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Old 09-24-2016, 06:42 PM
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Default Aquascaping Viv?

Hello, guys!

I've been looking around at Takashi Amano's aquascaping techniques and design concepts, and they seem perfect for making a vivarium, but I have hardly seen a couple of vis that incorporate this concepts.

I know Grimm’s Peninsula had a lot of Amano’s design ideas, but are there any other examples of vivarium design that follow the Fibonacci sequence / golden ratio or the rules of thirds?

Any help finding inspiration?


Just in case someone is not familiar with what I’m saying, here some examples of both aquascaping and the golden ratio examples.
































Last edited by MrMonterrubio; 09-24-2016 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 09-24-2016, 09:42 PM
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Default Re: Aquascaping Viv?

Finally someone interested in looking at the artistic piece of vivarium building. I completely agree that this hobby could learn a thing or two from the planted tank hobby as far as creating an artistic display. I often look at planted tanks especially Takashi Amano's and the green machine to get ideas for vivariums and I have read a lot into aquascaping and try to take some of these rules into account when hardscaping vivs and in my reef tank. Remember that these aren't hard fast rules more guidelines to try to create something natural and pleasing to the eye. In general I try to loosely follow the rule of thirds and do focal points in multiples of 3 or 5 one of which is a more major focal point. I also try to put the major focal point off center.
For example, this is my 75 gallon display viv. There are 5 major pieces of wood 4 of which create direction to the right and the main focal point leans to the left. The main focal point is also purposefully off center.


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Old 09-25-2016, 11:54 PM
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Default Re: Aquascaping Viv?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jturner View Post
Finally someone interested in looking at the artistic piece of vivarium building. I completely agree that this hobby could learn a thing or two from the planted tank hobby as far as creating an artistic display. I often look at planted tanks especially Takashi Amano's and the green machine to get ideas for vivariums and I have read a lot into aquascaping and try to take some of these rules into account when hardscaping vivs and in my reef tank. Remember that these aren't hard fast rules more guidelines to try to create something natural and pleasing to the eye. In general I try to loosely follow the rule of thirds and do focal points in multiples of 3 or 5 one of which is a more major focal point. I also try to put the major focal point off center.
For example, this is my 75 gallon display viv. There are 5 major pieces of wood 4 of which create direction to the right and the main focal point leans to the left. The main focal point is also purposefully off center.


Yes! The green machine has some amazing examples of aquascaping.

Theres this guys in China called THE GREEN DEEP that make some of the best vivariums I've seen. They nail the concept of artistic scaping in vivariums.

The only problem is that they are a company that sell vivarium goods, much like Exo Terra or Zoomed, so they dont have tons of pictures of their vivariums.

Here some examples of their work.














I like your viv, do you have photos of the hardscape before planting?


I placed the Golden Spiral over your photo and it looks great!

And I took the liberty to make a planting proposal



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Old 09-26-2016, 03:02 AM
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Default Re: Aquascaping Viv?

huh that's cool that the golden spiral fits so well. I'll definitely try sticking a brom or something in that spot. I had never heard of the green deep before although I know I've seen some of those vivs before online. I checked out the site. They really have some spectacular tanks. I'm interested as to what those LEDs are that they use. This is all great info. Anyone trying to build a display tank should definitely look into these rules and ratios.
This was the only shot I could find. Unfortunately it's not taken straight on. The wood on the far left I changed later on.

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Old 09-26-2016, 06:00 AM
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Default Re: Aquascaping Viv?

I'm just going to say, that while many of those vivs are extremely pretty, from a functional and useful standpoint, they're not ideal for darts. Leaf litter is lacking, they look entirely too wet, or the vertical space is not able to be utilized. Most of us, when it comes down to it, would rather have a viv that's maybe slightly less 'pretty' and more useful for the critters we keep. I'm definitely not saying you can't do both, I was into planted aquariums before darts too, but the end goals in the hobbies are different.
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Old 09-26-2016, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jturner View Post
huh that's cool that the golden spiral fits so well. I'll definitely try sticking a brom or something in that spot.
I'm glad you liked the idea!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jturner View Post
They really have some spectacular tanks. I'm interested as to what those LEDs are that they use. This is all great info.

They don't sell LEDs, but you could write to them. They are active on their social media.
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Old 09-26-2016, 04:34 PM
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Default Re: Aquascaping Viv?

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I'm just going to say, that while many of those vivs are extremely pretty, from a functional and useful standpoint, they're not ideal for darts. Leaf litter is lacking, they look entirely too wet, or the vertical space is not able to be utilized.
I undersatand that. But we don't know what animals live on those enclosures, maybe they meet all the requirements for the critter that lives in there.

I'm just using them as an example.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TarantulaGuy View Post
Most of us, when it comes down to it, would rather have a viv that's maybe slightly less 'pretty' and more useful for the critters we keep. I'm definitely not saying you can't do both, I was into planted aquariums before darts too, but the end goals in the hobbies are different.
Yes!

That's the one thing that everyone says. As long as the frogs get to use all the tank and use all the space as an advantage, the astethics are not that important.

But maybe there should be a difference between display tanks and breeding tanks.

