Dutch Aquarium Aquascaping


Need an aquascaping idea? How about dutch aquariums! They are the oldest and most commonly used aquascaping style today. Its main focus is on the growth and nice arrangement of plants. This style involves using many aquatic plants with a variety of beautiful colors and textures. In order to properly scape the Dutch style, one must have a good understanding of how aquatic plants are cultivated and nurtured. Other important aspects to consider when attempting this style include good selection of plants, paying attention to their health, as well as to the overall layout.

Components, Layout and Design

This aquascaping style does not focus on emulating the natural layout or specific setting from nature. It focuses completely on the aquatic plants, so the person that wants to make this design must have a good knowledge of how to plant, how to combine different plants, and how to organize them in an aesthetically pleasing manner. You have to have a clear vision about your final outcome and you need to constantly cultivate your plants to grow in a way you imagined them to. You have to pay good attention to plant density, types of plants, their colors, and the simplicity when aquascaping a dutch aquarium. Terracing, or creating areas and different levels of particular plant species, contribute towards the aquascape to be better organized, to provide good contrast, and to look visually appealing.

Another piece of information to have in mind when planning this aquascape is that seventy percent of the aquarium must be planted with different plant species. However, you should also focus on simplicity and avoid combining too many colors as the final result may not be as you expect it to be. Implementation of the rule of thirds is advisable if you want to maintain minimalism, proper density, and good organization. The contrast is also important for the aesthetics in the aquarium. Also do not forget to use aquascaping tools for planting if you want to have more control when planting.

Plants for Dutch Aquascapes

Common advice when it comes to plants is to install three different species of plants per foot. That in turn will provide good contrast of colors and nice variety. It is advisable to use the stem plants because they grow rapidly, they reach good sizes, and come in nice colors. The following plant species are often used in Dutch aquariums:

  • Cryptocoryne are small plants which are usually used in the foreground.
  • Alternanthera Reineckii, Ammania, Rotala, and Tiger Lotus are colorful and large plants that create good contrasts.
  • Java Moss is an easily maintained plant species used for making good contrast in the design, and these plants are usually placed between other species in order to make a nice transition between different elements.
  • Saururus Cernuus and Lobelia Cardinalis are types of plants that grow very close to the bottom, near the substrate layer in the aquarium. These plant species are very helpful for creating depth, making angles, and for creation of pathways inside the aquarium.
  • Hygrophila Corymbosa and Limnophila Aquatica are types of plants that provide good visual appeal in aquascapes. These plants grow quickly in different shapes and sizes, providing nice outlook in the scene.

Fish for Dutch Aquariums


When it comes to the fish used in the Dutch aquariums, the most common species used are schooling fish.

  • Cardinal tetra aka Neon tetras (Paracheirodon axelrodi)
  • Cherry barb (Puntius titteya)
  • Harlequin rasbora (Rasbora heteromorpha)
  • Rummy-nose tetra (Hemigrammus bleheri)
  • White cloud mountain minnow (Tanichthys albonubes)
  • Zebra danio minnow (Danio rerio)

Things to Know Regarding the Dutch Aquascaping Style

This style is characterized by the organized chaos, variety of plants, and nice contrast. Every plant that is used in this style has its own purpose in the creation of color layers and focal points. The main thing regarding the Dutch style is to have a good knowledge and vision in creating the design and cultivating the plants. You need to have proper equipment for monitoring and maintaining the life cycle of the plants, a liquid fertilizer, and you also need to regularly trim the plants in order to ensure a healthy environment for the species.

What makes Dutch aquascaping style different from other aquascaping styles is the use of many plants and use of terraces. The layout of organized chaos provides a well balanced ecosystem of plants and fish species. Creation of strong contrast is another characteristic of this style which completes the design.

If you want to succeed in making good Dutch aquascaping style then you have to imagine your final result with the start of your design. You may find this difficult to do at first, but a good care and proper cultivation will lead to a final result that is natural and good looking.

Aquascaping Ideas / Inspiration


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