Once the aquarium has been placed and the equipment fitted comes the fun part – decorating it – and there is loads of choice!
The key to any good aquascape is to start at the bottom. Gravel must be easy to keep clean and safe for fish, but the choice of grade or colour is entirely up to you.
From bright pinks and orange to black to natural sands and gravels, World of Water has it all, and quantities range from a couple of kilos to 25 kilogram sacks.
Coloured gravels are popular with the bright colours of fancy goldfish, and fine sands are a must if trying to create that authentic Amazonian biotope. Wash all sands and gravels when you get them home to remove any dust or debris.
Most fresh water aquariums can be set up with live plants and whenever possible, it is recommended to do so. Some of the benefits of live plants are that they:
Supplement filtration - they absorb ammonium, nitrates, and phosphates, and even assimilate other undesirable substances from aquarium water
Produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide when the aquarium is illuminated
Provide natural shelter for fish, thereby reducing stress and supporting natural behaviour. Plants also provide hiding places for baby fish and for species that are being harassed by other inhabitants
Provide the main decoration feature of aquariums and supply a dynamic element to the aquarium as they grow
Specialist sands and gravels
Substrates can be used for more than just decorative purposes. The right substrate will aid plant growth, offering them a secure footing and aiding the flow of nutrients to the roots. Combine plant substrates with fertilisation and bright light for the best results.
Some sands and gravels can be used to effect water parameters. The calcareous properties of coral sand and aragonite sand help to buffer pH and alkalinity in East African cichlid tanks and marine tanks. Ask in store for substrates that aid pH buffering.
There’s something about bogwood, plants and tropical fish that just look right.
Bogwood isn’t just any wood though, and for a start, it sinks. So why is it called bogwood? They are actually from bogs and are ancient roots and branches that have been semi preserved by the anaerobic conditions of the bog.
There are other types of wood available like Mopani wood, which has a two-tone effect – an effect that has been created by sandblasting one face of the wood, and that can be very appealing on the eye, too.
When choosing any wood, first of all make sure that it is safe to be placed in aquariums as not all wood is. World of Water’s wood comes from reliable sources and is guaranteed safe in aquariums and with freshwater fish.
When you first place bogwood under water it may leach tannins and stain the water the colour of tea. This is perfectly natural and will create conditions similar to many tropical fish habitats in South America, South-east Asia and West Africa.
If you don’t like the water to be too brown, either soak the wood for several weeks in tapwater or place it in an old saucepan and boil it for a while. Activated carbon is very effective at removing tannins, so the regular replacement of carbon in your filter will help keep the water crystal clear.
It is hard to find any natural waterway that doesn’t contain rocks of some kind. From smooth pebbles in streams to the large boulders of African Rift Lakes, they all play a part in the visual features of that habitat and a home for fish.
With few exceptions, any rocks can be used in freshwater aquariums, and World of Water stock many different kinds to help you create an underwater aquascape.
Some rocks like Tufa and Ocean rock affect water quality by making the water hard and alkaline with a high pH. This makes them unsuitable choices for most community tanks, but they can be used with the cichlids of Lakes Malawi and Tanganyika, or for simple fish only marine tanks.
Rocks are heavy so place them carefully. Put the rocks in first and then move the gravel around them so that they cannot be undermined by the digging action of the fish.
World of Water stock a massive selection of ornaments comprising action ornaments, replica wood and rocks, kids’ ornaments and everything in between.
Aquatic ornaments have the advantage of being safe for use with fish, and your imagination can run away with you as you can create underwater cities, brightly coloured fantasy islands or naturalistic aquascapes from replicas.
Ornaments are often lighter than natural wood or rocks and won’t displace so much water. Even the less-realistic ornaments will be used by fish to hide, feed and breed, and a small catfish will happily take up residence in a replica hollow log or a sunken ship.
Combine aquatic ornaments with plastic plants for a low maintenance, long-lasting look.
The finishing touch to any aquascape is often the background. Along with lighting and gravel choice, the background can really help illustrate the theme of the tank, and put the fish at ease.
Choose from plain blue or black, to planted, to rocky, to 3D, or even structured backgrounds. No matter what the size of your tank, we have a background to fit.
The ultimate in background design, structured backgrounds are realistic and make your fish feel right at home. They also make a great backdrop for live plants and other decorative features.
Choose Juwel or Aqua One structured backgrounds to imitate sunken trees or river banks and add another dimension to your aquascape. The natural, muted colours of structured backgrounds complement the fish and can be fitted to most designs of tank with ease. Place them in the tank first and stick them into place with aquarium silicone. Ask a World of Water staff member if you are unsure.
Dark substrates enhance fish colours and make them feel at home. Fine grained gravels can make a tank look larger, and are better for plant growth.