WHAT ARE THE BEST DRIFTWOOD ROCKS AND HARDSCAPE FOR THE AQUARIUM?
Ornamental hardscape is the biggest part of an aquascape. The aquatic plants provide the natural living structure while the solid heart of the scape is provided by carefully placed wood and rocks. The goal of aquascaping is to mimic nature within the aquarium. Driftwood and river rocks are carefully placed in locations in which they compliment the plants and draw the viewers eye to the correct locations.
Unusual, very branchy wood or jagged striped rocks can be very appealing to an audience. It is important to use earthy blacks and browns. These colors enhance the natural atmosphere of the aquarium and provide a brilliant contrast to green and red plants. In an aquascape plastic fake or artificial decor should be avoided. The ultimate goal is to replicate a piece of nature within four walls of glass.
- Thinner stems and the branchier arms of the driftwood make more interesting aquarium centerpieces. Half a stump lying in a planted aquarium tank has little appeal. Choosing pieces which look naturally fallen without visible cut marks add to the natural beauty. Wood with unusual bends and fronds is also perfect for applying moss and plants. An interesting idea is to have the wood coming down into the tank like in nature as if it had fallen from a nearby tree. Placing the driftwood rising up is another unusual method used in modern aquascapes. Some aquarium hobbyists have used this effect to create trees out of moss. The aquascaping guide will help deciding how to place the drift wood.
- If you collect wood yourself you MUST make sure to boil it over and over and let it sit in a tub for at least a week to remove the majority of the tannins. These will stain your water an ugly brown and soften your pH. “Driftwood” is what you want, it has been exposed to the elements and most of the water changing tannins will be gone, if you buy it from a store be sure to wash it to remove any chemical bleaches they may have applied.
- Rocks are another great addition and can often compliment wood in an aquascape. It is important to only choose natural coloured rocks. Red desert rock and white hole rock can look striking but when placed in the tank they can draw too much attention and turns out to be over powering. Softer colours like black, grey, and deep browns are the best. Before putting the rock into the water make sure it will not react and make the water more acidic or harder. The best way to check is to put vinegar on a small non-exposed area of the rock. If it bubbles don’t risk the rock or stone in your aquarium and source a different type.
- Natural coloured gravel and black gravel give the best results. White gravel can be used occasionally but it is harder to keep clean and more difficult to produce a natural themed aquascape. For brightly coloured fish, black will bring out the colors while lighter substrate can wash them out. Take inspiration from the aquascaping page and decide what will be suited to your design.
Hardscape such as drift wood, rocks, stones and gravel can dramatically change your aquarium design. With correct placement and color, hardscape can compliment the plant life within the aquarium.