Aquascaping Basics-Decorate Your House With a Natural Look

If you are dreaming of a natural look inside your house, I don’t think there is any better option than aquascaping. Even, I can’t think of my aesthetic house without such a lively creation like aquascaping. 

But the problem that I found in most of the cases is people don’t maintain the principles and the layout of an aquascape while establishing. As a result, it can’t create that vibrant look as needed.

As you are in this article, I suppose that you are already thinking of this matter. Hence, I want to provide a starting guideline so that you can set up an extraordinary aquascape.

What is Aquascaping? 

If you ask me about aquascaping, I’ll instantly answer that it is an addiction, an addiction to an aesthetic look at my surroundings. 

Frankly speaking, aquascaping is a gardening practice under the water. Most people love life under the sea due to the excellent combination of plants, fish, and other hard materials. 

Therefore, if you want such an environment in your house in a small tank, then you have to set up the materials properly and this setup is termed as an aquascaping practice.

Aquascaping can be of different types with different materials. You can add any type of element or organism in the tank but they should create a balanced atmosphere. 

To confirm this fact, aquascaping consists of some principles which you have to follow in the case of preparation. Maintaining those facts, you add several elements to your tank and build an aquascape. 

Let’s learn about the principles that you should follow to build up an aquascape so that you can make a perfect one as a beginner.

Principles For Aquascaping 


Firstly, your aquascape should have simplicity. Look, you are trying to prepare a natural environment in the tank. If you don’t maintain the fact of simplicity, it would look artificial. 

In this respect, you may be confused about how to balance simplicity. Well, there are some proportions and other rules for adding materials to the aquascape. 

Don’t worry. I will describe all those rules in this article that can divide your tank into several parts. If you can follow those rules properly, then you will get the ratio and space fixed for different elements.

The maintenance of these elements will create a simple look in your aquascape which will not express any excessive or artificial appearance in the tank. 


Secondly, you should have enough idea about their vibrant nature. Let me explain it properly. This term means that the aquascape that you are going to prepare should have liveliness in their interaction. 

The tank in which you have prepared your aquascape should look natural and normally flowing. Suppose, you have to select such type of plants which can move along with the water flow.

The fish floating and the plant leaves should be in a parallel vibe that can express a lively environment.

Also, the whole environment should be arranged in such a way that one can easily get a link between the elements and the living organisms of the tank.


Following that, the aquascape should be made with elements that can be changed easily. For example, if a driftwood or plant material is found mismatched or with other problems, it should be changed instantly. 

The aquascape should have such flexibility so that the gardener can easily take out any element that is found improper for that situation. 

That’s why you need to plant the whole aquascape keeping relations among the elements but they should not be dependent on each other.


If you figure out the proportion of the aquascaping, you should draw two lines on each adjusting sides so that a relative proportion can be drawn in the tank.

The intercrossed line will provide a substrate line in the below on which you can plan for driftwood, other rock materials and the plants. 

If you want to add fish population in the aquascape, it will also be developed to maintain the proportion. All that preparation is only for the maintenance of the beauty and simplicity of the aquascape. 

Easy to Maintain 

Next, you should have enough opportunities to maintain the aquascape perfectly. You should have an easy maintenance procedure in your aquascape. 

It means, that if you face problems in cleaning a definite material due to the barriers of other materials, it won’t be a great aquascape. 

All the materials should have a definite area of state where it is easy to clean and maintain. Also, if you need to add other materials, they won’t be problematic for the aquascaping.  


Here, you will meet one of the most important principles of aquascaping. Your aquascape should contain enough variety to remove the boredom. 

For example, you can introduce different types of fern plants in your aquascape in small portions instead of keeping the same type of fern on a large scale.

This is also applicable for the driftwood, rock materials and fish species if they are included. All of the materials should have different vibes and you should organize them in such a way so that they can express a natural look.


Along with the variety, one more point comes in the same line and that is compatibility. You cannot introduce any type of materials to develop the varietal combination. 

For a perfect match, the materials have to be compatible with each other. Let me explain it properly. If you bring small aquatic plants with voracious fishes, the fish will easily consume the plant species. 

This same fact applies to other things also. High nutrient-taking plants create a lack of nutrients for the low nutrient-taking plants and fish.

Hence, you must ensure that the species that you are including in your aquascape should be compatible with each other.


The last one that I want to explain is the persistence of the materials. Each of the materials should be persistent. 

Look, you are not building an aquascape for a little time. It is going to be a part of your house for the long run. Simply, you should add such materials that won’t degrade fast.

Therefore, you should be conscious of your materials so that you do not need to change them regularly. Those should be adjusted to your aquascape perfectly. 

Necessary Elements for Aquascaping

Light Source

I think you are now clear about the main principles that you should be conscious of before establishing an aquascape. Now I will give you some tips about the elements necessary for aquascaping. 

The most important issue in this case is the light source. Think, you are conducting a live tank that consists of plants and fish species. 

From this concept, you may understand easily that you should certainly have a good arrangement of light sources. Otherwise, the living materials won’t thrive and after a certain time, they will die.


Remember, what I said in the first phase. Aquascaping is a technique of gardening underwater. Hence, when it is a term of gardening, you have to provide fertilizers.

Fertilizing won’t be needed at a high rate. You will have to provide fertilizers at a definite time in a regular interval.

Also, the dose of fertilizers will depend on the variety and abundance of the plant materials and the tank size. In the case of establishing, you will get the perfect amount marked in the bottle of the fertilizers.


Along with the light source, the substrate is also an important matter to the aquascape. The whole aquascape that you are establishing is based on the substrate.

Hence, you should be sensitive about the substrate. You have to choose the substrate according to your other materials. 

If the substrate establishment is perfect, it will create a strong base for the aquascape and thus you can prepare the rest of the work properly. 

Hardscape materials

Lastly, let me talk a few words about hardscape materials like driftwood, rocks and other hard elements. Well, this is not mandatory for the general establishment of your aquascape.

But remember what I said before. Your aquascape should be aesthetic and natural. Hence, to make it aesthetic, you will need some materials that will provide a pure vibe of underwater life.

In that case, you will need rocks and driftwood. From that point, you can consider them mandatory. Hardscape materials are found in different forms. Among them, you have to choose one for your taste and the needs of the tank.

Aquascaping for Beginners 

Aquascaping is not as tough as it may seem for a beginner. But it needs a lot of patience when you are completely new to it.

Along with patience, you have to maintain the principles and the main points properly so that the demand for the aquascapes can be fulfilled. 

I have already mentioned the principles and the basic needs. But I think I should also mention some rules that may help you to fulfil the principles.

Golden Ratio

Golden ratio includes the lines that are placed vertically and horizontally dividing the segments at a ratio of 1 to 1.618.

In the first portion, I mentioned this point and I said I will describe it later. Now it is the time to explain. As a beginner in the case of aquascaping, it may seem like a hassle to you.

But if you study properly, it won’t bother you much. It is mainly needed to make harmony between the elements to establish the tank aesthetically. 

Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is closely related to the golden ratio of aquascaping. Here you have to maintain two lines horizontally and vertically that will divide your whole tank into 9 equal parts.

After that, you may think about the arrangement or decoration of your aquascape by measuring the ratio definite for particular things.

Focal Point

The focal point is nothing but a basic phase or space of your aquascape that will attract a visitor instantly. You can make it by any means or materials. 

But it should have such power to grab a person. Other arrangements will support the focal point to express a detailed vibe. But without the focal point, the others will be dull. That’s why you need this trick in your aquascape.


Do I need a special aquarium for aquascaping?

No. It’s not mandatory to take a new aquarium for aquascaping, rather you can use a regular aquarium. But in that case, you will need to modify the necessary elements according to the requirements of your aquascape.

How often should I perform water changes in an aquascape?

Changing 20-30% water every 1-2 weeks is essential to maintain the water quality of your aquascape. Otherwise, the water may get contaminated. 

Do I need CO2 for my aquascape?

Yeah! Injection of CO2 can help in enhancement of the plant growth. Hence, if you want to set up a high-quality aquascape, you should consider this point.

Final Words

Finally, I have to complete my detailed description of the aquascaping basics. If you want more suggestions for the detailed part of the aquascapes, you can check my website as I am going to make articles about all the descriptions. 

But if you want to know about only the basic requirements of the aquascapes, you can rely on this article as the principles are described here elaborately. 

Nothing but, you should have to be conscious of aesthetics and have to follow the rules properly. Thus, you can start your aquascaping practice right now.

Howard Parker

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