Aquascaping is the art of planting aquatic plants setting driftwood, stones, and cave work in an aquarium in a decorative style that looks aesthetically pleasing. The purpose of aquascaping is to rebuild the underwater landscape.

Aqua scaping for beginners

As a beginner, aquascaping is different from the classical fish tank, the focus is mainly on decoration to arrange wood, stone, or plants. It is a small ecosystem that has its characteristics but is very ornamental and fascinating to watch. It needs time, commitment, patience, and dedication to build an aquascaped aquarium. Since time, engagement, and service can reward fabulous achievement.

To ensure a successful aqua scaping many factors play a vital role. 

Lighting in Aquarium

"A beautiful aquarium With Lightening and colorful fishes"

Aquarium light is essential to create Sunlight. In nature, plants get Sunlight to produce their food by the process of photosynthesis. Lighting is an influential factor in aquascaping and one of the most vital pieces of equipment for the growth of aquatic plants. The lighting setup performs for the lush green planting effects in aquascaping. The appropriate period of light for high light aquarium plants is 8 hours. The low light aquarium plants do not need too much light as excessive light causes algae growth

Water filter in aquarium

"Aquarium filter with green aqua plants"

Water filter filters the water and removes organic matter harmful to both fish and plant survival. Filtration is possible in three ways, mechanical, biological, and chemical, most water filters available in the market consists of two of them. An internal filter placed inside the aquarium gets extra space gives not a good impression in an aquascape ecosystem. External filter has inlet and outlet pipes placed usually under a table and perfect for large aquariums

Carbon dioxide

CO2 plays a vital role in the growth and respiration of aquatic plants. Plants get CO2 from water and light to generate the oxygen that is essential for plant growth. Aquatic plants can grow and thrive without the addition of CO2. Passionate aquarists prefer the CO2 system that enables plants to grow to their full potential

Liquid Fertilizer

Water plants get nutrients from their stem leaves and roots. Liquid fertilizer enhances the nutrients supply of plants that helps in their healthy growth. Liquid fertilizers are of two types macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients liquid fertilizers contain nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Micronutrients contain iron, manganese, copper, zinc, cobalt, and boron. Make sure to use liquid fertilizers in a prescribed manner. Their overdosing will increase algae


Aquatic plants take nutrients from their roots planted in aquarium substrate. The selections of the right substrate help in plant growth, size, and coloration. It is a layer of aqua soil, sand, or gravel that underlies aquatic plants. A good quality aqua soil helps in the growth of aquatic plants. 

Hardscape Material

Driftwood, rocks, cave work, and gravels include in hardscape material gives an aesthetic and natural aqua scaping look to an aquarium. Hardscape is necessary for the design and layout of aqua scaping aquariums.

Aquarium size

Aquariums are available in many sizes ranging from small 5 gallons to large hundreds of gallons.Nano aquariums are getting popular these days because of their convenience. As a beginner in aquascaping 20 gallons high in size aquarium is the best choice to start. Large aquariums are better to maintain a stable aquascape environment.

Other Components for Aqua scaping

Aquascaping tool kit includes scissors, tweezers, gravel flattener and brushes.

CO2 indicator generally a bulb filled with indicator liquid installed in an aquarium

Thermometer for checking water temperature

Softscape, water plants include background, foreground plants.

Water supplements 

Aqua scaping Styles.

Aqua scaping has different unique ways, with only plants, rocks, or other hardscapes. Generally, it has three main styles, Natural aqua scaping, Iwagumi aqua scaping, and Dutch aqua scaping.

Natural style Aqua scaping

Natural aquascaping depicts natural landscape underwater having driftwood and stones central point combined with aquatic plants. The natural landscape consists of mountains, lush green valleys, waterfalls, and beaches inside the natural aquarium. This style introduced by Japanese aquarist Takashi Amano and originated from the Japanese gardening idea Wabi-Sabi. The principal idea of nature style aquarium is the presentation of natural sceneries besides plants and decorative material to a wide range compared to other aquascape styles. This style creates a different zone of light and shade, ground covering plants planted in a higher level of the light zone and shade plant in fewer light zones area

Iwagumi Aquascape

Iwagumi is a Japanese-influenced Zen stone garden-style. Iwagumi is an aquatic decoration based on rock formation along with a plant carpet or fewer plants. It is a design composed of one primary large and two small stones by avoiding an even number of stones. This style is about placing rocks in a balanced way within a simple manner. The stones require to be placed very skillfully to the size of the aquarium formation

Dutch Style Aqua scaping

"Dutch style aqua scaping"

Dutch aquascaping focuses heavily on arrangements of aquatic plants that grow fast in aquariums. The central point in the Dutch style of aquascaping is plants of different sizes, shapes, and colors. Dutch-style aquariums are dense in the structure above 70 percent of the substrate is covered with plants. The mixed arrangements of plants complimenting each other in color and size look beautiful. Terracing is the technique used in structuring Dutch-style aquariums by using a combination of red and large or small plants. The most commonly used plants in Dutch aquariums are Saurus cernuss, Hygrophila corymbosa, Limnophila Aquatica, Java moss, and small aquatic Cryptocoryne.

Aquariums plants for Aqua scaping

  • Amazon sword
"Beautiful green color Amazon sword plant"

It is lush green grows 45cm in height is the best background plant for aquascaping.

  • Cryptocoryne

They have a variety of colors, sizes, and textures most suitable for all aquarium conditions. They commonly don't require complete light and co2 injection, grow healthy in a nutrient-rich substrate with a good liquid fertilizer and root capsules.

  • Ludwigia Palustris

It is a red stem plant, ideal for most aquariums. These plants will stay red in the lower level of light as high lighting will bring out perfect red coloration. CO2 injection will promote healthy growth although, it is not essential.

  • Anubias Plants

In nature, these plants grow attached to rocks and woods and can be attached to hardscape tying with cotton thread or gel glue in aquascaping aquariums. The roots will then hold the hardscape and stick to it. Anubias is suitable for low tech aquariums and does not require a higher level of lighting and CO2 injection.

  • Java Fern Plant

Java fern is one of the unique and easy to care plant. It does not require much fertilizer and lighting. Java fern does not need substrate to grow, can be attached to rocks or driftwood, and thrive well.

  • Mosses For Aquarium

Mosses are very popular and add beauty to aquascaping arrangement and aquariums. Aquarium moss is of many types, grows in a substrate, attaches itself to wood, rocks, or any other hardscape material.

How to do Planting in an Aquascape tank

There are different techniques applied in planting aquatic plants in the aquariums. Carpet plants or small plants are foreground plants usually fix at the front side of aquariums. Larger aquatic plants are background plants planted at the backside of aquariums. It is essential to wet the substrate before planting insert the plant deep into the substrate. Divide the aquatic plants into portions and then insert them in substrate one by one. Some plants like Anubias or fern need to attach to hardscape so, they creep along and hold the rock or wood itself. It takes two to three weeks to establish a planted aquascape aquariums before adding fish. To avoid algae do the planting densely in aquariums.

How to maintain an aqua-scape aquarium

Aquascape aquarium looks wonderful and needs care for the long run working.

Clean the aquarium glass with a soft sponge.

Check the equipment filter and heater to make sure functioning. Clean the water filter if needed.

Inspect the CO2 system, if used.

Trim plants with aquascape scissor

Use a siphon hose above the substrate to remove all waste. 

Change 50 percent water once per week.

The craft of aquascaping is not hard to achieve like all other passion demands effort, dedication, and research. Patience and trust in your inspiration is the key to be successful in aquascaping.


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