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    Aquascaping the glassbox

    Everything is still settling in to the glassbox and updates will be postponed for a while until corals color back up. In the mean time here’s a peak at the current liverock layout with some of my own ramblings on aquascaping.  The liverock used here is 25 pounds of Premium’s Cured Bali Alor and it is [...]

    Everything is still settling in to the glassbox and updates will be postponed for a while until corals color back up. In the mean time here’s a peak at the current liverock layout with some of my own ramblings on aquascaping

    Aquascape Angle

    The liverock used here is 25 pounds of Premium’s Cured Bali Alor and it is quite good! (Thanks Jason & Jeremy) Each piece was individually wrapped in newspaper and carefully packed. Zero pieces arrived broken, which is a real achievement for any liverock shipment. The pieces are light, open, full of interesting shapes and with no observable die off. 

    Despite having a masonry drill bit, nylon rods, hydraulic cement, zip ties, epoxy, super glue and a special ceramic / rock adhesive I used none of these. In a perfect world I prefer to go this route and not use any artificial adhesives or attachment methods, but rarely does this actually happen. This time the rocks fit together just right making my job significantly easier.

    Stacking rocks with rods and/or zipties can be difficult to make look natural. To be frank, it most often looks like a vertical shish kabob. If you are to use this method, use the natural shapes of the rocks to compliment one another other.

    Below is a sequence of photos showing the aquascape being placed. In the first picture you can see the largest base rock with the shelf already placed. This is securely fit into the rock, however to insure against a rock slide, a small piece of epoxy will be added underneath for additional support. As for the container, that was used to add water into the tank without creating a sandstorm. One more tabling structure will be added in an interesting fashion to increase the height of the overall rockwork. 

    Aquascape 1

    Aquascape 2

    Aquascape 3

    Aquascaping

    Aquascape Top Down

    Aquascape Angle

    I prefer to aquascape with the sand in the tank and a few inches of water already added. The difference of a bare glass bottom and clean white sand can significantly change the look and feel of a rock layout. If you’re using sand I recommend adding it first, but be sure the rocks are firmly seated in the substrate.

    Whether you have a minimalist aquascape feel or not, never feel obligated to use all of your liverock. Examine each rock and ask if it is really adding something to the tank. If not, get it out of there. Pass it on to a local hobbyist or add it to the sump for additional biological filtration. Rock takes valuable space away from corals. The aquascape is  the foundation…the canvas. The corals are the paint.

    Here are some additional aquascaping tips:

    • If not ‘cooking’ the rock, scrub and swish it in fresh saltwater first thing to remove detritus and potential die off. From there aquascape on dry land using masking tape to draw the aquariums footprint. This will give you a perimeter guide. 
      • Always give yourself ample room between the aquarium glass and rock work. 
    • If a flat board could be placed on top of your aquascape’s highest points, and it would be level—change it. Evenness is rarely natural in the scale that we are attempting to represent in our small glass boxes. It is generally only pulled off when the coral scale is uneven (e.g. A. formosa v A. carolinana on opposing structures).  
      • You want angles to draw the viewers eye through the aquarium.
    • Stacking bricks and aquascaping a saltwater aquarium have nothing in common.
    • The latest  trend seems to be island and pinnacle structures made from stacking rocks on rods. Don’t feel like you have to do this, see previous shish kabob comment.
    • Think practical. Are there enough territories for your fish to claim their own? Do you have adequate flow to eliminate dead spots?
    • Don’t be scared to have rocks and corals overlap from the perspective of the front view of the tank. This creates depth and keeps the viewers eyes skipping from one coral head to the next.

    Related Posts

    1. Glassbox Update | Building a Pinnacle Rock Structure
    2. Eco-friendly Aquascapes with Reef on the Rocks
    3. Update on the Glassbox, It’s Empty…
    4. Aquaroche | Ceramic Rock
    5. Aquascaping Inspiration on Twitter / Flickr
    • http://www.nanoreefblog.com Curvball

      Great post Eric – thanks for sharing. Like the direction you’ve taken with the glassbox.

      One thing I thinnk many reefers tend to forget when aquascaping their tanks is that it is merely a base frame for your corals. At the end of the day, the coral growth forms etc will being doing your aquascaping for you. Another reason that makes coral choice even more important to the overall picture of a reeftank.

      …hope to have pics of my new ‘scape up soon too. Two pieces of liverock, is that minimalist enough for you? :)

    • http://felixsavestheday.blogspot.com Felix

      well said there eric
      and good tips to follow
      thanks for sharing and glad to see
      some progress :)
      f.

    • pavlo

      keep the GlassBox updates coming….. i’m loving them! :)

    • charles

      “Stacking bricks and aquascaping a saltwater aquarium have nothing in common.”

      I like this one. :)

      The aquascape is the foundation…the canvas. The corals are the paint.

      Most tend to forget that. I planned my aquascape with that in mind, hopefully it’ll come out nice and it’ll be good enough to take pictures of :)

    • Refresh

      What sand are you using?

    • Marlon

      I like the new aquascape…less rock, more corals :)

    • http://MAAST.org Sean Hall

      Looks fantastic, less is more!

    • Richard from TX

      why not bare bottom? It seems like its the new rave especially for more shallow tanks with flow

    • dmorel

      Looking good. Unfortunately I’ve been thinking I need to re-scape my tank and now you’re inspiring me even more… Might be a long weekend ahead. I don’t know if I should thank you or curse you.

    • http://MAAST.org Sean Hall

      Any updates?

    • Tom

      Updates? I heard from a few folks this got taken down again?!

    • glassboxdesign

      Hi Tom, I'm not sure who you heard this from. The tank is indeed still up and running. I'll give some update once the new corals fills in.

    • http://glassbox-design.com/ eric michael

      Hi Tom, I’m not sure who you heard this from. The tank is indeed still up and running. I’ll give some update once the new corals fills in.