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SaltyTanks

SaltyTank's 40G Mixed Reef

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SaltyTanks

Hello & welcome to my new reef journal!  I’m a SoCal nano-reef enthusiast that’s been in the hobby 4 years, and I’m finally committing myself to starting this journal – mostly for my benefit, not yours😊 No seriously though, I need help holding my bad habits in check and hoping you will all help me achieve my goal.

 

My goal is that 1 year from now my 40-gallon mixed-reef tank will be a living masterpiece, and so appealing to me that I will have no impulses to stick my hands in the water to move/add anything.  That said, here’s some more background and visionary objectives:

 

SETUP:

Tank:  40-Gallon Innovative Marine Nuvo Fusion  (24” x 20” x 19”)

Lighting:  Radion XR15w Gen-4

Circulation: (1) IM stock return pump w/2 spin stream nozzles; and (2) Icecap 1k Gyre

Heater:  None (controlled room temp)

Cooling:  Desktop fan controlled by Inkbird thermostat/temp controller

Mechanical Filtration:  (1) Aquamaxx HOB 1.5 skimmer; (2) filter floss

Bio Filtration:  (1) RealReef dry rock; (2) Caribsea sand; (3) CerMedia Marinepure biofilter balls

Chemi Filtration:  RedSea carbon

Top Off:  Tunze Osmolator 3155

Dosing:  manually, Brightwell Reef Code A + B & magnesium

 

BACKGROUND:

I’m a middle aged father whom loves to drink red wine while staring up-close at my fish tank excessively.  I grew up by the ocean and first fell in love with tropical fish & corals when I got scuba certified in Indonesia circa 2000.  Since then I’ve done many dives around the world and find myself more interested in biodiverse macro reef-scapes than shipwrecks and cageless bull shark feedings.  Also, I’m a photo enthusiast and art aficionado, which I aim to incorporate into my reef keeping.  My wife gifted me my first tank about 4 years ago (a 6-gallon JBJ AOI), and pretty sure it’s her biggest regret of our long-standing relationship.  I'm now about 1 year into the current setup.  

 

VISION:

If I were shrunk down to be a little 2 inch scuba diver and my wife threw me into my tank, I want to be surrounded by colors, contrasts, textures, movement, and dimension.  I’ll want to swim down, up, around, through, under, and over copious amounts of corals, and be accompanied by a few fish friends that will join me without fearing they’ll bully or eat me.

 

OBJECTIVES:

Over the next 12 months, I’ll try to post progress updates every 1-2 weeks.  Additionally, I’ll try to engage you all into helping me fill in the holes with new coral suggestions.  Since I like to go to the local LFS’s frequently, maybe together we can make this an interactive team effort - although, let me try not to get ahead of myself here.  So for now I’ll share some relevant pics and focus on following through with a 2nd post sometime soon.

 

P.S. I have a lot of bad habits to work on...

- hands in the tank frequently

- impatiently making changes, expecting expedited results

- providing poor instructions for friends to care for tank while on vacation

- overfeeding and then underfeeding

- vindictively taking vengeance on hungry hermits that snatch food from feeding acans

 

2008910189_reeftank2.thumb.JPG.4f8227797a416a308b3b54ce048f2fb8.JPG

reef tank 1.JPG

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SaltyTanks

Here's my 1st tank from a while back, a 6-gallon JBJ.  I've since learned how to keep coraline algae off the back.

6-gallon JBJ.JPG

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billygoat

Hi and welcome! :welcome:

 

This is quite a beautiful aquarium you've got going on! Glad to see the 40g Nuvo Fusion getting some attention. I feel like almost everybody goes for the Nuvo 20, 25 Lagoon, or 30 peninsula. 😁 With a year already clocked on this system it's easy to see that you've gotten into a really nice groove. I'm looking forward to watching things fill in and grow even more!

 

The 6g JBJ looks like it was amazing too! Personally I think it looked great with the coralline all over the back wall. Look how thick it is in that picture! That's nuts.

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SaltyTanks
20 hours ago, billygoat said:

Hi and welcome! :welcome:

 

This is quite a beautiful aquarium you've got going on! Glad to see the 40g Nuvo Fusion getting some attention. I feel like almost everybody goes for the Nuvo 20, 25 Lagoon, or 30 peninsula. 😁 With a year already clocked on this system it's easy to see that you've gotten into a really nice groove. I'm looking forward to watching things fill in and grow even more!

