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Different Styles of Planted Aquariums

Aquariums aren't just about showcasing flashy fish; they can also be lush underwater gardens that'll take your breath away.

That's right, we're talking about planted aquariums!

These aquatic havens mimic the natural beauty of underwater ecosystems, giving you a front-row seat to stunning aquatic landscapes -- or 'Aquascapes' if you prefer!

So, grab your snorkel gear as we dive into the world of different popular planted aquariums!


Nature Aquarium

"Bringing Mother Nature Indoors"

Picture this: serene forests, majestic mountains, or peaceful meadows—all recreated right inside your aquarium!


Nature Aquariums, pioneered by the legendary Takashi Amano, aim to recreate the tranquil beauty of natural landscapes within the confines of an aquarium.

These setups focus on achieving a sense of balance, harmony, and depth. They typically feature a diverse range of plant species, carefully selected rocks, and strategically placed driftwood.

By mimicking those serene scapes, Nature Aquariums create a serene and natural ambiance that can transport you to the heart of nature.


Dutch Aquarium

"A Kaleidoscope of Colors"


Originating in the Netherlands, the Dutch Aquarium style is a testament to meticulous planning and structured perfection.

These aquariums showcase a stunning array of plant species, chosen for their vibrant colors, unique shapes, and growth patterns. The Dutch style often incorporates foreground, midground, and background plants to create depth and visual interest.

A defining feature is the 'patchwork' of vibrant plant bushes this style encourages through careful, consistent pruning, replanting, and (usually) heavy reliance on a fertilizer, Co2, and light regimen.

Although it sounds high maintenance, with regular pruning and careful maintenance, these aquariums transform into captivating tapestries of colorful foliage, offering a feast for the eyes.

 Related Blog: What are Some Great Foreground Plants for an Aquarium?


Iwagumi Aquarium

"Zen Simplicity"


For those seeking a minimalistic and Zen-like experience, the Iwagumi Aquarium style is a perfect fit.

Inspired by Japanese rock gardens, these aquariums emphasize simplicity and the beauty of natural stones. The focal point of Iwagumi setups lies in the arrangement of hardscape--  typically rocks selected for their unique shapes, colors, and textures.

Often, a single, eye-catching carpeting plant, such as Hemianthus callitrichoides (HC) or Glossostigma elatinoides (Glosso), is used to create a lush and peaceful foreground.

The result is a harmonious and tranquil aquarium that evokes a sense of serenity and balance.


Biotope Aquarium

"The Real Deal"



If you have a deep appreciation for nature and want to recreate specific aquatic habitats, then Biotope aquariums are the way to go.

These setups strive to replicate natural geographical environments such as Brazilian rivers, African lakes, or Florida swamps, right in your living room.

To achieve authenticity, meticulous research is required to match the appropriate plant species, fish, invertebrates, and even water parameters, to accurately recreate the desired biotope.

To recreate the sepia stained water above, look for a variety of botanicals that release tannins into your water. They look great, and are wonderful for your fish's slime coat too.

Biotope aquariums offer a unique opportunity to observe and appreciate the intricacies of a specific geographical region or aquatic ecosystem, bringing the wonders of nature closer to home.



"Where Land Meets Water"


We always try to mix land and water in our aquariums. Things just work better together that way.

Paludariums blur the boundaries between aquariums and vivariums, creating captivating displays that combine aquatic and terrestrial environments.

These setups feature a water section for fish and aquatic plants, as well as an elevated, land-based area for terrestrial plants, reptiles, or amphibians.

It can be as simple as allowing your emergent aquatic plants to start growing up the filter or other hardware. Pearlweed, Java moss, and Water Sprite love to do this. Watch the fascinating leaf change!

Paludariums provide a fascinating glimpse into the interaction between land and water, allowing you to create your own little ecosystem. With lush underwater foliage and thriving terrestrial growth, paludariums offer a captivating and dynamic showcase of the natural world.



Planted aquariums offer a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in breathtaking underwater landscapes.

Whether you're channeling Mother Nature with a Nature Aquarium, embracing a garden of vibrant colors in a Dutch Aquarium, finding Zen in an Iwagumi Aquarium, replicating a specific biotope, or exploring the magic of paludariums, there's a planted aquarium style for everyone.

So, get your creative gears turning, let your green thumbs do the talking, and prepare to be mesmerized by the wonders of the underwater world.

Dive in and make your aquarium dreams come true!

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