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Most of the aquascapes we find in aquascaping competitions are fully loaded, packed with long photo periods, pressurized CO2 setups, and regular fertilizer dosing. If you take a look at the Winning scapes from the ADA competition and look at some of the specs, they'll have all of these components. Obviously having the proper tools (ferts, C02, and light) to growing healthy aquatic plants helps these aquascapers achieve a well done scape. But can it be done with non-CO2, low light or minimal maintenance tanks? Would these aquascapes be able to compete with the tanks that are more "high tech" and be as beautiful?

My initial thoughts are no. One low light tanks can't bring out the colors from plants that high light aquariums do. Two, having no C02 presents problems that hinder the growth of aquatic plants, or at the very least limits one's plant selection. Lastly, I believe few low light, non-CO2 tanks will be able to be as beautiful as say a Dutch Style Aquascape that usually has all the fancy high tech equipment.
 

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Well, it's a competition. And of course you'd want every chance at winning and that means using all the high tech equipment you can get your hands on. The more growth, the more scaping you can do and fix if you have uneven growth.

Now for a low tec tank, I've seen beautiful tanks with no fert co2 or high lights. Some moss only tanks achieve amazing results with just water changes.
 
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