 

The 6g JBJ looks like it was amazing too! Personally I think it looked great with the coralline all over the back wall. Look how thick it is in that picture! That's nuts.

Thank you very much, BillyGoat!  Going to do my best to show the world that the 40G IM Nuvo Fusion is the best of the bunch:)  

 

Seeing that you're an algae enthusiast, do you have any recommendations for ornamental macroalgae that would look good filling in a bare spot (without risk of a full tank outbreak)?  Any experience with red grape macroalgae?  Very interested in placing some in the mix.

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billygoat
1 hour ago, SaltyTanks said:

 

Seeing that you're an algae enthusiast, do you have any recommendations for ornamental macroalgae that would look good filling in a bare spot (without risk of a full tank outbreak)?  Any experience with red grape macroalgae?  Very interested in placing some in the mix.

Sure! My go-to for macro recommendations is Gracilaria hayi, which is known by various trade names such as "flame algae," "dragon's breath," etc. It's a very hardy and adaptable red macro with a beautiful, bushy, flat-branching growth pattern. It is slightly calcified so it's a fairly slow grower. Red grape (Botryocladia sp.) would be another good choice. It tends to have a more vertical and less bushy growth pattern, and grows quite fast for a red macro - faster than G. hayi for sure. It's still quite manageable though and is unlikely to overrun your tank. Note that red grape algae is fleshy and therefore palatable to a variety of herbivores (emerald crabs, large hermits, sally lightfoot crabs, herbivorous fishes such as tangs, etc.), so keep that in mind if you are planning on adding some.

 

Laurencia poitei is another reasonable choice for red macros. It's fleshy like red grape but has a more bushy shape. It requires rather strong flow to thrive though, and sometimes its color can be less impressive; I had a clump that was a dull brownish red. It's very appealing to herbivores as well.

 

Galaxaura rugosa is an absolutely beautiful red macro if cared for properly, but it grows very slowly and requires perfect lighting and flow conditions to keep its compact clumping shape. With the wrong light or flow it will become gangly and unattractive. It also is a magnet for epiphytes.

 

Honestly there are a ton of choices, but those are a few that jump to mind! If it doesn't necessarily have to be a red macro the list gets a lot bigger too. 😁 Hope that helps!

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SaltyTanks
27 minutes ago, billygoat said:

Sure! My go-to for macro recommendations is Gracilaria hayi, which is known by various trade names such as "flame algae," "dragon's breath," etc. It's a very hardy and adaptable red macro with a beautiful, bushy, flat-branching growth pattern. It is slightly calcified so it's a fairly slow grower. Red grape (Botryocladia sp.) would be another good choice. It tends to have a more vertical and less bushy growth pattern, and grows quite fast for a red macro - faster than G. hayi for sure. It's still quite manageable though and is unlikely to overrun your tank. Note that red grape algae is fleshy and therefore palatable to a variety of herbivores (emerald crabs, large hermits, sally lightfoot crabs, herbivorous fishes such as tangs, etc.), so keep that in mind if you are planning on adding some.

This is great intel, thanks!  Dragon's breath and red grape look and sound very appealing.  Are you aware if either type are capable of chemical warfare against neighboring corals?  I expect a need to pay close attention managing overgrowth with routine pruning, but would be nice to know that these could be a good tight filler option if no warfare.  Tucking some dragon's breath alongside/behind the green duncan & space invader pectinia maybe?

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billygoat
8 hours ago, SaltyTanks said:

This is great intel, thanks!  Dragon's breath and red grape look and sound very appealing.  Are you aware if either type are capable of chemical warfare against neighboring corals?  I expect a need to pay close attention managing overgrowth with routine pruning, but would be nice to know that these could be a good tight filler option if no warfare.  Tucking some dragon's breath alongside/behind the green duncan & space invader pectinia maybe?

Many red algae produce secondary metabolites that deter epiphytes from growing on them, but I wouldn't really call this chemical warfare. As long as the corals and algae are not directly touching I think they will probably be fine. If they do end up touching, it's likely the algae that will lose out on the trade, especially with these particular species. Corals and algae don't get along well in general since they both compete for precious space on the reef and therefore have adaptations to go after each other, so if in direct contact there is likely to be some combat going on there. But in my experience they can be quite close as long as they're not overgrowing or shadowing each other.

