August 29, 2022

A Complete Aquascaping Guide: Simple Aquascape Ideas For Beginners & Advanced

Aquascaping is the process of arranging aquatic plants, rocks, and other decorations in an aquarium or fish tank. The end result is a beautiful and natural-looking display that can be a great addition to any home. If you're new to aquascaping or have previously found it a challenge, don't worry - we've got you covered! In this article, we will discuss some simple aquascape ideas that are perfect for beginners. We'll also provide a complete guide to aquascaping your own fish tank. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!

Aquascaping ideas

What is aquascaping in a fish tank?

Aquascaping is the process of creating an underwater landscape in a planted aquarium. This can be done using a variety of aquatic plants, rocks, and other materials.

Aquascapers often take inspiration from traditional japanese gardening, creating natural-looking scenes that are pleasing to the eye.

In addition to being visually appealing, aquascaping can also provide a number of benefits for your fish. Planted aquariums tend to have higher oxygen levels and lower nitrate levels than traditional fish tanks, making them healthier environments for fish.

In addition, the plant roots of aquatic plants help to reduce waste products and remove toxins from the water. As a result, aquascaping is not only beautiful, but it can also be beneficial for the health of your fish.

What are the benefits of aquascaping?

Unlike traditional aquariums, which often feature a single focal point, aquascapers strive to create an aesthetically pleasing underwater scene that mimics the look of a natural habitat. This can be achieved by carefully selecting and arranging rocks, plants, and other decorations.

In addition to being visually appealing, aquascapes can also provide numerous benefits for the fish and other creatures that live in them. By replicating the conditions of their natural habitat, aquascapes can help to reduce stress levels and improve overall health.

In addition, the dense vegetation of an aquascape can provide valuable hiding places for fish, helping them to feel safe and secure.

Aquascaping can also have major benefits for humans as well, providing a relaxing and therapeutic environment to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The health benefits of this include:

  • Decreasing blood pressure
  • Lowering heart rate
  • Improving sleep
  • Relieving stress and anxiety
  • Improving overall mood

As a result, aquascaping can be beneficial for both humans and animals alike.

Different aquascaping styles:

1. Dutch aquascaping:

Dutch aquascaping

In the world of aquascaping, the Dutch style is characterized by its naturalistic plant arrangement and use of bright, contrasting colours.

Aquascapers who follow this style strive to create a underwater landscape that looks like it could be found in nature. A typical Dutch aquarium will contains a variety of plants, including both foreground and background species.

The plants are usually arranged in groups, with tall plants in the back and small plants in the front.

Brightly coloured fish are often used to add contrast and interest, and a dark substrate is often used to create a sense of depth. Although the Dutch style requires a bit more effort to create, it can result in a stunning and truly unique aquarium.

2. Iwagumi aquascaping:

Iwagumi aquascaping fish tank

Iwagumi is a Japanese word that means "rock formation." In the world of aquascaping, Iwagumi refers to a specific style of arrangement that uses rocks as the main focus. This style is characterized by simple, clean lines and a naturalistic overall look.

Iwagumi aquascapes are often inspired by scenes from nature, such as mountains, rivers, and forests. In addition to rocks, Iwagumi aquascapes may also use other elements such as wood, plants, and gravel.

When done correctly, Iwagumi aquascapes can be truly stunning works of art.

3. Taiwanese aquascaping:

Taiwanese aquascaping

Unlike traditional aquariums, which tend to be cluttered and busy, Taiwanese aquascapes are known for their clean lines and minimalist aesthetic. Plants and rocks are carefully arranged to create a natural-looking landscape, and fish are often kept to a minimum.

In addition to being visually striking, Taiwanese aquascapes are also low-maintenance, making them a popular choice for busy hobbyists.

If you're interested in trying your hand at Taiwanese aquascaping, there are a few things you'll need to get started.

  • First, you'll need a shallow aquarium with plenty of open space.
  • Second, choose a few hardy plants that can tolerate low light levels.
  • And finally, use smooth rocks or driftwood to create an attractive backdrop.

With a little patience and creativity, you can create a beautiful Taiwanese aquascape of your own.

4. Biotope aquascaping:

Biotope aquascaping

Biotope aquascaping is a type of aquarium design that focuses on replicating the natural habitat of the fish or other aquatic creatures that will inhabit the tank.

This can be accomplished by using objects and aquatic plants that are native to the creature's natural habitat, as well as creating an overall layout that mimics the look and feel of that environment.

Biotope aquascaping is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it can also provide your fish with a more comfortable and stress-free environment. As a result, biotope aquascaping is becoming increasingly popular among aquarium enthusiasts.

