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Although I didn't reach my goal of winning the Grand Prix, I was very happy as I was able to get my highest ranking . I am filled with gratitude to the people at ADA who hold such a wonderful contest every year.


Step 1: Ideas 

Now, let's get to the making~ First, think about the composition. I draw it while thinking about it. This always takes a lot of time ^^;

After a lot of sketching, I decided on the composition.

It seems like the structure is somehow difficult. . However, I was confident that I could keep making this for half a year without getting bored . The scariest thing about creating a work is getting bored halfway through ^^;

white stone material. black low floor. A bold composition. There are enough new elements, so if it goes well, I thought it would be an impressive work.

Now that I have decided on the composition, I am looking for materials.



Step 2: Materials

When I drew this sketch, I had an idea that it might be possible to express this using pumice stone.

Pumice stone can be easily cut with a saw. It's also very light, making it easy to do frame work.

I thought it would be an interesting layout to see the sharply cut sections .

When I cut it up, I was surprised to see that there were so many variations in color and texture.

On the other hand, there are also problems. That means it will float on water.And white pumice becomes very noticeable when algae gets on it.
We have to find ways to solve these problems. 

White pumice is very noticeable when covered with algae. Wouldn't it be possible to prevent algae by applying a thin layer of silicone-based caulking agent (no mold-releasing agent) ? I thought. I will test it in a stock tank. The photo below shows how silicone was applied to only the center and left in the aquarium for several weeks.

The painted center seems to be almost free of algae.It seems to be effective!

In exchange, the texture will be a little slimy. (It's hard to see in the photo, but) I can't think of any other way. At the moment , so I'll just accept this and move on. To solve the problem of pumice floating in water, we conducted a test by gluing it to a heavy stone and sinking it.

It's kind of messy ^^; When I glued it to a heavy stone, it somehow sank.

It seems like it would be quite a hassle to glue all the pumice stones together, but for now, it seems like that's the only way to do it.

No problems with hardness check. Now that all the issues have been resolved, we can start building the structure.



Step 3: Hardscape

Now it's time to create the framework. This is the most exciting part of the layout. You excited.

First, before making the framework, we cut the pumice stone.

It can be easily cut with a saw. It's much easier than cutting hard driftwood.

A lot of powder comes out when cutting, so it may be better to soak it in water before cutting.
I wonder how safe this powder is. . . If you have a chance, I would like to ask a specialist. (Where can I meet a specialist?) When you wash the cross section, you can see the unique porous texture.

I was able to discover the diversity of pumice by looking at several cross sections ^^

Now, what should we do about the biggest problem with pumice, which is to prevent it from floating in water? . Pumice is so easy to float on water that it is also called "floating stone", so something must be done about it.

I decided to glue pumice stone to the sliced ​​lava stone. Sliced ​​lava stone feels stable and has enough weight, so it seems like it will hold the pumice stone firmly in place.

It looks like the teeth of a huge animal. 

I glued it all together!

Assemble the framework through trial and error. Comparing it with the sketch I pasted on the aquarium stand. 

It's starting to take shape little by little, but there's no sense of scale at all.

What should I do with the white line at the top right of the rough sketch? After thinking about it a lot, I decided to attach pumice stones to a piece of driftwood hooked to the aquarium .

I'm glad I had a piece of driftwood that was just the right length.

Glue cut pumice stones to the hooked driftwood . It's light so it's very easy to glue.
You can put your hand around the middle ground. It's a bit of a strange structure, but it lets in some light and is quite convenient.

The black shadow area is made of black pumice stones piled up like bricks. It's a little rough, but it's a shadow, so it's not a problem. (Should be!)

I'm still in the process of assembling the structure, but I'm adding soil. 


Step 4: Planting

Also, plant.

Adjust fine details while waiting for the undergrowth to grow using the mist method .

Around the vanishing point. It's fun because just by placing a few small stones, the sense of perspective suddenly increases.

The skeleton is complete!

 Water is poured without waiting for the undergrowth to grow. (I'm in a hurry because I don't have time ^^;)

The stones were firmly glued together and the structure was such that the soil wouldn't flow easily, so even when I poured water, the layout didn't collapse ~ (Good ~ ~ ^^;) 

I was thinking of going into aquatic plant cultivation mode and relaxing, but I ran into a problem. This time I decided to use pumice stone as a layout material. It is a very interesting material as it is lightweight and can be cut with a saw .

The white parts are inevitably attacked by algae and turn green. As a countermeasure, I applied a thin layer of transparent silicone caulk. However, it gradually turned green. 

 Terrible green. . . . I tried placing a rubber plate cut out in the shape of a stone over the stone, but it was too troublesome and I gave up halfway through. . ^^; Now, what should I do? . .

At a loss, I consulted an aquatic plant layout team to see if there was a way to return it to white, and they advised me to apply wood vinegar . After continuing to apply wood vinegar over several days 

Amazing effect! The green coloring has almost disappeared.
Thank you!
That was helpful!


Step 5: Final 

On the day of shooting

I did everything I could. 

Anything that might be reflected in the tank was covered with black cloth.

A hair dryer is also available to make the water surface ripple.

Shooting will begin soon. 

Two photographers (Studio Yukai)
Akinori Ikeda and
Yuka Ikenoya 

Thank you so much for everything you do every year. 

and Katsuki Tanaka , a senior in my life (adviser of the Aquarium Department, Kyoto Seika University). 

Take a quick photo of the area you are interested in with your smartphone and check the image. 

Preparations for the shoot are progressing swiftly. 

 Finally shooting

Thank you very much for taking pictures. How can I express my gratitude? . . I'm overwhelmed with emotion. The result was 11th place in the world ranking , the best result ever.

 I was able to have a fulfilling aquarium life this year as well. I truly believe that it is because of the support of those around me. I'll do my best next year too.

Author Eri Tokusasahi / Japan

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