While creating an aesthetically pleasing aquarium, it is good practice to start with copying an aquascape you really like. By copying, you will use the right plants, place the stones correctly and create the free space you need to give your tank more depth of field. Don’t worry about copying at first because with time you will develop your own style. You may even like your style much more than the one you tried to copy.
When you begin, try thinking of a landscape you once saw and really liked. This may be just an accumulation of stones on the beach or a clearing in the woods. Everyone has his/her own preference, so each landscape will reflect his or her own style. In a nature aquarium, plants, as well as fishes are the centerpiece of a tank. When providing the best conditions for your plants to grow, you will do the same for your fishes. When the plants have everything they need to grow well, they will, in turn, provide the best conditions for your fish. Plants use up excessive nutrients in the water that may cause nitrate levels to spike. They also produce oxygen, which is indispensable to the life of fish.
Imagination is the key to creating an aquascape. Collect pictures of available plants and accessories, arranging them into different combinations. Choose a background. It doesn’t matter what your choice is; you just don’t want to see the wall with the hoses, etc., shining through the tank. The best colors for the background are black or blue, as it will create contrast and make it easier to concentrate on the tank itself. When you choose your substrate, remember that it will look unnatural when you use bright green, blue or pink gravel. Your best bet would be brown, black or gray. There are many different types that will assist your plants in their growth.
For a long time, aquarists would look for the perfect piece of driftwood or stone for the tank but when it was placed, it didn’t look right. The key with stones is to use many different sizes of the same type of stone because that’s what makes it look natural. One will always look artificial. Now, to get some depth into your tanks, it is most important to use low growing plants. It is not necessary to have high growing plants as well, because you can have hills or higher stones and driftwood that fulfill their demand.
If you don’t have stones, hills or driftwood, you will need higher plants to give a fine background. Riccia Fluitans is often used and is quite easy to cultivate. It is a floating plant that needs little care. Hair grass is another plant often used in the foreground. First you plant (or place) the focal point. The low-growers are first, followed by the mid-growers and, in the end, the high plants. It is wise to use plants with different leaf size and/or color. This again will create more depth and naturalness. Red plants can help you give your tank more contrast, but be careful as one single red plant may detract from an already placed focal point.
You shouldn’t add your fish right from the start. It is better to choose larger schools of smaller fish than just few bigger ones. A large school of tetras or rasboras will make your tank look much bigger, dress it up and not disturb the actual “scape”. Avoid the species that dig.
With the right care, an aquascape will enhance any décor, as well as serving as a healthy environment for marine plants and fish.