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A Beginner’s Guide to Aquascaping

Keeping fish in an aquarium is a hobby that many people can enjoy. Owning a planted aquarium that is filled with a variety of different colours of fish and other water creatures can be an enjoyable experience for anyone. The look, the sounds, and the feel of having an aquarium in a room is like bringing a soothing part of nature indoors. One of the best parts of owning a fish tank is the process known as aquascaping.

Aquascaping Defined

For new owners of aquariums who may not be familiar with the term, aquascaping is the process of making a plain fish tank into a stunning and attractive piece of artwork. It’s a way of transforming the underwater world of the tank into a place of diverse life and beauty. People tend to go about this by adding an assortment of live fish, rocks, invertebrates, vegetation (aquarium plants) and a range of different decorations.
Aquascape by Takashi Amano
Aquascape by Hiroyuki Yamabi

The Main Goal of Aquascaping

This term gives aquarium owners free range to decorate the tank the way they want. The goal is to be creative and to craft an appealing and attractive underwater habitat while keeping the environment a place where the fish and other creatures can survive and thrive.

A World of Variety

A fish tank owner can take advantage of the broad range of different decoration pieces that are out there for their choosing. Whether hunting around at a pet store for that perfect rock or surfing on the internet for a favorite fish, the world of aquascaping has no limits. The variety is vast, and because there are so many different available animals and decorations for the perfect fish tank, everyone should be able to find what they are looking for to make their aquarium just the way they want it.


What Every Planted Tank Needs

For those who are new to aquascaping, learning how to go about it may seem a bit overwhelming or confusing. First, an aquarium should be able to support life. That means getting down to the basics and essentials needed to support life. Here are a few products that every tank owner will need in order for their aquarium to keep the environment healthy and alive:

  • Air Pump: An air pump is a device that is used in a fish tank in order to move air. Usually the average aquarium air pump will work to move the air by means of an electromagnet that vigorously vibrates a rubber diaphragm.
  • Lights: Artificial lighting in the fish tank is used in order to illuminate the tank itself. For some tanks, it’s necessary to have specialized lights that are high intensity in order to support the diverse aqua life.
  • Filters: All tanks require both mechanical and biological filtration in order to support a healthy environment and a safe habitat. This is where filters come in. Filters will typically be used to clean all of the water within the aquarium at least 4 times an hour. Larger fish tanks may require power filters.
  • Heaters: An aquarium that houses tropical fish should always have a heater to mimic the natural habitats of such wild life.

Another great aquascape
Another great aquascape

Remember that the fish are living creatures so they require specific essentials to survive. These necessary items can be found on the internet and at most pet stores.



Using the Essentials as Decorations

As a rule of thumb, it’s important to have the necessities that will keep fish and other organisms happy and healthy. These required items can also make attractive decorations when someone wishes to aquascape their tank. For example, using rocks as decorations can add certain style to the tank, particularly decorative rocks. These rocks will also provide the fish and other creatures a suitable hiding place. This is significant because most fish will require places to hide out. Also, using colored gravel or sand at the bottom of the tank is great for supporting any of the faux vegetation that might be used during aquascaping.


A Planted Tank and Aquascaping

 Having a planted aquarium during the process of aquascaping can be beautiful and attractive. Plants help to keep fish and other life healthy. While some people may have trouble keeping up on an aquatic garden, maintaining the lives of the plants should not be too much harder than maintaining the lives of the fish themselves. Both fish and plants will need clean water to stay healthy. Most of the necessities that plants require are already available in the water.


How to Get Started with Aquascaping

When aquascaping for the first time it’s helpful to follow these steps:

  • Necessities First: Always make sure that you have what you need to support life prior to adding anything else. Lights, filters, food, and water pumps are always good starting points.[/starlist]
  • Start from the ground and move up: Using gravel at the bottom of the tank makes maintenance easier. There are lots of options. Gravel comes in different colors and textures. Aquascapers can also use sand, pebbles, or glass stones.
Do not use rocks or sand from a real beach as this can track in bacteria to the aquarium and be devastating to the life within the tank.
  • Pick out one large decoration: Though it’s not actually necessary, one tip is to choose one decoration that is larger than the rest. This can act as the focal point of the tank.
  • Find balance: Finding balance between the smaller decorations and the larger pieces will help to customize the look and feel of the aquarium.
  • Be creative: Have fun and be creative when picking out different ornaments, plants and other decorations to add to the tank. Try experimenting with a variety of different decorations. A backdrop in the tank and unique lighting can create an aquascape that is completely your own. A planted tank serves for one of the best methods when someone wishes to aquascape because of the natural beauty that is incorporated in each tank.
Aquascaping is a fun and enjoyable process that is relatively easy and a great activity for the whole family.

Most of the items discussed in this post are available at Aqua Essentials. They are the leading UK supplier of Aquarium Plants and Supplies. If you are looking to set up a planted tank, I would recommend having a look at their products. Not only do they have a great variety of plants, but Dr. Richard is also available to give you advice on the products they have available.

About Mike

Web designer, football fan and budding traveller.

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