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kimdawg

Hi!  :welcome:

You have a great start already.  I love the negative space you have created.  Do you have some frags mounted on the tank back wall?  You don't notice the rock work but you eye is drawn to the coral.  It almost looks like it is floating.  I have the hands in the tank problem as well.  I am constantly changing stuff around in my janky tank.  I think if you are choosy and only take corals you really like and let them grow without moving constantly the tank will look better in the end.

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SaltyTanks
On 10/4/2019 at 11:59 PM, kimdawg said:

Hi!  :welcome:

You have a great start already.  I love the negative space you have created.  Do you have some frags mounted on the tank back wall?  You don't notice the rock work but you eye is drawn to the coral.  It almost looks like it is floating.  I have the hands in the tank problem as well.  I am constantly changing stuff around in my janky tank.  I think if you are choosy and only take corals you really like and let them grow without moving constantly the tank will look better in the end.

Thanks so much, kimdawg, for the warm welcome & positive encouragement!  I appreciate you noticing the negative space, as that's an element that I've really tried to incorporate and will try to maintain over the next year.  I've kept the back wall bare with some room for routine cleaning.  The frags on top are just part of a tall pillars of dry rock, and appear floating because of the overhang shadows that I like to accentuate.  Here's a pic showing the side view of the taller pillar and back clearance.  Definitely some real estate to fill-in!

reef tank side view.JPG

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kimdawg
10 hours ago, SaltyTanks said:

Thanks so much, kimdawg, for the warm welcome & positive encouragement!  I appreciate you noticing the negative space, as that's an element that I've really tried to incorporate and will try to maintain over the next year.  I've kept the back wall bare with some room for routine cleaning.  The frags on top are just part of a tall pillars of dry rock, and appear floating because of the overhang shadows that I like to accentuate.  Here's a pic showing the side view of the taller pillar and back clearance.  Definitely some real estate to fill-in!

reef tank side view.JPG

I like the shadow effect that you created.  It really makes that top appear to be floating above the rock work.  I will be following your tank to see how it develops.

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SaltyTanks

UPDATE #1: 

 

Bad News:  I’m very sad to report that I lost my yellow wrasse.  I was naive to think I could walk away from the tank for 15 minutes without the mesh cover - it was too late when I found “Wrassy” on the floor.  This is seriously devastating to me and my 2 small kids (3 & 5 years old)…lesson learned.

 

Good News:  After mourning several weeks, we introduced “Wrassy Jr.” to the tank - our new yellow wrasse.  Been a few days hiding under the sand, but expecting to see Wrassy Jr. out and about soon. 

 

Additionally, I’ve been busy moving things around and collecting new frags at several local LFS’s, focusing on corals that add movement.  Also, several impulse buys.  I love coral impulse buys…sometimes the light catches it just right and the price is too good to pass up.  Most of the reefscape at the bottom/middle is just temporary while I see how the frags react in their new surroundings.  Here’s a list of the new corals:

 

  • Alveopora (mint & purple) – I really really like this coral
  • Goniopora (red)
  • Hammer (branching green w/ purple tips)
  • Clove polyps (neon green & orange)
  • Zoas (scrambed eggs, king midas & rainbow hornets)
  • Ricordeas (orange, pink, & blue)
  • Favia (sold as JF Sector 001)
  • Psammocora (sold as JF Outer Space)
  • Acropora (dark purplish blue w/ some green )
  • Birdsnest (pink chunky & spiky)
  • Gorgonian (photosynthetic bushy tan polyps)
  • Montipora (encrusting green w/red polyps) – lost its color, so thinking it needs more flow and/or light

 

Next Update:  The next major hole to fill is the big obvious hole on the left lower 2/3rd .  I’m in the market for a nice 2-3” bowerbanki, preferably a bright pastel pink, but haven’t yet found the right one.  Trying to be patient.  Also, I’ll be working on a permanent scape for the low mid section corridor, to be further detailed…

Reef Update 1_11-19-2019.JPG

Reef Update 1b_11-19-19.JPG

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mitten_reef

Love the scape. 

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SaltyTanks
8 minutes ago, mitten_reef said:

Love the scape. 

Thanks, mitten_reef!  And congrats on your winning ricordea photo!

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Christopher Marks

This is a masterful aquascape @SaltyTanks, wow! Seeing it all from the side profile is really something.

