Step 3. Planning the aquascape

Step 3: Planning the aquascape


I love my planning! Which in planted tank terms is a good thing as planning the aquascape is an essential step in setting up a display aquarium. It's also really important in dirt setups as you don't want to be shifting rooted plants around all that frequently.

Seeking inspiration

Whilst I love my planning, my creativity sucks so I searched far and wide for inspiration on aquascapes. Takashi Amano's Natural Aquarium World was a great source of inspiration as were the plantedtank forums. I've never really liked the dutch style of aquariums and was always keen on a layout that would replicate nature, or at least try to! A big learning for me, courtesy of Takashi's book was the rule of thirds and the basic aquarium compositions. I settled on a 3:1 ratio U shaped composition which is apparently one of the easier layouts to pull off.

My aquascape


In planning my aquascape, I had the following rules:
  • All the plants are cheap, hardy and easy to grow (without CO2 and additional ferts)
  • All the plants are readily available from LFS or online outlets
  • I'd pick my driftwood first and plan around it
  • I'd re-use my anubias and java fern from my previous tank
  • I'd plant heavily from the start with fast growing plants to absorb the excess nutrients from the soil
I collected a couple of nice bits of driftwood and river stones that had already been submerged and thus didn't require tannins to be leached. Regardless, I poured boiling water over these and sat them in near boiling water for a couple of hours to kill off any nasties. 
  
Here is my plan for the aquascape, based on the driftwood I picked up:


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Appreciate your feedback! I'd love to get some insight from other dirt enthusiasts out there.