September 2019 Meeting

Sunday, September 29th, 2019 at 1:05 pm

Our September meeting featured a presentation from master aquascaper Jeff Miotke. He took us on a journey from his first aquascape all the way to today, and showed us how his aquascaping style evolved over time. He also gave us some tips about how to make an “awesome” aquascape.

Jeff has competed in the International Aquatic Plant Layout Contest (IAPLC) since 2013 and has placed below 200 since 2014. In 2016, he placed 62nd, which is his best IAPLC showing to date. He also competed in the 2018 CIPS International Aquascaping Contest (CIAC) where he placed 22nd overall, and 1st in the US. Therefore, he was invited to China to compete in a 6 hour “aquascaping Olympics” where he placed 7th.

Here are some of the pieces of wisdom Jeff shared with the group:

-Start with a story or the feeling you want to embody. Is it a mountain top? Is it a dark, spooky forest? Is it a peaceful riverbank?

-While placing the hardscape, focus on scale and perspective. Place detailed stones near the front of the tank, and plain stones in the back. Also make sure that strata line up or are at least going in the same direction. Keep in mind the guidelines that artists follow (focal points, rule of 3rds, golden ratio, negative space) *emphasis on them being guidelines, not rules*

-Avoid beginner mistakes: not water logging wood, “two sticks and a stone” layouts, blocky stones that are aesthetically unpleasing.

-Get good equipment. Have an equipment budget, but get quality where it matters. Jeff suggests a low iron rimless aquarium, good lighting, a solid filter, surface skimmer, and CO2.

-Finally, polish your photos. That can be accomplished with: a quality camera, a tripod, remote trigger, off camera flash, blackout material, post editing software, fish positioning, and surface movement.

Here is a photo of Jeff imparting the aforementioned wisdom: