The Pond Planet Guide to Aquascaping

Welcome to the world of aquascaping! An art form in itself, the progression from regular aquarium keeping to aquascaping is easy to fall into, and once you have started you may find it difficult to stop. The end goal is to create an aesthetically pleasing aquarium landscape in which just as much effort has gone into the visual appeal of the tank as the care of the fish living in it. So, if you have found yourself looking for ways to make your aquarium more attractive, then you have come to the right place. Here at Pond Planet, we have put together the ultimate guide to aquascaping to help you get started on this new adventure. 

What is Aquascaping?

Let’s get started with the basics and define what aquascaping actually is. Like previously mentioned, many people regard aquascaping as another art form. But to put it into simpler terms, it can be defined as underwater gardening. 

Involved in aquascaping is the arrangement and setting-up of decorations and natural elements in your tank, and can involve stones, aquatic plants, driftwood and substrates. They are ordered and placed in such a way that they become aesthetically pleasing to the human eye and the deliberate choices made by the ‘artist’ are abundantly clear. 

This routine of meticulous decorating involves choices planned out to the tiniest detail, so while it is a rewarding and therapeutic process, it takes time and dedication to complete. To help you on your journey, read through our top tips for aquascaping below. 

6 Tips for Aquascaping 

Any passionate aquarist knows that fishkeeping is more than just growing fish. These days, not only are aquariums displays of fascinating and beautiful species of fish and aquatic organisms, they are works of art. Follow our 6 tips for quick and easy advice you should consider before starting your next masterpiece. 

1. Avoid Symmetry 

In natural sea scenes, symmetry, of course, doesn’t just happen, and so when it comes time to putting together your aquarium scape, it is best to avoid it. On paper, we may tend to lean towards creating symmetrical designs, but when it comes to aquascaping, it is the opposite of what you want. 

Most aquascapes strive to recreate natural scenes from nature so that you forget you’re looking at something that has been purposefully put together. Instead, you may feel as though you have wandered upon a picturesque landscape. By avoiding symmetry, you can make this creation process much easier and ensure your aquascape does not look obviously manmade or too harsh. 

To ensure an asymmetrical aquatic landscape, avoid placing any elements in the dead centre and also group rocks and other decorations in odd numbers. 

2. Choose Focal Points Carefully

Any focal points in your tank need to be placed carefully, as these are the elements that tend to draw the eye first. Focal points may be interesting and larger rocks or bright and vibrant plants; it doesn’t matter what you choose for your focal point, but how you use it. 

Focal points in your tank will act as a guide to draw the eye to different areas of the aquarium. With this in mind, you should have at least one focal point in your tank. Small tanks should have only one focal point and be supported by secondary areas of interest, whereas larger tanks look best with multiple focal points, with one or two being the main attraction. 

3. Consider the Rule of Thirds

If you are interested in photography or cinematography, then you may already be aware of the rule of thirds. If you are not familiar with the idea, then the basic concept is the idea of an imaginary grid made up of two horizontal and two vertical lines placed over the front of the aquarium. This splits the aquascape into nine equal segments. 

Focal points in your tank should then be positioned along the lines or where the lines intersect to create a dynamic and interesting space. This is a simple way of avoiding symmetry and ensuring your aquarium landscape looks effortless and natural. 

4. Don’t Forget the Foreground, Midground and Background

Before placing any plants, rocks or decorations into your tank, take the time to map out the foreground, midground and background. Figuring out these perspectives of the tank first will make your aquascaping design a much smoother process. 

For example, if you were to put tall plants into the foreground of your aquarium, you would be blocking out decorations from the mid and background from view. So, of course, you should follow the rule of tall elements in the background, short pieces in the front and everything in between settling in the midground. Not only will this prevent decorations from being blocked from view, but it also creates a more dynamic landscape. 

5. Research the Right Plants

When it comes time to choosing plants for your aquarium, a lot of research is required. There are a wide range and variety of plant life available, but not every plant will be right for your tank and the fish that you keep. 

Factors to consider in this decision include; the size of your tank, style of aquascape you’re creating, placement in the tank, and the needs of the plant. Once you have considered all of these variables, you can explore different plant life options available, but make sure you do your research on different species first. Explore our plant buying guide for more information and advice on aquarium plants

6. Hardscape and Shape 

Finally, we can not forget the hardscape in your aquarium and the resulting shape that it helps create. The backbone of any aquascape, hardscape lays out the form that you build upon with the rest of your aquarium elements. Different shapes that can easily be created with hardscape include concave, convex, triangle and linear designs. All of these styles form the bare bones of your aquascape and create a design that is unique to your tank when further built upon. Choose a shape that complements the theme and aesthetic you wish to create, and consider how plants, decorations and elements will fit into your shape when it is fully formed. 

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