How to make create your own Negative Space Aquascape (NSA). Step-by-Step guide to NSA using Marco Reef Saver Rock!

randyBRS

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So natural looking rock from the ocean is a little hard to come by these days. Have you considered using Reef Saver dry rock to bridge the gap??

Stop stacking rocks and try your own NSA! The results are pretty amazing!


 

LostInTheDark

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I do like the look of the open space but if your considering the health of the fish, is it the right way to go? I have over 40 fish in a 225 and I have yet to see any of them at night when the lights are off. I think lots of secluded hiding spaces are a necessity for a healthy ecosystem. It also gives the native fauna a place to grow and hide. I can't imagine having any brittle stars, pods or sponges in an open environment like the one pictured above.
 

ScottB

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I think that sculpture looks great. I built a few smaller ones. This was my first. I did not use a base rock. Instead it has legs to keep most of it above the sand so I can blow out underneath. This is about 25 pieces.

IMG-4344.jpg
 

aquaman67

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I think that sculpture looks great. I built a few smaller ones. This was my first. I did not use a base rock. Instead it has legs to keep most of it above the sand so I can blow out underneath. This is about 25 pieces.

IMG-4344.jpg

that looks like a tiny mushroom cloud. I like it.
 

joe berkman

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Thank you randy and company for another well thought out well done helpful and inspiring vidio.
Tidal gardens also released a vidio of a similar method. I cant wait to scape my new tank.
 

Shooter6

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Superglue and baking soda is an instant bond, and rock hard. I built a scape 3 yrs ago, and no failure yet. I had to go fallow, a year and 8 months ago. When i did i pulled 2 rocks out, each about 3.5 feet long caught all the fish and put the rock back in. Took 15min. Didnt loose a single corL in the process. Corals were all on the rocks
 

paul.brandon83

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So natural looking rock from the ocean is a little hard to come by these days. Have you considered using Reef Saver dry rock to bridge the gap??

Stop stacking rocks and try your own NSA! The results are pretty amazing!


I am about to start my aquascape so this couldn’t have come at a better time!
 

AlexG

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I thought this was a great video. I think as I plan my new system I will definitely be looking at trying out some NSA scaping since I already have ~500-700lbs of rocks I am wondering how far I can stretch them before needing to get more rock. I was also thinking that this could be used to build some scapes for providing good cover for smaller fish that are kept in larger more aggressive tanks.
 

Shooter6

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I thought this was a great video. I think as I plan my new system I will definitely be looking at trying out some NSA scaping since I already have ~500-700lbs of rocks I am wondering how far I can stretch them before needing to get more rock. I was also thinking that this could be used to build some scapes for providing good cover for smaller fish that are kept in larger more aggressive tanks.
Did you take your tanks down? Ive not seen any updates in a long time. If so was there a stuctural failure or other cause?
 

KStatefan

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I think I am going to try doing something like this on my build. I am not artistic at all so that part is going to be difficult for me.
 

AlexG

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Did you take your tanks down? Ive not seen any updates in a long time. If so was there a stuctural failure or other cause?

I am taking the tanks down but it is because I am moving to a new home. I did not have any structural failures that caused leaking just a small section of a top brace on the reef tank that had some moisture intrusion but it was not a major issue that would have been corrected if I was not moving. I have some recent pictures in my build thread of the tank. When I saw this aquascaping method starting thinking about all the possibilities of structures I can create for corals and specific species of fish. I really want to ramp up the flow in the new tanks so this type of aquascaping will be a perfect match.
 

jeffrey750750

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I liked the video, it gave us some nice choices. Problem for me is I'm still on the fence whether to get Florida live rock or make my own dry scape. I have to decide soon, my tank 180 tank is in my driveway awaiting my helpers
 

AlexKintner

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I liked the video, it gave us some nice choices. Problem for me is I'm still on the fence whether to get Florida live rock or make my own dry scape. I have to decide soon, my tank 180 tank is in my driveway awaiting my helpers

Why not both? Build a dry-scape, and assemble a live-rock island. Compare the progress of both over time and report back to the forum. It's a win-win!
 

Shooter6

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I am taking the tanks down but it is because I am moving to a new home. I did not have any structural failures that caused leaking just a small section of a top brace on the reef tank that had some moisture intrusion but it was not a major issue that would have been corrected if I was not moving. I have some recent pictures in my build thread of the tank. When I saw this aquascaping method starting thinking about all the possibilities of structures I can create for corals and specific species of fish. I really want to ramp up the flow in the new tanks so this type of aquascaping will be a perfect match.
Awesome congrats on the new home. I was following your YouTube vids.
 

saf1

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Why not both? Build a dry-scape, and assemble a live-rock island. Compare the progress of both over time and report back to the forum. It's a win-win!

The problem with both is that one (dry) will impact the live live rock. It is great to seed the dry rock for sure but if there is more dry rock than live, well, it still takes a year or more for the dry to age. It is a lot like a young cab (wine). Buy three bottles and drink one today, the same bottle in 18 months and the last one in five years and you will notice a night and day difference in the wine. Dry rock, well, is similar.

I used 170 lbs of dry Pukani. Great rock. Affordable. Lots of nooks and crannies for the biological filter to take hold. At year one I could take a rock that was covered with visible corrilian algae and other things, lift it, turn it 180 degrees, and it would look just as if I put it in on day one. Two year mark take that same rock out, split it in half, and guess what? Again it looks brand new. Sure some nooks and crannies are nice but overall it is new. Live rock you won't see that. So when people say dry rock takes time to mature cycle, post cycle, etc - this is what they mean. It does take time to cover the surface area(s).
 

saf1

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Feedback on the video.

1. Thanks for taking time. I think it is a popular subject that is trending now on several social media platforms. I believe Tidal Gardens did a similar video. Not sure who did it first nor does it matter. I remember you doing an example earlier.

2. I love how you said it is a hobby. It is. Sometimes we forget. Part of the hobby is keeping busy in it while not turning it into a job which means no fun. I think you nailed it talking about it and the artistic side of it. Plus taking joy in creating something on your own. That was a home run. No, it was a grand slam.

3. Tools. I was a bit worried here (previous line of work being ground and explosive safety) but you loosely covered it. Use the right tool for the job. Hammer and flat head screw driver are not the right tools. Nor is using a wood chisel. I'd also recommend shoes that cover your feet / toes just in case you drop something. Boots preferred but something that covers. You got the eye projection and gloves.

4. Nitrile gloves with the glue and mortar. You covered this at the end and I was going to mention it. I highly recommend keeping a box under the stand or tank in general as they come in handy.

5. It is open and it will help for flow. It will also allow some great coral positions that could potentially have some truly unique growth patterns. I think this is going to be interesting to watch as the months go by. If I was to do this I would say my opinion is to introduce fish slower to allow the corals to grow and fill in. Fish do need refuge and that is what the mass of rocks, boulders, and corals provide. Open space it will freak them out a bit. Some like darker areas, others caves, some shallows, some open water. Your scape will provide all of this but at different times of growth. This is the only thing I can see as a negative side effect. Then again as a active scuba diver I see the fish dart into corals to hide as I pass over them. Similar to the kelp forests they hide in the colder waters.

6. Little long for me. I understand it but probably the only nit pick thing I have. Sorry.

Seriously though - great job. I watched the whole thing even though I saw you talk about it earlier. I do believe some people will find the information and content helpful so well worth the money you spent to create the content. Not sure if that matters but it takes time and budget to do this.

So from me to you and your team - thank you. Keep up the great work. Be safe across the spectrum (work, families, etc). Virtual pat on the back.
 

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