 

Great coral collection as well! With all the new additions, what do you like to do, if anything, about potential pests or hitchhikers? Do you dip your new corals or anything like that?

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SaltyTanks

UPDATE #2:  Art of the Aquascape

 

Methodology:

Wikipedia defines aquascaping to bethe craft of arranging aquatic plants, as well as rocks, stones, cavework, or driftwood, in an aesthetically pleasing manner within an aquarium—in effect, gardening under water.”  To me, the aquascape is more art than craft and more like painting/sculpting than gardening under water.  Fortunately, we all have our unique perspectives and there’s so many enjoyable facets to our reef keeping hobby, but it’s the opportunity we have to create and interact with living oceanic elements as a medium of art that excites me most.  That said, I’ll try to justly articulate my passion for the Art of the Aquascape with this overly elaborate post.

 

Vision:

My first aquascape was the result of a tank gifted to me and my complete lack of knowledge for reefkeeping at the time – essentially a mound of local LFS live rock with some “easy to maintain” beginner coral frags.  I became more ambitious after learning how to fill out a 6-gallon with some beginner frags, so I Google searched “amazing reef tanks” and stumbled upon @Mr. Microscope  ‘s TOTM.  My mind was blown!

 

 54989877_mr.microscope.jpg.9bc344b05417ea24916cb919fafc8190.jpg

 

Within the realm of under water photography, the images I find most appealing to my eyes are vertical reefscapes with contrast and texture that pop based on the photographer’s ability to capture dramatic light from a uniquely composed perspective.  So when I go diving/snorkeling I find myself swimming toward pillars – curious to see what hides in their mysterious shadows and angling my camera to capture the soul of the reefscape in its best light.  Here’s a couple of examples that I’ve taken in the past….

 

 2084456337_fijipillar.thumb.JPG.4b046387cf9fb50c9e272fcb4cf52def.JPG199467584_panamaspongeonpillar.thumb.jpg.cef85a77ad5c98d9cbbb0e8f1610925e.jpg

1145886105_belizereefscape.thumb.jpg.7a0dec528517ecde2f2afbbc05043484.jpg916953059_fijireefscape.thumb.JPG.0fb55919a5e244816e4bd9ac96d4f770.JPG

 

Since I knew my ideal sized 2nd tank would be about 30-55 galloons given my spatial living constraints and I knew I wanted more complexity than a single pillar, I began envisioning a 2-piece aquascape with each piece playing off of each other like Michelangelo’s famous fresco, “The Creation of Adam,” on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  I wanted to create a feeling of anticipation and movement in my aquascape like Michelangelo did between the finger tips of God and Adam. 

 

1600496609_thecreationofadam.thumb.jpg.5e407d2db117512988a5e3045cdc3091.jpg

 

Letting my mind drift further, I found myself thinking about images I had seen of divers floating between two continents at the Silfra continental fissure in Iceland. 

 

Silfra.jpg.0aed947f3916a90fdc9708eee35195e7.jpg

 

So naturally, my mind meandered to the 2nd piece - the shape form of a Mr. Miyagi bonsai with its narrow base and wide reaching branches.  That’s it – the Mr. Miyagi bonsai could reach out toward the belly button of the pillar to poke a giggle out of the big guy…but the pillar will naturally contort its body to avoid an awkwardly placed poke…and we the onlookers will hope it doesn’t happen for the sake of 2nd hand embarrassment…but we can’t look away because we secretly hope it happens! 

 

bonsai.jpg.f322affde30d18ea5163343f2cebc3c5.jpg

 

Alas, my vision was formed - I would create a Yin/Yang Aquascape with a pillar and bonsai.  There would be intentional separation between 2 distinct forms that are driven toward each other by an undeniable force.  Assuming someone out their has already coined this aquascape thematic design already, but if not then you heard it from me first!

 

yin-yang.jpg.3a1dff764ac5e501ff23065822cb819d.jpg

 

 

Canvas:

I then needed to figure out the canvas for which I would compose my Artscape vision on.  So I began looking into tank options based on display dimensions that could give me the right amount of negative space.  A 3:2 aspect ratio made the most sense for this, so I could quickly rule out nano cubes, shallow lagoons, and long aquariums.  Innovative Marine’s 40G Nuvo was the most suitable.

