6 Best Tips For Aquarium Hardscaping
What are the best tips for aquarium hardscaping?
- Plan the layout accordingly
- Choose a style
- Do not be limited by symmetry
- Have a focal point
- Choose the right substrate
- Keep your livestock in mind
At some point in your pursuit of aquascaping, you might have thought about decorating your tank with rocks or perhaps driftwood. This is referred to as hardscaping and it is one of the most essential prerequisites in achieving a beautiful and well-maintained aquarium. If you know about the best aquarium hardscaping tips, then it would so much easier for you to create a stunning aquascape.
Plan The Layout Accordingly
When it comes to hardscaping, you have to be skilled at laying out every decorating material. It is a form of aquatic gardening and the layouts can range from simple to the most complex, with some taking even years to perfect. Here are some of the layouts you can try:
- The Island/Convex – the center of the tank is densely decorated with hardscape materials sloping down from the center to both edges
- The Strata Line – uses sedimentary hardscape materials that are placed continuously with a 40 degree or less angle horizontally.
- Concave – hardscape is highest on opposite ends of the aquarium, sloping down to the lowest point near just off-center
- Triangle – hardscape is at its highest point on one side of the tank and sloping down on the other side
No matter what layout you choose, remember that the primary objective is to create a landscape style that would suit your tank needs.
Choose A Style
Think about what style you want to embody in your tank. You can choose from Nature, Dutch, or Iwagumi style.
Do you want a peaceful ecosystem where you can set out and mimic natural landscapes? Nature aquariums are simple in design and use hardscape materials like driftwood with plants and open areas to mimic forests and natural landscapes.
Maybe a layout filled with aquatic plants and livestock? The Dutch layout is infused solely with aquatic plants. Some rocks and driftwood can be used, but it is not the main element.
Or perhaps a Japanese-inspired layout with minimalist rocks as the visual highlight? The Iwagumi style is overflowing with large pieces of stones that look like distant mountain ranges.
Do Not Be Limited By Symmetry
You don’t have to be limited by symmetry in hardscaping. This tends to make the tank look too structured and rather unappealing. Use layouts and styles that mimic natural landscapes. You can even place as much gravel and driftwood along with numerous aquatic plants as if you have stumbled across a submerged rainforest floor.
Have A Focal Point
Having a focal point when hardscaping is important as it catches your viewer’s gaze at first glance. From that anchored angle, eyes can glide towards other points of interest. This will dictate the overall pleasing appeal of your tank.
The rule of thirds is a great focal point technique that uses imaginary lines in placing elements in a way that controls the viewer’s perceptions. Think about dividing the tank into nine equal parts: two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines.
The purpose of these lines is to let you know where the intersection points of the grid are. This is where you can establish the focal point. It’s worth noting that placing your focal point in the middle of the tank would take the interest away from the hardscaping elements.
Choose The Right Substrate
You can choose from numerous substrate options depending on your needs.
Gravel is a type of stone smaller than pebbles. This is the most common substrate today due to its versatility. There is a wide variety of colors and sizes to choose from as well. The benefit of gravel is that it is packed tightly, making it ideal for those who have livestock that likes to peck.
Sand is a substrate that most livestock is accustomed to because of its coarseness. It does not harm them. However, sand may not be the best choice for heavy root feeding livestock and fragile plants that need plenty of stability.
If you’re planning to put a lot of aquatic plants in your aquascape, it’s recommended that you use Nutritive Soil. These are substrates that are already fertilized with nutrients to help with plant growth. It will also not make your water muddy like normal soil.
Keep Your Livestock In Mind
If you have livestock, it would be best to mind them and tone your hardscaping down. It might be practical to place a few pieces of driftwood as hiding places for your livestock. At the same time, the bottom of the tank should be covered with substrate before other materials are implemented to help your livestock feed.
These are some of the best aquarium hardscaping tips. Keep these in mind to create a tank that’s equal parts functional and eye-catching.
At Aquascape PH, we can cater to your hardscaping needs! Click here to inquire more about our products.