Aquascaping is the design of plants, rocks and other natural décor to create an authentic underwater scene. Some aquascapers believe that creating the most natural environment is best for fish, as it promotes the most natural behaviours. The scenes can also look breath-taking, and make a stunning focal piece in your home.

There are many different types of aquascape, but concentrating on the three most popular styles, we can see the main themes and some of the best plants and fish to use.

Natural style

This type of aquascape is more relaxed and authentic. Miniature forest and mountainous scenes are created to precise detail. Branches are used to create a very realistic effect, as well as types of mosses to carpet the aquarium floor. Liverwort, Echinodorus tenellus and other light loving plants offer good coverage, colour and texture.

Choose fish which blend into the scene. Tetras are commonly used to create a flash of colour against the natural greens and browns of the plants. If fish are too big, they can eat away at the foliage and ruin your hard work.

With such a high number of plants, there is a lot of maintenance needed to keep them looking good. Also a CO2 system built into the aquarium will keep them supported with essential oxygen for healthy growth. So this can be a time consuming hobby. Choosing a good aquatics retailer such as Swell UK for all of your planted aquarium needs will give you plenty of choice and great prices.

Japanese style

This more minimalist style uses rocks and plants to create a simple, stylish effect. However the traditional objective is also to represent strength, love and harmony. One large rock is often accompanied by two smaller less significant ones.

Plants are not usually the main feature of this genre. Simple, clean lines are important so choose low growing plants for best effect. Hemianthus callitrichoides, types of mosses and plants like the eleocharis acicularis look exceptional in this type of scene.

The best fish for the Japanese style are schooling fish. They remain together in small groups which is in keeping with the organised structure. Again consider version types of Tetra which remain in formation and add to the uniform tranquillity of the design.

Jungle style

As the name suggests this type of aquascape is more chaotic. Although it may look haphazard and free, the planting is planned to create the most dense, luxurious effect. It is probably the easiest aquascape to develop however and needs much less maintenance than other styles.

This is the aquascape for tall broad leafed plants, ferns and thick grasses. This gives you carte blanche with aquatic plants. Look at species of Java ferns, colourful plants such as the Echinodorus ‘Rubin’ with its red and green flat leaves

Tropical fish look stunning with this particular style. Catfish such as the Bronze Corydoras, types of colourful fish including the Columbian tetra and Cichlids look at home in these Amazonian surroundings.

Aquascaping can be a rewarding hobby, but it does require maintenance and dedication to see your mini landscapes come to life:

In tanks with an abundance of nutrients, algae can become a problem. A little is natural and can add to the realistic look of your tank, however if it begins to grow, quickly treat the problem.

Light is essential for good plant growth. New forms of LED lighting last longer and provide a pure rich light that not only promotes the photosynthesis needed but also highlights the beautiful rich colours in your tank.

Choose a good, rich substrate to give your plants the best start. Special aquatic substrates contain a high amount of fertiliser to boost plants from the root.




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