Gravel,wood, sand, rock, and several decorative items are essential hardscape materials for an optimal aquascape layout. Hardscape is quite an interesting hobby that requires passion and creativity. It is important to understand the color adjustment and perspective rather than being an experienced artist to establish fascinating hardscape.
Necessary Things for Hardscape
Suitable hardscape objects are gravel, wood, rocks, stones, tree roots, and sand. If heavy stones and rocks are used as a decorative material, polystyrene should be placed on the bottom of the aquarium before the substrate in order to protect the glass.
Gravel is one of the most common bottom layers; however,it should be distributed carefully. Gravel comes in different colors and sizes, which should be between 0.8 and 4mm for efficient water circulation. Substrate is placed under the gravel layer as a source of nutrition for the development of plant roots. At the start of the aquarium set-up,the bottom of the tank is covered with the substrate before plants are implemented and then gravel is distributed on the aquarium floor. The decorations (wood, big rocks, etc.) should be placed according to the hobbyist’s preferences.
Tips for Creating Individual Perspective for Aquarium Decorations
The aim of the aquascape is to create the most natural habitat with a complementary fish population and aquarium design. Aquariums are small spaces requiring some ornamentation to create an illusion of a large space. For example, small fish are the clever choice for the illusion because the aquarium looks larger with a school of small fish rather than larger fish. It is also recommended to be modest while choosing the fish species, plant and hardscape. One large school is more effective than several mixed fish species. Additionally, basic hardscape materials can be useful to complete the classic appearance.
There are several common layouts for aquariums. The most popular ones are the “U” shape, the Triangle, the Island, and the Strata Line.
To create the overall “U” shape of this layout position,use wood, stones, or rocks. Leave the center of the aquarium open with plantings densely arranged on the left and right sides of the aquarium. The bottom of the tank can be covered with sand,gravel,or you can plant Cryptocorne.
The Triangle layout is suitable if your tank is in the corner of the room. The aquarium plants contribute to the natural, peaceful view. Plant height gradually decreases from one side of the aquarium to the other to achieve optimal viewing.
The Island design is basic, but not the most common layout and is generally used for larger aquariums. The center of the tank is densely decorated with the hardscape material and plants and slopes down from the center to the edges of the tank.
The Strata Line
The Strata Line decoration uses slate or sedimentary materials to give a natural look to the aquarium. All of the rocks are placed continuously with a 400 or less angle horizontally. This natural decoration should be used with dwarf fish and plants. Sometimes larger rocks can be problematic for the aquarium, thus small stones are the perfect solution to keep the strata line on the bottom of the aquarium.
Tips to Create Natural Look with Hardscape Material
Gravel and sand placement on the bottom of the tank can work perfectly for the replication of rivers and streams. Any of the same color rocks, stones, and sand will help to improve the natural look. Furthermore, harmony between the rocks, stones, gravel, and sand will create a beautiful decoration. Utilizing pebbles and small stone combinations, especially in the Strata Line layout,produce excellent natural decorations.
For small aquariums, plant choice should be simple and there should not be more than three different species in one tank. Color and texture of all decorative material should be in congruence with each other. The decoration should be kept simple and easy, even if it seems as if it is not enough. Quite a few hardscape pieces will be enough to create beautiful and peaceful environments in your aquarium.