The question I get asked the most often in the DM’s is: Jurijs, can you please give me feedback on my aquarium? What you think? Do you like it? What is your opinion? And I always feel sorry because I cannot take the time to give the guys proper reply to it. Yeah, so I have had a conversation with these two handsome guys behind me, Michael Mikkelsen and George Farmer and they suggested: Why don’t you do a critique or review aquascape video on youtube? And I think that’s a great way. This way I can interact with you guys and give you feedback on all your DM’s that I’m receiving and yeah I don’t give any proper advice in those DM’s because they are not specific questions. So I gonna stop rambling here.
This episode we are at Michael Mikkelsen’s house and I gonna review and critique 1 of his scapes.
Maybe 2 scapes? And for those of you, who would like to get yours reviewed as well, use the #jsscapereview on Instagram and make sure to tag me, so I get notified. So the scape number 1 I’m reviewing,
is this 45 cm Iwagumi from Michael and I think it looks nice in the first place,
that’s important so the overage score is good!
and Yeah, the plants Michael has used here are Hemmianthus Cuba in the foreground, than it transitions towards the back to Eleocharis mini, which is great, because Eleocharis mini has a smaller pattern and It kind of works well to improve the sense of scale Then we have some sort of grey stone rock,
here or elephant skin they are called different everywhere and in the back there is some Eleocharis xingu or montevidensis and some Ludwigia palustris, the red stem plant There’re red cherry shrimp in here, or Sakura, I’m not sure, some dwarf Rasboras and 1 amber tetra I see some Ottocinclus here as well as some algae eating Nerite snails critique wise First of all, I see 4 rocks. Rule number one in a Iwagumi is always try to use odd number of rocks Think they could have easily been one more rock on this right side that would balance out the composition,
or it has to be a 3 rock Iwagumi and I Could easily imagine removing this rock over here and just these 3 rocks, that would work as well. This is very minimalistic and I think it would actually look nicer without this one rock or it needs another one added in the back. Other than a number of the rocks, the position of the rocks is nice, but the main rock is very very central so I would move the main rock a little bit to the right side as it is in the composition right now So towards the Golden Rule ratio, like the two-thirds one-third and And I would move it a little bit to the side add a little one extra rock on the other side and then have these 2 rocks here to balance out the composition, then it would become a little bit triangular. So we have 2 smaller rocks rising up towards the big one and then two more small rocks on the other side complementing it. Other than that I see a lack of mid ground plants here. So we have quite shallow and flat foreground. Yes, there is some transition from Hemmianthus Cuba to Eleocharis mini but I think the scape would benefit if it would have I don’t know, maybe some Staurogyne repens,
or maybe some Larger, I don’t know, Eriocaulons, or maybe Saggitaria, something like that in the mid ground or maybe Echinodorus tenellus, something like that, in the mid ground, behind the rocks, in between the rocks as a transition towards the mid ground, so it’s not so flat Or you have to go like really classic and keep everything flat with a monoculture That would work as well But in here, with very tall background,
with this Eleocharis montevidensis and Ludwigia stems I would really add some more mid ground plants to accentuate them Speaking about the plants in the background. We have the Eleocharis montevidensis and Ludwigia palustris. I think the palustris is Yeah, some new addition to the tank and with some trimming and replanting the tips It’s going to be yeah more dense and will branch out and make a little red bush and accent in the background, gonna look nice I actually like it there, but what is a little bit not so well, is the super flat background and then almost vertical growth of the Eleocharis montevidensis So there it’s definitely a need for a transition. It could be maybe Eleocharis accicularis that grows taller It could be Cryptocoryne wendtii Green It could be like before, the plant from the mid-ground, something like Saggitaria or Echinodorus tenellus something that just Makes a smooth transition to the background of the aquarium Other than that there is not much to critique or improve on this aquarium Of course Maybe some trimming, trying to keep the carpet in the foreground super super flat Literally just as flat as possible, that is going to improve the sense of scale I see from the planting the Soil wasn’t perfectly even This can be fixed in post with a credit card,
or just a plastic card, or a triangle Like a ruler or something, you can go inside and press it down to make the foreground perfectly horizontal and yeah,
then just keep the Hemmianthus Cuba like 0,5 cm in height, like very very shallow it’s going to give more depth to the aquarium.
Also fish wise I think the Ottocinclus
looks a little bit odd in this aquarium because the body size is just too large for this tank and The one single ember tetra,
I guess that’s temporarily in here It’s going to be removed,
in a different aquarium, because yeah just a single type small dwarf Rasbora would definitely be the best and the Shrimps in this tank. I think the red cherry or Sakura shrimps they are very very well visible. and this is more of a classic style So I think something more delicate and less visible would be nicer maybe Tiger shrimps or raccoon dwarf shrimps, something like almost transparent without any color I think I’ve seen some really nice Sulawesi inland shrimps, when I visited the shop in Vienna in Austria, liquid nature Yeah, they’re Inland Sulawesi shrimps. They look like miniature version of Amano shrimps Yeah, something like that would be really cool And I would definitely keep this Eleocharis montevidensis only in the back because when it starts growing in the mid-ground Coming towards the foreground Yeah, it’s like bamboo in the garden. You don’t want the bamboo all over the lawn. So that’s it about this one Let’s move on to the other one. So tank number 2 is a 60x36x36cm Iwagumi as well So we see Michael definitely likes the Iwagumi style, but it’s not the only style he has the other tanks are featuring driftwood and Yeah, so this one is with Frodo stones as well.
