How to Set Up an Aquascape

It is started 2 years ago when I first bought an aquarium and then scape it as nature. I’ve been in love with fish since I was a kid, one of the easy fish to keep is betta fish or people also call it fighting fish because you can not put 2 males in the same aquarium or with other small fish as well. So for those who would like to set up an aquascape, this article is for you!

What is Aquascape

I will start from the very basic knowledge about aquascape after that I will explain what do you need in order to set up an aquascape. So basically aquascape is a nature aquarium, we would like to set up an aquarium with the nature as a goal. Why Nature? because we wanted to make a living space for the fish as close as possible to their habitat. In this way the fish will be happy and your aquarium is beautiful! In the aquascape world, generally there are 2 types of aquascape i.e low tech aquascape and high tech aquascape.


How to Set Up an Aquascape

In order to set up an aquascape, you will need several items i.e an aquarium, light, plants, filtration, heater (depends on your place), hardscape, and substrate. Depends on the type of plants that you would like to use, you might need subtrate or not. If you are planning to have a plant like anubias, java fern, or moss then you might not need a rich nutrient substrate, you can use gravel or sand instead.

Prepare the Aquarium

The first thing to prepare is the aquarium, keep in mind that you have to prepare the aquarium according to the fish that you will keep. For example if you are planning to only keep a small fish like tetra, shrimp, or betta fish you can use a small aquarium (around 20 liter). Try to avoid direct sunlight to the aquarium because it will create the algae grows fast.

Prepare the Substrate and Hardscape

Prepare the Substrate

The substrate is really important if you would like to grow a carpet plants or a heavy root plants because the plants will need a nutrition from the soil. There are plenty of good substrate in the market i.e. ADA amazonia, JBL. If you are on a budget you can use potting soil or compost, but keep in mind that the needs of the plants is different from each other. It is OK to use only sand or gravel if you only use anubias, or java fern type of plant.

Prepare the Hardscape

Hardscape is important to make your aquascape more like the nature, you may use a different type of rock i.e. dragon stone, lava rock, seiryu stone. Other than rock you may use driftwood as well i.e. spider wood, malaysian driftwood. You can attach anubias, java fern, or moss to the wood as well.

Aquarium Substrate

Start Planting

After you satisfied with your hardscape arrangement, you may start the planting process. Fill the aquarium with a small amount of water just make the substrate wet and make the planting process much easier. You may arrange the plants according to their height, start from the shorter plant at front and taller plants at the back. You may need a tweezer for easier planting experience.

Aquascaping planting

Install Filtration and Lighting System

Filtration System

After completed the planting phase, we need to install the filtration and lighting system to support the aquarium. Filtration system is important to keep the aquarium clean, meanwhile the lighting will help the plants to grow. The filtration is depends on your aquarium size, there are few common filtration system that exist in the hobby i.e. hang on back filter, sponge filter, and canister filter.


Lighting system is depends on your type of plants, and the aquarium size as well. You might need a stronger lighting if your aquarium is big, usually people combine the light from white, blue, and red to make it as close as possible to sun. You may use LED lighting or T5 Fluorescents, the color usually cool daylight color around 6500k – 10000k.


After you finished all of those processes, it is about the time to see the result of your scape. Keep in mind that it may take sometimes for the plants to grow depends on the light, type of plants and the nutrition. You might add a fertilizer as an addition or CO2 to make the plant grows faster. In a the first week or month you might see an algae started to comes because the environment inside the aquarium is not established yet. The balance in the aquarium must be maintained to avoid algae, water changes is required to keep it balance and save for the fish.


May is the one and only person behind He lives in Bali, Indonesia and loves Kpop, Kdrama, Anime, and Games That is why you can find many posts related to those topics. He would like to share his little world through the website.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *