Aquascaping is the art of creating underwater landscapes in aquariums. Natural ecosystems like forests and oceans are often used as inspirations behind marine aesthetics. Various aquatic plants and decorative ornaments are used in these artistic setups. Active substrates and colorful sands form the aquascaping soils. Special equipment is needed to fulfill the technical requirements, and maintenance tools are designed to keep the aquascapes in good condition. Aquatic plants are combined with stones and driftwood into exquisite underwater gardens. These allow aquarists to take their fishkeeping hobbies to a whole new level.
Principles of Aquascaping
Less is more
Simplicity is a crucial principle that brings out the best in your aquascaping endeavors. You do not want to cram your aquarium with several plants and accessories, even though it feels tempting to do so. Remember to aim for quality, not quantity!
You do not need too much of everything to achieve quality – just a bit of variety walks the extra mile. Aquascaping relies on imagination and execution to create the intended effect. By introducing a variety of plants and colors, you can make your aquarium stand out in its theme.
All components need to work together as one cohesive concept. This allows the empty spaces to balance out the occupied ones through depth, volume, texture, and color.
Just like any gardening activity demands patience and practice, aquascaping also requires you to experiment with different styles until you are satisfied with the results. There are no standard rules, and you are welcome to explore your creative freedom!
The art of good aquascaping makes use of strategic focal points that draw the eye towards the main features. Small aquariums need just one focal point; large aquariums may use more than one. They essentially hold the entire theme together by letting the primary visuals (caves, mountains, etc.) appear prominent.
Background, midground, and foreground
There are virtually endless possibilities to create the perfect background, midground, and foreground design trio. Plants such as amazon sword, giant hair grass, java fern, water wisteria, and java moss can be arranged into layered heights to create aquatic dimension.
Technical and natural aspects
An aquascape is comprised of technical and natural elements that bring it to life. These include aquarium filters, LED lighting, carbon dioxide systems, liquid fertilizers, hardscape materials, aquasoil, and maintenance supplies.
Aquarium water filters are installed to filter out impurities such as fish waste and chemicals. Water filters can be mechanical, biological, or chemical in their functionality, and modern canister filters often exploit two of the three styles together.
LED lighting is essential to the growth of aquascape plants. Aquarium lights are the main component of any aquascape setup as they help the plants to photosynthesize.
Carbon dioxide systems are also imperative to plant growth, as plants depend on light, carbon dioxide, and water to make their own food.
Liquid fertilizers are available in the form of macronutrients and micronutrients to promote plant health. They create an optimum environment for aquatic plants to thrive in and need to be added in recommended amounts, bearing in mind the lighting and carbon dioxide levels of the aquarium.
Hardscape materials include rocks and driftwood that serve as decorative ornaments. Cosmetic sand and gravel also enhance aesthetics. Plants and hardscape materials together form the architectural beauty of an underwater garden.
Aquasoils and substrates form the required medium for plant roots to develop and grow. Choosing the right medium is important because it facilitates the desired height and color of plants. Plant size also contributes to the aquarium’s design features. Too tall plants easily make the aquarium seem congested and unappealing, whereas too short ones could make it feel more vacant.
Maintenance supplies are purpose-built tools that help you maintain these oceanic monuments. Different accessories such as thermometers, tweezers, flatteners, and scissors come with your aquascaping kit. The customized tips of these aqua tools increase accessibility to the plants for trimming and cleaning purposes.
The most popular styles of aquascaping
All aquascaping styles utilize their focal points to mark the defining features.
The Dutch aquarium style has its origins in the Netherlands and only uses aquatic plants for décor. No hardscape materials are included. This aquascaping style highlights plant colors, textures, sizes, and species to form an organic assortment. The colorful palette is the first thing that catches your attention.
The Iwagumi aquarium style is based on the Japanese Zen to create peaceful vibes through uncluttered simplicity. Only a couple of short aquatic plants are used, and hardscape rocks build most of the architecture. Three main stones are arranged to form the focal point; the largest stone is known as the Big Buddha. Color monotone is essential to its minimalist design.
The Nature Aquarium style was the brainchild of Japanese Takashi Amano. Unlike the Iwagumi style, the Nature Aquarium focuses on intricate details. It takes inspiration from natural landscapes like canyons and tropical rainforests to construct vivid and creative crossovers. Aquatic plants and hardscape materials both help achieve the desired results.
Aquascaping supplies for your virtual cart
LONDAFISH Fish Tank Stainless Steel Plant Tool Set Aquarium Aquascaping Tweezers Scissors Kit 3 in 1/5 in 1/Substrate Spatula
Londafish aquascaping toolkit has stainless-steel accessories that are resistant to corrosion, which makes them exceptionally durable in the long run. A sand scraper, aquatic tweezers, and scissors are designed ergonomically to reach into the fish tanks and trim away. These utensils can be used for any underwater context in terrariums, aquariums, goldfish bowls, etc. The 5-in-1 kit is a must-have for your DIY aquascaping projects. Apart from snipping out algae and leaves, the tools help with adjusting plants and stones in hard-to-reach spots. It is important to keep them dry once you finish. A carry pouch is not included, and you will need to buy the substrate spatula separately.
MingDak Submersible LED Aquarium Light,Fish Tank Light with Timer Auto On/Off, White & Blue LED Light bar Stick for Fish Tank, 3 Light Modes Dimmable,4W,7.5 Inch
This submersible LED light is equipped with a timer and dimmer switch and comes in different sizes for compatibility. It supports 3 lighting modes to get white, blue, and white-blue ambiences through dimming levels. This allows your aquascape color palette to really stand out. The LEDs provide sufficient lights for the aquatic plants to grow; their integrated timer and dimmer features make it easy for hobbyists to experiment with aquascaping. The light attachment can be mounted anywhere in the tank or outside it.
Pisces 17lb Seiryu Rock for Aquascaping, Aquariums, Terrariums, Vivariums
Pisces Seiryu rocks are available in large, medium, and small sizes to construct authentic Iwagumi style aquariums. The word “Seiryu” refers to a Japanese guardian spirit – the Azure Dragon – and these rocks are popular aquascaping choices for their signature marbled look and blue-greyish hues. The rocks need to be thoroughly cleaned before use. Varied shapes and sizes allow the rocky monument to create strong focal points with humble, serene vibes.
Pisces USA 4lb Silver Pearl Aquarium Gravel, Small (AM-SILVER005)
Pisces Silver Pearl gravels originate from New Zealand’s glacial rivers. They are kiln-dried, triple-washed, and completely ideal for aquascaping small aquariums. These premium-quality gravels have silverish-blue monotones underwater. They are quite small and smooth, which is why you should not use them with larger fish species as they can be swallowed. Additional layers of aquasoil can be alternated by these gravels to form a supportive base that anchors your choice of aquatic plants and driftwood.
UP Aqua Ceramic Bonsai Stone
This ceramic bonsai stone provides space-saving aesthetics by organizing your aquatic plants into the holder. Arranging a cluster of these stones across the aquarium helps the layout feel neat and presentable. It also simplifies the maintenance process as you can clean the gravel without worrying about the plant roots getting in the way. Substrates can be added to keep the plants in place; this also prevents them from coming loose and dispersing. The bonsai stones give your aquascape more depth and height by arranging the plants at different levels.