"A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that balances are correct."
So begins one of the most beloved science fiction novels of all time. This is usually true, and yet in our new aquariums we often rush past the design phase to get water and fish in as soon as possible. Almost always, a few months down the road we end up staring at a tank that just looks a little off. By then, the system has plants and animals all over and is difficult to redo.
In the hobby, we refer to the creative design process as aquascaping.... like landscaping underwater. Like landscaping, a little ground cover with a big tree in the middle and some shrubs is functional, nice, and like every other house for miles around. If you'd like to have something phenomenal, you're going to have to take some time planning and think outside the glass box.
Enter the masters of aquascaping, whose extraordinary creations you can see in the annual aquascaping contest here. Take time to notice how they use the balance of positive and negative space, the contrast of colors, the ratio of sizes between objects to give the illusion of depth and space. See how different creative ideas, from sweeping plains to tropical jungles are recreated beautifully. Think about how some of these ideas can improve your own setup. Many saltwater hobbyists would skip this over, but I truly feel that most reef keepers out there could learn a lot from freshwater aquascapes.
If you're looking for some supplies to help liven up your freshwater system, check out our new planted section. For saltwater tanks, check out the great selection of Marco rock we have.
Until next time, be like water...