The hobby of keeping fish in an aquarium is an option for many people. In order for fish to survive as well as beautify the appearance of the aquarium, people usually do aquascape or aquascaping.
Matt Hennig in Tropical Fish Hobbyist explains that aquascape is the art of arranging aquatic plants, as well as rocks, caves, or driftwood, in an aesthetic way in an aquarium. Aquascape design includes a number of different styles, including a garden-like Dutch style and a Japanese-inspired nature style.
Usually, aquascape is applied to beautify the appearance of the aquarium by mixing and matching plants, rocks, fish and others. There are also aquascapes that consist of only plants without fish, or with rocks or other hardscapes without plants.
Tim Harrison in his article A Brief and Incomplete History of Aquascaping explains, the art of aquascaping began in the 1930s in the Netherlands, after the introduction of Dutch-style aquascaping techniques.
After the First World War, the availability of mass-produced freshwater aquaculture products increased. The popularity of fish keeping is also growing in popularity, so artists are starting to explore new possibilities for creating aquariums that don’t have fish as the main attraction.
Materials and Elements to Make Aquascape
In making an aquascape, there are several materials needed and elements that need to be considered. Check out the material explanation for the following aquascape.
This is one of the most important elements of an aquascape because it affects the health and growth of living things in the aquascape.
2. Water filter
In aquascape settings, this tool aims to remove food residue, fish waste, harmful chemicals, and decaying organic matter in the aquarium. There are three basic methods that can be used to filter water, such as mechanical, biological, and chemical. Most of the water filters on the market are a combination of two mechanisms.
3. Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide system may be a little expensive, but it is very important for plant growth. No plant grows without carbon dioxide. The use of carbon dioxide systems can be beneficial in the long run and grow plants to the fullest.
4. Liquid fertilizer
Fertilizer in aquascape is used as vitamins and minerals needed to stay healthy and strong. Depending on the lighting and carbon dioxide system of the aquarium, two types of fertilizers can be used, namely macronutrients and micronutrients. Both need to be dosed appropriately to create a suitable aquatic environment.
Aquascape plants not only feed through their leaves but also feed through their roots. Choosing the right aquascape substrate is very important. Depending on the plant you want to grow, the right substrate will affect the size, development, and color of the plant.
6. Hardscape materials
Hardscape materials consist of wood, stone, gravel, and so on are able to create a beautiful aquatic environment. Plants are not enough to guarantee the aesthetics of the aquarium, you need to add hardscape material to make it unique and support the growth of living things.
The following types of wood for aquascape Kayu Rasamala.
- Mangrove Wood (Driftwood).
- Hornwood wood.
- Guava Wood.
- Teak wood.
- Santigi Wood.
- Senggani Wood.
- Mopani wood.
- Branch Wood (Branch Wood).
As for the stones that can be used are:
- Unzan Rock.
- Kei stone.
- Coke Stone.
- Sansui stone.
- Seiryu Stone.
- Eragon’s Stone.
- Yamaya Stone
- Iron Stone.
- Serpentine Stone.
- River stone.
- Ryuoh Rock.
Types of Plants for Aquascape
According to guidelines from NT Laboratories in the United Kingdom, there are several categories of plants for aquascapes, namely:
Background (Background). Plants for an aquascape background are the types of plants that grow fast and tall are best placed here. These plant species include Hygrophila, Vallisneria, Echinodorus, Hydrocotyle, Aponogeton, and Ludwigia.
Middle background. This plant is placed between the foreground and background of the aquascape. Types of plants for midgroud tend to grow to medium heights. Some plants for the midground include Alternanthera, Pogostemon, Rotala, and Cryptocoryne.
Foreground (Foreground). This type of plant is also known as a carpet plant and can be very effective in creating a lawn in an aquascape. This breed tends to stay low to the ground. Some carpet plant species include Glossostigma, Eleocharis, Micranthemum, and Hemianthus.
