James Cameron might not realise the effect he had on aquascaping, but ever since â€˜that' film, every aquascaper and their dog have seemingly been hard at it, recreating a little slice of Pandora at home, says Nathan Hill.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about novelty, but it has to be done right if it’s to be impressive. I noted early on that Hong Kong 'scaper Wu Know Fai Gary had embraced the concept and turned out a couple of gorgeous tanks with floating 'islands'.
Then everyone in the world appeared to have a stab, and some godawful efforts appeared. I still shudder at the eye-pain I’ve endured looking at some.
However, we’ve just stumbled across this oldie, posted up on YouTube back in 2011, and it takes the Avatar concept one step further, and — dare I say it — it’s pretty danged well executed.
All we know is that it was seen at a pet expo, but we know nothing of the creator. What makes this particular take a little special is the introduction of two sandfalls.
Sandfalls are an easy enough concept, usually involving an uplift and airstone principle to pull sand up from a collecting bowl at the foot of the waterfall, and then carry it up to an opening. And you know what? It kind of works here.
I’m undecided as to exactly what the plants are. I see Anubias, Eleocharis, Java moss, and what appears to me to be a Micranthemum species rather than the classic Hemianthus used for this kind of gig.
How are those islands held up? Beats me. At first I thought they were somehow connected to the front glass, but looking closely, they seem to rotate ever so slightly in the flow. That, or my eyes and brain are playing up again. Either way, if they’re moving then it suggests they’re suspended on a monofilament wire; very thin fishing line, perhaps…
If anyone has an artist’s name for me, I’d be appreciative, as I’d like to credit the maker properly.
In the meantime, get stuck in and offer your thoughts. You might want the audio off, though, unless you like that whole feely-good, triumphant, indigenous alien style music. Personally, I wanted to ram white-hot knitting needles in my ears, but what the hey — the aquarium still looks great.
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