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What aquascaping means to me by Jordan Stirrat

 Aquascaping is a form of art in which imagination and creativity play an essential role. I find great satisfaction sharing the creative process I go through while creating and maintaining my aquascapes. My main goal is to continue developing as an aquascaper while sharing my experiences with others. I do not know where this hobby will take me, but I know that I will enjoy myself along the way.


My first aquascape was a disaster! I had no idea what aquascaping was when I bought my first tank. It was not until I discovered beautifully planted aquariums online that I decided to create my own. I used a tiny amount of plants, no fertiliser, no co2, poor lighting and the list goes on. As expected, this did not work out well for me. This is the experience most people go through and without enough research, it is nearly impossible to succeed. Taking my failures into consideration, I tried again. I had more success and enjoyment out of this new aquascape so I decided to set up an Instagram page and share my hobby with others. The layout was not impressive but I was now addicted to aquascaping.

In my opinion, my most successful aquascape was a small Dutch-inspired layout that started as an experiment. I tried to keep the creation and maintenance as simple as possible, which led to an extremely successful aquascape. This aquascape was stem heavy with a full carpet of Micranthemum Monte Carlo at the front that required regular trimming. I decided to go very lean on fertiliser in order to keep excess nutrients to a minimum and avoid algae. Using key principles and not overcomplicating everything lead my success as a beginner aquascaper. This was my most enjoyable aquascape to own as it involved very easy maintenance sessions without having to do any corrective maintenance. I recommend that new hobbyists should try creating a heavy planted layout as it taught me valuable lessons on maintaining plant health and trimming techniques.

In the last year, I have started engaging more with other aquascapers which has almost become just as enjoyable as the creative process itself! I have to give credit to the companies that have sponsored me because without them I would not have been able to create as much content or share as many of my experiences. Hopefully, in the future, I can continue to share these experiences and create an even stronger relationship with my audience. I really appreciate everybody that supports my hobby!

I will shortly be creating two new layouts using two aquascaping styles that I have never fully explored yet. I enjoy challenges like this as I believe it is important to push yourself outside your comfort zone to further improve at your craft. One of these layouts will be an Iwagumi style aquascape which features only rocks and plants. This style creates a very minimalistic appearance and although it may appear very simple to create this is not the case. Any imperfections in this style of layout would stand out. My other upcoming layout will be rather unusual and out of the box… literally out of the box! I plan to create a shallow pond tank, which will feature several emergent pond plant species at the back of the tank where the soil will be banked behind driftwood while keeping the front portion of the tank as open swimming space. Hopefully, through these new aquascape layouts, I can inspire others to experiment and create different styles of aquascaping.

Aquascaping is my passion. I feel very lucky to be part of such an amazing community of enthusiastic hobbyists. I look forward to all the new people I will meet in the future and the satisfaction I will gain from creating new layouts.