Floating Plants (Floating). These plants do not root into the substrate like traditional plants but have free-floating roots, which hang down into the water from the surface of the aquascape. The leaves are on the surface of the water for maximum light exposure. These species include Salvinia, Limnobium, and Pistia.
Rhizome and moss plants. This species is not rooted in a substrate like traditional plants, but prefers to grow and cling to a piece of wood or rock in an aquascape. To add rhizome and moss plants, use special underwater glue or tie with cotton thread. Some species of rhizome plants include Microsorium, Anubias, and Bolbitis. Moss species include Taxiphyllum and Vesicularia.
Types of Aquascape Style
According to the aquascapinglove.com site, there are four main types of aquascapes that have their own characteristics and uniqueness.
The Dutch Aquarium
The Dutch Style or Dutch tank style was popular in the 1930s. The Dutch tank style is focused on setting up aquatic plants without hardscape materials, rocks, or driftwood. The Jungle Aquarium This simple aquascape style is one of the easier styles to make. The final setting should have a wild jungle look. The benefit of choosing this style is that it is less maintenance than other styles.
The Iwagumi Aquarium
This Iwagumi aquascape tank is asymmetrical Japanese style, similar to Japanese gardening techniques. The Iwagumi aquarium setup consists of rocks and only a few plants. This style is simple, using low growing plants, three rocks, and a few small fish, this aquascape tank style is designed with simplicity in mind. The Iwagumi tank setting provides a peaceful and calming feeling. While simple, it may take a lot of effort to get the Iwagumi layout to look just right.
The Nature Aquarium
Unlike The Dutch Aquarium, the nature aquarium setting is designed to be a portrait of a freshwater landscape of nature. This aquascape style can imitate the natural beauty of rainforests, mountains, hillsides, and valleys. For this style of aquascape tank, both hardscape material and plants are required for the setting.
Types of Fish for Aquascape
From the Build Your Aquarium website, here are some qualities you should look out for when choosing fish for your aquascape:
Small to Medium Size
Most of the fish used for aquascapes are small. Examples are Tetras, Danios, and Rasboras which measure 1 to 2 inches. The colors of the fish are beautiful and attract the attention of viewers.
Aquascapes are usually designed for one species of fish. But, you can also add several types of fish in the aquascape. However, choose a friendly and do not interfere with each other.
Safe for Plants
Larger fish sometimes carry bad habits such as digging and uprooting plants in the aquascape. Pick a small fish and lay eggs by scattering the eggs. Do not use fish that build nests by collecting plant leaves or digging the substrate in the aquascape as this can disturb plant roots. Some types of fish that are suitable for aquascapes are: Tetra Guppy Betta Gourami Catfish Platy Swordfish Rasbora Angelfish Discus
Some types of fish that are suitable for aquascape are:
- Siamese fighting fish
How to Make an Aquascape
After understanding all the materials, elements, plants, fish, and so on for an aquascape, you can start creating an aquascape. Launching from The Spruce Pets, Green Aqua and Practical Fishkeeping sites, here’s how to make an aquascape.
1. Prepare the aquarium tank and place it as desired.
2. Set the lights and other mechanisms to be used.
3. Add substrate and hardscape elements.
4. Spray the aquarium with water to keep the substrate moist and wet.
5. Prepare plants and planting starting with plants that can be placed on wood.
6. After the plant settings are right, start filling with water and adjust the lighting level
7. Use a slow flow when filling water.
8. Set the lamp to the right period, strong lighting takes a maximum of 7-9 hours.
9. Set the carbon dioxide system on the timer and start.
10. Start adding plant fertilizer from day one and repeat the process every day.
11. Add some small fish.
12. Don’t add all the fish, wait until the ammonia and nitrite levels drop before adding more fish. Usually it takes about 3-6 weeks.
13. After 3-6 weeks, you can add whole fish. Thus a complete and easy aquascape guide for beginners. Don’t forget to feed the fish and take care of the aquascape set to keep it beautiful and clean.