The Nature Aquarium Style

The Nature Aquarium - Aquascaping Styles

The Nature Aquarium is one of the two major styles dominating the world of aquascaping. The basic Nature style aesthetic concepts have been introduced by Japanese aquarist Takashi Amano back in the 1990’s and have become widely popular over the years, influencing the entire future of aquascape design. The style itself has at its origins the naturally growing scenery inspired by the Japanese gardening concept Wabi Sabi.

Characteristics of the Nature Aquarium

This style is characterized by attention to the alignment and grouping of rocks, driftwood and aquatic plants in order to create an underwater miniature representation of particular terrestrial landscapes.

In the majority of cases, the Nature Aquarium aquascapes depict scaled-down versions of rainforests, mountains, hillsides or valleys. Elements of Japanese gardening are generally used when building a Nature aquarium, such as the implementation of the Golden ratio.

Even though the general appearance of the Nature style aquascape makes it seem unplanned, quite random and without design, the truth is accomplishing this type of layout requires a lot of intricate work.

Stones and driftwood are organized carefully alongside asymmetrical arrangements of groups of relatively few species of plants in order to create natural ambience and flow.

Nature aquarium aquascapes usually have only one focal point positioned according to the Golden Rule.

Nature Aquarium Basic Composition Design

It’s not very hard to accomplish an aesthetically pleasing Nature style composition for your aquarium. All you need to do is invest in some proper planting substrate and some quality hardscape materials like branched out pieces of wood and some unique looking rocks as well as some carefully selected plants.

In what layout construction is regarded, there are three types of Nature Aquarium styles:

1. The Concave Shape

The positioning and height of the plants decreases to some central low point so that the final display offers the impression of open space in the middle.

2. The Convex Shaped Style

This layout is often referred at as an ‘island’ because plants are trimmed lower on either side and higher in the middle, which is very nice aesthetically and can be obtained with rocks to make a mountain looking scape.

3. The Triangle Scape

This type of layout creates very balanced visuals; the height of the plants slopes gradually from high on one side of the aquarium to low on the other side.

Recommended Plants for the Nature Style Aquascape

The choice of aquatic plants is very important in the Nature Aquarium style. As opposed to the Dutch style, the Nature style aquascape allows the use of multiple plants of the same species in the same container. Usually, they are selected according to their similarity to the plants found in outdoor environment.

Light loving stem plants are often used in the Nature Aquarium aquascape because they grow quickly and vigorously. Some of these include Riccia, Glossostigma elatinoides, Echinodorus tenellus, Staurogyne repens and hair grass (Eleocharis parvula). Apart from these, shade loving plants like ferns, mosses and the various Cryotocoryne species are often planted in the shade of driftwood and rocks.

Recommended Fish for the Nature Aquarium

The selection of fish for the Nature Aquarium style aquascape is as important as the selection of the aquatic plants. Choose fish which compliment the tank’s layout.

Take into consideration aspects regarding their behavior and way of living, as well as their size, shape and color. If the fish are too large, they can pull out the plants and hardscape; if the fish like to eat aquatic plants, that is definitely not desirable.

The following fish are quite commonly seen in the Nature Aquarium: Red neon tetra, Rummy nose tetra, Harlequin tetra, Black neon tetra.


When it comes to aquascaping equipment, the particularity with the Nature aquarium tanks is that they are high-tech, therefore they require special plants and utensils necessary for the implementation of a regular fertilizing and pruning schedule.

Also, due to the heavy planting, a powerful lighting system as well as a CO2 system become compulsory. Other usual purchases include external filters, heaters and test kits.

Maintenance Difficulties of the Nature Aquarium Style Aquascape

The majority of pains of the Nature Aquarium aquascaping development are connected to the plant growing process and to their maintenance. It’s a long way to accomplishing a balanced, aesthetically pleasing Nature Aquarium tank.

Plants grow fast and densely so they need constant trimming in order to make the aquascape look beautiful and more natural with the passage of time. Special attention must be given to the choice of planting substrate. Proper substrate should contain a sufficient amount of nutrients, which enable the growth of healthy plants.

Another common issue often encountered with the Nature Aquarium is algae control. Algae often become a problem soon after the layout is set up and the water quality is unstable. So make sure you take measures as soon as you notice there might be a complication of this sort.

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