Aquascaping is reminiscent of the fallen Atlantean civilization. It makes a lot of sense that people are fascinated with creating landscapes underwater, making a magical subterranean world. The sea is uncharted territory for the most part, leaving only a small fraction that can be explored. This leaves our imagination free to run wild and invent a whole other world below the surface.
The idea of “aquascaping” is a fairly modern concept that started to evolve around the 90’s. The history of ancient aquariums on the other hand, started with Ancient Sumerians of the Mesopotamia over 4500 years ago. Ancient Egyptians and Romans also kept fish in conversations about food and entertainment.
In the 19th century, designing aquariums was considered more of an art form, giving birth to the idea of a “balanced aquarium”. In this era, they have combined a mixture of plant life and fish in perfect harmony. Whether it was for aesthetics or food, tending to an aquarium in the home has become a more popular exercise.0
Compared to other styles, the Dutch style is more particular with the plant species included. The focus is on the biodiversity of the plants used. It is the most colorful type of Aquascaping arrangement. The more plants, the better; the more color contrast, the better.
Dutch aquascapes are a popular style as they can be visually stunning. They are often filled with bright red, orange and green plants that fill the foreground, middle and background. Most of the time, the plants that are used are harder to come by. Generally, it is the most difficult type of arrangement to maintain and the longest to make.
Iwagumi aquariums represent minimalism, Japanese culture and ideology. The focal points of the arrangement are oftentimes dark Suiseki stones and rocks that have a lot of character.
The strong presence of the rock formations is combined with subtle elements and subdued colors. Only low foreground plants are used. The keywords are: simple, minimalist, stunning but reserved.
The natural arrangement as the name suggests adapts natural scenery. Plants, wood and rocks are arranged to look as if you are peeking under a stream or a lake. Among the other styles, this is the wildest-looking. If you find arrangements with cut tree trunks clasped on rocks; this is an example of natural styling.
Plants in this kind of aquascape areangement are few, and often just an added accent. The planning of the arrangement can take a very long process and looking outdoors will help see the natural orchestration of nature.
Starting your aquascape
Plan your aquascape—Before planting it is very important to plan your aquascape. Decide on which plants you want, how big these plants will grow and where they will be planted.
Plant from the background to foreground—It will be easier to plant if you begin at the back of the tank and work down towards the front. The larger stem plants are easier to plant and will often be undisturbed when planting intricate and small foreground plants.
Attach rocks and driftwood before placing them in the aquarium—attaching plants to rocks and driftwood is much easier when done outside the aquascape. Use aquarium-safe glue, string and wire to keep mosses and ferns in place.
Always attach non-root plants—Moss, ferns and crawling plants need to be attached to hard scape. This should be done with super glue or string/wire as mentioned above. Plants not planted in the substrate or attached to hardscape will inevitably float away and become caught in the filter.
Plant sparsely—Allow the plants in your aquascape to grow into the empty spaces. Your aquascape will tend to look more natural and you will save money in the early stages. Stem plants and foreground plants should be planted in a one-inch grid. Ferns and slower growing plants can be planted closer together.
Use Tweezers—Using tweezers will increase your speed and accuracy in planting. It will also help to bury the root system without damaging the plant. These are essential for planting foreground plants such as Hairgrass and HC.
Bring in the fish
Schools of fish are often added in the mix to bring movement and character to an Aquascape. Make sure you choose fish that complement each other or you can play it safe by sticking to one kind of fish. The kinds of fish are often used are Tetras and dwarf varieties of Australian Rainbow Fish; Threadfin Rainbowfish, Praecox Rainbowfish and other dwarf varieties that will school in larger groups in a suitably sized aquarium. Ember Tetra’s have also gained in popularity. You may also choose to add in turtles or other marine life.