The Biotope Aquascape

by Apr 19, 202024 comments

Now that you already determined the ideal location and dimensions of your tank, it is time to think about your planted aquarium style. This article will discuss the different aquascaping designs to unleash the inner artist in you, specifically, the Biotope Aquascape.

Aquascaping is the art of arranging aquatic plants, driftwood, rocks, stones, and even the substrate in an aesthetically pleasing and natural manner.

You probably searched on the internet and was overwhelmed by tons of aquascaping images and still cannot decide. So in this article: the main characteristics, what tank to use, light, substrate, if you need CO2, what filter, fertilizer, hardscape, what fish and plants will be discussed to help you in your decisions.

Table of Contents

Biotope
Blackwater
Biotope Options
What Tank to Use?
What Light to Use?
What Substrate?
Do I Need to Inject CO2?
Filtration
Do I Need to Dose Fertilizers?
Hardscape
What Fish?
Amazon Rainforest Biotope
Amazon River Biotope
South American Clearwater Biotope
Southeast Asian Blackwater Biotope
Lake Malawi Biotope
Plants Selection
Amazon Rainforest Biotope
Amazon River Biotope
Southeast Asian Blackwater Biotope
African Biotope
Lake Malawi Biotope
Conclusion
Closing Remarks

Why is it so important to know the different aquascaping designs?

These are no strict rules, and there is nothing that will hinder you from getting out of a particular design’s theme and combine it with other styles.

However, you’ll probably can create a much more appealing result if you are following a particular style.

So without further ado, here are the most common styles/designs you’ll see in planted aquariums.

Dutch Style showing Dutch Streets 8 ft x 18 in x 13 in High-Tech Aquascaped by Jay-r Huelar Philippines

Dutch Style

This style is characterized by many different assortments of plants and leaf types. Carefully planning and designing a multitude of textures, shapes, and plants’ colors is the main focus. It is much like the terrestrial plants that are displayed in flower gardens. It commonly employs raised layers, or terraces, known as “Dutch streets” that taper towards the rear to convey the perspective of depth.

Aquascaped by Jay-R Huelar Philippines

Nature Style 12x12x10 in Low Tech Aquascaped by Fritz Rabaya Philippines

Nature Style

This style re-creates various terrestrial landscapes like hills, valleys, mountains, rain forests, even a half-submerged ecosystem. This design has limitless potential for beauty and creativity. The Nature aquascape or Ryoboku Style encompasses the same core principles of Japanese gardening techniques.

Aquascaped by Fritz Rabaya Philippines

Iwagumi Style Aquascaped by Monnette Arañas Philippines

Iwagumi Style

It is a style that is characterized by its daring stone formations, elegance, simplicity of open space with carpeting plants only, and dedication to conveying a natural and tranquil setting. The style features a series of stones arranged according to the Golden Ratio, or Rule of Thirds. There should always be an odd number of stones to prevent the layout from balancing.

Aquascaped by Monnette Arañas Philippines

Jungle Style Aquascaped by Franco Chester Pongco Philippines

Jungle Style

The Jungle Style encompasses the wild, untamed look. It is the complete opposite of the Dutch style, more organized and looks like a conventional tulips garden. The Jungle style overlaps with the core elements of the Nature Style except that the Jungle Style has little to no visible hardscape and limited open space due to the overgrown plants. The plants are even allowed to reach the surface and beyond.

Aquascaped by Franco Chester Pongco Philippines

Hardscape Diorama Style Aquascaped by Michael Yap Philippines

Hardscape Diorama Style

The Hardscape Diorama Style is still a subset of the Nature Style. The only differences are emphasizing using a lot of hardscapes and building complex nature-like structures such as forest, caves, bonsai trees, canyons, or even fantasy worlds. Dynamic skills should be mainly displayed here to create an illusion of depth, scale, and proportions.

Aquascaped by Michael Yap Philippines

Paludarium by Yuno Cyan Philippines

Paludariums

A Paludarium is a type of vivarium that contains water and land in the same environment or encasement. The design can simulate natural habitats such as rainforests, jungles, streams, riverbanks, and bogs. In a Paludarium, part of the aquarium is underwater, and part is above water.

Aquascaped by Yuno Cyan Philippines

My Riparium in its Full Glory Before Trimming

Ripariums

A Riparium is a type of Vivarium that typically depicts an environment where water meets land (riverbanks, streambanks, the shoreline of marshes and swamps or lakes), but it does have minimal to no land parts, unlike a Paludarium (which provides significant land parts). In other words, you are replicating the shallow parts of these natural bodies of water.

My Riparium in its Full Glory Before Trimming

Ripariums

A Riparium is a type of Vivarium that typically depicts an environment where water meets land (riverbanks, streambanks, the shoreline of marshes and swamps or lakes), but it does have minimal to no land parts, unlike a Paludarium (which provides significant land parts). In other words, you are replicating the shallow parts of these natural bodies of water.

Taiwanese Style with Lego Crab Aquascaped by Ian Garrido Philippines

Taiwanese Style

The Taiwanese Style of Aquascaping combines the elements of Nature, Iwagumi, or Dutch styles, but the most bizarre feature is using figurines, toys, etc. in the tank to create a sense of life. The style isn’t ubiquitous anymore, but there are still many hobbyists quite fascinated by this style.

Aquascaped by Ian Garrido Philippines

Biotope B3 Class of the Rio Negro Region Aquascaped by Lao Ricci Philippines

Biotopes - You Are Here

The biotope style seeks to perfectly imitate a particular aquatic habitat at a specific geographic location. From the fish to plants, the rocks, substrate, driftwood, water current, and even the water parameters of a certain aquatic habitat must be the basis of trying to recreate the natural environment, and not necessarily convey like a garden-like display.

Aquascaped by Lao Ricci Philippines

Walstad Tank No Filter Since Day 2 Aquascaped by Mark Ivan Suarez Philippines

The Walstad Method

The Walstad Method choose to grow plants using very minimum technology as possible. This approach, which is sometimes called “The Natural Planted Tank” and is made popular by Diana Walstad, suggested using soil as a cheap replacement to the aquasoil or aquarium gravel, sometimes with no filtration, no CO2 injection, and limited lighting.

Aquascaped by Mark Ivan Suarez Philippines

Disclaimer:

Most of the examples here are not strictly ‘Biotopes’ as far as Biotopes competition goes. They are just mainly to provide you the general idea of how it can be implemented, what you have to deal with as far as caring and maintenance goes, how to combine it with other styles, etc.

You can have Biotope-style planted aquariums at your home without someone saying at your face ‘these are not Biotopes’. After all, this is your tank. As long as you are happy with it and have the pride of keeping up with it, be proud of it, and those are the most important things.

Biotope

So far, all the previous styles we discussed often combine plants, animals, and even hardscapes and substrate based on the desired visual impact, without regard to geographic origin. The biotope style seeks to perfectly imitate a particular aquatic habitat at a specific geographic location.

From the fish to plants, the rocks, substrate, driftwood, water current, and even the water parameters of a certain aquatic habitat must be the basis of trying to recreate the natural environment, and not necessarily convey like a garden-like display.

Underwater View Lilies

Underwater View Lilies

In a local lake, river, creek, stream, swamp, marsh, one can go as far as diving into the habitat to have a general insight of what it looks like, collect some hardscapes (rocks & driftwood) and substrate, catch & collect some of the aquatic wildlife (faunas and floras) and take note of the surrounding terrestrial plants and trees, take a sample of the water and record its parameters.

Slow Moving River

Slow Moving River

The ease of maintenance is not too different from the regular aquascaping styles once your Biotope tank has stabilized, but the additional tasks to maintain the accurateness with respect to the environment being replicated should be considered.

A Biotope style may be sparsely planted or no plants at all, most especially if the habitat you are trying to emulate has fast-flowing waters. Its focus is more on the fish and hardscapes.

Madalag Aklan Stream

The Rapids – Somewhere in Madalag Aklan Philippines – This Photo was Taken During the Summer – These Large Boulders will be Completely Submerged During Rainy Season

Some Biotopes simulate slow-moving water bodies such as some rivers, streams, marshes, and swamps, some plants here and there but not heavily planted, have blackwater, and very acidic due to leaking driftwood’s tannin’s, and decomposing organics.

Blackwater

Blackwater – usually occurs in slow-moving rivers, streams that pass through forests. As vegetation decays (leaf-litters, fallen tree branches), tannin’s leach into the water, creating transparent, soft, and acidic water that is darkly stained, resembling black tea. The largest blackwater river in the world is the Rio Negro; one of the largest Amazonian tributaries. You can achieve the blackwater look using a lot of driftwood, Indian Almond Tree leaves, or alder cones.

Rio Negro

Somewhere in Rio Negro

Some examples here cannot be called biotopes in the strictest sense, but you can get the general idea of what it looks like. When you say that your aquarium is a Biotope, you should say what geographical location/aquatic habitat it was based.

A B1 class Biotope is a total replica of the aquatic habitat as if you dived into that habitat and taken some pictures and obtained hardscape, soil, plants, even the water and faunas and completely replicating the water parameters. Even how strong the current is should be replicated.

A B2 class Biotope is a somewhat partial replica. You may replicate the look, but the hardscape, soil, plants, and faunas used were not from that geographical location. Or it looks totally the same along with the hardscape, soil, plants, and faunas are from the location but the water parameters are not totally replicated.

Finally, a B3 Class Biotope is just a general look of the ecosystem. Most of the factors were not totally replicated and did not come from the natural habitat.

Biotope tanks based on the Amazon River are prevalent because they are fairly easy to recreate – there is a wide variety of fish to choose from. Many of the plants that are used in the planted aquarium hobby come from Amazon anyway.

Somewhere in the Amazon River

Somewhere in the Amazon River

But if you are looking for something local to your geographical location, or looking for something a little more challenging, or if you want more options, you can consider these other Biotopes:

  • Southeast Asian Blackwater Biotope
  • Southeast Asian River Biotope
  • Central American Rocky Lake Biotope
  • Mangrove Swamp Biotope
  • African River Rapids Biotope
  • Lake Malawi Biotope
  • Lake Tanganyika Biotope
Lake of Malawi is the third largest freshwater lake in Africa. It forms much of the boundary between Malawi and Mozambique, and between Malawi and Tanzania

Lake of Malawi is the third largest freshwater lake in Africa. It forms much of the boundary between Malawi and Mozambique, and between Malawi and Tanzania

What Tank to Use?

The size of the tank really depends on the geographic-specific fish you are keeping. But if you are just keeping small to medium fish, long tanks (more depth than height) is still the recommended choice. From nanocube tanks to medium tanks (10 to 20 gallons long) to the largest tanks (30 gallons upwards) can be used in a Biotope setup.

You can use large tanks, especially if you want to replicate a big fish habitat such as Discus (minimum 50 gallons and up), which is native to the Amazon River basin in South America. But this also means you have to use a lot of driftwood, rocks, and substrate. If you can source these from nature, then do it to save cost on hardscapes.

B3 Class Amazon Blackwater Biotope Aquascaped by Joseph Albert Braga Philippines

B3 Class Amazon Blackwater Biotope 75 Gallons Aquascaped by Joseph Albert Braga Philippines

Blackwater Nano Tank for Betta Aquascaped by Doi Suason Philippines

Blackwater Nano Tank for Betta Aquascaped by Doi Suason Philippines

What Light to Use?

As I mentioned above, some Biotopes are sparsely planted, or no plants at all, in which the quality of the light is not too critical. Some Biotopes with blackwater may have a jungle-like canopy.

Also, in a blackwater Biotope, light does not penetrate effectively compared to clearwater Biotopes. That is one of the reasons you don’t see much algae in the Biotopes system.

It is estimated that in a rainforest, only 5% of the sunlight reaches the floor. So it goes without saying that any creek or stream under the canopy of trees is not getting much light. And the plants that live in this habitat can adapt to these low-light conditions. So you can use low-medium lighting. You may also add floating plants to add to the dapple-lighting effect.

Of course, other parts of these creeks or streams will be under direct sunlight and foster significant plant growth in that area despite that they have blackwater. So you can use medium to high lighting.

But I still recommend using a dimmer whenever you can so you can adjust the intensity of your light lower when algae started to show off their fangs in your aquarium.

As always, research about the habitat you want to replicate so you can decide on the lighting requirement.

Biotope B3 Class of the Rio Negro Region Aquascaped by Lao Ricci Philippines

Biotope B3 Class of the Rio Negro Region Aquascaped by Lao Ricci Philippines

If you know electronics and building skills, you can even DIY/experiment with your light fixture with LED bulbs, high powered LED beads. Some had success with LED floodlights, even 5730, 5630, 5050, and 3528 LED strips. I personally DIYed a 5630 LED strips lighting fixture, with warm white, cool white, red and blue LEDs, and a generic 3rd party dimmer.