The main carpeting plant is Glossostigma elatinoides We have some Litorella uniflora Like little details in the mid-ground the Glossostigma goes all the way to the back. Here we have little Reineckii mini – Alternanthera reineckii Mini and in the left back corner, there is the Rotala species green.
This aquarium is only one week and 2 or 3 days old So it’s a little bit unfair to judge it But I think there are some basic things to say about it and they’re not specifically critique But yeah, just a few things that I would point out,
as it is right now. We have this open path exactly in the middle of the aquarium So I think, again, the Golden Rule Ratio can be applied and something very central is always catching the viewer’s attention. Also the main rock, the tip is almost in the middle of the aquarium, I find it a little bit distracting right now But I believe, with the Rotala species Green being in the back, over time this can balance the layout. Also, there is one more stone behind the large stone. This can be tilted/moved. So the pathway could be shifted a little bit so it is less symmetrical. The Reineckii Mini is a single plant here. I don’t know. It doesn’t show up anywhere else in the scape So one has to see, how it develops, how it would look like, but I think it could work. Also with this rock, also with this very central focused pathway. I think this can work and you know guys, with all the rules Sometimes one has to break the rules to experiment and to yeah, see if it works or not I think that’s the best way you can learn Don’t be afraid of making mistakes actually, yeah, you should love making mistakes, because if you do Then you know that you can improve otherwise, you don’t know you have done a mistake and If you do so, then you can improve and then you know what to do next time. So don’t be afraid of and that’s something to say about Michael. He’s experimenting a lot. He’s rescaping his tanks very very often,
reusing the plants, reusing the hardscape. doesn’t keep them for very long and just moving fish from one tank to another and If that was my scape, what I would have done eventually:
I would have planted more densely and I think I would have planted the middle section here in between the rocks, just to add more green. This is a very hardscape heavy tank and having just more green in the tank I believe would have helped. This Littorella uniflora is not really going to add too much green to the aquarium. It is a very slow growing plant. It doesn’t really build a thick and dense carpet. It’s really just for highlights and when you have that Glossostigma in the middle, like everywhere, I think probably you know You could even add rocks afterwards to it. What I would have done as well, is building up more height with hardscape on the right side, because it looks right now this main big rock on the right side, is almost on exactly same height
as the small rock in the background So I think it definitely needs a bigger rock in the background to balance out this side Otherwise, it looks like we have a 90° step over here and 90° angles should be avoided whenever possible. Also a thing with a selection of rocks Could have been a little bit better. So for example this side they’re all kind of brownish color They have this very rough, I don’t know, edges and corner and the cracks here in the foreground while this rock over here, is more grayish and it’s more sort of a round shape, almost like lava and It looks kind of different from this bigger rocks on this side. So this is very important, when you’re selecting rocks, not all rocks that are sold as one type of rocks, like here Frodo stone,
they don’t all look the same. Even like minilandscape rocks, some are more sharp edges, some are more round edges So whenever you’re picking up rocks try to select rocks that look almost, or as close to each other, or as similar as possible, for the most uniform look Yeah, I think that sums up this layout. I’m very curious how this one is going to develop once again,
it’s just 1 week in a couple of days old and I think when the Rotala green has filled in more and I know Michael is going to tweak it and do some changes Maybe after he has watched this video and I’m looking forward how it is going to develop and look in a couple of months So this is it for episode number 1 of #JSSCAPEREVIEW
once again the hashtag #JSSCAPEREVIEW if you want to submit yours, just post a picture on Instagram use the hashtag tag me on the image and in the description and If you want, just send it to me via direct message as well, just to catch as much attention as possible. And yeah, we have Michael here in the background. He sneaked into the room I wanted him to stay out and then watch the final video. So Michael, what would you say, you got some value from it? George: KEEP ON SCAPING! Yeah, George got some value obviously Michael: You crazy I’m crazy? Michael: It was good to hear Okay That’s it guys, that’s enough. That’s good to hear. He’s going to check out the full video Anyway guys do all the things that youtubers tell you to do. Love you, gonna see you hopefully in the next scape review. BYE Okay guys if you enjoyed this review Just click the thumbs up button, you know how it works like subscribe hit the bell take it outside I don’t know and and and This is a 60 cm aquarium, I guess that’s like 60 by 36 36 something like that Yeah And that was the bunny in the background. Oh by the way this tank over here Maybe you have seen a little bit of it in the footage. We’re going to scape it right now and Yeah, if you want to see it, click somewhere up above here. It’s going to be on George his channel and Yeah, I gonna see in the next one 😉