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Schooling Behaviors: Stemmy Jungle vs. Iwagumi Layout

1587 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Teebo
There are two main branches or styles of planted tanks I enjoy, that is the open space carpeted Japanese iwagumi style and the jungle looking crowded tank with lots of stem plants for hiding places. There is also the Dutch layout to consider sort of Tom Barrs style which personally I do not think looks natural, reminds me of a landscaped incline the way people do with terrestrial land around homes or businesses with mulch.

What I have in my head for a large project is a combination tank, something really long that I can have both an open space in the middle with stem plants just on the sides...I will not even use stem plants in the back of the center of the tank. With the option to hide in the stem plants on each side I am wondering how schooling fish will behave? Will they stay in a group out in the open in the center or hide? I think a centerpiece predator fish is not an option or it will make them hide, in a completely open space tank if you have a predator such as a dwarf gourami you tend to get a tighter school. I have Ember Tetra in mind for this project, the smaller the fish the more I can have in a school. Ember is the smallest, but if I were to go down to anything smaller such as nano danio/rasbora I would not get as conscious of a school behavior as Tetra.

Should I keep my tank designs separate?
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The 'Japanese style' you have in mind isn't representative of all nature aquarium or Japanese aquascapes but rather just the iwagumi style. There are certainly nature aquarium aquascape like you are describing. I recommend getting some of the Nature Aquarium World books for inspiration.

I have found that schooling fish in tanks with both tall plants and open areas will swim throughout the tank if they are in good condition.
Thanks for the keyword!

I guess this is something I will have to experiment with, I will start with an open tank and add some stem plants in cups so that I can remove them if needed. I can watch the behavior this way I guess without making anything permanent to the scape.
I moved an existing school or group of Ember Tetra into an Iwagumi I built and the results were immediate and long lasting. There is something to the Japanese way of doing this, based on fish behavior I think. I love it they act like a large school in the wild and give the tank scale but on the humane side I feel they are always scared now with no cover, which forces them to school like another species of fish.
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