Aquarium advice

What Does The Future Hold For Aquascaping?

What Does The Future Hold For Aquascaping?

Aquascaping Nowadays:


Aquascaping is growing increasingly popular, especially with new hobbyists starting up their first tanks. I believe social media has played a big role in this industry growth, YouTube, Instagram and other platforms have become a central hub for sharing incredible and inspirational planted aquarium content. Years ago, developments within this hobby would have occurred at a much slower rate through word of mouth, books and in person events. Nowadays you can see a hundred of the best aquascapes online from the comfort of your own home. Seeing these amazing and progressive aquascapes helps to inspire viewers to follow in the same footsteps. I know this was the case for me when I first started out in the hobby, I saw a few beautiful aquascapes online and tried my hand at it myself … let’s just say the results of my first aquascape were not as I had anticipated! 15-20 years ago, there was not much in terms of tutorials or step by step guides meaning it was trial and error or a chat with an expert at the local fish shop was needed. Luckily, nowadays there are plenty of guides and tutorials available meaning even a complete beginner can setup a good looking healthy planted tank with no prior experience of fishkeeping, if they follow good advice. Because the starting bar has been raised for most hobbyists, the progression we are now seeing within the hobby is increasing exponentially. Aquascapers seemingly outdoing one another or starting another new and fantastic trend is now commonplace. This is great to see as it means we are expanding our mindset as a community and trying new things. In time, with further technology and equipment advances who knows where this hobby will be! I for one am excited to see where we end up!


The Challenge:

If we are being honest aquascaping is not an easy hobby, it requires a lot of research, practice and patience. When you see an award winning aquascape it was not thrown together overnight. This will have taken months of planning, perhaps another year of plant growth to get the scape to where they want it, not mention having to deal with unforeseen circumstances and pest algae along the way. These are facts that most aquascapers know yet they still pursue their dream and overcoming the challenge is a big part of it. Once your own aquascape has reached a point where you are happy with it you will feel successful and proud. There is always something new to try in this hobby, whether it is a planted reef tank or a blackwater setup you will always be learning and progressing! Aquascaping is both a biological and artistic hobby. Just as much research and time must go into the care of your livestock as is spent in the upkeep of the appearance of your planted tank. Luckily these go hand in hand, a water change not only reduces nitrates for your fish, but it also helps reduce algae and improves water clarity.


TV Alternative:


The main reason to start aquascaping (at least for me) was the beauty and relaxation a planted aquarium can bring into a space. I really enjoy watching my aquariums, they are relaxing and entertaining to watch. Whether it’s the fish behaviour or the overall image the aquascape creates they are incredibly relaxing and captivating. When I first got into the hobby at a young age I would watch my aquarium for hours, in adult life we have less free time, but it is important to still make some time to relax and enjoy your aquarium as often as possible. An office or living room can be a great spot for a planted tank as you will be spending a lot of time in these spaces. Research has shown the calming affects an aquarium can have on our minds. If you’re anything like me you may find yourself starting to plant the next changes you want to make in your tank, even if it is not at a perfect stage still try to sit back and enjoy your tank.


Aquascaping Teaches Us:


Aquascaping teaches a hobbyist a lot about biological processes within the natural world which can be applied to other aspects of life. Aquascaping a planted tank can also be challenging which teaches us to be patient and resilient. It is through planning and research that you will thrive in this hobby. The aquascaping community itself is an active one and we should try to help as much possible. It teaches an appreciation for nature and animals. Months of researching fish behaviours and plant care requirements show the complex traits found within nature. Most of the time within our aquariums we are attempting to some degree recreate natural environments within our tanks which again leads us to appreciate the natural world around us.


Aquascaping Future:


I see new filters, lights, heaters and skimmers being a certainty in the coming decades within our hobby. But I would be surprised if we didn’t see some much bigger exciting leaps in terms of equipment functionality. An example of this would be that 30 years ago under gravel filters were very popular whereas nowadays external canister filters are the norm. It will be exciting to see what new products and revolutionary ideas we see come into play in the future. I can imagine new styles of aquascapes developing which will be exiting to see. The biggest change I think we will see is that the environment and sustainability will become evermore present within our industry. It is becoming an unavoidable issue worldwide within every industry and the fishkeeping community will be no exception. I think more care will have to be put into the materials and processes used to create our aquarium products. I think the two biggest factors that will need to be addressed is where we get our livestock from and how we power our aquariums. As we move to more sustainable sources of energy for our mains electricity our aquariums in turn will become more sustainable themselves. Although the fact that most aquarium equipment must be running 24 hours a day to ensure a healthy environment for our fish puts an extra strain on becoming sustainable. Although aquariums are by no means the most power hungry additions to a home, perhaps low tech coldwater aquariums will become more popular in the UK to reduce energy demand? At this point it is all speculation but something we need to start to consider now rather later. Lastly, where we get our fish from will no doubt change, it is something that I think every fishkeeper has thought about. Through careful planning I ensure all my fish are tank bred (which this hobby is now moving towards which is great to see) and I am always willing to pay a little extra for UK bred specimens. For example, last year I purchased a group of Multifaciatus shell dwellers from a local breeder and a year later I have my own thriving colony. That is the great thing about this hobby, there is a somewhat homegrown element to it with fish, shrimp and plants being produced by the hobbyists themselves. Although it is generally more expensive, I think UK bred fish will become the most popular option rather than flying fish around the world from fish farms. These adaptions within our hobby will be crucial if we want fishkeeping and aquascaping to thrive and fit into a changing world in the future. Some of these changes we can start making now to help the environment and our hobby.



AQUAnatur was created by an established UK aquarium installation and maintenance company near London which has been running for over 25 years! Our team are very experienced and happy to help offer advice with any aquarium questions. We are always available via phone or email Monday-Friday, feel free to contact us, we would love to help! AQUAnatur supply a range of aquariums and aquascaping products. If you have a question, please leave a comment or contact us via phone or email.

By Alasdair McPhail

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