Always try to learn from beautifully decorated aquariums. Search the strengths, try to discover cutting lines and try to understand why some aquascapes looks nice or even phenomonal. Pay particular attention to detail: there is a nice combination of wood-stone-plant used? Once the base with the aid of the rules, then the details are becoming increasingly important. Look at photo 6 in which even the details are perfected.


• Photo 6: details are also important.


The role of fish in an aquascape


In this article, the emphasis lays on design and not on fish or other animals. In the so-called aquascapes fish are often seen as added value to complement the aesthetic element (the beautifully decorated aquarium). This does not mean that they would not be interesting and be elected to the pure color, but a motley collection will be avoided. And of course you can also turn it around and create beautiful aquascape for your interesting fish or other animals!


Case study: winner AGA 2005


Theory is always fun, but the practice is the most important teacher. A wonderful example is the development of the final winner of the aquascaping contest of the Aquatic Gardeners Association (AGA) in 2005. Especially since in the beginning it was just was an ordinary aquarium. The following series of images shows chronological the development of the aquarium.



1. The winner of the AGA in 2005, was initially not such a beautiful aquarium. Simply, just an aquarium with some wood and stones. Note that a (too) large piece of wood is used. Of course there were ideas to organize it better, but we were still searching for the right pieces of wood and stones. This shows that even professionals sometimes lack good material and that they must make every effort to find the right pieces.


2. After finding the right stones and wood (in about 2 months!), it was time to decorate the aquarium otherwise. Pay attention: the use of wood and stones is not exaggerated. Thin branches and simple small stones form the base.


3. It was decided to put the wood in the middle with a number of plants around it, like an "island" aquascape. The stones are already placed.


4. Good plant growth.


5. The plants grow well, but something is missing. It was decided to follow the basic rules (0.618) and put the wood with plants on the strong lines. The so-called "island plants with wood" therefore shifted a bit to the left.


6. In this photo you can clearly see that the rules are followed and the 'feeling' is better at this placement. Also note the height of plants: following the cutting lines.


7. The aquarium matures further and decided to deviate slightly from the rule to make the aquascape more interesting and unique. Theoretically the green lotus should be kept lower indeed. But precisely this deviation gives the aquascape just the little extra tension that makes it a unique whole.


8. The aquarium is pruned and we are waiting for the final picture for the AGA contest until the plants almost reached the water surface and are full of color.


9. The aquarium is almost ready for the photo. For the final picture the filter tubes (transparent left) will be removed temporarily.


10. Final result: photo used for the AGA 2005, front view.