Looking for inspiration


New Member
2 Sep 2020
Hello everyone. In January I will be putting together my new 240l Juwel tank. It will be Hi tech (Hi energy) and i'm waiting until January so I can gradually get the best possible kit I can afford.
So far I have the external filter, inkbird and some really nice wood. I'm hopefully getting the Zetlight Lancia 2 for Xmas and will pick up the best heater and CO2 system I can afford.

What i'm looking at creating is a valley effect with a small sand area at the front both for aesthetics and for corys.

If anyone could give me advice on plant choice, how to create this layout or just anything you think a newbie would need to know i'd be very greatful.

I have read and watched a huge amount so i'm not completely in the dark, but getting feedback from you guys would be hugely appreciated.

Many thanks in advance
20 May 2020
Kew Gardens


Here are two aquascapes from the ADA gallery I’ve saved. It doesn’t take much imagination to swap the hairgrass in the first aquascape for some sand. These layouts aren’t to hard to replicate, remember to buy plenty of hardscape (rocks and sand) so you have options. If you get stuck on your layout, come back to the forum and we’ll help you along.

I would suggest going on YouTube and watching all you can of the ADA gallery as they showcase some beautiful Nature Aquariums, that are within range of a beginner, rather than the top 127 IAPLC results, but go ahead and look at them too.
Also, try to learn some plants, as it’s like having lots of paintbrushes at your disposal all with different textures.

Some small tips for your aquascape:

Rule of thirds for the valley, don’t stick it dead centre.

You‘ll need some height, ideally there should be reflections on the water surface, so plants and or hardscape should be within 5 centimetres of the surface.

Shadow and contrast can make focal points more impactful and they can give the aquascape a mood.

Use epiphytes (plants attached to wood and rock) like Anubias, Bolbitis, Bucephalandra, Microsorum etc, to show age and randomness creating a sense of nature.

Plant in clumps (little areas) as it is again more natural.

Details matter (small rocks and mixed plants).

Use a variety of plants for different colour and texture (eg. Rotala and Myriophylum, or Anubias and Microsorum, or Eleocharis and Glossostigma).

However, what is most important is healthy beautiful plants. As such spend some time watching or reading up on husbandry if you haven’t already. I‘d recommend George Farmer (very accessible) and Green Aqua, particularly a workshop by Filipe Oliveira. If you have a tank full of beautiful healthy plants, then you’ve got a great base to improve upon and likely a beautiful aquascape, so you won’t feel the urge to throw in the towel.

Good luck and ask as many questions as you can.
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