Possibly the easiest aquascaping type to replicate, the Jungle style aquarium represents a real challenge to the inexperienced aquarist. A fun challenge, nonetheless. Usually separated from the Dutch and Nature style, the Jungle aquascape incorporates some of the characteristics of them both, however it displays a very different appearance from all other styles.
The Jungle Style Aquarium Characteristics
Just as the name of the style says it, the Jungle style aquarium depicts the wild, uncontrolled appearance of an untamed setting. This type of aquarium does not require everyday plant trimming. The plants are actually left to assume a natural look rather than a contrived one. Over time, vegetation becomes very dense, and once the tank achieves a certain level of balance, less and less maintenance is needed.
The Jungle style aquarium has little or no visible hardscape materials as well as limited open space. Most of the times it is populated by tall, large-leaved plants and a great variety of fish. No, the Jungle style does not follow the comfortable, clean lines and fine texture of nature aquariums.
Layout and Design Techniques for the Jungle Style Aquarium
Beginner aquarists always ask themselves the same question with regards to the Jungle scape: how can you obtain an aesthetically pleasing aquascape in this chaos? The answer is it’s a matter of personal taste. There is no specific rule on how exactly you should plant your vegetation; you should just have the necessary knowledge regarding the growth of plants and their general maintenance.
There really are no rights or wrongs when it comes to the Jungle style aquarium design. It’s far more important to have fun and go with what you like. Your eye will tell you if it’s too much or too little, trust your guts! Chaos can be fabulous!
The real jungle canopy effect is ensured by proper choice of substrate and plants. A darker type of substrate, combined with tall plants which grow up to the surface, and floating plants which block light offer a very dappled effect.
The Jungle aquascape style may not be the most complex aquascaping design out there, but it can definitely become very appealing over time, not to mention functional. Many species of fish prefer the Jungle dense vegetation scape.
Jungle Style Aquarium Recommended Plants
As mentioned before, plants have a lot of freedom in the Jungle style aquarium. The bigger, bolder and coarser the leaf shapes the better! They are the ones responsible for the final untamed appearance of the tank.
There is a real competition for light and territory in the Jungle scape aquarium. Plants strive to get the best spot, growing into each other’s space creating intricate overshadowing effects. There should really be no restraints to the number of aquatic plants species you can use in such a scape. Dense vegetation is beneficial for the fish because they offer them a sense of security, high levels of oxygen and nutrient removal rates. Plant heavily! The more species of plants you have in your aquarium, the faster the tank will stabilize.
Here are a couple of suggested plants for the Jungle style aquascape: Microsorum pteropus, Bolbitis heudelotii, Vallasneria americana gingantea, Crinum natans, Crinum calimistratum, Aponogeton boevinianus, Aponogeton crispus ‘Red’, Echinodorus ‘Ozelot’, Echinodorus ‘Rubin’, Echinodorus quadricostatus, Sagittaria subulata, Hygrophila pinnatifida, Anubias barteria var. barteri, Limnobium laevigatum.
Recommended Fish in the Jungle Style Aquarium
The following species of fish are recommended for the Jungle style aquarium: Thayeria boehlkei, Paracheirodon innesi, Coryodoras aeneus, Hyphessobrycon colombianus, Cleithacara maronii, Red-tailed black shark (Epalzeorhynchos bicolor)
Apart from the usual aquascaping equipment, here are some specific requirements for the Jungle style aquarium:
- HO T5 fluorescent lamps, necessary for ensuring high light levels for the plants;
- PAR meter to measure the light;
- Large or multiple filters;
- inline heater and CO² diffuser.
Maintenance and Difficulties of the Jungle Style Aquarium
Jungle aquarium maintenance consists mainly of a 50% water change on a weekly basis as well as pruning, but the latter only when necessary.
Attention must be paid to creating a good balance of elements to ensure high growing levels. Such elements include: high levels of light, nutrient-rich substrate, first rate liquid fertilizers, pressurized CO² injection and good water filters.
Like in the case of all types of aquariums, algae may appear. While small amounts of algae are normal and even desirable, if its presence gets out of control, it can create problems.
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