 

Composition:

I hand picked about 50 lbs of Real Reef rock and setup a cardboard box on my living room coffee table with the same dimensions as the IM40 display.  The pillar was first, and came together relatively easy with 4 pieces of rock that I could stably balance without adhesive.  I live in Los Angeles, California, so of course I eventually glued it and simulated fairly aggressive coffee table earthquakes.  Next came the bonsai, which came together not so easily.  Not only did the rock structure need to balance and look good in its preliminary coffee table form, but careful consideration had to be made for how in the future it will look growing specific corals with a light source placed at a very specific position above.  Remember, a dramatic light effect is a big piece of my overall vision, so I realized at that point that I wanted to use a concentrated single source light to create directional and contrasting highlights/shadows like the sun.  On that basis, I filled the tank with saltwater, mounted a single puck Radion and placed my bonsai and pillar.  Half way through my cycle, I realized I would also need to consider how the light reflects off of the insides of the glass display down onto the lower 1/3rd of the aquascape.  Learning about this Nuvo 40 / Radion mount light bounce effect excited me even more since it opened the door for more coral selection/placement options that I had not initially considered.  And so I rebuilt the bonsai, adjusted the position of each piece down to the millimeter, and completed the new tank’s cycle.

 

Paint:

I transferred some of my favorite coral pieces from the previous 6-gallon tank into the new 40-gallon, but many favorites from the old tank were given away since they did not align with Yin/Yang vision.  From that point until now, I’ve been filling out the tank with various contrasting strokes of color, texture, shape, brightness, and movement.  In addition to the obvious hole at the lower 2/3rd left side, I’m still conceptually working through the bottom, both foreground and center corridor.  I hope to have all elements composed within the next 2 months.

 

Perspective:

An on-going consideration has been perspective.  Our eyes view our world from about a 50mm focal length perspective, like this front tank view pic.  It’s my favorite focal length in photography overall, and I think well suited for this aquascape take at all angles (especially full tank front and side views).

 

727352910_aquascape50mm.thumb.JPG.a002ff68f91453738a939894b6db39ec.JPG

 

Another perspective that I like to consider is from a wider-angle focal length like this 20mm pic.  With the wider angle perspective, I like how the aquascape foreground elements appear more elongated with more distinct separation from the primary 2-piece.  And I also like how the sides of the aquascape come into frame from the reflections on the side display glass.  Though, the Michelangelo finger tip separation get pushed back and becomes the less obvious focal point.  In the future, I’ll dive deeper into my thoughts about perspective with a stand-alone post, and will surely be posting pics from all perspectives and angles.

 

1883136244_aquascape18mm.thumb.JPG.c5146721601c7f62faf0fe71e4eea396.JPG

 

Masterpiece:

Once the Yin/Yang Aquascape is composed with its final structure brushed with corals, then I expect it will take about 1 year to grow into its golden age form that I envision its potential will become.

 

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SaltyTanks
On 11/22/2019 at 11:57 AM, Christopher Marks said:

This is a masterful aquascape @SaltyTanks, wow! Seeing it all from the side profile is really something.

 

Great coral collection as well! With all the new additions, what do you like to do, if anything, about potential pests or hitchhikers? Do you dip your new corals or anything like that?

Thank you very much for the positive comment, Christopher!  Means more to me than you might imagine.  

 

To avoid potential pests or hitchhikers, I try to be extra diligent about dipping and where I'm sourcing corals from.  Unfortunately, running a quarantine system is not practical for me and dipping is not full-proof, so I think I've been lucky to only have had to battle some flatworms on one occasion.  Any specific tips you suggest I look into?

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Matteo

Oh man I loved your detail about the scraping process. I too find it super artful and a masterful skill. 

 

Love your scape, reminds me of mine 😋

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Poodges

Beautiful tank and artistry. You clearly have a knack for aquascaping.  

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mitten_reef
2 hours ago, SaltyTanks said:

UPDATE #2:  Art of the Aquascape

 

Methodology:

Wikipedia defines aquascaping to bethe craft of arranging aquatic plants, as well as rocks, stones, cavework, or driftwood, in an aesthetically pleasing manner within an aquarium—in effect, gardening under water.”  To me, the aquascape is more art than craft and more like painting/sculpting than gardening under water.  Fortunately, we all have our unique perspectives and there’s so many enjoyable facets to our reef keeping hobby, but it’s the opportunity we have to create and interact with living oceanic elements as a medium of art that excites me most.  That said, I’ll try to justly articulate my passion for the Art of the Aquascape with this overly elaborate post.

 

Vision:

My first aquascape was the result of a tank gifted to me and my complete lack of knowledge for reefkeeping at the time – essentially a mound of local LFS live rock with some “easy to maintain” beginner coral frags.  I became more ambitious after learning how to fill out a 6-gallon with some beginner frags, so I Google searched “amazing reef tanks” and stumbled upon @Mr. Microscope  ‘s TOTM.  My mind was blown!

 

 54989877_mr.microscope.jpg.9bc344b05417ea24916cb919fafc8190.jpg

 

Within the realm of under water photography, the images I find most appealing to my eyes are vertical reefscapes with contrast and texture that pop based on the photographer’s ability to capture dramatic light from a uniquely composed perspective.  So when I go diving/snorkeling I find myself swimming toward pillars – curious to see what hides in their mysterious shadows and angling my camera to capture the soul of the reefscape in its best light.  Here’s a couple of examples that I’ve taken in the past….

 

 2084456337_fijipillar.thumb.JPG.4b046387cf9fb50c9e272fcb4cf52def.JPG199467584_panamaspongeonpillar.thumb.jpg.cef85a77ad5c98d9cbbb0e8f1610925e.jpg

1145886105_belizereefscape.thumb.jpg.7a0dec528517ecde2f2afbbc05043484.jpg916953059_fijireefscape.thumb.JPG.0fb55919a5e244816e4bd9ac96d4f770.JPG

 

Since I knew my ideal sized 2nd tank would be about 30-55 galloons given my spatial living constraints and I knew I wanted more complexity than a single pillar, I began envisioning a 2-piece aquascape with each piece playing off of each other like Michelangelo’s famous fresco, “The Creation of Adam,” on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  I wanted to create a feeling of anticipation and movement in my aquascape like Michelangelo did between the finger tips of God and Adam. 

 

1600496609_thecreationofadam.thumb.jpg.5e407d2db117512988a5e3045cdc3091.jpg

 

Letting my mind drift further, I found myself thinking about images I had seen of divers floating between two continents at the Silfra continental fissure in Iceland. 

 

Silfra.jpg.0aed947f3916a90fdc9708eee35195e7.jpg

 

So naturally, my mind meandered to the 2nd piece - the shape form of a Mr. Miyagi bonsai with its narrow base and wide reaching branches.  That’s it – the Mr. Miyagi bonsai could reach out toward the belly button of the pillar to poke a giggle out of the big guy…but the pillar will naturally contort its body to avoid an awkwardly placed poke…and we the onlookers will hope it doesn’t happen for the sake of 2nd hand embarrassment…but we can’t look away because we secretly hope it happens! 

 

bonsai.jpg.f322affde30d18ea5163343f2cebc3c5.jpg

 

Alas, my vision was formed - I would create a Yin/Yang Aquascape with a pillar and bonsai.  There would be intentional separation between 2 distinct forms that are driven toward each other by an undeniable force.  Assuming someone out their has already coined this aquascape thematic design already, but if not then you heard it from me first!

 

yin-yang.jpg.3a1dff764ac5e501ff23065822cb819d.jpg

 

 

Canvas:

I then needed to figure out the canvas for which I would compose my Artscape vision on.  So I began looking into tank options based on display dimensions that could give me the right amount of negative space.  A 3:2 aspect ratio made the most sense for this, so I could quickly rule out nano cubes, shallow lagoons, and long aquariums.  Innovative Marine’s 40G Nuvo was the most suitable.

 

Composition:

I hand picked about 50 lbs of Real Reef rock and setup a cardboard box on my living room coffee table with the same dimensions as the IM40 display.  The pillar was first, and came together relatively easy with 4 pieces of rock that I could stably balance without adhesive.  I live in Los Angeles, California, so of course I eventually glued it and simulated fairly aggressive coffee table earthquakes.  Next came the bonsai, which came together not so easily.  Not only did the rock structure need to balance and look good in its preliminary coffee table form, but careful consideration had to be made for how in the future it will look growing specific corals with a light source placed at a very specific position above.  Remember, a dramatic light effect is a big piece of my overall vision, so I realized at that point that I wanted to use a concentrated single source light to create directional and contrasting highlights/shadows like the sun.  On that basis, I filled the tank with saltwater, mounted a single puck Radion and placed my bonsai and pillar.  Half way through my cycle, I realized I would also need to consider how the light reflects off of the insides of the glass display down onto the lower 1/3rd of the aquascape.  Learning about this Nuvo 40 / Radion mount light bounce effect excited me even more since it opened the door for more coral selection/placement options that I had not initially considered.  And so I rebuilt the bonsai, adjusted the position of each piece down to the millimeter, and completed the new tank’s cycle.

 

Paint:

I transferred some of my favorite coral pieces from the previous 6-gallon tank into the new 40-gallon, but many favorites from the old tank were given away since they did not align with Yin/Yang vision.  From that point until now, I’ve been filling out the tank with various contrasting strokes of color, texture, shape, brightness, and movement.  In addition to the obvious hole at the lower 2/3rd left side, I’m still conceptually working through the bottom, both foreground and center corridor.  I hope to have all elements composed within the next 2 months.

 

Perspective:

An on-going consideration has been perspective.  Our eyes view our world from about a 50mm focal length perspective, like this front tank view pic.  It’s my favorite focal length in photography overall, and I think well suited for this aquascape take at all angles (especially full tank front and side views).

 

727352910_aquascape50mm.thumb.JPG.a002ff68f91453738a939894b6db39ec.JPG

 

Another perspective that I like to consider is from a wider-angle focal length like this 20mm pic.  With the wider angle perspective, I like how the aquascape foreground elements appear more elongated with more distinct separation from the primary 2-piece.  And I also like how the sides of the aquascape come into frame from the reflections on the side display glass.  Though, the Michelangelo finger tip separation get pushed back and becomes the less obvious focal point.  In the future, I’ll dive deeper into my thoughts about perspective with a stand-alone post, and will surely be posting pics from all perspectives and angles.

 

1883136244_aquascape18mm.thumb.JPG.c5146721601c7f62faf0fe71e4eea396.JPG

 

Masterpiece:

Once the Yin/Yang Aquascape is composed with its final structure brushed with corals, then I expect it will take about 1 year to grow into its golden age form that I envision its potential will become.

 

That’s an epic write-up!  Didn’t read it all, but definitely will come back at some point. Shoot might even copy and paste to google docs next time I’m on a laptop, 🤷🏻‍♂️  

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SaltyTanks
On 11/26/2019 at 3:45 PM, Matteo said:

Oh man I loved your detail about the scraping process. I too find it super artful and a masterful skill. 

 

Love your scape, reminds me of mine 😋

Thanks, Matteo!  And yes, you too have a VERY similar yin-yang 2-piece 40G!!  I really like how you've created depth with your central corridor & the diagonal line from the left rock structure.  And the tonga branch with wall hammer & zoas is well placed!  I'll like to see when that monti cap and bubble gum digi fill in the top end - should have a really nice dynamic look!  Following your tank for sure.  

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SaltyTanks
On 11/26/2019 at 4:31 PM, Poodges said:

Beautiful tank and artistry. You clearly have a knack for aquascaping.  

Thanks so much, Poodges!  And looks like you too have a passion for the art of aquascaping!  I like your texture/shape/placement choices that add dimension to your scape, especially the purple gorgonian, green toadstool, and duncan.

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Matteo
1 hour ago, SaltyTanks said:

Thanks, Matteo!  And yes, you too have a VERY similar yin-yang 2-piece 40G!!  I really like how you've created depth with your central corridor & the diagonal line from the left rock structure.  And the tonga branch with wall hammer & zoas is well placed!  I'll like to see when that monti cap and bubble gum digi fill in the top end - should have a really nice dynamic look!  Following your tank for sure.  

Thanks mang! Yes I'm pretty happy with the placement and gluing of frag positions. I agree when everything fills in and looks less fraggy it will be awesome! 

 

All my sps has great polyp extention, encursting, and many have white tips on the top of their branches for new growth. 

 

Should be a fun 6-12months while everything grows in place. 

 

Excited to see yours grow too 🙂

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Donovan

Great aquascape!  The photos are amazing. 

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SaltyTanks

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

EF943396-C869-4775-B497-838444C8817A.jpeg

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Matteo
1 hour ago, SaltyTanks said:

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

EF943396-C869-4775-B497-838444C8817A.jpeg

Yesssss I love this shot. 

 

I was debating adding a tacky Christmas tree ornament from petco to my reef for the season but idk 😂

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