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We’ll develop on the best known types of planted tanks and, of course, offer valuable tips and suggestions regarding aquascaping composition and layout.

Introduction to Aquascaping

The craft of aquascaping has become increasingly popular in recent years. A comprehensive definition of the term describes aquascaping as underwater gardening.

It involves techniques of setting up, decorating and arranging a set of natural elements such as: aquatic plants, stones, driftwood and substrates. These elements are combined in such a way that it becomes aesthetically pleasing to human perception.

Yet, differentiating from basic gardening, aquascaping involves a much longer and possibly more difficult path of development. Let’s face it, passionate aquarists know that fishkeeping is more than just growing fish.

Aquariums these days do not only display one’s interest in beautiful and fascinating species of aquatic organisms. It easily transitioned into an art form.

Once aquariums have become part of our homes, they turn into our pride and they emerge in our daily conversations. They fulfil our hidden dreams by enabling us to parade our creativity, imagination and artistic endeavours.

Besides the growing aspect of aquatic horticulture, involving the physiology, pruning, ecology and aquarium maintenance, aquascaping also implies aspects regarding design and layout. These extend beyond the boundaries of the aquarium itself.

It’s not an easy task to obtain the perfect aquascape aquarium, but once you have decided to get into it, aquascaping can be fun, very challenging and most of all rewarding.

Basic Aquascaping Principles

The whole aquascaping process may seem difficult to accomplish in the beginning. But it’s not as hard as it looks if you follow a simple set of principles.

Like in the case of any creative development, aquascaping commits greatly to a reliable knowledge resource and relies heavily on your imagination.

Obtaining the perfect balance between efficiently used scientific principles and creativity is possibly the hardest to achieve. Here’s a couple of principles one has to take into account before even thinking of learning Aquascaping:


Aquascaping is all about taste and usually, less elements is more. Very often people are tempted to incorporate as many types of plants as possible, thinking that this would ensure a great visual variety, but most of the times the result is the opposite.


Keeping it simple does not mean using one type of plant only. Even if your intention is to create a theme, you don’t want your aquascape to look boring. Remember, imagination plays a key role in aquascaping!


It’s very important to give a sense of harmony to your tank, so try to have as much open space as filled space. Avoid using only large leaf plants because they take from the proportion and depth of your aquascape.


Aquascaping can become frustrating, be sure of that! So be ready to deconstruct and reconstruct if there’s something you don’t like about your aquascape. The more you experiment, the better you will get at it.

Technical and Natural Elements of Aquascaping

If you want to be a pro aquascaper you definitely have to master a couple of elements that will help you create your aquascape aquariums. These include the following:

Aquarium filters

As their name says it, the purpose of water filters is to remove excess food, fish waste, dangerous chemicals and decaying organic matter within the planted tank.

There are three basic methods you can filter water: mechanical, biological and chemical, and most aquarium filters on the market involve a combination of two of them.

Aquarium lighting

One of the most important pieces of aquascaping equipment, with crucial influence upon the health and growth of the aquascape plants, the lighting is considered to be the functioning heart of an aquarium.

Carbon dioxide

The CO2 systems might be slightly costly, but they are essential for the growth of plants. No plant grows without carbon dioxide, period. Those who are truly passionate about aquascaping think for the long term and know that purchasing a good CO2 system enables them to grow their plants to their full potential.

Liquid fertilizers

Think of fertilizers as of vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy and strong. Depending on the lighting and CO2 systems of the aquarium, there are two types of fertilizers you can use to keep it healthy: macronutrients and micronutrients. They both need to be dosed properly to create an appropriate aquatic environment.

Hardscape materials - Aquarium Driftwood and Rocks

You know how you say about a person that she’s beautiful because she has an amazing bone structure? This is what ornaments represent in aquascaping.

The plants are not enough to secure the aesthetic of an aquarium. You need to add rocks, wood, gravel, cosmetic sand etc., make them look as unique as possible, and arrange them in an unusual yet attractive way.

Hardscape materials are the essential elements which ensure the design and layout part of the entire aquascaping process.

Substrates and Aquasoils

Aquascape plants feed not only through their leaves, they also feed through their roots, which makes a correct selection of aquascaping substrate very important.

Depending on the plants you want to grow (small foreground, tall background etc.) the right substrate and aquasoil will ensure their proper size, development and color.

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