March Meeting

Saturday, March 27th, 2021 at 3:08 pm

Dennis Wong joined us via Zoom to speak to 17 members about Keystones in Constructing a Diorama: how to inject scale and detail into an aquascape. According to Dennis, there has been an increase in use of and focus on technical hardscaping in the hobby. He gave a live demonstration using an example diorama and talked through his creative process.

Creating depth in a diorama is very important. You want to use all of the available space in your tank. Use hardscape that is equal to the height of the tank and fills all the corners. You can even put hardscape very close to the front of the glass, it creates a differentiation between the front and the back, creating depth.

When purchasing hardscape from a store, it’s not usually in a shape that would be useful in the diorama. Look for rocks that can either be broken down into, or are available in different sizes. Conversely, you can glue smaller rocks together to make a bigger rock. For wood, you can cut the branches into shapes and sizes that work by using a wood saw to cut the large pieces into small pieces. Then, you can glue the small pieces together in shapes that resemble trees.

Once your have your pieces and hardscape, you need to create a slope in your tank to give yourself room to create paths and perspective. Simply piling up more substrate won’t work. You need to create barriers to hold the substrate. Dennis recommends using drainage crate. You can cut the crate and stack it up to create a foundation for the hardscape and a way to keep the substrate from sliding. You can even glue rocks onto the crate. The maximum workable slope for a tank is around 45 degrees. Placing larger pieces in the front of the diorama, and smaller pieces towards the back creates depth.