However, while reading Mr Amano’s books; he constantly says that the main goal is not to look pretty, but to look natural. To be like a slice of the real thing, and meanwhile apply all the design principles so that it looks pleasing to the human eye, but never forgetting the main goal: Keep the fish and plants happy and healty.

And always to under populate the tanks to give the animals and plants more room to move and grow.


That’s exactly what I imply.

Can't we make vivs that look amazing, please the eye, please the frog needs and move our hobby to the realms of art like Mr Amano did?


Maybe we don't need to just make a copy of what the gusy at aquascaping do, maybe we need to start from scratch our own design theory, but I'm sure we can make art with the vivs.

For example:

I’m looking to build a viv for darts, but instead of building a 20 gallon tank that could fit them perfectly but not give me enough space to design something eye pleasing design-wise, I’m building a large x-tall ex terra 36’’x18''x36’’ for the same 4 frogs.

I know having a bigger tank includes extra responsibilities because everything will be a bit harder, like to feed the frogs and care for them properly, but in the long run, I think that the frogs will be happier in a bigger tank, they might not have a lot of climbing area, but they’ll have a lot of land area and the representation of their habitat would be more realistic.

Just look at Grimm's Peninsula! He did it flawlessly.
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Old 09-26-2016, 04:55 PM
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Default Re: Aquascaping Viv?

I think you think the natural habitat of these frogs is more exciting looking than it really is

Here's some quick pics from a trip to Ecuador I took a little while back:

There's an Ameerega at the base of that big tree here:






Also in here:








There were Ranitomeya *everywhere*; mostly in fallen broms.



My point being, I never once saw 'natural' dart frog habitat that looked like those vivs, all mossy and super heavily planted with orchids and things. Mostly, it was leaf litter, with a good food source or shelter nearby.

Again, I'm not really trying to say don't make a pretty viv, I think all those vivs are very pretty, and I wish I had the skill to make those. But, I'm not bad at making functional, useful vivs, so I'll stick with that

I also have one of those 36x18x36 exo's, and I love it. Definitely a fun viv to work with and look at every day. I have a group of Phyllobates aurotaenia in mine and they're great in it. The vertical space was a bit challenging to work with, aesthetically, but good fun, and it ended up turning out alright.
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Old 09-26-2016, 11:29 PM
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Default Re: Aquascaping Viv?

Ok TarantulaGuy you make a good point of vivs needing to be functional and the fact that many dart frog habitats are not absolutely packed with orchids, broms and mosses like a lot of our tanks. Although I do slightly disagree with that second point as there is a huge variety of habitats that I have seen from lowland jungle to high altitude cloud forest in Costa Rica and Peru. Some of these habitats actually are absolutely packed with orchids and mosses. But that is beside the point. The goal of this thread is to bring the idea of art into vivarium building like which is done in the planted tank world. I highly doubt that there are places in the underwater world which are as perfectly manicured and beautifully arranged like some of those planted tanks. The point in making a display tank is to construct something that is based off of nature but that is also arranged artistically to please the human eye. Many of us want to show off our frogs as well as all of our beautiful plants. As long as the needs of the frogs are met I see no reason why this can't be done artistically.
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Old 09-27-2016, 01:23 AM
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Default Re: Aquascaping Viv?

Many dendrobatids are actually adapted to utilize disturbed habitats so if your optimizing it for the frogs you should mimic a disturbed habitat (which is going to be much less aesthetically pleasing) ...

some comments

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Old 09-27-2016, 03:39 AM
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So I should put a beer bottle in the center of the golden spiral instead of a brom
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Old 09-29-2016, 04:01 PM
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Default Re: Aquascaping Viv?

I found more vivs from these guys at Green Deep.










LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THIS VIV!!!!!


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Old 09-30-2016, 12:10 AM
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Default Re: Aquascaping Viv?

jturner:

All of these vivs are really awesome. I definitely agree with you when you say that you want to see the hobby take more of an art form.
Ed is also right in saying that these frogs are able to adapt to unfortunate conditions.
With that said, I am definitely for the Takashi approach being applied to viv building, not so much because it is just aesthetically appealing, but because he pushes to make the best environments he can for the critters that are in those tanks. Those are principles we all should be focusing on when setting up these little environments. Building this way will help us innovate new techniques and processes to complete awesome vivs. Ultimately though, it all comes down to how the frogs feel in their vivs as long as they are not stressed and are eating well then it really doesn't matter how the viv looks.

-Mo-
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Old 09-30-2016, 07:46 PM
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So I should put a beer bottle in the center of the golden spiral instead of a brom
I know people who have done exactly late. If the goal is to optimize the habitat for the frogs while attempting to reach a maximal aesthetics then those terraria pictures immediately above this are not suitable for many species due to the widespread use of mosses. This doesn't provide the cover that leaf litter would provide not only for security but as a production point for microfauna such as isopods and other invertebrates. The greatest productivity point for decomposers is at the point where the mineralized soil meets the organic level of the leaves. As a result those kinds of enclosures aren't ideal for the frogs.

some comments

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Old 10-03-2016, 03:26 PM
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If the goal is to optimize the habitat for the frogs while attempting to reach a maximal aesthetics then those terraria pictures immediately above this are not suitable for many species due to the widespread use of mosses. This doesn't provide the cover that leaf litter would provide not only for security but as a production point for microfauna such as isopods and other invertebrates. The greatest productivity point for decomposers is at the point where the mineralized soil meets the organic level of the leaves. As a result those kinds of enclosures aren't ideal for the frogs.
Yes, Ed.

Your point is exactly what the thread is about, but also to maximize asthetic values on the vivs.

All the pictures with moss overdose are just an example.

If we need leaf litter for our darts, maybe to make it prettier, we should instead of just using one kind of leaf, use a mix of varius shades of brown to give it a more apealing look.

For example:


Boring leaf litter




Eye pleasing leaf litter

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Old 10-03-2016, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: Aquascaping Viv?

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Originally Posted by MrMonterrubio View Post
Hello, guys!

I've been looking around at Takashi Amano's aquascaping techniques and design concepts, and they seem perfect for making a vivarium, but I have hardly seen a couple of vis that incorporate this concepts.

I know Grimm’s Peninsula had a lot of Amano’s design ideas, but are there any other examples of vivarium design that follow the Fibonacci sequence / golden ratio or the rules of thirds?

Any help finding inspiration?











Before I say anything further, I agree that this portion of the greater overall hobby can be seen as an art form. In fact, I am all for it. I hope this doesn't come of as sounding closed-minded.

I parsed down your graphics in order to illustrate two things. The first is that, with the abundant variety of plants available to us and the type of environment that we are (most of us) really trying to recreate, there are too many different forms of plants for us to be able to make moss mountains with imitator cows or anything that really smacks of such direct translation. I suppose if you tried really hard, you could figure something out along those lines though. That point addresses part of what the Amano followers are trying to achieve - artificially shrunken versions of larger landscapes. I think it is easier, more practical, and just as visually pleasing to aim for a pile of rocks or sticks, perhaps a tree buttress or stream bed, all of which can be done to nearly a natural scale with the right tank and materials.

The second piece is that golden spiral. It appears to have some ageless solidity, but I feel that it could be a bit subjective too; meaning that you could apply it to almost anything and start waxing. What I am not able to understand is why the same model should be used for everything. Isn't art about expression and, therefore, inherently subject to a high degree of variability? It seems like having a standard rubric could get us in the habit of thinking inside the same box. And to suggest that a vivarium without 1/3:2/3 is not as attractive does not make me want to like those without it any less.

The third thing, which is unrelated to your graphics, is the implication of your text above. I think there is actually a thriving community of "artists" here that make some very beautiful vivariums. Granted, there are plenty of beginners too, and a large number of folks who are primarily here for the frogs and want to make them comfortable with the addition of live plants. My recommendation is to search through the threads here and see what you find. I know I have seen the use of triangles in quite a few vivariums, to good effect. There may even be a few spirals, purposeful or accidental, but I guarantee that you will see some inspirational work.



Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMonterrubio View Post

I placed the Golden Spiral over your photo and it looks great!

And I took the liberty to make a planting proposal



To my untrained eye, other than a break in the middle at around 1.618:1, I am not sure that I can spot how this spiral fits the contents of the vivarium better than it fits inside the tank's dimensions. I don't know what the PAR is like at the bottom of that tank, but usually that is a better spot for ferns, gesneriads, etc., and not really practical for a bromeliad.

I've seen discussions about this before, here on DB. And I do like scaped aquariums that I see in photos, but I think I would grow bored with one in my home. My question is, if the spiral is necessary for beauty, why do we like those without it at their core? Is something wrong with our pallets?

Don't get me wrong, I do not think that anyone's use of these techniques would be rejected, but rather that this sport has long been an individual one with too many factors at play to fairly judge the results in a line up. I'd be happy to see whatever well made vivarium anyone would like to post - build an Amano-style terrarium and share it, if that is what you like.


Mike
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Old 10-03-2016, 05:34 PM
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Default Re: Aquascaping Viv?

Perhaps a more simplistic, leaf-litter dominated design is not only fucnctional of course, but more aesthetically pleasing to some people...rather than a curated colorful bromeliad moss garden type of thing. Some of those kind of vivs are quite pretty, but many can be "too busy" for my tastes.
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Old 10-03-2016, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roxrgneiss View Post
Before I say anything further, I agree that this portion of the greater overall hobby can be seen as an art form. In fact, I am all for it. I hope this doesn't come of as sounding closed-minded.

I parsed down your graphics in order to illustrate two things. The first is that, with the abundant variety of plants available to us and the type of environment that we are (most of us) really trying to recreate, there are too many different forms of plants for us to be able to make moss mountains with imitator cows or anything that really smacks of such direct translation. I suppose if you tried really hard, you could figure something out along those lines though. That point addresses part of what the Amano followers are trying to achieve - artificially shrunken versions of larger landscapes. I think it is easier, more practical, and just as visually pleasing to aim for a pile of rocks or sticks, perhaps a tree buttress or stream bed, all of which can be done to nearly a natural scale with the right tank and materials.

The second piece is that golden spiral. It appears to have some ageless solidity, but I feel that it could be a bit subjective too; meaning that you could apply it to almost anything and start waxing. What I am not able to understand is why the same model should be used for everything. Isn't art about expression and, therefore, inherently subject to a high degree of variability? It seems like having a standard rubric could get us in the habit of thinking inside the same box. And to suggest that a vivarium without 1/3:2/3 is not as attractive does not make me want to like those without it any less.

