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December 2011 Aquarium Fish International Editor's Note

Create a Little Planted Aquarium Artistry

By Clay Jackson |

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If you take a look at our web column, you’ll notice that our survey numbers indicate more than 60 percent of you keep freshwater systems — not surprising. And if you are reading this editorial, you’re holding our annual “Planted Tank” issue between your green aquatic thumbs and forefingers.

Remember those comparative statements from high school: A is to B as B is to C? Well, the same can be said for “Planted Tanks.” Here’s what I mean: Reef aquariums are to saltwater aquariumkeeping as planted aquariums are to freshwater aquariums. (OK, mine is more like A is to B as C is to D, but you get the point.) Reefs and high-tech planted tanks represent apogees in their respective spheres of the aquarium hobby. Planted tanks with Louvrelike artistry are often the crowning achievement for many freshwater aquarists. Some like Takashi Amano have become household names in the aquarium world by creating unique setups of underwater fine art.

Bringing top-flight planted aquariums to fruition not only requires serious dedication, a mastery of aquaculture techniques and an acute know-how of difficult-to-keep aquatic plants, but also the knowledge and equipment required for advanced techniques like carbon dioxide supplementation.

Of course, aspiring aquatic gardeners don’t have to go for a Rembrandt right off the bat. You can start with more of a “paint-by-numbers” affair, with the end result being a beautiful and artistic display that you don’t have to hide when company drops by. Tom Barr’s “Dry-Start Method” offers aspirants an easy, no-fuss “terrarium” method that helps aquatic plants get a healthy head start before being submerged in an aquarium. And then there’s Stephen Noble’s “Going Dutch” article, which investigates the methods and standards behind Dutch-style aquariums while giving planted tank enthusiasts a window into their future. Hey, wasn’t Rembrandt Dutch?

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December 2011 Aquarium Fish International Editor's Note

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