Aquascaping or underwater gardening (landscaping underwater) is the art of beautifully arranging aquariums with rocks, driftwood, stones, water plants, and fish. Moreover, this involves decorating aquariums with different underwater elements and maintaining an ecosystem where aquatic plants, fish, and other sea creatures can live and thrive.  

 You can design your aquarium in many ways, some of which are listed below.

Different styles of Aquascaping

There are many styles to decorate an Aquascape: these include 

  1. Nature Aquascape Style.
  2. Taiwanese Aquascape Style.
  3. Iwagumi Aquascape Style.
  4. Biotope Aquascape Style.
  5. Jungle Aquascape Style.
  6. Dutch Aquascape Style.
  7. Walstad Method.

In this article, we will discuss how to turn your aquarium into a Nature Style Aquascape.

Nature Style Aquascape.

Natural style Aquascape depicts terrestrial scenery that mimics (mocks) miniature versions of valleys, mountains, and rainforests. A nature-style product is relatively easy to craft as the key point of Natural Aquascaping is to keep everything natural by using the Golden Ratio Rule and defining basic shapes. It also involves using natural objects and arranging them in the most natural and pleasing way. 

The Golden Ratio rule of Aqua scaping is a technique to decorate the focal points with heavy objects.

History of Nature Style Aquascape

This natural way of aquascaping was introduced in 1990 by a famous Japanese Aquarist, Takashi Amano. It is considered the most popular type of Aquascaping.


About Wabi Sabi

Wabi Sabi discovers beauty in imperfections and the transience of objects. In context with Aquascape, Wabi Sabi is the art of creating an underwater landscape from natural objects which could be perfect as well as defective or imperfect.

Let’s understand Wabi Sabi with an example of a natural landscape, which consists of valleys or mountains and tall green trees along with some dry & dead trees and torn wood. This combination of life and death or perfection, imperfection, and transcendence adds to the overall beauty and attraction of any natural landscape.

In aquarium styling based on Wabi Sabi.

The key to Natural style aquascaping is to arrange the items naturally using Wabi-Sabi and The Golden Ratio Rule.

Natural Style Aquascaping Key Considerations

  • Stem plants and fish are a critical aspect of any natural-style aquascape.
  • The key is to convert a natural landscape to an aquascape using plants that proliferate, increase in number, and get dense quickly.
  • Driftwood, stones, ferns, and mosses are also used in a Natural style.  
  • Tetra fish is an ideal species as it aligns with the arrangements of the aquarium.

Let us now discuss some layouts that can be created using the Golden ratio rule.

How to Design the Layouts for Nature Style Aquascape.

The Knowledge of shapes is also an important consideration while working on natural style aquascape.

The layouts can be created by arranging gravel, rocks, tree roots, and live plants using the golden ratio rule into these "Three defining shapes" that play an important role in Natural aquascaping:

  • Convex shape
  • Triangle shape
  • Concave shape

Let us discuss how to modify our aquarium into these shapes.

The Convex Shape

This type of aquascape is completely opposite to concave-shaped aquascapes. It gives an island concept, where plants are trimmed high in the center, keeping the edges low.

You can’t place all the items in the center as it would give an unnatural look. This shape can be created by placing rocks or arranging the plants accordingly.

The Triangle Shape


This mountain is on one side of the aquarium, like a right-angle triangle. The plants’ heights are progressively high at one end and low at the other.

To obtain the triangle-shaped aquascape, either raise one side using taller plants or rocks.

After the layouts of aquascaping, let us head on toward what type of plant to decorate your aquarium.

The Concave Shape

In concave-shaped aquascapes, the plants are trimmed high on the edges, leaving a space in the center.

You can create a hollow, open area in the center by lifting the edges with the help of rocks or by growing long-stem plants on the corners. Make sure not to align every item on the edges and decorate the center with ferns and mosses. Otherwise, your art will give an unnatural and unpleasant look.

What types of Plants are suitable for Nature Style Aquascaping

If you are a beginner in aquascaping and wondering about which plants to use for Natural style aquascaping, the following characteristics are of plants suitable for such aquascaping :

  • Most importantly, they should be hydrophytes.
  • These hydrophytes can be light-loving, quick, and vigorous plants. These hydrophytes have bright and shiny leaves. 
  • These can also be shade-loving plants that grow on driftwood under low light.
  • Soil or the base should provide complete nutrients to the plants. And it should also not harm the fish in the tank. 

Presenting you a list of hydrophytes based on the above characteristics.

  • RicciaGlossostigma elatinoides
  • Echinodorus tenellus
  • Eleocharis parvula

And some shade-friendly plants.

  • Ferns
  • Mosses
  • Cryptocoryne

I suggest you use more light-loving plants as they demand low maintenance and have shiny bright leaves. 

After discussing the atmosphere, let us move toward the main character of the aquarium, The Fish.

Types of Fish Suitable for Nature-Style Aquascaping

Like plants, fish also have some do’s and don’ts that are mentioned below:

  • Don’t crowd your tank by selecting more than two species of fish
  • The quantity of fish should depend on the size of your aquarium.
  • Do not select the Fishes that feed on your plants.
  • Select small fish that may not destroy your hardscapes.

For your ease, there is a list of fish that are according to the above characteristics:

  • Rummy nose tetra
  • Harlequin tetra
  • Black neon tetra
  • Red neon tetra,

Some people like to keep fish, while others prefer shrimp and snails. There are some invertebrates on the list:

  • Nerite
  • Ramshorn

Those who are not interested in fish can also consider shrimps like:

  • Amano Shrimp
  • Red Cherry Shrimp

 It’s no hard and fast rule, but shrimp and fish are not kept together, as some fish can easily swallow shrimp.

It is also necessary to maintain the water filtration system in the best way possible and add suitable fertilizers. For information regarding the filtration system.

Aquascaping is a beautiful art, and Natural aquascaping polishes your creative skills provides peace to your mind, and brings you close to nature.

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