The Ultimate Aquascaping Guide: Create the Best Aquarium Scape for Your Fish

Date Posted:20 April 2022 

Every aquarium owner wants to have a beautiful tank that is worthy of their fish. Aquascaping is a way in which you can totally revamp the appearance and feel of your fish tank. All it takes is a little time, research, patience and dedication to create an aesthetically pleasing and healthy environment for your fish to thrive in.

What Is Aquascaping?

To put it simply, aquascaping is essentially a fancy term for ‘underwater gardening’. It normally involves different techniques of setting up, arranging and decorating your aquarium using mostly natural elements that may be found in regular fish habitats. These elements can include a variety of aquatic plants and substrates for the plants to thrive on, stones and pebbles, and pieces of driftwood. The aesthetic arrangement of these elements is what makes it visually pleasing to our eyes and replicates an environment that is similar to the natural habitat of your fish.

How To Get Started With Aquascaping

For those who have never embarked upon an aquascaping journey before, it can be quite a daunting task. After all, aquascaping is not the same as regular gardening. However, it is something that can easily be mastered. If you are looking for some advice on how to get started, here is a basic guide to aquascaping for beginners.

Everything You Will Need

1. Aquatic Plants

It wouldn’t be aquascaping without a few aquatic plants. Choose a variety that are suitable for your fish. Look at their natural habitat for inspiration. While live plants are best and recommended for an aquarium, you can also bulk out the green look of your aquarium with fake aquatic plants made from plastic or silk if you’re feeling nervous about taking care of so many underwater plants!

2. Substrates

There are so many choices when it comes to aquarium substrates from sand, gravel, plant substrates and aqua soils. Since aquatic plants feed not just through their leaves but through their roots as well, it is important to carefully select the right substrate for your plants. For instance, a finer grain size is preferred for live plants. Make sure to choose a substrate that matches your aquascape and decor.

3. Liquid Fertilisers & Fertiliser Tablets

In order to create a healthy aquatic environment for your plants, feeding your live plants is essential. Fertilisers provide nutrients, like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, allowing your plants to grow. Stem plants such as Wisteria, Ambulia and Green Hygrophila absorb nutrients through their leaves, so for these plants a liquid fertiliser is best. Plants that are heavy root feeders, like Sword plants, Cryptocoryne and Red Tiger Lotus, like to absorb nutrients from the substrate, so a slow release fertiliser tablet is perfect for these types of plants.

4. CO2 Systems

This might be the more costly investment you will have to make for your aquascaping endeavours but, trust us, it is worth it. Just like regular plants, carbon dioxide is essential for the growth and survival of your aquatic plants. So you need to invest in a good CO2 system for your tank. A CO2 system consists of a CO2 bottle, a CO2 regulator and a diffuser. This will allow you to inject CO2 into your planted aquarium to create that award-winning planted aquascape.

Liquid carbon supplements, like Seachem Excel or CO2 tablets, can provide a low-cost alternative solution for providing your plants with the carbon they need to flourish without the larger costs of a CO2 system.

5. Lighting

Without adequate lighting, you will not be able to marvel at your masterpiece. Proper illumination is also important for good plant growth. There are a few types of aquarium lighting you can use. T5 and T8 fluorescent bulbs are the most common and provide your plants with a good light intensity. T5 bulbs are more powerful and perfect for taller aquariums or plants that require more lighting. Compact fluoro bulbs are smaller in size, provide good lighting and are usually built into the aquarium hood due to their slim design.

Today, LED lighting is a very popular option for smaller aquariums as they simply clip onto the back of the aquarium, or sit straight on the glass lid or sides of the tank. LEDs are constantly improving and with advancements in technology, the colour and intensity of some LEDs can even be controlled from your smartphone. They are also generally more powerful and last longer than traditional globes.

6. Aquarium Decorations & Accessories

Aquarium decorations and accessories are also known as hardscape materials. Most aquarium ornaments include driftwood, rocks, gravel, and other little trinkets and aquarium decor that can level up the aesthetic view of the tank. Really good aquarium decorations can tie everything else in your aquarium together, so you need to invest a bit of time and effort in sourcing the right kind of accessories for your tank.

Principles to Keep in Mind While Aquascaping

There isn’t really a hard and fast rule for how you should arrange your aquarium decorations. Most aquascaping ideas can be completely original and creative, which is what makes it so much fun! However, there are some principles that come into play while arranging your fish tank.

Firstly, opt for simplicity. It can be tempting to fill up your tank with a bunch of colourful plants and aquarium decorations, but you must remember that the tank is not merely an attraction but a living space for your fish as well. Sometimes less is more.

Secondly, remember to have variety. Minimalism doesn’t mean you need to keep using the same plant several times. Try to opt for a good mix of plant varieties to keep things interesting.

Lastly, proportion is of key importance. In order to have a sense of balance in your tank, make sure that it isn’t overcrowded, while at the same time isn’t just an empty open space. One tip is to ensure you include a good mix of large leaf and small leaf plants to maintain the depth of perception.

Browse Aquascaping Supplies at Aquarium Kingdom!

Aquarium Kingdom is the only shop you’ll ever need for all your aquascaping tools, aquarium decorations, and top-of-the-line aquarium CO2 systems. To kick off your aquascaping hobby, browse our collection online today!