Table with the box

aQuascaping - A new wave in interior design
September 2012

The world we live in is becoming ever more technologically sophisticated, and the things around us are getting more and more intelligent. One of the areas of extremely fast growth is construction – especially that of new skyscrapers of concrete and glass.

Unfortunately, the pace of urbanization has a negative effect upon our fragile emotional equilibrium. To balance it out, we subconsciously strive to natural harmony, trying to spend as much time as possible in the fresh air of places of nature.

Nevertheless, the biggest chunk of our lives still passes in the city; thus, our desire to have, in our immediate proximity, even a small spot of nature is quite reasonable because this is a place where we can escape the hustle and bustle of the city life. One such spots may be an aquarium that has become a popular element of today’s interior design. 

Sea Tanks

Fish Tank. This kind is intended to contain fishes only. In most cases, it is a very vivid composition comprising all the colours of the rainbow.

Reef Tank. This complicated kind is intended to hold difficult-to-care-for hard corals and a minor number of small fishes that live in the area of coral reefs. Its distinguishing features are the unusual shapes and colours of corals.

Mixed Tank. As the name suggests, it is intended to hold easier-to-care-for soft corals and a moderate quantity of fishes compatible with them. This kind of tank is characterized by a combination of whimsical shapes of corals and vividly coloured luminous fish.

A sea tank will let you enjoy the variety of colours characteristic of the inhabitants of the Red Sea or unbelievable shapes of corals from the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. But aquaria of this kind are rather expensive and require meticulous and knowledgeable care.

Fresh Water Tanks

Fake Sea. This tank uses natural but dead corals, rocks, shells, and coral chips, as well as fresh water fishes of vivid colouring. This combination produces a virtually perfect sea imitation. Such a tank is much less expensive to maintain than the real sea tank.

Biotope. A biotope aquaria is an aquarium that is set-up to simulate a natural habitat. The fish, plants, water chemistry, and furnishings are similar to those that can be found in a specific natural setting. Always check compatibility! Some species from a particular habitat are not suitable tankmates. For example, the peacock bass will eat small tetras since they are their natural food in the wild.

Nature Aquarium. This kind of tank is the brainchild of the Japanese photographer, designer, and aquarist Takashi Amano. He is one of the most influential people in the freshwater aquascaping community. He can largely be credited with introducing Japanese gardening concepts such as Wabi-sabi and Zen rock arrangement to the aquascaping hobby. His tank compositions involve intricate and typically asymmetrical (though balanced) arrangements of aquatic plants, often augmented by river rocks and driftwood. His aquascapes are notable in that they often mimic nature in their appearance, and can be regarded as a form of art.

Dry Arrangements
For those of you who wish for a bright nature-inspired spot in your decor but have no time or desire to care for a real aquarium there is such an option as a dry arrangement. You will have your tank containing the whimsical shapes of a coral reef because it is based on natural corals and shells, albeit dead but still possessed of their charm. Special lighting creates the illusion of water while a microcontroller adds dynamics to the still life in the tank changing it according to the specified parameters.
Such are the main characteristics of the basic styles and schools of aquascaping of today. Remember that, no matter which style you choose, the most important thing is to keep it natural looking. Avoid any signs of artificiality. One wrong move may ruin the harmony that is the main purpose of creating this beautiful nature-inspired spot.