Lateral Lines: Once Again Part II: Aquascaping and Lighting

In the Once Again: Part I article I discussed the importance
of electricity and plumbing. This article will discuss the design
of aquascaping and lighting. Again, I hope this information will
be useful to you the reader in your current and future plans to
set up another aquarium. In addition to email, I’ll try to
address questions to this article with an online discussion of
the article found here
http://blogs.frags.org/showblog.php?bid=186

Background

Why Aquascaping and Lighting? This seems to be the most
appropriate time for these two items in this series. I say this
because in terms of setting up an aquarium this is when these
items actually take place. However, the design and preparation
may have occurred several months prior to this stage.

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Aquascaping

Aquascaping is landscaping for the aquarium. It is the general
term for the functional, artistic, dynamic, creative, usage of
structures within the aquarium. Aquascaping usually consists of
two main items; rock work and corals. The rockwork is made by
piling up rocks. These rocks can be stacked up, glued together,
skewered as rock-ka-bobs, balanced, or hanging. Most home
aquariums feature a stack of rock along the back wall, trying to
stay off the sand, going from left to right. If you haven’t
set up your aquarium yet then please take my advice and
don’t set up your tank this way. It is usually bad for
water flow, generally boring, and lacks the features found in
many other designs. I won’t give much information on
creative ways to stack rock; just about every beginner book
offers diagrams on how to make caves, arches, caverns, and how to
set up rock on frame structures.

rock4.jpg rock1.jpgrock2.jpgrock3.jpg

Shown here is a series of pictures of Jim
Perry aquascaping his 1,000 gallon aquarium system. Jim planned
out his rockwork ahead of time and decided to make
rock-ka-bobs. The process involved drilling holes through live
rock, then using pvc or acrylic rods to skewer the rock. This
provides flexibility but durability as well. Once completed the
rods are unseen and the rock structures form the basis of the
aquascaping.

So there isn’t a need for me to provide many examples or
recommendations (plus I really like seeing people do things their
own way). So I’ll just say that whatever you chose to do,
know it ahead of time and have it well planned out. Plan it with
this in mind

  • What do you want the aquascaping to do
  • How will you set it up (frame work, stacked, glued, acrylic
    rods)
  • How does it affect water motion, swimming areas, feeding,
    filtration, lighting
  • Where do future tank inhabitants change the
    aquascaping

So far this information may seem very vague. That is somewhat
intentional. As I said before I really enjoy seeing other people
do things their own way. I hope to provide some food for thought,
but as always feel free to email me if you have questions.

AdamandRock1.JPGTankDry.JPGTank4weeks.JPGTank4weeks2.JPG

Shown here are pictures of Marzena
Blundell’s aquarium. Marzena wanted the look of a reef
wall and also large caverns allowing swimming room both in
front of and behind the main rock work. To accomplish this the
author is shown here gluing rocks to the back of the aquarium,
large rocks in place before adding water, and finally two
pictures of the aquarium at 4 weeks (yes weeks!) age.

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Lighting

Lighting is super important to a reef aquarium. The types of
lights you need depend upon what you intend to keep. Did you get
that? Unfortunately too many people will buy livestock and then
try to change their lighting system to keep those animals. Much
better practice is to know what you plan to keep, and to buy the
proper lighting for said inhabitants. Do not get the idea that
there exists one best type of light, or that your aquarium needs
uniform lighting throughout the entire tank. Some tanks are
bright, some are dim, some shimmer and some don’t, and some
are bright on one side and dim on the other. Knowing how your
tank will perform and how it will look, is helpful in selecting
the proper light system for you.

LightPulley1.JPG
LightPulley2.JPGLightPulley3.JPG

These pictures show a well designed light
system. This lighting system is operated by a series of pulleys
to raise and lower the lights.

LightWindow.JPG
sunlighttank.jpg

Some aquariums use sunlight as a primary or
secondary light source.

3Tanks.JPG
Light10and20K.JPGLight10and20Kb.JPG

Having multiple tanks allows a hobbyist to
create different looks for different habitats. Another way to
create different looks is to have different bulbs in the
aquarium. Shown here are pictures of an aquarium lit by one 10K
halide on one side and the other side with on 20K halide.

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Conclusion

While this article is quite short I hope it serves the readers
in an unusual way. I hope the pictures/captions will bring up new
ideas. Instead of describing several aspects to aquascaping and
lighting this article is intended to generate discussion.
Hopefully by seeing different set ups the reader can identify
their personal preferences for these two items.

Author Information

Adam Blundell M.S. works in Marine Ecology, and in Pathology
for the University of Utah. He is also Director of The Aquatic
& Terrestrial Research Team, a group which utilizes research
projects to bring together hobbyists and scientists. His vision
is to see this type of collaboration lead to further advancements
in aquarium husbandry. While not in the lab he is the former
president of one of the Nation’s largest hobbyist clubs, the
Wasatch Marine Aquarium Society
(www.utahreefs.com). Adam
has earned a BS in Marine Biology and an MS in the Natural
Resource and Health fields. Adam can be found at
adamblundell@hotmail.com.

References

  1. Blundell, A. (2006), “Once Again Part I: Electricity
    and Plumbing”, Advanced Aquarist Online Magazine,
    http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2006/7/lines,
    USA.
Category:
  Advanced Aquarist
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About

 Adam Blundell

  (44 articles)

Adam Blundell M.S. works in Marine Ecology, and in Pathology for the University of Utah. He is also Director of The Aquatic & Terrestrial Research Team, a group which utilizes research projects to bring together hobbyists and scientists. His vision is to see this type of collaboration lead to further advancements in aquarium husbandry. While not in the lab he is the former president of one of the Nation's largest hobbyist clubs, the Wasatch Marine Aquarium Society (www.utahreefs.com). Adam has earned a BS in Marine Biology and an MS in the Natural Resource and Health fields. Adam can be found at adamblundell@hotmail.com.

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