Jump to content

Rules for aquascaping…


Recommended Posts

“Only use 1 type of rock in your aquascape  or it wont look natural…”

I guess there isnt a river, pond, lake, or shoreside that looks natural here in Maine then….

A staple of Maine humor is the out of stater asking a farmer why his field is filled with so many different rocks…  “How did they get there?”


Taciturn Maine farmer; “Glacier brought them.”

To which the out of stater asks “What happened to the glacier?”  

And the Maine farmer responds “Spose it went back to get more rocks…

Maine bedrock geology and surface Geology is greatly at adds with all sorts of rocks lying around brought from hundreds of miles north of where they ended up.


For the past few months since rentering the hobby I have chuckled every time I bring my grandson to a waterbody and see all the “unnatural rocks dorring the shore…

Another bit of Maine humor is to say our farms and gardens have just enough compost to keep the rocks from clicking too badly.

Rocks are abundant everywhere you look.  I just could not bring myself to spend upwards to $4.00 a pound for rocks.  Instead every trip my Grandson and I made we looked for interesting looking rocks.  As a side effect, as I gaze in to a tank it brings back memories of the days of fun we had.


The Aquascape purists will have to sniff…



  • Like 2
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aquascaping rules are a money grab.  Famous aquascapers do make amazing set ups.  But so do everyday hobbyists.  You do what looks good to you.  What difference does it make what anyone else thinks about your aquarium?  

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think, in the end, it’s what YOU enjoy looking at. It doesn’t matter if the decorations in your tank follow a prescribed “rule”. You build your tank, you invest the time, effort, money and research into it and if at the end of the day, you sit back and love what you see, that’s really and truly all that matters. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/6/2022 at 8:49 PM, Gwallace said:

 You do what looks good to you.  What difference does it make what anyone else thinks about your aquarium?  

This. A lot of people get caught up in "what does everyone think of my tank?"

It's your tank - do what you like, and what makes you happy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The goal of aquascaping isn't realism. If it was, aquascaped tank would by muddy messes full of algae and mulm. Aquascapes that do try to supergicially mimic real life mimic places like the amazon, congo, or southeast asia, places where glacia movements have less influence of the environment than meteor impacts. 

You can make a good looking tank while ignoring all the aquascaping rules, but it requires experience and/or artistic talent. However, even a total novice could make a nice looking tank if they follow all the aquascaping rules. Think about them like training wheels. You can go a lot faster without them, but if you have never ridden a bike before, you may fall on your face. You can learn who to ride a bike without training wheels, but they could make the process a little smoother.

Let's say someone does make a stunning tank that breaks all the rules. People will want to mimic it. To do so, theyll make up a bunch of rules to help match it. So, the styld comes first and the rules come later. Think about an island aquascape. Island aquascapes break a lot of traditional aquascaping rules, like flow direction and the rule of thirds. But they look nice so people just made up a new style with new rules.

Aquascaping rules can be ignored but they can be useful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think of aquascaping “rules” only as guidelines. I’m trying to follow some rules to help me find a good balance of what I like and what is enjoyable for others. Like Cory has talked about a couple times lately; other people enjoying my tanks is important to my overall enjoyment of my tanks. I want my wife, kids, other family, and friends to enjoy them as well. So following some rules makes sense to help with that. 
i do think aquariums look better with one type of rock. Not saying they need to be made of the same material but (this is just an opinion of mine) I couldn’t use some smooth rounded river rocks then put a piece of dragonstone, a block type of stone, or slate and expect to have a “natural” looking tank. Of course anyone can do what looks good to them this is just how I interpret/ use this rule.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...