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need help with pictures of peoples tanks. I have aquascaped and reaquascaped my tank for the 6th time and it still looks sucky as eve. i will try to take photos and get them on here somehow.

I am aquascaping an american tank. so especially want to hear from american keepers.
 

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hmm, i usually use a centerpiece and work around it, it doesnt have to be in the center, just a focal of interest. lets say if you use a large stone block, you can put another one next to it that is same size but differently shaped. and then add more smaller and medium size stones around them.
Then depending n the color of the blocks, lets say if they were black, white or reddish brown sand/gravel will go nicely. And you can put some hardy plants in between the blocks so the big fish cant uproot them...just a simple idea.

but you can have more then one centerpieces, lets say 3 , 2 big ones and one small...never any rules, just have to play around with an idea and see how it works.
 

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You can take a look at my tank in my tanks link.

There is something called the golden ratio, which makes thinks look...well...right. Its equal to about 2/3, and is seen throughout nature with things we find beautiful.
In your tank, this works out to finding a centerpiece, and putting it off-center so that 1/3 of the tank is on one side, and 2/3 on the other. Another thing you should always do is slope the gravel. This can be deeper in the back (creates depth) or sloped on one side. If you look at my tank, I have the low point in the front, it builds as it gets to the sides, and as it rises to the back of the tank. This helps make the tank look bigger. A background (plain black or blue usually work best) can help keep the tank from looking too busy if there is a lot going on behind the glass.

Beyond that, you have a lot of options for overall design. The tank can slope from left to right (higher on one side, lower on the other). Be higher in the middle and lower on the sides, lower in the middle and higher on the sides (thats what my tank is). Once you settle on how your going to design it, you want items to pull the tank together, similar plants, rocks, driftwood etc to help pull it together and create balance and harmony. You want things to be similar, but still different enough that it doesnt look fake. So, if you have a centerpiece, you might want two rock piles on either side. On one side, you might have one large pile, and the other side might have two smaller ones. The two flanking sides provide balance, but the fact that they are unique helps it look more natural.

(a note on rocks, dont use 97 differernt types of rock, stick with one or maybe two types and get different sizes and shape of those rocks)

One last area to pay attention to is color and tone. You want to have a balance, say, mostly green plants but you dont want it to look all the same, so you want a couple of red plants to help break things up. But too many greens, reds, purples, yellows, and the tank will look too busy. You also want colors that bring out the fish and dont drown them out, or fight with them for your attention.
 

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Sorry for another post, but this one was a different way of looking at it, so I put up another one.

You can also look at the tank as an artist would a painting.

You want a focal point, the one place your eye will immediatly be drawn to. After that, you want some secondary focal points, these are points that are interesting, but not dominant enough to catch your eye at first glance. The idea is that a picture should cause you to focus on one point, then draw your eyes around it.

And one very last item, I promise. Start your tank off with the basics, lay out the gravel, and put down your main focal point. Then put down your secondary focal point. Put some pics online and ask for input. Then put the finishing touches on it, and ask for more input. Some of the people on this forum have amazing eyes for setting up tanks! -note-im not one of them, so dont take me too seriously.
 

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not the greatest shot to illustrate.



I need to see if I can borrow some studio strobes to take it next time,

or I might just pick up a cheap 500w work light and add that to the other 1 I already own, and then flood light it.

currently I run 4 1-1.3w LEDs on it, and its perfectly fine for viewing the fish (even when its very sunny in the room) however, its not enough light to take photographs with

 

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Use rocks and driftwood. In my tanks, I build up sandstone, and slate, and make stacks, and caves, plus all kinds of crevices the fish can explore. Driftwood, you can use stumps, branches, hollowed out logs, and all kinds, just remember it's probably gonna stain your water.

Use plants, and a good lighting to help illuminate the tank.
Make you're centerpiece, but it doesn't have to be in the center, say you have, some big rocks on either side of the tank, and then driftwood/plants throughout.Or a stump in one corner, and rocks in the other........
There are a billion ideas.Search google, and look all over the site until you get an idea or find something you like.
 

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All the previously mentioned stuff is excellent advice!

There's only two things I'd humbly add:

1. Search for natural pics of a particular region. I'm setting up a Lake Malawi tank, and actual lake photos are an inspiration.
2. Search tanks on this site. Guaranteed there's someone's tank that provides inspiration for your own personal twist on it.

Good luck!
 

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This is what I do. Go to a landscape yard to find rocks. Not just any company will do .. you need a place known for their rocks.

Collect your rocks from one pile. One type of rock. I prefer a gray/tan/brown/light brown color. Or any mix on that theme. Don't collect from a pile with sharp angles .. Smooth and round-ish is a good choice. get lots of shapes and sizes. Do not just get a bunch of round rocks. Vary the shapes as much as possible as long as it is from the same pile (same type of rock).

Center piece? Maybe, but not a must. Sometimes the centerpiece is just sand. Don't get confused by the word "centerpiece". The centerpiece does not have to be so obvious that everyone knows it is the centerpiece.

Only you can arrange your tank and it is much better and more respected to copy nature than to look at pictures of other tanks for inspiration.

Do not under any circumstances let yourself arrange your layout based on what other people say. Once you get the hang of it you may find it is the most enjoyable part of setting up a new tank. it should not be a source of stress or discouragement.

Do your layout dry before you do it in the tank. On some cardboard or even on the living room floor. Take a picture when you think you have it just right so you can have something to go by when you do it in the aquarium.
 

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It can be frustrating to arrange a tank. I took 4 hours a few nights ago to rearrange my 29 gallon tanganyika tank after breaking it down to catch a fish. After SEVERAL unsuccessful attempts, I finally gave up and got it as "good" as I could before going to sleep. After a few days, I actually like it more that the previous setup. If you're not absolutely horrified by the layout, I'd keep it fo a few days. You might find that you like it more, or come up with some ideas as to how you'd improve upon it.
 
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