What are the different Aquascaping styles

What is aqua-scaping? If you are an avid aquarium hobbyist, you must be familiar with this term. Aqua-scaping is the art of designing an aquarium with plants, rocks, driftwood, aquarium ornaments etc; that is pleasing to the eyes. In simple terms, it is like gardening, but in your aquarium. Although it looks effortless; each scaping is an art on its own, there is a lot of thought process that goes into building and defining an Aquascape. 

When you design an aquascape, there are infinite possibilities one can fall upon; however, you will probably find an accurate result when you tend to follow one particular style. That’s right you heard it right. There are different styles of Aqua-scaping. Let’s dive into the world of Aqua-scaping couture with certain basic ideas of each scape.

  1. The Dutch Style: Ignoring the hard medium, such as wood or stone, the Dutch focuses on building an art incorporating more plants with various leaf formats. It is extremely important to understand every aspect of an aquarium plant, be it height, shape, texture etc when you work on this style. 
Side view of a Dutch scape
  1. Nature Aquarium: This style is achieved when you recreate or imitate a landscape. Although commonly used, it is tough to pull off as many layers need to work in harmony to bring out your end design. Nature style is known to bag a lot of competitions and awards for its owners for its comprehensive use of all materials. Some have successfully engineered a theatrical underwater waterfall effect under this style, using sand. 
A Nature style scape
  1. Jungle Style: As the name describes, this style is attained when you mirror a jungle. They are known to channel the use of live plants; hence there is no restriction on a plant growth. A good groundwork on flora is necessary before you dive into this style. A larger tank would work to its advantage, to portray the full effect of a wilderness.  
A Forest Style scape in its mid stage
  1. Iwagumi: Inspired by Takashi Amano, rocks and stone play the primary role in this design. The main stone known as the Oyaishi (1) is the centre of attention, supported by rock called Fukuishi (2). Soeishi (3) and suteishi (4) are smaller stones used as visual counterpoints and elements for details. Always an odd number of either dragon or Seiryu stones are used. 
An Iwagumi in its initial stage
  1.  Taiwanese Style: Not as common as the other Aquascapes, this uses aquatic ornaments like small figurines in par with rich plant life to give a sense of life. It is a culmination of nature aqua-scaping, iwagumi and dutch styles. To bring in the HUMAN world into its tanks, hobbyists make use of small houses, bridges statues etc. Chances of overcrowding your tank is very high with this type of aqua-scape.
  1. Biotopes: This is achieved when you recreate or replicate a specific aquatic landscape. There are numerous factors to consider since one has to mime the working of a natural habitat like a lake, stream, swamp etc. Due to its imitation, maintaining this style is no joke since aspects such as water chemistry, fish and plant life has to go hand in hand. 
A Biotope set up in its beauty
  1. Walstad Styles: Wasteland or the dirted tank method is creating your own balanced aquarium that is self-sufficient; meaning it does not require a filter or regular water changes. The fish and plants co depend on each other and providing additional fertilizer or CO2 is not necessary. Water changes can be done as little as 2 times a year since the aquatic plant does its own filtering. 

Although there are various styles at play, one can always experiment and bring about a design that suits your interest. Imagine your tank as a blank canvas; now experiment with various colours and patterns and paint a picture that comes from heart, after all scaping is an art. Happy Aqua-scaping!!!

Remya JKumar is a blogger by Interest, Chef by choice, Trained Dancer by Art.

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