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Taking Reef Scaping to the next level in a CADE Pro Reef 1200

"Reefscaping will take Reef Aquaria to a whole new level just the way it did for freshwater Aquascaping" says CADE Australia's company director Adam Dalton.

We had a chat to the guy that's been working on some pretty incredible Aquascapes of late, both fresh and marine. But it's his Reef Hardscapes that have been turning heads. His latest one is for his home in a CADE Pro Reef 1200. 

Here is a video of the hardscape installation. We will update you guys again when the corals are in.  

The goal was to apply traditional freshwater aquascape techniques to a completely different reef environment in an effort to bring a truely artistic element to the hobby and really enhance the miniaturised realism that is Nature Aquaria. There is something instinctively engaging when it's done well. 

Aquascaping is considered a form of natural art and it's a very unique one at that. We take actual living things and recreate an environment that resembles nature in both form and ecosystem. If the principles of scaping are followed and it's done correctly the result is truely a sight to behold. 

With the introduction of synthetic live rock and an amazing product called Stone Fix, the reef hardscape game has definitely changed. I was asked to help out with 2 different CADE PR600 hardscapes recently and when I was done I really didn't want to hand them over. So I decided it was time to build one for myself. The PR1200 Reef project took a few days to build. The first 2 days I didn't even cement, I just pushed rocks around, planned and envisioned until I knew I could create what I wanted with the rocks I had. Once I started cementing it took me about 4 hours to complete. 

There is a fundamental difference between Aquascape and Reefscape and that's that it conflicts with an aquascapers natural instincts. In freshwater scaping we position stone and then we plant around it predominantly. Of course in a reef the corals are positioned predominantly on the rock. So it took some time for me to realign and adjust to this new way of thinking. In short, decide on the type of corals you want, then a rough design style and then do your best to work with the rock you have to create your vision. 

The plan for this tank is that it was always going to be a mixed reef because I wanted movement in the tank and a huge variety of colour. I wanted height with vertical angles, floating ledges, open for flow and it was important that it looked good from every viewable angle. 

The rock wall canyon is designed to draw your eye central and create a perception of depth which is helped along with carefully considered rock angles and platforms forming part of the dominant rock structures. All the adjoining stones are positioned in a way to make you feel as though they were once connected to the main structure but now have eroded away. They also in fact form part of the zones in which corals of different species will inhabit. Yet another consideration to contend with. In the foreground corners I've used larger rocks which is an uncommon sight in a reef tank but this technique is quite commonly found in freshwater Aquascaping to again create a perception of depth and to draw your vision central. Every rock has it's place and has a purpose both aesthetically and for inhabitability. The foreground stones will be covered in an array of small inverts like brightly coloured Zoas and Acans etc. There will also be very low flat pieces added to the foreground to push your view inward when viewing from the front. All the surfaces of the rock will accomodate corals of differing light requirements and the upper areas and the back bones of the dominant bombs will accomodate a collection of colourful SPS corals. Everything will have it's place, it will be busy but structured and all the pieces will be as small as I can find to further encourage a detailed miniaturised look. Then it's just a case of letting them all grow out and compete for space to complete the overall natural look.

Looking forward to keeping you guys updated, but until then... it's time to go coral shopping.  Reef Stock is in August :) and yes CADE have sponsored the event. Hope to see you all there.

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