Aquascaping, The Art of Aquatic Plant Arranging in Aquariums


Aquascaping, The Art of Aquatic Plant Arranging in Aquariums


The art of arranging aquatic plants, rocks, stones, or driftwood, in an aesthetically pleasing style within an aquarium ie gardening under water. Aquascaping designs include a number of distinctive styles, including the garden-like Dutch style and the Japanese-inspired nature style. Usually, an aquascape houses fish and plants, although it is possible to create an aquascape with just plants or rockwork or other hardscape with no plants.

Although the main aim of aquascaping is to create an artful underwater landscape, the technical aspects of tank maintenance and the growth requirements of aquatic plants are also taken into account. Many factors must be balanced in the closed system of an aquarium tank to ensure its success. These include filtration, maintaining carbon dioxide at levels sufficient to support photosynthesis underwater, substrate and fertilization, lighting, and algae control.

Aquascape hobbyists swap plants, have contests, and share photos and info via the Internet.The US based Aquatic Gardeners Association has approx. 1,200 members.

Dutch style aquascape
The Dutch aquarium employs a lush arrangement in which various types of plants have diverse leaf colours, sizes, and textures are displayed much as land plants are in a flower garden.

Japanese styles
A contrasting approach is the “nature aquarium” or Japanese style, introduced in the 1990s by Takashi Amano. Amano’s three-volume series, Nature Aquarium World, sparked a wave of interest in aquarium gardening, and he has been cited as having “set a new standard in aquarium management”

Iwagumi style
Aquarium with gray stones arranged to form a tall pointed structure at the right, and a similar but smaller structure at the left. The stone peaks and the foreground are largely but not entirely covered by a short layer of fine textured green plants.

Iwagumi style aquascape, with the Oyaishi stone at the right
The Iwagumi style is a specific subtype of the nature style. The Iwagumi term comes from the Japanese “rock formation” and refers to a layout where stones are the main feature.

Jungle style
Some hobbyists also refer to a “jungle” or “wild jungle” style, separate from either the Dutch or nature styles, and incorporate some of the features of them both

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