Whichever route you choose for your planted aquarium lighting, the most important thing is you should be able to control/adjust the intensity (which can be done with 3rd party dimmers for LEDs, or if dimmers are not possible, you should be able to adjust the height of your lighting fixture.

What Substrate?

Unless you can source the substrate from nature or from the specific geographical location you are basing your Biotope, you can combine commercially available substrates in the market to emulate the real thing.

One thing about nature-sourced substrates, though, like river sand, we suggest to cook/fry it first or cook it under the sun for a few days. There are many organisms/parasites in there that you don’t want to hitch-hike in your aquariums.

You can still use regular potting/gardening soil topped with river sand or commercially available inert sand. Prepare them all first by cooking/frying them or cooking them under the sun for a few days.

Biotope B3 Class Based from the River after Binangawan Falls Camiguin Plants came from the river itself Aquascaped by Joseph Christian Philippines

Biotope B3 Class Based from the River after Binangawan Falls Camiguin Plants came from the river itself Aquascaped by Joseph Christian Philippines

Some Biotopes simulate a strong flowing stream or creek, and you can use just rocks and sand sourced from these locations (boil them as precautions first). Or use similarly textured and colored rocks and sand available commercially.

For large rocks that you cannot boil or don’t have the means to, you can pour boiling water in them several times. Just be careful, safety first.

Biotope B3 Class Southeast Asian Aquascaped by Ian Paz Philippines

Biotope B3 Class Southeast Asian Aquascaped by Ian Paz Philippines

As for natural tannins-releasing botanicals to create a blackwater, you can use Indian Almond leaves (Catappa), Guava Leaves, Amber Cones, coconut husks, Savu Pods, Mariposa Pods, Tapete Pods, etc. As always, prepare them first by boiling or soaking them.

These have two advantages, first is to remove any pollution, impurities, and any pesticides, and second, help the items to sink.

B3 Class South American Biotope Aquascaped by Nigel Sia Philippines

B3 Class South American Biotope Aquascaped by Nigel Sia Philippines

Do I Need to Inject CO2?

As most Biotopes are sparsely planted or no plants at all, or just using undemanding plants, you don’t need to inject CO2 here. Plus, all the tannins and decomposing organics used to make blackwater produce plenty of CO2 in the water. However:

Filtration

Blackwater Biotopes have less capacity to carry oxygen in the water column due to all the tannins and decomposing organics-releasing organic acids, so it is vital that the filter you are using, aside from the filtration, should be able to provide a lot of surface water agitation so that oxygen from the air will enter the water to balance the CO2 out.

You can also deploy mini submersible pumps or wave-makers to aid with the surface water agitation and water flow around the tank. The different types of filtration, types of filters that we can use in our planted aquariums, and considerations of what to look for in a planted aquarium filter are all discussed here.

Biotope B3 Class Southeast Asia Aquascaped by Ian Paz Philippines

Blackwater Biotope B3 Class Southeast Asian – Rasboras – Aquascaped by Ian Paz Philippines

Do I Need to Dose Fertilizers?

As I mentioned above, most Biotopes are sparsely planted or no plants at all, or just using undemanding plants, so there is no need to dose fertilizers.

You can insert Osmocote capsules/beads (a slow-release fertilizer) deep into the substrate to fertilize the substrate. Most carpeting plants benefit from this to spread faster and get thicker. This also works on your hungry stem plants by inserting beads of Osmocote near the plants’ roots.

Even aqua soils deplete their nutrients over time, and you can insert Osmocote into your substrate every 6 months.

Hardscape

The amount of your hardscape (rocks and driftwood) depends on the natural habitat you are mimicking and your tank’s size. You can source these from that specific geographic location, or you can use commercially available rocks, stones, and driftwood. Just make sure to do your research if the actual rock is really present in that particular habitat.

For example, there are virtually no rocks found in the Amazon Basin since they wither or cannot stay intact on the long journey from the Andes mountain range. Any rocks that survived lie below the riverbed under the soft sedimentary clay.

Lake Malawi’s Biotope theme is mostly rocks and sand with no plants.

What Fish?

Stocking a Biotope tank can be very tricky because the tank’s water parameters will be very specific. Please do your research on what fish species live on that specific location you are trying to recreate.

For example, if you are trying to recreate a Blackwater Amazon Biotope or Amazon Rainforest Biotope, this part of the Amazon River passes through the rainforest. It is very slow-moving and has many leaf-litters, fallen branches, and may have sand as a substrate. The water is acidic and has a pH range of 4.5 to 6.5. Water temperature is in the range of 74 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (23 to 27 degrees Celsius). These fish species will do well with this kind of Biotope:

Blackwater Tank Inspiration from Takashi Amano Aquascaped by Benj Lacson Philippines

Blackwater Tank – Inspiration from Takashi Amano – Aquascaped by Benj Lacson  – Philippines

Amazon River Biotope

This part of the Amazon River has still acidic water ranging from 6.0 to 6.9 pH, appears to be muddy due to suspended debris and sediments, medium current flow, and has lots of branches, roots, and driftwood. The substrate appears to be dark sand with some dark fine gravels, leaf litters, and minimal plants.

Blackwater Biotope B3 Class of Buhisan River, Cebu Angel Fish instead of Rainbow Fish Hardscapes came from the river itself Aquascaped by Fritz Rabaya Ph

Blackwater Biotope B3 Class of Buhisan River, Cebu Angel Fish instead of Rainbow Fish Hardscapes came from the river itself Aquascaped by Fritz Rabaya Ph

South American Clearwater Biotope:

Suppose you don’t want a Blackwater Biotope. In that case, two of the most popular clearwater rivers in South America are Rio Xingu and Rio Tocantins. The pH range of the water is from 6.9 to 7.3, somewhat neutral. The temperature is in the range of 74 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (23 to 28 degrees Celsius):

Southeast Asian Blackwater Biotope:

Southeast Asia is home to a huge and diverse set of habitats (fishes and plants too). Peat swamps are extremely interesting and unique to Southeast Asia. Examples are located in Malaysia and the Philippines, the North Selangor Caimpugan, and Agusan del Sur Peat Swamp Forests. These fish species hail the Southeast Asian Blackwater Biotopes:

Blackwater Tank Inspiration from Takashi Amano Aquascaped by Benj Lacson Philippines One

Blackwater Tank Inspiration from Takashi Amano Aquascaped by Benj Lacson Philippines One

Lake Malawi Biotope:

A rift Lake in East Africa that is very much alkaline (pH 7.5 to around 8.8) yet has relatively soft to medium-hard water. Surface water temperature is from 75 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 29 degrees Celsius), while deep sections are typically around 22 degrees Celsius. Malawi Lake’s theme is mostly rock and sand. An attempt to replicate these water conditions in your home Biotope is recommended for these Lake Malawi Cichlids (don’t combine them):

Mbuna Cichlidsrock dwellers, lots of rocks needed for the aquascape

Utaka Cichlids – sand dwellers, use a few rocks scattered around and lots of sand

Plants Selection

Using the set of examples of Biotopes above:

Blackwater Amazon Biotope or Amazon Rainforest Biotope

Igarape – from ygara (canoe) and ape (path) is a typical watercourse in the Amazon region. Characterized by its shallowness and for running almost entirely under the jungle canopy. For this reason, it can only be navigated by small boats like canoes.

Amazon Igarape B3 Class Biotope Aquascaped by Gabby Pastorfide Philippines

Amazon Igarape B3 Class Biotope Aquascaped by Gabby Pastorfide Philippines

Amazon River Biotope

Southeast Asian Blackwater Biotope

African Biotope

Biotope West African River B3 Class Anubias Aquascaped by Martin Ladioray Philippines

West African River B3 Class Biotope Anubias Aquascaped by Martin Ladioray Philippines

Lake Malawi Biotope

Typically, the lake has very little plants, and those that do occur tend to be found near river-mouths and swampy areas. You can still use Anubias as they are very robust and tough plants but not Jungle Vallisneria as the Cichlids in Lake Malawi are diggers and will occasionally taste plants.

Conclusion:

The biotope style seeks to perfectly imitate a particular aquatic habitat at a specific geographic location. From the fish to the plants, the rocks, substrate, driftwood, water current, and even the water parameters of a certain aquatic habitat are carefully replicated to recreate the natural environment and not necessarily convey like a garden-like display.

When you say that your aquarium is a Biotope, you should say what geographical location/aquatic habitat it was based.

The style requires a lot of research about the specific Biotope you want to recreate, and some will go as far as going to the location and experience the habitat personally.

