In the 1990s, Takashi Amano, then a photographer, gradually introduced the Japanese aesthetic drawn from the concepts of Wabi-sabi and Zen in the aquarium hobby. The most influential figure to date in Aquascaping, Takashi Amano is the creator of the ADA brand, which popularized a range of products that have allowed a wide distribution of the tools and techniques specific to the discipline. This brand is also at the origin of the global IALPC competition which, year after year, allows the general public to discover the most beautiful creations of enthusiasts from all over the world.
Introduction Aquascaping corresponds to the arrangement of the different elements of a freshwater aquarium (marine aquascaping is not very widespread). Starting from the intention of reconstituting a natural setting, the elements used will also be natural: sand, plants, roots, rocks etc. In some aquariums, the fish are there to highlight the plants and other elements of the decor, which is quite paradoxical. The Natural Style This style is characterized by a particular attention to the arrangement of roots, stones and aquatic plants in order to create a magnified representation of an aquatic environment or a terrestrial landscape. In this sense the Natural Aquarium is not a Biotope, in fact the choice of plants, the composition of the scenery (hardscape) or the selected population does not claim to replicate a natural environment but to create an aquatic landscape whose main interest lies in its aesthetics. Aquascaping can be considered as an art form because the objective of the aquascapeur is to restore in his aquarium an atmosphere that he likes or moves. Whether we follow the rules or not, we all do a bit of aquascaping by arranging the elements of the aquarium according to technical or personal criteria. The main forms of aquascaping are as follows: Japanese aquascaping The objective here is to represent in the aquarium a piece of aquatic nature or not (forest, mountain etc.)
The basis of Japanese aquascaping is the hardscape, ie all of the “hard” elements such as the substrate, stones and roots. Some aquascapeurs realize aquariums only composed of these elements. The design seeks to approach sobriety, a value sought by the aquascap
Undoubtedly the oldest form of aquascaping (competitions have been organized since the 1960s), Dutch aquascaping consists of creating a very dense and perfectly maintained plant mat. Between 10 and 20 varieties of plants are used here. The aquascaper arranges its plants in stairs and creates a main path (as well as side aisles), so as to give a beautiful aspect of depth to the whole.
Wild Jungle aquascaping The master of this technique is George Booth. The aquascapeur chooses a focal point in his aquarium on which he wants to attract the eye of the observer by using the textures and colors of the elements of his tank.
Most forms of aquascaping follow one of these composition rules: The triatic arrangement: the aquarium elements are grouped together on one side. Their height decreases to the center of the aquarium. The other side of the aquarium remains empty.
The concave arrangement: the elements are arranged in a V shape to leave an empty space in the middle. This space is often used to represent a path passing through the middle of a forest or mountains.
The linear layout: unlike the previous diagrams, it does not respect a strict rule. The linear layout aims to represent a very graphic whole by playing with volumes and colors.
The convex layout: the elements are grouped together to create a visual impact. They can be centered, for example.
Some rules and tips
1. Respect the focal point and the golden ratio: so that the tank is harmonious, the aquascapeur determines a focal point (or two) towards which it would like to draw attention. It can be a particularly interesting plant or stone. The location of the focal point is determined by the golden ratio (also used in painting) To find this location you have to measure the length of the tank and divide it by 2.618. Then measure this result on your bin, indicating it with a felt-tip pen (this part has for ration 1). The remaining length corresponds to the length whose ration is 1.618.
2.Use stem plants to carve the decor.
3.Create levels with the substrate respecting the foreground, the median plane and the back plant so that each plant is highlighted.
4.For aquariums below 200l, choose plants with fine foliage so that the tank appears larger.
5.Do not arrange its elements too symmetrical to keep a natural appearance.
6.Group the different plants according to their species for a better impact, do not sparse them.