So you want to set up your aquarium and there are so many amazing ideas in your head– but you don’t know exactly what you need for starters? We’ve got you covered in this article.
You may have read that aquascaping requires hard work and tirelessness and all that can be quite intimidating. Do not be discouraged, with simple knowledge of basic equipment; striking a balance between scientific research and your creativity, your awesome aquascape is close to completion.
Your choice of accessories to be used in aquascape may be influenced by the style of your aquarium and other factors. Whether as an experienced fish keeper or an outright beginner, it is important to note that aquascaping needs scientific accessories; most of which cannot be improvised on. Furthermore, before drawing up your list of needed equipment.
Your aquascape aquarium must be well proportioned to create an aesthetic balance. Your elements must be such that one does not outshine the other; making the aquarium look tacky.
Not all aquascape aquariums have fish in them; you can have an all-plant aquarium. In that case, ensure that you choose plants that harmonize well; biologically and aesthetically.
If you have fish; select fish that contrasts well with the background. Arrange your hardscape and driftwood proportionately to give that fantastic 3D effect!
Let your imagination flourish! Don’t let yourself be limited to one kind of plant or a basic collection of fish; remember you don’t want your aquascape looking bland or boring; let the colors pop! Choose a theme for your aquascape aquarium and ensure you feature the very best elements at your disposal.
While it is important to add variety to your work of art, don’t overdo it. There is beauty in simplicity. Avoid going over the top in selecting fish or plants; maximize your tank space but do not overcrowd it.
Also, while you choose colors, be mindful so that your aquarium does not hurt the eyes. Emphatically, the keyword is aesthetic balance. Bear this in mind when choosing what to fill your tank with.
People often make the mistake of incorporating too many plants—or even fish, intending to make their work visually appetizing, but the reverse is often the case. No matter how tempting it seems, don’t do it!
This is an important psychological accessory in building your aquarium, you can’t do without it. The creation process will demand that you think outside the box; remember that the different common styles in aquascaping were developed by the people just like you. Determine to take a break from the norm, explore the depths of your imagination, and bring out the best you can.
The aquascape hobby is not without its fair share of frustrating challenges; brace up for them! Nothing good comes easy, so be prepared to back up and start all over again if need be.
You will learn a lot from your own mistakes, so do not be afraid to make them. You will also need commitment and dedication to maintaining your aquascape aquarium every day.
Trimming plants, cleaning the aquarium, feeding your fish, and other tasks will demand your utmost attention.
Having equipped yourself with these ideological and psychological accessories, you need to take your first practical step to translate your dream aquarium from its imagined state to a reality that you and others can see and feel.
What do you need to make this happen?
To create your aquascape, the totality of the accessories you need are broadly divided into two groups: hardware and chemical elements. They seem like synonyms but there is a slight, yet significant difference.
Hardware is usually visible and tangible in your aquarium; examples are the tank, rocks, stones, driftwood, and plants. The aforementioned also qualifies as natural elements. As the name implies, the second category refers to the usually unseen chemical and biological components in your aquarium such as nutrients and fertilizers.
If you may add a third category, it will be decorative/ ornamental elements like the light units and centerpieces. Let us now discuss extensively on each of these elements and the unique roles they play in your aquascape.
Accessories used in an Aquascape Setup
Aquascape Glass Tank
This is perhaps the first equipment that occurs to you when making your list –and for a special reason; the fact that it serves as the aquarium itself. Aquascape aquarium tanks can be glass or acrylic, but the former is commoner. Your choice of the tank should be informed by the style of your aquascape, the proposed size, and of course, your budget.
The cost of setting up an aquascaped aquarium indeed has a minimum which cannot be brought any lower, but you do not have to break the bank to achieve the aquascape of your dreams. Glass tanks typically costs from as low as $45 for a 20L tank to as high as $150 for bigger tanks at 40L or more.
We recommend the following tanks for their premium quality and durability;
You can also purchase aquarium stands and cabinets for $50 if you are big on visual appeal. Remember to choose stands with frames strong enough to hold up your tank; you don’t want bottom-outs after all that work!
Aquascape Hardscape: Rocks & Driftwoods
Extensive research on rocks and wood best compatible with your aquascape style will help you decide on which ones to use for your aquarium. Rocks and driftwood give your aquarium that burst of nature. An aquarium replicates natural environments and this can only be achieved by using real-life elements of nature.
When selecting rocks or stones for your aquascape, remember that some rocks tend to alter your water chemistry and surge the PH. Dolomite, Alabaster, and marble stones are examples of rocks that increase water hardness which can be fatal to your aquascape. Choose lava stones, seiryu rocks, dragon stones, slate rocks, and other compatibles for your aquascape. As a guide, avoid rocks that easily crumble.
The term ‘driftwood’ is used to describe the types of wood that can be used in aquascaping, it will be frustrating to ruin your perfect aquascape with one wrong piece of wood. Driftwood compatibility is of more importance than its visual appeal; bear this in mind when making your choice.
Depending on your location driftwood are of different species, shapes, and sizes. For a planted aquarium, choose the wood that will not spike water PH or endanger other inhabitants. Common driftwood used in the aquascaping hobby includes, but is not limited to Malaysian driftwood, spider wood, Mopani driftwood, cholla wood.
Avoid rotting wood or the ones you pick up yourself—except you can clean and sterilize it properly. However, we maintain that it is better to purchase your driftwood from trusted suppliers.
Aquascape Sand, Gravel, & Substrate
These provide an added depth and realistic view of your aquascape. Select dirt-free soil or purchase from trusted suppliers. Soil is also instrumental in the setup of a substrate; which serves as the base of your aquarium.
Substrates are to be carefully developed in layers to provide a healthy base for plants to grow. The substrate is also enriched with nutrients and fertilizers. This cannot be skipped! Components of aquarium substrates are sand, gravel, and decomposed plant matter. Ensure your choice substrate particles are neither too fine nor too coarse.
Aquascape Water Filter
These are very crucial to protecting your aquarium from contamination. It is risky to skip them. While performing maintenance checks on your aquarium, filters need to be cleaned from time to time.
Water filters are saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that your aquarium contains just the right amount of bacteria and that your water is safe from external toxicity. Your water needs to treated before being added to the aquarium and filters ensure that the eater is kept in good condition, healthy for your plants and fish.
It is important to always check the condition of your water filters from time to time and replace them immediately if they stop working properly. You cannot go ahead with setting up your aquarium without water filters!
Aquascape CO2 System
Your aquascape is incomplete without the infusion of carbon dioxide (or C02 if we are being scientific) for your plants to flourish. Carbon dioxide is an essential element that plants need; underwater and on land. Remember photosynthesis? Yes, plants need carbon dioxide for the exchange that occurs during photosynthesis.
Depriving your plants of that will be lethal for your aquascape. The carbon dioxide system is made up of sub-elements that are needed to perform interdependent tasks in providing C02 to your aquarium.
The system comprises of a C02 distributor/diffuser; responsible for breaking down carbon dioxide for easy distribution to your aquarium; a C02 regulator, that regulates the flow of the carbon dioxide, a C02 cylinder that performs similar tasks as a gas cylinder; which is storage for coordinated distribution and prevention of leakage.
The carbon dioxide is stored in liquid form in these cylinders and attached to your aquarium. C02 systems in total may cost up to $200 and if need be, you may purchase the parts one after the other.
Lighting is essential for all life forms in your aquarium. If your aquarium is planted, your plants need a form of light to grow. The activity of photosynthesis depends on your light intensity, but overexposing your aquarium to direct sunlight may fester the growth of algae.
Think of lighting as a necessary improvisation. Apart from its biological importance, lighting up your aquascape gives it immense beauty!
The evolution of lighting has ushered in the era of the LED; The aquascape niche has found its technology compatible with aquariums. Unlike its predecessors like the metals halides and fluorescent tubes, LEDs consume way less power while boasting a long lifespan and environmental friendliness.
These coupled with easy direction and better light distribution make LED lighting more than ideal for your aquarium. As earlier established, you need a fair amount of natural and artificial lighting for your aquascape; with the sun providing the former.
When installing artificial lights, ensure that there is proper distance between the light and the aquarium; this varies from layout to layout. Strike a delicate balance in the intensity of your lighting to avoid PH distortion or algae infestation.
Aquascape Plant & Fish
The beauty of your aquarium lies in the harmony and peaceful coexistence of its inhabitants. Choose aquarium-friendly species and feel free to contrast colors. Wild plants are usually hard to maintain and make bad neighbors to other inhabitants.
Aquascape Cleaning & Maintenance Equipment
Dedicate whatever cleaning tools you use for your aquascape to your aquascape only! This will reduce the risks of contamination. Also, ensure that they are not expired or in bad condition. Maintenance tools like gravel vacuums, soft padded sponge (for wiping), dechlorination solution, trimming scissors, tweezers, and razors are to be stored in a clean place for easy accessibility and prolonged life span.
In conclusion, the joy of every aquascape hobbyist is to see their creation come to life and stay healthy for a long time. You can start your very own aquascape by knowing and purchasing standard materials and ensuring that they are always in their best condition!