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The practice of keeping saltwater or freshwater planted aquariums is often called aquascaping or underwater gardening. Experienced aquarists will tell you that establishing an aquascape is something all fish keepers should start off with. A planted tank could take a couple of months before it’s fully established, cycled, and ready to accept fish and invertebrates. Depending on the aquatic plants you select, this is how long the aquascape could last. On the other hand, aquarists who switch to tanks that only hold plants can establish long-term aquascapes that may last for years with reasonable maintenance. Here are some factors that can determine the life span of an aquascape.
The Choice Is Yours
Serious aquascape hobbyists spend months diligently working on their tanks for the purpose of entering the International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest (IAPLC), which takes place once a year. Regardless of how their tanks are evaluated and ranked by IAPLC judges, most contestants redo their entire aquascape from scratch because this is their passion. For this reason, many of them prefer to keep their tanks without fish for this event, though this isn’t what you would do for a home aquarium. Quite a few tutorials recommend a complete refreshing of aquascapes once a year, but this is largely intended to get aquarists interested in entering contests. There’s a subset of aquascape hobbyists who like to start new tanks every couple of months, just long enough for the ecosystem to go through a nitrogen cycle and take hold.
In Japan and Europe, where the aquascape hobby is taken very seriously, hobbyists enjoy keeping planted tanks for years with just water changes. We’re talking about aquarists who grow their own plants mostly from cutting (and the labor-intensive propagating from seeds) and prefer species that reproduce via the flowering process. They’ll even introduce exotic species that carpet the entire substrate in different colors. Over the years, photos are taken of the tank because nature can significantly change the look of the aquascape.
Keeping the Right Species
Just like their terrestrial counterparts, aquatic plants don’t live forever. Some only last a few months before going dormant and returning for about a season before flowering, seeding, and perishing. If the seedlings are strong, they’ll grow into full plants a few months later. Other plants are biennials and even perennials. In general, plants that require many hours of light won’t live as long as more resilient species such as Java fern, which can last a couple a decades if cared for properly.
Aquascapes for Fish Keeping
Start off with a tried but true substrate like the world-renowned, top-selling ADA Amazonia V2:
Don’t forget the importance of the ADA Power Sand that’s placed under the Amazonia substrate to keep your plants vivacious with stunning colors for years. The experts at Aquatic Warehouse (as well as everyone else in the serious freshwater plant community) recommends aquascaping and establishing a planted tank before introducing fish. The right mix of fast growing aquatic plants will consume waste and noxious molecules, thus acting as a chemical filtration system and outperform the obnoxious algaes that a lot of newbies get. Planted tanks not only make better ecosystems, but they also give fish refuge as well as improved nutrition. Plus, an aquascape makes a better habitat for invertebrates such as ghost shrimp.
If you’re serious about aquascaping, you’ll want to make sure you have the highest-quality aquarium for your hobby, which you can easily acquire from a trusted aquarium supplier such as Aquatic Warehouse. We provide all the supplies you need to maintain a beautiful tank, whether you simply want to focus on plants or decide to add some attractive fish. If you have any questions, feel free to give our aquarium experts a call today at 858-467-9297.