonians, green and pink Kenya tree and sinularia.
    Frogspawn is set low enough to grow well for years before fragging. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  14. WVNed

    WVNed The fish are staring at me with hungry eyes. R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I take the rocks out of the tank I am taking down. I put them in the new tank that I just added the sand to so I cant even see them while I do it.
    I then move them getting to aptasia or to remove fish from the tank. I never attach them together. I just stack them. They never go back exactly the same way.
    [​IMG]
     
  15. ReefJCB

    ReefJCB Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I’ve always had a thing for the swim through cave.

    CC0BD0C4-2E1A-42BD-927D-DAD5DE4F24EB.jpeg
     
  16. Justin..GO DAWGS!!

    Justin..GO DAWGS!! Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I actually put electric tape on my tank with the whole tic tac toe lines and i basically just make sure i try and hit all four points, when i did my aquascape in the beginning! I actually just added a bout three rocks ive been curing so this picture isnt an updated photo. Lights are off now, but ill post a pic of the rocks i added, but basically just built up the right side a bit right before the huge tall rock on the very right! As long as i hit those 4 points after ive tapped my tank, and make the scape look as natural as possible without forming any kind of straight lines or unstable structures, im good with it! Bc lets all face it, we will spend hours and hours on it than stand back and just not like it and go at it again for a few more hours until our backs get so sore we get mad! Haha......so yeah, i hit all four points and just think "natural" lol
    IMG_20180728_174735_kindlephoto-3355241.jpg

    But, yeah where the gap is from the right of the arc to that tall big rock on the very right, ive added a few pieces of mature nice live rock and just wont do this post justice if i dont post a pic of a the tank tomorrow!
     
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  17. Waters

    Waters "...in perfect isolation, here behind my wall." R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I like the minimalist look with at least two islands, usually looking for "interesting" rocks. Of course after the coral grows it, it looks totally different anyways lol.
    Tank.jpg
     
  18. mch1984

    mch1984 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Hub City Reef Club

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    IMG_1376.jpg This was before sand and water but you get the idea.


    How do you do aquascaping?
    I have only done one so far and it came out meh. A friend did one piece and it's awesome. We both set everything up on a table with the rock and cement and spent about a week on it.

    What is the "method to your madness" in rock scape building?
    For my 90 I used dry rock and cement. I also took a hammer to a couple of pieces to get rubble so I could fill in spots and use it to make it more sturdy. My next build (350+) I think I'm going to make my own rock. One for savings but mostly to get the excact shapes I want. I was taught a recipe that actually looks really good. Most of the time to me home made rock just looks like chunks of cement. This recipe and method has a really good texture. When me and some of the other members of the club were practicing one of the guys used pvc. He attached a bunch of zip ties to the PVC as kind of a rebar and then coated it in the mixture. Created a really cool shape with it. I don't mind spending weeks on my scape when it comes time for the new build. I want it to be right and what I want and I will take my time.

    Do you go for a wall?
    Not a fan of the wall.

    Do you shape rocks with an idea of what you're aiming for?
    I did but it didn't come out exactly like I was thinking.

    Are you a minimalist, or do you go for a pound (or more) per gallon?
    A minimalist for sure and in my 90 I probably have about 50lbs
     
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  19. kdino

    kdino Active Member R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor

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    20180928_213436.jpg
    How do you do aquascaping?
    Gather inspiration from photos, then order a box of rocks and start building it in my mind.


    What is the "method to your madness" in rock scape building?
    I go at it hard, I take the largest pieces and use them as my base structure, then ill start taking smaller rocks and building arches, platforms and overhangs and miltiple levels for corals to grow on top and fish to seek shelter underneath. My current tank was cemented together with AF Stone fix and is comprised of real feef rock so i can take my time and not worry about die off from live rock.


    Do you go for a wall?
    Nope, not a fan

    Do you shape rocks with an idea of what you're aiming for?
    Yes, well sort of-i have a general idea and i just start going to town building

    Are you a minimalist, or do you go for a pound (or more) per gallon?
    Minimalist. 75 gallon has probably 50 or so pounds.

    20180814_063937.jpg
     
  20. kdino

    kdino Active Member R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor

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    20180814_063925.png 20180814_063929.png
     
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