GF, I have a questions, what made you decide on Cardinals? Granted, they are a stunning fish and I know you've kept them very successfully in the past (they looked fabulous in your old Java fern scape with the black and green), but I don't know, I'm not seeing them so much here. They are a bit large for the tank and a little too colorful for the minimalist look you are goiing for. It's the red and the blue. If it had been me, I would have gone with Boraras. You should look into Boraras species. IMO, some of the best fish out there for these subtle Iwagumi scapes. They school well, and are quite a bit smaller and slimmer than characins, so they'll help with scale. That tank could look like a 40g with B. europhthalmoides or B. merah. The only drawback is that they can get sucked up intake tubes.
There was one scape a while back that ranked very high in a competition, Mexican scaper, used HC is a kind of wild, overgrown way. He used B. europhthalmoides in the scape. The tank looked absolutely ginormous. Ian, where's that picture?
Just wondering as well why you chose the cardinals.
I remember in last months issue of PFK, with the large open Iwagumi tank, it mentions that contrasting colours should be avoided in Iwagumi.
Don't get me wrong, they look fantastic, and I much prefer them to anything that would usually go in there, but is that the reason why? Because it's different? Were you trying to spice up Iwagumi considering all the blandness you find these days?