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Measure is very important in nature, and aquascaping makes no exception. You want your tank to not only please your eye, but make it wonder in the right places.

Your fish must feel comfortable. You want your plants to grow to their full potential. You can do all that by following a set of truly mathematical rules. Yes, before being wonderful, unpredictable and diverse, nature is mathematical.

Aquascaping and the Rule of Thirds

It is true that beauty stands in the eye of the beholder, but it is also true the eye of the beholder can be easily controlled. Any artist knows it and takes advantage of it.

Aquascaping is all about creating enchanting visuals. You do that by suggesting the eye where to look at first and what to glide towards next.

The rule of thirds refers exactly at how we can use imaginary guidelines so that we know how to place certain elements within our scape in such a way that we are able to control what the eye of the viewer sees.

In order to understand how the rule of thirds works, try depicting an image as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines.

The purpose of these imaginary lines is actually to locate the intersection points of the grid, where you can establish the focal point of the image.

This is a specific mark which anchors the viewer’s gaze first. From there the viewer’s eye can glide towards other points of interest, making the visual experience more interesting, captivating, relaxing and pleasing.

Placing the focal point in the middle of your tank would take away from what is happening around.

The Golden Ratio

Simply put, the golden ratio is a number obtained by dividing a line into two parts in such a way that if you divide the longer part by the smaller part the result is equal to the whole part divided by the longer part.

In both art and mathematics as well as in nature, the golden ratio is strictly connected with the creation of a focal point. In aquascaping, this would be the point the eye is directed towards at a first glance.

Creating Focal Points in Aquascaping

As mentioned before, the focal point functions as an anchor for the viewer’s mind. It basically tells him where to look at first and where to go from there. Every aquascape should have at least one focal point.

In the case of smaller tanks, there should be only one focal point and several secondary points of interest. When it comes to larger aquariums, it is necessary that you create more than one focal point. One or two should still remain the main attraction(s).

It’s very important to avoid stressing the eye, so having too many points of interest of the same importance wouldn’t be a good idea.

The most renowned styles of aquascaping make use of the rules described above. Whether we are talking about the Nature Aquarium or Iwagumi style, they all start with the creation of focal points by implementing the golden ratio rule.


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