The third thing, which is unrelated to your graphics, is the implication of your text above. I think there is actually a thriving community of "artists" here that make some very beautiful vivariums. Granted, there are plenty of beginners too, and a large number of folks who are primarily here for the frogs and want to make them comfortable with the addition of live plants. My recommendation is to search through the threads here and see what you find. I know I have seen the use of triangles in quite a few vivariums, to good effect. There may even be a few spirals, purposeful or accidental, but I guarantee that you will see some inspirational work.





To my untrained eye, other than a break in the middle at around 1.618:1, I am not sure that I can spot how this spiral fits the contents of the vivarium better than it fits inside the tank's dimensions. I don't know what the PAR is like at the bottom of that tank, but usually that is a better spot for ferns, gesneriads, etc., and not really practical for a bromeliad.

I've seen discussions about this before, here on DB. And I do like scaped aquariums that I see in photos, but I think I would grow bored with one in my home. My question is, if the spiral is necessary for beauty, why do we like those without it at their core? Is something wrong with our pallets?

Don't get me wrong, I do not think that anyone's use of these techniques would be rejected, but rather that this sport has long been an individual one with too many factors at play to fairly judge the results in a line up. I'd be happy to see whatever well made vivarium anyone would like to post - build an Amano-style terrarium and share it, if that is what you like.


Mike
Thnx Mike!


I'm 100% with you. All I want is to start a conversation on asthethics in our vivs.

What works best, what looks best? and some of my favorite vivs have absolutely nothing to do with the golden ratios or aquascape design at all, however it's a good rule of thumb.
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Old 10-03-2016, 05:59 PM
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Default Re: Aquascaping Viv?

Well said, why didn't you just say so in the beginning?


With regards to general design I think some angles are good when possible, but a couple of the biggest influences over what is pleasing to my eye are scale and tying the foreground to the background; depth. Other than that, it's all about the plants to me. I've seen simple builds made from simple materials and those that cost big bucks and took a long time, but in the end it was the builder's use of plants that sold me on the hardscape.
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Old 10-03-2016, 06:06 PM
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Default Re: Aquascaping Viv?

And to take those comments a step further and tie into the art theme, I see the hardscape as a 3D canvas that doesn't need to be covered completely. The paint can make it sing or render it simply a vertical substrate.
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Old 10-05-2016, 10:47 PM
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And to take those comments a step further and tie into the art theme, I see the hardscape as a 3D canvas that doesn't need to be covered completely. The paint can make it sing or render it simply a vertical substrate.
I agree, however I'm very intrigued about the complexity of the aquascape hardscapes! They look amazing and artistic even before planting. And most of the finished tanks half plant the tanks, allowing the hardscape to be seen making an amazing combo.
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Old 10-06-2016, 04:13 AM
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Default Re: Aquascaping Viv?

This is an awesome thread, The DeepGreen guys and all these other viv's look wonderful but, the point of leaf litter is so important IMO it takes away from the beauty of the viv. Watching the micro-ecosystems within the decomposing leaf-litter is not only one of my favorite parts of a viv but also a good way to judge the health of a tank.

I would also like to say that their natural habitat may be "boring", but they also don't have walls and can go where they please. They are smart and having a well planted, complicated tank allows for mental stimulation as well as more hunting places, visual barriers and in general keeping them more active physically and mentally. I don't think thats a bad thing but you should always build around the frogs needs first but that doesn't mean it cant be beautiful at the same time. Even a "simple" lightly planted Biotope done right can be a true work of art.
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Old 10-06-2016, 11:07 AM
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Default Re: Aquascaping Viv?

I thought about threads like this one from the past the other day. This one had a similar start, but less of a technical approach, more of a confrontational one. It yielded a lot of responses though. Might not help delve much into the specific application of aquascaping principles to terrarium design, but I think there are some good responses on the subject of applying that method here and it's implications. And there are some guest stars you won't see posting much anymore too.

http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/gen...-ugly-now.html


Mike
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Old 10-06-2016, 09:46 PM
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Default Re: Aquascaping Viv?

I seem to recall a similar thread a while back. (Found the other thread, the search function is really great!) http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/gen...tml#post770760
Apologies if I have redundant comments to those already posted or if my thoughts seem somewhat scattered, I am writing this post as I read through from the beginning of the thread.
I absolutely love a good aquascape and really think that there could be a lot of overlap between the worlds of Vivaria and Aquascaping, however there are some important distinctions that must be made.
At the risk of over generalizing, fish utilize the “void” space between the aquascape, whereas frogs are bound to the surfaces of a vivarium. Fish inhabit the water, which acts as the artistic empty space, they can move around and occupy the full 3D volume of that space and are much less impacted (generally) by the hardscape and foliage. Frogs on the other hand can only occupy the (mostly horizontal) surfaces we provide for them. They are more sensitive to the hardscape and are arguably more dependent on certain types of foliage for their lifecycle (I.e. bromeliads). This means there is much more freedom/flexibility in aquariums to experiment with design with less potential detriment to the inhabitants.
While I am (currently) more attracted to the beauty of a well-designed show tank than breeding/ growing a large collection, that may not be the case for others in the hobby. Some (or perhaps many) people in this hobby are likely more focused on the frogs than the tanks. And are attracted more to the care of the frogs/ science/ conservation and the tank is just a container, a means to and end so to speak. I’m not saying they don’t care about the looks of the vivarium, just saying they have other higher priorities especially if those people have any significant collection or are into breeding (its hard and probably unnecessary to “terascape” a 10g holding/ grow out tank) Appearance of a tank is only relevant to humans, I doubt the frogs care (or are even able to perceive) if their home is beautiful or not.
For larger display vivs there seems to be at least some focus on presentation, aesthetics, and artistic design. There could certainly be more, but as was mentioned earlier most priorities are in line with the health of the frogs.
Many have gotten quite close but usually fall on one side or the other of the line between a healthy environment and an artistic design. The balance between an optimal habitat for the frogs and a vivarium that is also a work of art is a very fine line that many have strived for but few seem to successfully achieve.


