Tanks help bring nature into home

To Mr Zhao Rong, aquascaping is more than just a hobby.

The 32-year-old director of a health food products company took up aquascaping a year ago.

It was almost entirely by accident.

Said Mr Zhao: "My girlfriend brought back a few guppies and put them in a bowl. It was a very plain set-up."

"I wanted to provide a better home for the guppies and make it (the tank) look nicer."

As he searched for photos and information online, Mr Zhao chanced upon the works of nature photographer and aquarist Takashi Amano and was blown away.

His first tank was a nature aquarium-scape and took three months to complete.

"I failed many times because I wanted a nice aesthetic, but didn't consider the practicality," said Mr Zhao.

Despite the small size of the 30-litre tank, Mr Zhao said aquascaping was difficult because he would constantly look for ways to improve the scape.

"Two months into my first tank, I found it chaotic and wasn't happy with it, so I re-scaped the entire tank," Mr Zhao said.

He said there are many considerations when planning an aquascape, including the type of light, high or low, for optimum plant growth and aesthetic effect.


Although he has been aquascaping for only a year, Mr Zhao said the hobby has had positive effects and called the process "a learning experience".

"A successful aquascape is a lot like a business - all the different parts are important and must come together. It also teaches us patience," he said.

A small 30cm by 30cm cube tank can take him from a few days up to a few weeks to fill, as the soil and rocks must be arranged satisfactorily before the plants and water are put in.

The most important takeaway from the hobby is his newfound appreciation for nature, he said.

"I think aquascaping is all about bringing nature into the home. I used to like nature, but I never really appreciated it as I do now, and it's all thanks to aquascaping."

Get The New Paper for more stories.