Want to Explore More?

My 3rd Re-scape

The Fastest Method – How to Cycle a Planted Aquarium

We already discussed the fastest way of cycling your newly planted aquarium. That is to use your old filter media, gravel, soil, hardscapes, and even part of the old water from your old aquarium to your newly planted aquarium.

Accumulated Wastes and Organic Debris

TDS – The Planted Aquarium Water Parameters

TDS is the measure of all dissolved organic and inorganic solid substances in your water. However, tests of this water parameter don’t say what comprises your TDS. It measures the total of all molecular, ionized, and any microscopic substances in our water that cannot be caught by your filtration.

Icicle

Temperature – The Planted Aquarium Water Parameters

We will not over-complicate this. Temperature is simply just the measure of how much heat is in the water, hot or cold. But too big fluctuating temperatures will have bad effects on your faunas and plants in our planted aquarium.

My Beginner's Planted Aquarium

Planted Aquarium for Beginners

Here on this page, I will walk you through setting up your first planted aquarium for beginners. Starting up a planted aquarium can be difficult for a beginner with all the conflicting information and “one size fits all” advice on the internet. Or, the beginner hobbyist happened to visit a local LFS (Local Fish Stores) and has been misinformed to buy this or that which are not essential, compatible, or too expensive for the planted aquarium he/she had in mind as a beginner.

Using an DIY Integrated Sump Filter Designed and Aquascaped by John Joshua Wang JJ Philippines

Sump Filters – Types of Planted Aquarium Filters

Think about a trickle filter as vertical filtration stages and a sump filter as a horizontal one by utilizing chambers separated by baffles to route the water horizontally. The main takeaway here is that the filter media are always wet/submerged in water as opposed to a trickle filter.

Closing Remarks

I hope you enjoyed this article and if ever you have additional questions or want to share your experiences with Biotope Aquariums, please leave a comment below.

Next, we will be discussing the “Natural Planted Tank,” also known as the Walstad Method.

24 Comments

  1. Purdey

    Wow! I am flabbergasted! You know so much about planted aquariums, it is amazing. Your article is beautiful, both in its content and pictures. Your thorough investigation on aquascaping  designs makes me want to get an aquarium really quickly and to start designing it. This is simply beautiful, a form of art. Thank you so much.

    Reply
    • Lemuel Sacop

      Thank you so much Purdey for the appreciation about my article. Please watch out for more articles coming soon.

      Reply
  2. Alan

    Wow!

    I came across your site by chance and got stuck on it for quite a while. So thought I would share my thoughts.

    Never realized you could create your very own amazon basin.

    I’m not so keen on the upkeep of fish but you could easily have this as I like the display.

    I have many ideas now!

    Many Thanks!

    Reply
    • Lemuel Sacop

      Thank you Allan for the appreciation about the article. If you have some questions please don’t hesitate to ask. Please watch out for more articles coming soon.

      Reply
  3. andre

    thank you for the knowledge very interesting I will recommend you to friends that need this service

    Reply
    • Lemuel Sacop

      Hi ANdre,

      Thank you that you find my articles informative and very interesting. Please watch out for more articles coming soon.

      Reply
  4. Cornelia

    Hello,

    I didn’t know there are so many different ways to style your tank! Aquascaping, very interesting. You definitely explained it in detail and I have suddenly the need to try fishes again:)

    Reply
    • Lemuel Sacop

      Thank you Cornelia for the appreciation about my articles. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have questions along the way. Please watch for more articles coming soon.

      Reply
  5. Andrea Gatti

    Thank you so much for this article, you have given us so much information, I’m really impressed by your knowledge on this subject.
    I would like to ask you a question, please keep in mind I’m not an expert. Since we, of course, need to replicate the right habitat in order to have a healthy aquarium, what should we do if we are not able to replicate it perfectly? what would you give priority too? What I mean is, if it’s necessary to have the right plants to start with or it’s possible to add them later on?
    Thanks for your help.
    Wish you the best,
    Andy

    Reply
    • Lemuel Sacop

      Hi Andrea,

      Thank you for visiting and the appreciation. As for your questions, if we cannot replicate the habitat perfectly, in the strictest sense, it cannot be called a Biotope. But you created your planted aquarium too enjoy it, right? Not to mind what people will say. Either way, if the fish comes first, you should give it priority to provide what it needs (right water parameters (pH, temperature) and environment), and you can just add the plants later. Or you can have the right plants first then make sure you have the right water parameters before you add the fish.

