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It's a bit late, but the usual making-of article has started!



Step 1: Ideas 


Let's start with the design. 

Only works within the top 100 can enter the world judging . It's meaningless if it's not in the top 100. First of all, let's grasp the winning points firmly!

There's only one thing to keep in mind! The goal is to create an impressive work that catches the eye instantly while complying to some extent with the judging criteria .

If you can impress the judges, you can get into the top 100. If you're aiming for a top 100 ranking, or even higher , it's all about the originality of the work . Are there any new challenges that will become standard in the next generation , such as different, unprecedented compositions and innovative approaches (new ways to use aquatic plants, lighting, new materials, etc.) ? (Just as it was) that is the world of high rankings (I hope the judges don't miss that!)

Well, this time, the new challenge of the advisor's work is

1. The design makes the entire aquarium feel undulating from one end to the other. I've never seen anything like that because it's very difficult to make, and the undulations are left to the curves of the driftwood itself.

2. Expressing a band-like color from one end of the aquarium to the other To make the black shadows even more appealing, we created a band of white sand from one end to the other (rather than expressing color on the surface, we created a thin band that goes toward the background).

3. The materials of driftwood, stone, and white sand blend well together.

4. Use of multiple stones and a wide variety of aquatic plants. Let the aquatic plants flow tightly

5. A photo of an orange gridder danio swimming against the current of water

Creating an impressive shadow is something we take for granted every year, and I've talked about this many times before, so I'll skip that part and try something interesting this time, by creating a white band .
There have been expressions using white sand in the past, but I've never seen a white line running from one edge of the screen to the other, even in the center, and I think it's very impressive. If the contrast between the large flow of shadows and the flow of white can be expressed well , it will leave an instant impression when you see it .

Orange gridder danios live in fast-moving waters . If he is able to properly express an aquascape that gives the impression of water flowing faster than any other work, he will not only be in the top 100, but if he can convey the intention behind his work to all the judges, he can win the Grand Prize

If there is a risk, you may not be able to place even in the top 20 if the judging is done in such a way that you are put off by the unusual aquascape you are not used to seeing


Step 2: Materials


 Real scene before starting production

Face the aquarium, a canvas of water, and surround it with the materials you want to use. The entire floor is pallet ????

It's the usual process. The detailed process is the same throughout the year, so I'll break it down.



Step 3: Hardscape


Attach the pattern to the aquarium stand and cover it with gardening net to prevent damage to the bottom of the aquarium. The front and back were reversed, but I noticed it before I started creating it and corrected it.

Since it is an invisible part, any foundation can be used, such as stone or brick, which will not affect the water quality, and we will raise the level.

I'm used to this area, so I move forward without hesitation.

Glue it with hardener to prevent it from falling apart. Fill the gaps between the stones with cotton.

I also reused the cotton I used last year.

In no time at all, the foundation was laid.

From here, I take my time and slowly compare the designs with the designs. I drew auxiliary lines on the front glass of the aquarium

Use Posca


Draw the flow of the line you want to draw . This is a sketch. (You can remove the paint by rubbing it with a cloth.)

While imagining the picture you want to draw, slowly place the driftwood and stone materials little by little.

I'll do it step by step. 

with hardener

I'll stop it so it doesn't move.

Arrange them so that you can feel the flow.

Don't rely on intuition, make the image in your brain concrete

Angle from above, creating a background with a depth of 50 cm


I use a gardening net for the earthen hold. 

This is like making a diorama. Although it is called an aquatic plant layout, I have not touched the aquatic plants yet. There may be some people who object to this kind of creative method.

This is a departure from a creative style that relies on intuition. 

Create a soil pocket in the shape of a podium.

Fill the bottom bed with cotton.

I ran out of materials so I went shopping at the aquatic plant shop.

It's not cheap by any means, but I got exactly what I wanted.

Assemble small parts step by step. Combination of materials While watching the streaks of driftwood and the shadows of folds, change the direction

It's almost time for dynamic meditation.

Put a little bit of soil into the soil pocket (indentation that serves as a soil receptacle).

While checking for leaks 

Fill the leaking area with pebbles or cotton to keep it in place.

After confirming that there are no leaks on the bottom floor

I'll try adding power sand .

Pour the soil over it.

 The big picture is finally coming into view


Step 4: Planting

Plants kept near the window

Preparations for the undergrowth materials are complete!

