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An Intermediate Guide to Aquascaping

If you are new to Aquascaping you may want to check out our Beginners Guide to Aquascaping first.


  1. Before Aquascaping A Tank
  2. Lighting
  3. Substrate
  4. Carbon Dioxide
  5. Fertilizers
  6. Plants – Basics
  7. Ornaments


Beautiful Aquascape
Beautiful Aquascape
Aquascaping is a process used to increase the attractiveness of an aquarium while supporting the environment within it. This enjoyable hobby may be considered a form of art to some people because it calls for a combination of innovative structure and creative flow to enhance the look and feel of a habitat without destroying the environment.

Before Aquascaping A Tank

Before engaging in the process of aquascaping, one must consider a variety of different factors such as essential items and products that the life within the tank must have in order to survive. For particularly eye-catching beauty, aquascaping a planted tank is an effective method because it incorporates plants into an aquarium that the fish and other organisms may need.

Here is a list of essential factors when a person wishes to aquascape their planted aquarium:

  • Lighting
  • Substrate
  • Carbon Dioxide or CO2
  • Fertilizers
  • Ornaments

Lighting in a Tank

A non CO2 or low light setup can be appealing to the eye when aquascaping though it’s not necessary. It’s always important to know exactly which bulb is appropriate for each particular tank. To choose the proper type of bulb means providing the vegetation of the planted aquarium the proper look. A bulb that falls under 6000K will produce a yellow color which most people don’t find too appealing. A 1000K produces the most popular look because it does not make the plants appear too yellow. Try to avoid actinic or blue lighting unless no effect is desired.


Fluval Edge Light Unit
Fluval Edge Light Unit

Picking out the Substrate

Substrate is important because it’s needed in order to support and feed the roots of the plants. This will also provide a pleasing visual effect. Some plants will require particular types of substrates, like smaller foreground plants such as Glosso. The most popular choices of substrates for aquascaping a tank are:

  • Gravel: Plain gravel is not typically advised because it does not provide as many nutrients as an additive or soil that is naturally nutrient rich. However, gravel can be added as a 50/50 mixture with nutrient rich soil in order for it to be effective for feeding the plants.
  • Seachem: Seachem can be a good substrate because it is naturally high in nutrients. It is not typically cheap, although it is highly recommended simply because it will provide an array of different vitamins and minerals for vegetation.
  • Aqua Soil: Aqua soil is yet another common substrate. It’s great for all plants, specifically foreground vegetation. Aqua Soil affects the PH of the water, so it’s advisable to check out how that will affect different types of life in the aquarium.
  • Clay: Laterite or clay, is an effective substrate if it is topped off with a gravel mixture. The problem is that it may end up leaving the aquarium murky or cloudy looking whenever the plants need to be moved.
  • Fertilizer Mix/Soil:  This type of substrate can be made at home and at a reasonable price. There are numerous ways to make homemade fertilizer or mix. It’s recommended  to stay away from soils that are jam-packed with phosphates or fertilizers because this could wreak havoc on the health of the life within the aquarium.
  • Pellets: Pellets are good because they work well when they are placed near the roots of a larger plant. Those who do not wish to use an organic substrate may find this type of substrate appealing.People who have vegetation without many stems or roots may also find pellets most ideal.
  • Commercial Substrate: There are different commercial substrates out there to choose from. Make sure to read over the instructions to find out if a particular substrate may require the qualities of the water to be changed or the ph levels to be altered.

Aquascaping Only Needs Imagination

Aquascaping calls for imagination and creation. Combing these two factors and applying them is the best method for going about this process. Tanks like the one below are more than adequate motivation to get that imagination going.

Aquascaping Bliss
Aquascaping Bliss
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

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