      Reply
  6. Laurence Guidry

    I am not into fish in aquarium, but if I did, I would run out and get my equipment and fish right now.
    Your article is well written, your strong contents goes very good with your media, white lettering against a green back ground is not too bad, but okay. I like the way you explain the fish home habitat and how to arrange and make it look like the fish were home in its own environment. The strong contents flows very smoothly through out your article. Again Great Jog! Keep it up!

    Reply
    • Lemuel Sacop

      Thank you Laurence, I hope in some ways, we can get you into this hobby. There are a lot of health benefits.

      Reply
  7. Darren

    This was a really interesting read, Some of the images of the aquariums are so well designed I thought it was an actual river bed as they looked extremely realistic. 

    It was also very impressive how there is so knowledge and information regarding the different types of plants included in the post. 

    Reply
    • Lemuel Sacop

      Hello Darren,

      Thank you for coming back and the appreciation about my article. If you have more questions please don’t hesitate to ask. Please watch out for more articles coming soon.

      Reply
  8. Steve G

    As I mentioned in my other comments I this an absolutely wonderful site.  There is so much to see and learn.  You have definitely changed how I view aquariums. So far, I really like the Iwagumi and Walstad style.  The BioTope is uniquely intriguing – like a glimpse into a natural pond or stream.    I can see why someone would like to recreate either the Amazon or Africa – but are there any other Biotopes that recreate Northern American lakes and streams? If so, what type of fish would be best suited for the type of environment?

    Reply
    • Lemuel Sacop

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for coming back! The fish that came to my mind for North American Biotopes are Gars, sunfish, mollies (but they are more in central America), some species of killifish, darters, shiners, etc.

      Should have a large tank with strong current, rocky, sandy, some driftwood, little to no plants, etc.

      Reply
  9. Kirkman

    thank you for this awesome article. Aquascaping is usually regarded as an independent variety of aquaristics. This is the art of recreating a landscape in an aquarium. i had some ideas about reef scaping. can this also be applied to the biotope aquascape? i would like to know. thank you very much

    Reply
    • Lemuel Sacop

      Hi Kirkman,

      Thank you for your comment and question. Yes absolutely, reef biotope is still an enclosed ecosystem. My examples are all freshwater Biotopes, but really, it can be applied to a marine or reef tank if you want to.

      Reply
  10. Smoochi

    this is just so beautiful. the biotype aquascape is my favorite as of now. the ability to produce real life feelings and habitat is just so amazing. i actually compared with the pictures from the amazon and i could feel the connection. thank you fot his beauty. it is insightful and inspiring.

    Reply
    • Lemuel Sacop

      Hi Smoochi,

      Thank you for coming back. Please watch out for more articles coming soon.

      Reply
  11. Smoochi

    this is just so beautiful. the biotype aquascape is my favorite as of now. the ability to produce real life feelings and habitat is just so amazing. i actually compared with the pictures from the amazon and i could feel the connection. thank you fot his beauty. it is insightful and inspiring.

    Reply
    • Lemuel Sacop

      Hi Smoochi,

      Thank you for coming back. Please watch out for more articles coming soon.

      Reply
  12. Sylvia Christiansen

    Wow, I love your article; I could sense myself in different areas. I have never had an aquarium, it sounds like so much work, but it is certainly exciting. People can learn very much from your very detailed posts.
    For sure, the Amazon is very different from the Everglades or the sea. One picture has left me wondering because I didn’t know that these big water lilies are also located in the Amazon. I always thought they were in Thailand or Vietnam. People have little vegetable gardens on them. It has always amazed me.
    I am coming from the sea, but I don’t like to swim and dive because I feel insecure in this element. However, visiting a tropical aquarium is always a beautiful experience. Great article!

    Reply
    • Lemuel Sacop

      Hello Sylvia,

      Thank you for visiting my website and appreciating this article of mine. Biotopes perfectly or partially imitate the ecosystem of a particular geographical area. It is also applicable to freshwater and saltwater environments. I, too, love the seas and beaches but never tried deep swimming nor diving. I hope in some way or two, I was able to help you in your decision to keep a planted aquarium at home. It has a lot of benefits to your faunas and to the owners as well. I can’t wait to see your creative work and what you can come up with.

      Reply

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