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Going Dutch

Discover the beauty of a Dutch-style planted tank.

By Stephen G. Noble |

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The Dutch people are known for their scenic villages, excellent roadways and exquisite architecture. In the early 1900s, Dutch aquarists capitalized on their nation’s rich traditions by creating works of art known as Dutch aquariums. This highly structured form of aquascaping captures the precision and beauty of the Netherlands. Dutch planted tanks can take many years to mature, which is a testimony to the expertise and perseverance of individuals attempting to master the intricacies of the style.

Replicating nature is paramount for Dutch-style planted aquariums. These eye-pleasing natural aquascapes are works of art in which plants dominate the scene. Aquarists skillfully adhere to using multiple focal points, each taking about one-third of the aquarium space. Each focal point is segregated by narrow open areas called avenues. One can easily visualize the magnificent cobblestone Dutch roadways inspiring this concept. The avenues must always be completely debris-free in order to attain the illusion of great depth. Vegetation is continually trimmed to preclude intrusion into or overshadowing of the avenues. Adding to the illusion of depth are linear rows of plants possessing contrasting colors, textures and leaf shapes. Plants are meticulously arranged on terraces, allowing lower-growing species to be used in portions of the tank other than the foreground.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the December 2011 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.

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Reader Comments

Daniel    Aurora, CO

3/24/2012 12:58:31 PM

This sounds like an interesting and challenging setup. I might have to give it a try in the future.

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