After spreading the soil, it's time to start planting .

By the way, the process up to this point has taken two months.

Final check to see if the shadows are well balanced

Correct and reinforce the overall flow to ensure that the shapes are connected . (It's easier to check if it's monochrome)

Underbrush grown and stocked by the window

I will definitely use it

mist all over


Creates a drenching space with plenty of humidity

Clear away the clumps of undergrowth.

New Large Pearl Glass has the scent of fresh daikon radish.

Oh my, it was too crowded...

I should have left more space between the plants, but I will continue as is

Next, we will plant hair grass.

The color is not good, but I know from year-round experience that it will come back.

It's been about 10 days since the first planting.

Plant hair grass crisply using tweezers.

Lots of gardening elements

During the mist period

Close the glass lid tightly to prevent moisture from escaping.

The upper part of the aquarium tends to dry out easily, so occasionally use a mist to keep it moisturized.

Check for rooting

I hope you grow up fast

We have entered the mist management period . The lights are on for about 10 hours every day. Expecting heat from metaharassment, a large amount of irradiation is used

Steady rooting and growth

Nearly two months have passed and the undergrowth has become sparse, so I'm going to water it .

Direct tap water from the hose to the aquarium

Water can be easily poured by inserting a hose into the space at the rear of the aquarium.

This is the space that will later be used to store water supply pipes, heaters, etc.

It is now full of water.

Trimming overgrown undergrowth

This will be the first trim.

The stock tank is also ready for stemmed plants.

We will be planting stemmed plants.

Plain work!

We've finally reached the turn of touching aquatic plants and laying out aquatic plants!

We have plenty of aquatic plant material in stock tanks ready!

Plant stemmed plants crisply, just like planting rice.

Plant the plants along one flowing line to create a band of color in the design .

We were able to grow a large stock of microsolium tridents that represent the flow of water .

It is a species that is not difficult to grow, so it is helpful. It has increased to this extent due to neglect. The layout of the aquarium seems to be finished in a work that gives a sense of the wild.

Wrap it around driftwood

Follow the flow of driftwood and place it in the right place.

While paying attention to the direction of the leaves

Easy to install.

The aquatic plants and driftwood are tied together with strings.

It gradually took shape.

All that's left to do is wait for the aquatic plants to grow and watch them take on a natural shape .

Create the white line and white sand part.

Make a cut in the underbrush with scissors

Fill the crevices with thin cotton.


push in

I would like to add a white band line to the aquarium from end to end, but I don't have enough space.

White accents here and there

Drop white sand onto the pressed cotton

using test tubes


along the line

Then, with a brush, smooth

The moss is starting to become noticeable, so

Add Yamatonuma shrimp

Water adjustment

The black beard moss stuck to the driftwood

With this guy


Finally, add the fish

This time it's Orange Glitter Danio . This is my very favorite fish.


Angle from above

The light on the left side of the aquarium is Metahara , and the right side is LED, and I am experimenting and verifying it. How will your upbringing change?


Anubias Nana installed at the bottom left

It feels like they are growing in clumps.


Also casually on the right side

The bottom of the tank is filled with black sand and thin roots . The foreground, white sand, is too ordinary.


Checking the flow shape

 Due to the growth of aquatic plants, the flowing lines of the driftwood disappeared, so I added them.


Overall situation

It's nearing completion. It has always bothered him that the original idea of ​​a white line running from one end of the aquarium to the other was not realized . There was a time when he was confused as to why he couldn't do it and why he couldn't make it in time .


At the very least, I wanted to create a white point in a part of the lower part of the tank to create a sense of light and darkness .

Tanned with a brush.

Be diligent about cleaning


Step 5: Final 

It 's finally time to shoot .

Photographing an aquarium requires special settings. Since the aquarium is made of glass, the surrounding scenery will be reflected on the glass surface of the aquarium . You don't have to go this far, but cover the ceiling with a black cloth.

I would like to thank Mr. Akinori Ikeda and Ikeko for their help this year as well .

The photographer should also wear a black T-shirt to avoid being reflected.


Thank you for always taking pictures!

I'm proud of having my aquarium work photographed by a professional photographer! That's it

Ikeko, thank you for always helping me!

Shooting completed!



Author Katsuki Tanaka / Japan

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