I think this is an excellent conversation to have and am really excited to see how it progresses.
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Old 10-11-2016, 05:47 PM
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I seem to recall a similar thread a while back. (Found the other thread, the search function is really great!) http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/gen...tml#post770760
Apologies if I have redundant comments to those already posted or if my thoughts seem somewhat scattered, I am writing this post as I read through from the beginning of the thread.
I absolutely love a good aquascape and really think that there could be a lot of overlap between the worlds of Vivaria and Aquascaping, however there are some important distinctions that must be made.
At the risk of over generalizing, fish utilize the “void” space between the aquascape, whereas frogs are bound to the surfaces of a vivarium. Fish inhabit the water, which acts as the artistic empty space, they can move around and occupy the full 3D volume of that space and are much less impacted (generally) by the hardscape and foliage. Frogs on the other hand can only occupy the (mostly horizontal) surfaces we provide for them. They are more sensitive to the hardscape and are arguably more dependent on certain types of foliage for their lifecycle (I.e. bromeliads). This means there is much more freedom/flexibility in aquariums to experiment with design with less potential detriment to the inhabitants.
While I am (currently) more attracted to the beauty of a well-designed show tank than breeding/ growing a large collection, that may not be the case for others in the hobby. Some (or perhaps many) people in this hobby are likely more focused on the frogs than the tanks. And are attracted more to the care of the frogs/ science/ conservation and the tank is just a container, a means to and end so to speak. I’m not saying they don’t care about the looks of the vivarium, just saying they have other higher priorities especially if those people have any significant collection or are into breeding (its hard and probably unnecessary to “terascape” a 10g holding/ grow out tank) Appearance of a tank is only relevant to humans, I doubt the frogs care (or are even able to perceive) if their home is beautiful or not.
For larger display vivs there seems to be at least some focus on presentation, aesthetics, and artistic design. There could certainly be more, but as was mentioned earlier most priorities are in line with the health of the frogs.
Many have gotten quite close but usually fall on one side or the other of the line between a healthy environment and an artistic design. The balance between an optimal habitat for the frogs and a vivarium that is also a work of art is a very fine line that many have strived for but few seem to successfully achieve.


I think this is an excellent conversation to have and am really excited to see how it progresses.
Dear WZDesigns, this is exactly the kind of comment I've been looking for!

The observation you make about the fish using the 100% of their tanks, and us in the vivarium hobby only using surface it's the most important part of the puzzle to solve. Because of that, I think that the asthetic "aquascape vivarium" can only be achived correctly with big tanks, to guarantee enough living space for the frogs.

For example, if two frogs can live perfectly in a 10 gal tank and you want to make one of this "aquascape vivs" I would recomend using a 20 gal tank for the same two frogs.

Bottom line, What I would like is to have a thread where we can lay some simple rules of thumb about "eye pleasing" vivarium design, for those of us who want to build beautiful vivs, but also to build vivs that meet all the needs of our frogs or other reptiles.
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Bottom line, What I would like is to have a thread where we can lay some simple rules of thumb about "eye pleasing" vivarium design, for those of us who want to build beautiful vivs, but also to build vivs that meet all the needs of our frogs or other reptiles.
I think that is a fine goal, I'm actually putting together some thoughts for a thread dealing with one facet of vivarium design. We'll see if it gets any momentum if I ever get it started.

As I mentioned earlier, there are plenty of vivs on this forum that are really outstanding. There are so many ways to go about making something that you will find enjoyable, but there are so many different aspects to look at, and so many different kinds of builds to lay the groundwork - I think this makes it hard to create rules of thumb that ought to be followed.

My thought is that everyone has two options:
1) have a look at as many vivariums as possible and make some notes on what works or doesn't. Learn from others.

2) if what you see others doing isn't your cup of tea, then innovate and produce something that you feel advances the hobby or at least meets your expectation.


Now, I am a big advocate of linking things together, since conversations like this tend to become lost and subsequent threads are unsupported by the wisdom and experiences shared in previous discussions. We have two good, somewhat parallel, threads linked here already. I will add another link that will hopefully illustrate what I am saying above; that there is plenty of good work here that we can all take notes from and expand upon it with our own spin. Some picture links have been broken over time, but there is still plenty of eye candy.

http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/mem...vivariums.html



Mike
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Old 10-12-2016, 12:12 AM
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I think this makes it hard to create rules of thumb that ought to be followed.

