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Simple Aquascaping

One of the most enjoyable aspects of setting up a fish tank has to be designing the overall look of the tank with décor etc. positioned for the best effect, to many people this can be a bit confusing as to how the finished look is achieved but it is quite simple if you follow a few simple rules that will be explained in this article. There is a vast variety of décor that you can choose from, you can create a natural looking environment for you fish as well as using ornaments, the choice is entirely yours and at the end of the day, if you are happy with the way the finished tank looks then that should be all that matters.

When we see the pictures of the amazing planted tanks that some keepers can create we are often in awe and try to replicate the same tanks in our homes. To create these sort of tanks can be very complicated and requires a lot of experience, if you are just starting out and wish to keep your aquascaping simple then learn the basics first and after a few tank set ups feel free to have a go at the more complicated tanks.

When designing your tank layout you should also consider which requirements that your fish need, do they need open swimming spaces?

Are they happy to live in a tank full of plants that create hiding places for them?

You can take all of these thoughts into account and still make aquascaping simple as long as you have a clear idea in your head of what the finished tank will look like and stick to that plan with the knowledge that you have done your homework and whichever look you are aiming for will also be beneficial to the well being of the fish.

There are basically four key areas that you need to concentrate on when setting up the design of the tank and they are as follows:-

The four headers above all tie in together in the process of setting up your tank but to keep matters simple they have been separated so that you get a clearer idea of how to go on.

Sticking to the overall plan has already been covered earlier; you will now know which fish you are going to add to the tank, what requirements they have if any and you should know by now which décor you are going to add to the tank. If you are not sure about the décor yet the following sections will give you a few ideas.

Selecting the substrate for your tank

For simple aquascaping there are really only two choices of substrate i.e. sand or gravel. They both have their advantages and disadvantages so yet again depending on your intended set up, the choice is yours. If you are planning to add live plants, gravel is the best option as the plants prefer to grow in that, if you are using fake plants or setting up with basic ornaments, it still leaves you the option of using either. Some species of fish will need sand for the substrate but at this stage you will have already researched which ones, the most notable being the Corydoras species or any other species of fish that possess delicate barbels.

When adding the substrate to the tank make sure that it is deepest at the back of the tank and slopes forward, this has two advantages, it will make your background décor stand out more but more importantly it will mean that any fish waste or detritus should move to the front of the tank with the water movement.

Selecting the background

Backgrounds can be purchased from a roll in the aquatic stores and come in a variety of designs, if you choose to use these always use a design that matches the set up of the tank. There is no point having a tank with rocks or wood in it and then having a background that shows pictures of corals, this just doesn’t go together and will look out of place.

Another option is to paint the background onto the back glass of the tank. There are some effective looking tanks that have a plain blue background or even black and using plain colours is my own personal choice.

Selecting your décor and arranging it

Whichever décor you decide to use you should always aim to have a central focal point that catches the eye straight away. Even if you are just adding ornaments try to choose the largest or most ornate to take central place in your tank and then place the others around it to suit.

With rock or wood you can also be creative, make a small rock formation that will catch the eye but make sure that it is stable, you would not want it collapsing onto your fish or in the worse scenario, cracking the bottom glass of the tank.

Wood can be found in many shapes, there are no two pieces the same, driftwood should be cleaned before adding it to the tank and make sure that if it cam from saltwater that all of the salt has been rinsed out.

If you decide to add live plants or even artificial ones, plant them around the décor so that they look in place; most importantly make sure that the largest plants go to the back of the tank with the smallest at the front.

Take your time when adding the décor, if you rush the job it will show later as people find fault with the layout, you may even spot something yourself and have to re-arrange it all, being patient will save you time in the long run and give you a better looking tank.

The points covered above are very basic, when you get experienced at aquascaping you will develop your own skills and pick up even more tips on the way.

Making it complicated now will only confuse a lot of people so stick to the basics to start with and the rest will follow!

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