Fishy headline more like it. I don’t seem to be even trying any more.

Bad headlines aside, I have been trying my hand at a different kind of gardening over the last few years, and, after boring friends and family with happy snaps of my projects, it feels like time to take it to an ever so slightly larger audience. The mysterious gardening technique that I and my dodgy headline refer to is of the underwater kind, aquascaping if one were to use the popular term.

Although still ever pervasive in the fish keeping world, the days of sunken pirate ships, fluorescent skulls and fantastic multicoloured pebbles are behind many of us. Aquascaping, with its many styles and schools of thought are gaining popularity, with most practitioners attempting to recreate a slice of nature within the four glass walls of an aquarium.

The passion and knowledge of some of these guys is enviable. Many diffusing CO2 gas directly into the aquarium to provide the plants the vital gas lacking within those four glass walls. Their knowledge and understanding of the light spectrums artificially provided for their plants and their knowledge of the nutrients and micro-nutrients required for plant health far outweighs that of a common gardener such as myself.

Acknowledging my shortcomings, I too wished to create a piece of nature within a transparent box, with two of my efforts so far shown below. No C02, and light levels which might be considered low to medium . Low tech is how the people in the game would describe them due to the low light, lack of CO2 injection and lack of a strict nutrient dosing regime. Low tech seems to work OK for me at the moment, although, the next tank, maybe even one with CO2 injection, is always on the back of my mind.

Hobart Aquascaping 1

Always a work in progress, this 4 foot tank has had a bit of a trim back on the left hand side, leaving it looking a little unbalanced at the moment. The sand substrate, perfect for the “earth eater” on the left, who loves to grab it by the mouthful and sift through it for food. All of the plants in here would be loosely considered to be epiphytic, preferring to be attached to driftwood and rocks instead of being buried in the substrate.

Hobart Aquascaping 2

This 3 foot tank has what seems like an unorthodox, soil substrate, capped with sand, proving an ideal environment for the root zone of the plants. Kind of over-run by a couple of plant varieties, it was originally setup with caves in mind, with plenty of hidey holes for a few different species of fish that enjoy a break in the shadows.

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