* Article available in ADA NATURE AQUARIUM BOOK 2008. Buy it now !
Then we placed the second largest stone, sub stone, on the opposite side of the main stone in a learning form. Here we adjusted the direction and angles of those two stones, and carefully decided their positions. In Iwagumi layout, it usually starts with arranging larger stones to small stones.
Next to the five backbone stones (1~5), here we added smaller stones in a direction as if they support the leaning backbone stones. By arranging the rocks in zigzag, a sense of depth can be created in the layout. Placing a much smaller stone(6) between the larger stones makes a sense of unity in the layout, and the layout looks more natural.
After arranging the stones, we use Aqua Soil Powder type and make a mound around the stones. By making a slope from the foreground to the background and sprinkling the Aqua Soil between the stones, a continual line is created in the layout. Do not put too much soil in the foreground.
Planting becomes easier by filling the aquarium with water up to the level of the substrate. Here we placed small stones tied with Riccia along the lines of the large stones. Then we planted Hemianthus callitrichoides in the front and Glossostigma in the back. The use of short plants with tiny leaves emphasizes the existence of the stones.
Next to the 5 backbone stones, we planted Blyxa rovoguineensis leaf and Echinodorus tenellus. Planting beside the stones is very important, and it makes the layout more natural. In the final form, these plants and rocks promote a naturalness.
Lastly, we chose Eleocharis vivipara for the background. Eleocharis also
plays a role of easing the strong rock impression. The planting area is
decided depending on the balance of the layout. Here we planted from the
left side to the back of the No.2 stone. Then finally, we filled the aquarium
tank with water gently so that the water does not crumble the substrate.
This is an iwagumi layout characterized by Manten Stone texture. When arranging the stones, it is important to pay attention not only to the size and leaning angle of the stone, but also the texture of the stones such as uneven surface. Then you can make a sense of unity among the stones. Eleocharis vivipara planted in the back of the main stones is softening a strong image of the stones.
A layout composition with several arranged stones, widely spreading sideways, gives the layout a sense of stability, and this type of layout is recommended for a panoramic size aquarium. A key to create such stone layout is setting the stones in the way as if they were connected under the ground. It is very important to have an intricate rock arrangement design and a continuous outline of the stones like a skyline of mountain. We can find them in a landscape and learn from it; for example, in the landscape of rock reefs being washed by stormy surf. Observing a natural landscape is the first step for improving your rock arrangement skills.