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Fishly 05-19-2010 10:16 AM

No hardscape?
I have several tanks I plan to plant, but I'm not sure about the price or availability of rock or driftwood around here. I'm wondering if I could make some nice aquascapes without using any hardscape. The tanks sizes are: 10g (x3), standard 2.5g, Minibow 2.5g, and 55g. I may end up getting some hardscape, but I'm curious about my options without it. Lighting will likely be 1-3wpg with DIY CO2 and MTS. Any ideas for scapes I could do?

jargonchipmunk 05-19-2010 01:17 PM

the "dutch" style aquascape focuses on gardening the plants and their arrangment, often times leaving hardscape completely out of it.


You could make some tanks that look pleasing to you and not focus on someone else's version of "correct". That's the beauty of this hobby. If it looks good to you that's great! (plus, it's gonna grow out of that shape in a week anyway so enjoy it now lol)

stingraysrule 05-19-2010 02:15 PM

I don't have hardscape in my tank. It is all what you like. Like jargon said, there is no right or wrong way.

Here is a pic of no hardscape.

rountreesj 05-24-2010 06:32 PM

you got rocks in there bro-ski...

op, if you can't use hard scape, fine..... a great deal or what hard scape is used for is to create impact, just in a different way than the plants. often times the plants conjoin with the hard scape to compliment each other. It will be more difficult to make a NATURAL appearing tank without the addition of hard scape. That's like a tree with no trunk, a stream with no sand, rocks, or trees. Can it be done, HECK YES, and well!!!!!! Will it look natural, not really.....But like someone mentioned above, Trimmed Gardens look good. Go dutch and you will learn to perfect trimming, plant groupings rather than hard scaping techniques. Many on here follow the Amano inspired "Natural" look.

My suggestion, would be to find some good natural objects to use, sticks, rocks, etc. Or go Dutch Garden style. Either way, the real compliments come with good placement, trimming, and healthy plants.

many people say whatever you like is what to do, i say, no....we enjoy compliments, so strive for something that will make you proud and that others will like, then you'll be happy. my two cents.... being outside the box is refreshing, but often times futile and annoying. Especially when you are unsure, then you will get aggravated and discouraged when no-one likes your work...

hbosman 05-24-2010 06:59 PM

It's all a matter of taste. Personally, I don't think the landscape, three rocks(Iwagumi) and fish in the sky thing is natural looking at all. They can look nice though. On the other hand, an Amazon Biotope would consist of brown tinted water, driftwood, sand and tree leaves which might not look great in your living room. Dutch tanks look very minicured and geometric and have certain rules. My tanks doesn't follow any of these conventions. I grow the plants that I'm interested in, that are easy to trim and tend to resist algae. I'm in a Rotala collecting mood right now but, have lots of crypts, HM, Byxa, and Vals. Trying to balance out the textures and colors of the Rotalas.

I wouldn't let anybody tell you how your tank should look. Just have fun.

rountreesj 05-24-2010 08:28 PM

make it look good.... hehehe

nemosreef 05-24-2010 10:02 PM

The hobby is supposed to be enjoyable. So with that said go with what you enjoy not what others want to see or think is cool or right or wrong. At the end of the day you and your family are the ones that have to look at it and enjoy it.

rountreesj 05-25-2010 02:04 PM

are you democratic nemo? we have to be like complete oposites! :) i feel a good relationship growing here

justinq 05-25-2010 03:18 PM

I think you could go without a hardscape, as long as you were thoughtful about positioning of the different plants. Personally, I think what's most important in making tanks look good is a sense of depth and layers. You can landscape with the plants, think of it like you might think of a flower garden. Put taller plants in the back, shorter in the front, but to really make up for a lack of hardscape you'll want to make sure you have some midsize plants in there for the middle (or keep plants that would otherwise grow tall well pruned in that area). You can experiment with different layouts, using the same kind of rules that you would for arranging a hardscape, but relying on plants instead. The best thing is, the plants will grow back if you decide you don't like how you pruned them. It might also be good to rely on color contrast for interest. That's pretty much in line with the Dutch style aquariums, but I think you could also do something more amano-ish in appearance with the right contrast of sizes/colors/textures.

SHMaRiM 05-25-2010 03:28 PM

Buy manzanita from badcop. His prices are very very fair and you get some amazing driftwood.

nemosreef 05-25-2010 08:25 PM


Originally Posted by rountreesj (Post 1075839)
are you democratic nemo? we have to be like complete oposites! :) i feel a good relationship growing here

LOL!!!!!!!!!!Yes I am democratic....We might have something going here.........

wendyjo 05-26-2010 02:16 AM

It's very easy and cheap to hardscape the small tanks. My minibows each have a tiny piece of driftwood with a java fern attached to them - and it give the fish (a betta in each) a place to hide behind if he wants. My 1.5g tank has a small rock with a java fern attached to it. If you're not doing a hardscape because you don't want to that's fine of course, but all you need is a little bit of imagination in a small tank. Heck even a piece of terra cotta or a cheap little store bought item like a shot glass can be covered with gravel and plants to make a nice piece of decor.

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