My thought is that everyone has two options:
1) have a look at as many vivariums as possible and make some notes on what works or doesn't. Learn from others.

2) if what you see others doing isn't your cup of tea, then innovate and produce something that you feel advances the hobby or at least meets your expectation.

I totally agree with both rules, however, like our friends at the aquarium hobby that have a hundred ways, schools and design parameters to differentiate their tanks... what I want to know is if there's a similar thing in our hobby. And more specifically, if there's anyone trying to build serious vivariums with serious design principles.

And if there's no one, maybe it's time that we start experimenting on it.

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Originally Posted by roxrgneiss View Post
Now, I am a big advocate of linking things together, since conversations like this tend to become lost and subsequent threads are unsupported by the wisdom and experiences shared in previous discussions. We have two good, somewhat parallel, threads linked here already. I will add another link that will hopefully illustrate what I am saying above; that there is plenty of good work here that we can all take notes from and expand upon it with our own spin. Some picture links have been broken over time, but there is still plenty of eye candy.

http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/mem...vivariums.html



Mike


It's a great Thread, Mike!

But like you said, it's very hard for this kind of threads to gain momentum and to be taken seriusly, in part because most of the people in the hobby are in it for the frogs and don't care much about the aesthetics.

Is there a way to generate a movement in the forum about this?
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Old 10-12-2016, 04:23 AM
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But like you said, it's very hard for this kind of threads to gain momentum and to be taken seriusly, in part because most of the people in the hobby are in it for the frogs and don't care much about the aesthetics.

Is there a way to generate a movement in the forum about this?
It isn't that the people are in it only for the frogs but that too often the enclosures touted as having great aesthetics are not set up properly for the species that are then placed into it. All too often the enclosures are designed for appearance and then the frogs are shoehorned into the enclosure as a second thought as opposed to choosing a species and then designing an enclosure for it. A further common problem is that in newly set up enclosures to add plants until it looks "full" without allowing for the plants to grow into the enclosure or acknowledging that often the chosen species is a primarily terrestrial one whose habitat isn't a clump of bromeliads and other plants.

some comments

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Old 10-16-2016, 07:39 PM
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In regards to using guidelines to design and manage an aesthetic build, I just watched a good presentation from MACNA 2014.


While the focus of the presentation is on reef aquariums the speaker, John Ciotti, presents many great fundamentals of design that I thought were relevant to this thread. One highlight that I think should really be brought into the equation when laying out a vivarium is his comment about PURPOSE. Not in the sense that the purpose of the viv is to be a habitat for dart frogs, or be a “mini rainforest”, but more about the layout of the tank having a purposeful design. For example what is THE focus of the tank (notice singular), what are the accents, how well does each element and addition contribute to a harmonic appearance of the tank?

The talk is somewhat long but it is well worth watching as it covers many great design strategies for thinking about and establishing a good layout.
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Old 10-16-2016, 08:00 PM
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In regards to using guidelines to design and manage an aesthetic build, I just watched a good presentation from MACNA 2014.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWAx-CV6t6o

While the focus of the presentation is on reef aquariums the speaker, John Ciotti, presents many great fundamentals of design that I thought were relevant to this thread. One highlight that I think should really be brought into the equation when laying out a vivarium is his comment about PURPOSE. Not in the sense that the purpose of the viv is to be a habitat for dart frogs, or be a “mini rainforest”, but more about the layout of the tank having a purposeful design. For example what is THE focus of the tank (notice singular), what are the accents, how well does each element and addition contribute to a harmonic appearance of the tank?

The talk is somewhat long but it is well worth watching as it covers many great design strategies for thinking about and establishing a good layout.
Again, that's the totally opposite approach you should be taking. The tank needs to be designed, first and foremost, to be as good for the frogs as it can be, THEN you worry about aesthetics. Aesthetics should always be secondary to the needs of the frogs. The nice thing that tends to happen though is that a tank that's good for frogs tends to be pleasing to the eye as well.
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:56 PM
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Again, that's the totally opposite approach you should be taking. The tank needs to be designed, first and foremost, to be as good for the frogs as it can be, THEN you worry about aesthetics. Aesthetics should always be secondary to the needs of the frogs. The nice thing that tends to happen though is that a tank that's good for frogs tends to be pleasing to the eye as well.
What I'm getting from this is that at least my ugly vivarium serves the function properly! But seriously, I completely agree with the prioritization of utility over aestheticism. Unfortunately, however, MY vivarium is a complete contradiction of your last sentence(I don't mean to say that it is wrong however. It completely depends on a person's preference and maybe a bit of luck too).
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Old 10-16-2016, 10:44 PM
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Again, that's the totally opposite approach you should be taking. The tank needs to be designed, first and foremost, to be as good for the frogs as it can be, THEN you worry about aesthetics. Aesthetics should always be secondary to the needs of the frogs. The nice thing that tends to happen though is that a tank that's good for frogs tends to be pleasing to the eye as well.
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What I'm getting from this is that at least my ugly vivarium serves the function properly! But seriously, I completely agree with the prioritization of utility over aestheticism. Unfortunately, however, MY vivarium is a complete contradiction of your last sentence(I don't mean to say that it is wrong however. It completely depends on a person's preference and maybe a bit of luck too).

To each their own. The comments above just sound like dogma.

Come on guys, the these posts read like trying to make a decent looking viv is going to be bad for the frogs. Other than a paludarium with no space for the frogs to use, how badly is a nicely set up tank going to hurt the frogs? I wouldn't internalize the pursuit of a nice display as a criticism of a more aesthetically minimalistic approach.

Just look at all the intricate builds planned and posted here. They use all sorts of foams, epoxies, and other chemicals. Are they bad for the frogs? And the frogs certainly don't need all that extra foam, tubing, eggcrate, and plants. If the frog's well being is the goal, don't target the big side objective discussion here only, spread the love to all the build threads, etc.

The sand box here is big enough for us all.

Mike
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Old 10-17-2016, 12:03 AM
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The tank needs to be designed, first and foremost, to be as good for the frogs as it can be, THEN you worry about aesthetics.
Yes I completely agree, and I never meant to imply otherwise. Perhaps if you read the entirety of the thread rather than just my last post you would see that we had already come to the consensus that the wellbeing of the frogs is the first priority. My post was a way to continue the discussion on elements that could be used as guidelines for aesthetic design AFTER the needs of the frogs were met.

Rather than just saying “Most beautiful tanks are inappropriate for dart frogs” (which I agree is common) it would be more useful to say “This beautiful mossy tank is inappropriate because it does not provide the leaf litter or substrate that supports the microfauna that are beneficial to dart frog health” (just an example, as there are many factors that contribute to a healthy tank)

I never meant to add to the polarization of opinions that a tank can be EITHER good habitat or good design. This entire thread (in my opinion) is a conversation on what it takes for tanks to be BOTH good habitat and good design.

From the OP:
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMonterrubio View Post
Bottom line, What I would like is to have a thread where we can lay some simple rules of thumb about "eye pleasing" vivarium design, for those of us who want to build beautiful vivs, but also to build vivs that meet all the needs of our frogs or other reptiles.
I probably could have been clearer in my last post that the first purpose of the vivarium is to provide as natural and as optimal an environment as possible for the frogs. This is different than saying a good design needs purpose to achieve a level of aesthetics similar to the aquascaping hobby. I just wanted to provide additional resources to the people that already know how to properly care for their frogs, on some methods to apply that can take their tank from a healthy environment to a healthy and beautiful environment.
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Old 10-17-2016, 12:20 AM
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In regards to using guidelines to design and manage an aesthetic build, I just watched a good presentation from MACNA 2014.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWAx-CV6t6o

While the focus of the presentation is on reef aquariums the speaker, John Ciotti, presents many great fundamentals of design that I thought were relevant to this thread. One highlight that I think should really be brought into the equation when laying out a vivarium is his comment about PURPOSE. Not in the sense that the purpose of the viv is to be a habitat for dart frogs, or be a “mini rainforest”, but more about the layout of the tank having a purposeful design. For example what is THE focus of the tank (notice singular), what are the accents, how well does each element and addition contribute to a harmonic appearance of the tank?

The talk is somewhat long but it is well worth watching as it covers many great design strategies for thinking about and establishing a good layout.
Very interesting video although I feel as if the content could have been condensed into something a lot shorter. Good points about texture, color, purpose etc. I'm also in the reef tank hobby so had watched a bunch of the videos from MACNA from BRS's channel but must have missed this one. Posts like these are good contributions to this thread. I don't understand the goal of all of these posts about functionality. What is so difficult to understand about having a nicely laid out vivarium that is also functional and provides good living conditions for the frogs. Maybe some of you are fine with having happy frogs in ugly tanks but that is not the focus of this thread. What is so wrong with having happy, healthy frogs in beautiful display tanks? Nobody is saying that we're gonna go make some moss mountains like some of those planted tanks. We are just trying to look at some of the design principles used in aquarium aquascaping and apply these to viv building. If you are going to criticize this idea then provide one reason why an aesthetically pleasing viv would take away from the needs of the frogs. The only point I have heard so far is the use of leaf litter. Leaf litter in my opinion often looks just as good if not better than a mossy floor. Please explain to me what exactly has to give on the functionality side to better the aesthetics. Again I don't see where functionality is being compromised by arranging wood following the rule of thirds or planting various plants based on complimentary colors for example.
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Old 10-17-2016, 09:21 AM
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To each their own. The comments above just sound like dogma.

Come on guys, the these posts read like trying to make a decent looking viv is going to be bad for the frogs. Other than a paludarium with no space for the frogs to use, how badly is a nicely set up tank going to hurt the frogs? I wouldn't internalize the pursuit of a nice display as a criticism of a more aesthetically minimalistic approach.
Mike
That was NEVER my point. You can go wild with your build however you want as long as the objective of utility is met. Of course, it isn't all that hard to meet those requirements. While I am trying to target the side objective, aquascaping is a wonderful idea. Of course you can utilize it in builds. Our statement is only a reminder to shape your vivariums' aquascaping plans to a specific framework that allows for an aesthetically pleasing vivarium while providing a proper habitat for dart frogs(for example including leaf litter). But, that is my opinion and there are plenty of other experts that can put in their 2 cents about the potentials of vivariums that follow the aquascaping criteria. I hope this makes sense to you guys because my wording sometimes confuses me too!

Oh and I feel like I need to repeat this again: Aquascaping rules that can be applied to vivariums is a wonderful side objective that froggers can try utilizing! What others like me are trying to say is NOT THAT YOU CAN'T HAVE AN AESTHETICALLY PLEASING VIVARIUM WITHOUT IT PROPERLY SERVING THE FROGS CORRECTLY(Sorry for the caps lock but everyone needs to see this). We are merely reminding the OP of this because a lot of examples provided above sometimes violate the very rules that we have imposed for the numerous years we have had dart frogs for. While this is "dogma" it is very important and is by no means against the utilization of aquascaping techniques and rules.
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Old 10-17-2016, 01:47 PM
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That was NEVER my point. You can go wild with your build however you want as long as the objective of utility is met. Of course, it isn't all that hard to meet those requirements.


We are merely reminding the OP of this because a lot of examples provided above sometimes violate the very rules that we have imposed for the numerous years we have had dart frogs for. While this is "dogma" it is very important and is by no means against the utilization of aquascaping techniques and rules.
Andrew, I apologize if I have offended you. I lumped your post in with the target of my comments since yours came on the heels of the first, as if it were a high five.

But as you have said, the utility aspects of a dart frog tank are pretty easy to meet - some substrate, leaf litter, good moisture/humidity levels, light source, tepid temperatures, escape-proof, etc.

Unless someone has suggested we make a bed of nails or bucket of acid for the frogs to inhabit, I don't think there is any need to jump in and attempt to police or bible thump this kind of discussion. No one who is trying to make a nice looking vivarium should be made to feel that they are doing anything wrong.

It's not always easy to keep it all in perspective, since many of us tend to take our hobby and ourselves a little too seriously. But I think we can all get along here.


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Old 10-17-2016, 05:10 PM
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Andrew, I apologize if I have offended you. I lumped your post in with the target of my comments since yours came on the heels of the first, as if it were a high five.

But as you have said, the utility aspects of a dart frog tank are pretty easy to meet - some substrate, leaf litter, good moisture/humidity levels, light source, tepid temperatures, escape-proof, etc.

Unless someone has suggested we make a bed of nails or bucket of acid for the frogs to inhabit, I don't think there is any need to jump in and attempt to police or bible thump this kind of discussion. No one who is trying to make a nice looking vivarium should be made to feel that they are doing anything wrong.

It's not always easy to keep it all in perspective, since many of us tend to take our hobby and ourselves a little too seriously. But I think we can all get along here.


Mike
It's all good. I myself need to sincerely apologize if I did sound a little aggressive but your points are 100% valid. I know there is no intention of harm in the creation of a nice looking vivarium and I also apologize if this was the kind of tone I gave off in my reply. And also, I'm sure we can all get along it is just that I, personally, am quick to take things in the wrong direction. Sorry about that and please don't let this stop any further discussion of the main topic.
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Old 10-17-2016, 05:35 PM
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It would be great if this hobby would start incorporating more aquascaping principles in their designs. Most tanks here don't look anything like natural habitats anyway, might as well make it nice looking. Though I agree, you would probably do better with larger tanks for displays since most vivarium plants are larger then your typical aquarium plants. We also lack aquarium-esque stem plants to use as fillers. Personally I think leaf litter floors are better looking anyway. Most rainforest floors are leaf litter with the bulk of the plants on rocks or on trees. A lot of nature aquariums use bare sand for the foreground, no need to use moss/ground cover plants.

Hard to tell, but this tank probably has all sorts of nooks and crannies for the frogs to climb in/on. For all we know the whole bottom section could be mostly open with the plants suspended over it on drift woods.


When I designed my tank I tried my best to make it functional, mostly plantless floor with leaf litter so the frogs can move about unobstructed, tried to make the background with horizontal and wide surfaces so the frogs can rest on them. Maybe it's not functional, I never did end up getting frogs, but I think a group of thumbnails would do just fine... links to pics of my "nature style" attempt in my sig.
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Old 10-17-2016, 07:21 PM
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Thanks for sharing. That is one beautiful viv! Proves the points you are making.

What do you use for bottom/soil?

I am think about wood-forming plants like the Coffee plant or the Ficus benjamini in my next viv - is that what you are thinking about by saying 'stem plants'?

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Old 10-18-2016, 04:39 PM
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Thanks for sharing. That is one beautiful viv! Proves the points you are making.

What do you use for bottom/soil?

I am think about wood-forming plants like the Coffee plant or the Ficus benjamini in my next viv - is that what you are thinking about by saying 'stem plants'?

Hmm I was thinking of plants like Rotala rotundifolia, Hygrophila etc. The thing is with aquariums is that the hardscape doesn't have to be too complex, since everything is floating it helps makes the tank look more filled out.
Can't really do that with vivariums, even the green deep ones, while nice looking do look a bit "thin" compared to aquariums. Vivariums have their own set of challenges I suppose, we can use vines as stem plants and have them climb up the background as a substitute. The nice thing is a lot of vivarium plants do well as epiphytes which helps keep floor space clear.

I use a mix of peat, sphagnum, sand, coconut coir. Probably going to replace most of it with turface at some point though.
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