Monday, December 18, 2006

Aquascape Analysis #2: ADA Europe Tank 191

For the second aquascape analysis, I decided to pick another Amano aquarium, but a much different layout. The first aquascape analysis had lots of stem plants and driftwood and moss. This one is a different concept, with grasses, moss, and rocks. Whereas the first aquarium could be considered a "forest" type aquarium, this one is more of a "meadow" type aquarium. It comes from the ADA Europe galleries, which I highly recommend if you want to see some more of Amano's work. Click on any of the following pictures for a larger version.

Although the fish somewhat steal the show here (lest we forget what aquariums were originally invented for!) this aquarium is still a classic aquascape. It has a very sunny, grassy appearance that is relaxing and very enjoyable.

First, let's look at the profile. As you can see, the tall grass in the back creates the overall profile of the plants, but it drops off completely towards the middle of the aquarium. This is a "V" type profile and creates negative space (more on this later) and also visual interest, eliminating the "wall of plants" effect.

The focal point of the aquarium is actually the rock in the middle, behind the fish. Clever timing has placed the school of fish right over this focal point, further enhancing it. Notice it is not dead center in the aquarium, but off to the left, adhering to the Golden Rule of Aquascaping.

Like in other aquascapes, the hardscape is used to influence to flow. Here, the two rocks on either side of the focal point act as "stepping stones" for the viewer's gaze, guiding it to the left and then to the right. The patches of moss and riccia (blue) act as secondary focal points, pulling the eyes away from the focal point in the middle.

Finally, the composition of the foreground (green),
midground (yellow), and background (yellow) are what really makes this aquascape special. As you can see, the foreground divides the midground and reaches to the back of the aquarium (behind the fish). The background is also bisected, but by a negative space (red). This creates a sort of pathway in the middle to the back of the aquarium, adding depth and also visual interest. It also makes the aquarium seem longer. As you can see as well (it may be more apparent in the non-altered version above), the different areas of the aquarium are separated very gradually, creating a messy, wild look. This is the one of the most significant features of the aquarium. It gives it a soft, wild, natural look by avoiding harsh borders.

Overall, this aquarium is a "meadow" type aquascape and as such has mainly grassy, mossy plants and makes use of rocks for the hardscape, following what you would expect to see in a meadow in nature. The edges are soft and the effect is slightly messy, but by no means haphazard.

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