5. Jungle aquascaping:

Jungle aquascaping

Jungle aquascaping is a type of aquarium design that replicates the look of a tropical rainforest.

Typically, jungle aquascapes feature a dense planting of foliage, with vines winding their way up around tree roots and branches.

Rocks and driftwood are also often used in jungle aquascapes to provide additional cover and hiding places for fish.

Because they can be difficult to maintain, jungle aquascapes are usually only recommended for more experienced hobbyists. However, when done correctly, a jungle aquascape can be an incredibly beautiful and fascinating addition to any home.

6. Natural / Amano aquascaping:

Amano aquascaping is a style of aquarium design that mimics nature. The goal is to create an underwater landscape that looks as close to a natural environment as possible.

This can be achieved by using rocks, driftwood, and plants to create a sense of depth and dimension.

Aquascapers often use a variety of plant species to create a diverse and realistic underwater ecosystem.

In recent years, the Amano style has become increasingly popular among aquarium enthusiasts. This is due in part to the rise of freshwater planted tanks, which are well suited to this type of design.

Thanks to its natural beauty and low maintenance requirements, Amano freshwater aquascaping is an ideal way to enhance any home or office space.

7. Walstad aquascaping:

As you see, there are many different styles of aquascaping, but one of the most popular is Walstad aquascaping.

The Walstad approach is less about creating an aesthetically pleasing aquarium and more about developing a functional one. To put it another way, it eliminates filtration, additives, and even water changes! All you have to do is provide food, lighting, and moisture for the plants.

The key to successful Walstad aquascaping is to create a balance between the different elements. Too much of one type of plant can cause problems with water quality, while too little decoration can make the aquarium look bare.

It's important to remember that the Walstad method is not suitable for everyone. If you're not willing to take a hands-off approach to aquarium maintenance, then this style is not for you.

But if you're looking for a low-maintenance way to keep your fish happy and healthy, then Walstad aquascaping just might be the perfect solution.

Different acquascaping materials:

Now that you know about the different styles of aquascaping, let's take a look at some of the materials you'll need to create your own underwater masterpiece.


One of the most important things to consider when aquascaping is the type of substrate you'll use. The substrate is the material that covers the bottom of the aquarium and provides a home for the roots of aquatic plants.

There are many different types of substrates available on the market, but not all of them are suitable for aquascaping.

The best substrates for aquascaping are those that contain a high percentage of organic matter, such as peat, coco coir, gravel or dirt. These substrates help to maintain a healthy environment and support rooting plant growth as well as encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria and algae growth.

Ultimately, if you're planning on aquascaping plants, some of which we'll discuss in a moment, getting the right plant substrate is going be very important for your plant life. Creeping plants are one of the most popular choices for freshwater aquariums. These plants are easy to care for and can help to create a natural-looking aquascape.

Creeping plants are typically fast-growing, so they can quickly fill in any empty spaces in your aquarium. This makes them ideal for beginners who are still getting the hang of aquascaping.

Aquatic plants:

Of course, no aquascape would be complete without aquatic plants. There are literally thousands of different plant species to choose from, so it's important to do your research before making a purchase.

Some live plants are better suited to beginners, while others are more difficult to care for. It's also important to consider the size and shape of the plants you're choosing.

Here are a few plants that are particularly popular when it comes to aquascaping:

  • Dwarf hair grass which is the commonly term for Vallisneria, is an excellent complement to rocks and is visible on the substrate.
  • Java fern is a beautiful plant that can be attached to driftwood or rocks.
  • Java moss one of the most versatile floating plants, and can be used to create a carpet effect or used as a background plant.
  • Anubias is a slow-growing plant that does well in low-light conditions.
  • Bolbitis is part of the African water ferns family, is a popular plant for beginners as it's relatively easy to care for.
  • Cryptocoryne is a genus of aquatic plants that are known for their ability to thrive in a wide range of conditions.

These are just a few of the many plants that can be used in an aquascape. When choosing plants, it's important to consider the size and shape of the aquarium, as well as the other elements you'll be using.

Artificial plants:

If you're not interested in live plants, then you can always choose artificial ones. There are many benefits to using artificial plants, such as the fact that they're low-maintenance and long-lasting.

Artificial plants also come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, so it's easy to find ones that fit your aquascape. Just be sure to choose those made from quality materials that won't break down over time.


Driftwood is a popular choice for aquascapes because it provides a natural look. It's also easy to find and relatively inexpensive.

When choosing driftwood, it's important to make sure that it's been properly treated so that it doesn't release any toxins into the water.

It's also a good idea to soak the wood in water for a few days before adding it to the aquarium. This will help to remove any excess tannins that could stain the water.


Rocks are another popular choice for aquascapes, as they provide both structure and texture. There are many different types of rocks available, so you can choose those that best complement your plants and fish.

Just be sure to avoid rocks that are too large, as they could potentially damage the aquarium glass.

When it comes to rocks, it's also important to make sure that they're properly cleaned before adding them to the tank. This will help to prevent the spread of bacteria and algae.


If you're looking for a truly unique addition to your aquascape, then consider using coral. Coral is a beautiful material that can provide both colour and texture.

However, it's important to note that coral is a living material, so it needs to be cared for properly. In addition, coral can be quite expensive, so it's not always an option for beginners.


Proper lighting is essential for a successful aquascape. Not only does it provide the necessary light for plants to grow, but it also helps to create a visually stunning display.

There are many different types of aquarium lights available on the market, so it's important to choose one that's specifically designed for aquatic plants rather than just household light bulbs.

In addition, you'll need to consider the wattage of the light and the size of your aquarium when making a purchase.

For instance fluorescent light bulbs are a good choice for small aquariums, while metal halide lights are better suited for larger tanks.

When it comes to lighting, it's also important to consider the placement of the light. The light should be placed in such a way that it evenly illuminates the entire aquarium.


Filtration is an important part of any aquarium, as it helps to keep the water clean and free of waste. There are many different types of filters available, so it's important to choose one that's right for your particular setup.

Canister filters are a good choice for larger aquariums, while hang-on-back filters are better suited for smaller tanks.

It's also important to consider the flow rate of the filter, as this will determine how much water is being moved through the system.

External decoration:

In addition to decorating the interior of your aquarium or fish tank with some plants and materials, you can also decorate their exterior with some novel lighting fixtures.

For example, neon signs. You can customize your neon sign to suit the aquarium theme you want, with the freedom to choose your favourite colours, fonts and styles. These neon lights can not only illuminate your fish tank, but also give you a unique visual experience, making your aquarium very unique and cool. Checkout for more information if you're interested in adding this to your aquarium.

How do you aquascape?

Fresh water tanks:

When it comes to fresh water tanks, there are a few different options available. The first is the tropical fish tank, which is a popular choice for many aquarists.

This type of tank typically features brightly-coloured fish and plants. The second option is the cold water fish tank, which is best suited to those who live in cooler climates.

This type of aquarium typically features fish that are native to colder waters, such as goldfish and koi.

Salt water / marine tanks:

Saltwater tanks are a bit more difficult to care for than fresh water tanks, but they can be just as rewarding. When choosing a saltwater tank, it's important to consider the size and shape of the aquarium, as well as the type of fish and corals you want to keep.

Nano tanks are a popular choice for saltwater aquariums, as they're small and easy to care for.

However, it's important to note that saltwater tanks require more maintenance than fresh water tanks, so they're not always the best option for beginners.

Reef tank:

A reef tank is a type of saltwater aquarium that features coral and other marine invertebrates. Reef tanks are typically quite large, so they're not always the best option for beginners.

However, if you're up for the challenge, then a reef tank can be a truly rewarding experience.

Planted tank:

This type of tank is a planted aquarium that features live plants. Planted tanks can be either fresh water or salt water, but they're typically fresh water.

Planted tanks require more maintenance than non-planted tanks, but they can provide a beautiful and naturalistic environment for your fish.

When choosing plants for your planted tank, it's important to consider the size and shape of the aquarium. For install a shallow water environment , you'll need to choose plants that can grow in low-light conditions.

And finally, be sure to research the specific needs of the plants you're considering, as some may require more care than others.

Aquascaping by tank size:

Small tank ideas (2 - 18 gallons):

Small tanks are perfect for beginner aquarists, as they're easy to care for and don't require a lot of maintenance. When choosing fish for a small tank, it's important to consider the species' size and temperament.

For example, bettas are a popular choice for small tanks because they're relatively peaceful and don't grow too large.

If you're looking for something a bit more challenging, then you could try keeping goldfish or koi. Just be sure to choose a tank that's large enough to accommodate their full-grown size.

Medium tank ideas (20 - 50 gallons):

As your experience level grows, you may want to upgrade to a medium-sized aquarium. Medium tanks offer more space and options, without being too difficult to care for.

When choosing fish for a medium tank, you can pretty much anything that you would put in a small tank. However, you may also want to consider keeping cichlids or other larger fish.

Just be sure to do your research before adding any new fish to your tank, as some species can be quite aggressive.

Large tank ideas (50+ gallons):

If you're ready for the challenge of a large aquarium, then there are many different options available to you. When choosing fish for a large tank, it's important to consider the space and filtration requirements of the species.

For example, African cichlids require a lot of space and a strong filtration system. If you're not sure whether or not you're ready for a large tank, then it's always best to consult with a professional.

How much does aquascaping cost?

If you're wondering how expensive aquascaping is your not alone, as this can be a wonderful, but sometimes pretty pricey hobby.

The cost of materials can vary widely, depending on the type of plants and fish you choose. Live plants can be quite costly, as can specialty gravels and rocks.

Live aquatic plants will typically cost you somewhere in the range of £25 to £50 per month.

If you want to keep a reef tank, then you can expect to spend even more money, as the equipment and live coral can be quite expensive. For example, a small reef tank can easily cost £500 or more to set up.

Overall, the cost of aquascaping will depend on the type of setup you choose and the materials you use, but for a full setup you could expect to pay £250 to £1000.

If you're just starting out, then it's best to keep things simple and affordable. As your experience level grows, you can gradually add more expensive items to your tank.


How long does an acquascape last?

The length of time an acquascape lasts can vary, depending on the type of plants and fish you choose. Some plants may only last a few months, while others can last for years. As for fish, most species will only live for a few years, so you may need to replace them periodically.

How often should I do maintenance on my acquascape?

The frequency of maintenance will depend on the type of acquascape you have. If you have a simple setup with live plants, then you may only need to do maintenance once a week.

However, if you have a more complex setup with live coral, then you may need to do maintenance every day.

Is aquascaping difficult?

Aquascaping can be as difficult or easy as you make it. If you keep a simple setup with live plants, then it won't be very difficult.

However, if you choose to do a more complex setup with live coral, then it can be quite challenging. It's always best to start out with a simple setup and then gradually add more complex items as you gain experience.

Do fish link heavily planted tank?

Some fish do prefer heavily planted tanks, while others don't mind a more sparsely planted tank. It really depends on the species of fish you're keeping.

Do I need to have a lot of experience to aquascape?

No, you don't need to have a lot of experience to aquascape. However, it is helpful to have some knowledge about plants and fish before you start. It's also a good idea to consult with a professional if you're not sure about something.

What are the best fish for aquascaping?

Some of the best fish for aquascaping are cichlids, tetras, and guppies. These fish are relatively easy to care for and can add a lot of color to your tank. Just be sure to do your research before adding any new fish to your tank, as some species can be quite aggressive.

Do you need an air pump in a planted tank?

No, you don't need an air pump in a planted tank. Plants actually produce more oxygen than they consume, so an air pump is not necessary.

What is the best tank size for aquascaping?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as it depends on the type of aquascape you want to create.

If you're just starting out, then it's best to choose a small tank so that you can learn the basics without feeling overwhelmed. As you gain experience, you can gradually move up to larger tanks.

How often should you trim your plants?

Keeping your plants trimmed is a important part of aquascaping. How often you need to trim them will depend on the type of plants you have.

Some plants may only need to be trimmed once a month, while others may need to be trimmed every week.

As a general rule of thumb, tall plants should be trimmed more often than short plants, although this will depend on plant growth with different species.

What are some plant safe fish?

Some plant safe fish include corydoras, plecos, and otocinclus. These fish are relatively peaceful and won't damage your plants. Just be sure to do your research before adding any new fish to your tank, as some species can be quite aggressive.

What are some plant eater fish?

Plant eaters and fish that eat algae include plecos, otocinclus, and siamese algae eaters. These fish can help keep your plants healthy by eating algae and other unwanted debris.

Just be sure to do your research before adding any new fish to your tank, as some species can be quite aggressive.

Final thoughts:

Hopefully, this article has given you some simple aquascape ideas and a complete guide to aquascaping fish tanks. Aquascaping can be a fun and rewarding hobby, but it's important to do your research before getting started. With a little bit of planning and patience, you can create a beautiful aquascape that will be the envy of all your friends. Thanks for reading!

2 comments on “A Complete Aquascaping Guide: Simple Aquascape Ideas For Beginners & Advanced”

    1. Yes, you can certainly use plastic or silk plants in a freshwater tank. They are a great low-maintenance option and can provide a visually appealing look to your aquarium. While they don't offer the natural benefits of live plants, such as aiding in water filtration and oxygenation, they are easy to clean and maintain, and they stay vibrant without the need for specific lighting or nutrient conditions. This makes them a convenient choice, especially for beginners or those looking for a less demanding aquascaping setup.

      Hope that helps?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram