# Aquascaping Layout & The Golden Ratio

Some of you may have heard of this and some of you may have not and its called ‘The Golden Ratio’ which is widely used in planning the layout and perspective of an aquascape.  We have put together a simple ‘Aquascaping Layout  & The Golden Ratio’ guide on how to create a scape that is pleasing on the eye and has the right composition and design in mind.

## The Golden Ratio

Firstly we will look at the The Golden Ratio which will guide you in creating perspective in your aquarium. This ‘Aquascaping Layout  & The Golden Ratio’ guide is used when wanting to acheive the perfect balance when placing objects in a space.  So let’s begin and these 3 steps explain what the Golden Ratio is.

1. Stand back and look at the front of your tank. Imagine there are four lines going across the front of the glass, two vertical and two horizontal, giving you now nine sections.

2. Where the lines cross are the Golden points where you should consider placing your key features to the tank i.e. rock, wood or prominant plants such as reds or plants that stand out.

3. You can use the Golden Ratio to plan the height layout of your plants too.

### Symmetry

Basically symmetry does not work in a planted aquarium. It is too formal, structured and unnatural. Think about it would you see symmetry in the wild? No, so lets not make it neat and symetrical in the aquarium.  The focal point (as we mentioned earlier your key feature so wood, rock, red plant etc) should be slightly off to the center. 1 : 1.62 was calculated long ago as the point which is the most pleasing on the eye.  This is where you could consider having a slope on one side too, like a riverbed.

#### Shape

Please don’t have all your ‘tall’ plants lined up along the back and try and create a ‘hedge’ or ‘wall’ of plants to cover up the background! It is not needed and only looks dated. Try replicating a mountain look by trimming your plants to be taller on the sides and slightly shorter in the center.  You could also add some rocks either side (not symetrical remember to add to your mountain look).

##### Positioning of the plants

Depending on the scape you are looking to achieve, I like to keep my rocks or wood positioned amongst the midground plants as the stems can easily be hidden amongst the rocks plus you can carpet foreground plants around the base of the rocks to create a really natural look.

###### Creating depth

Creating depth is not the easiest task however keeping the golden ration in mind it can be done.  The first thing to remember is to avoid positioning the rocks from left to right across the middle in a straight line which just looks two-dimentional and very unnatural looking.  So I recommend planting and positioning in layers starting from the front to the back leaving a small gap in between and from low to high. With time and experience you will become more bold and challenging with your aquascaping and start creating some amazing looking scapes.

Another element to consider when planting your scape is to take note of the estimated growth guides that come with the plants or you can use the guide we use on our plant product page. Obviously you dont want to have to be trimming your plant all the time as it grows quicker than the one behind it so it really plays off to carefully plan your scape and even put pencil to paper first and sketch it out.

With all the above considered when putting a scape together, you should be impressed with the results. If however you need further advice we are only a phone call away on 01363 774787.

# Hair Grass…Elocharis acicularis? Which one is it?

Both actually! If you’re looking for what is commonly known as Hair Grass, then you’ll find there are a few varieties. However the Latin name to this lovely plant is Elocharis acicularis. And whilst we’re on the subject, I thought now would be a good time just to detail it a little.

Now this plant has been around for donkeys years and there’s good reason for it too. It’s a really lovely plant. Typically the pots are full as well – meaning that it grows quickly for the commercial growers. In fact I was only talking to them about it the other day and I was double checking the conditions that it needed (or rather the conditions they grew them in). Lots of light and high humidity. So if you give it that, guess what?! It grows like a weed.

But in the aquarium, to get it to grow fast and healthy you need to give it 2 things (imagine only needing 2 things in life to be happy…):

1. Lots of CO2 – and don’t be tight here. You need to see you tank like a glass of champagne. I spoke to a customer today who was using a CO2 system with a 95g bottle. He could never get his drop checker to go green and he didn’t want to add more CO2 as it was costing too much for the 95g bottles. Answer, get a new reg and buy a big, cheap refillable pub style CO2 bottle. Pick up a 5kg bottle for less than £20. Then crank the CO2. WARNING. Restrict CO2 levels and you’ll grow algae, not plants.
2. Lots of ferts. When adding pressurised CO2, you need to add trace elements and macro nutrients (NPK). WARNING. Restrict fertilisers and you’ll grow algae, not plants (Catch my drift here?! :))

When you do plant Eleocharis into your nutrient rich substrate (notice I am not suggesting pea gravel), give it a couple of weeks at least before you start trimming. If you go hard at it with the scissors from the beginning, it won’t be happy. Start trimming when you see new shoots growing – that’s when the time is ready.

Apart from that it’s an easy plant to grow. Carpets very very well in high lighting and will make you very happy if, and only if you give it what it wants.

and here’s a sweet video how to trim it

# How To Plant Aquarium Grass

Like most things, it’s easy to learn how to plant aquarium grass when you follow the steps. In this article I’ll describe how to do it.

Aquarium grass is better known as Lilaeopsis Novea-Zeelandiae and is a relatively straight forward plant to deal with. It grows easily making it suitable for beginners and up. The great thing about it is that it looks just like the grass you would find in your garden and the reason why it’s such a popular plant for the aquarium.

When your plant arrives, remove it from the pot. Then under running water remove the rock wool – which will come off very easily. Once you have done this, take some scissors and cut the plant into 6 or 8 pieces. Any excess roots can be trimmed to 1cm or so.

Take a pair of tweesers and hold the plant firmly at the base of the plant, insert into the substrate and wiggle the plant a little, so the substrate settles around the root. Then gently remove the tweesers and the substrate will stay where it is. Plant the remaining pieces of plant within 3cm of the next so it gives the plant a chance to spread easily.

That’s it! You can see how easy it is to plant aquarium plants and how a few pots will go a long way