first attempts at aquascaping

I am not sure if I like the term aquascaping much because of it’s connotations with gardening and I like a more natural look. However, aquascaping is the general term for arranging plants in an aquarium nowadays and that is what I attempt to do as well with seaweeds. (Also, I cannot pretend that my tank looks particularly like a real rock pool…). Anyway, I will post some more thoughts on the topic of aquascaping, marine or fresh water, later but for now just wanted to show some of the first attempts at planting my aquarium, It is challenging to make any tank look ‘right’, but I found it particularly hard to recreate a rock pool feel. I soon found out that I did not have enough rock in the tank and so hauled some *heavy* ones from a nearby beach. The bare tank:IMG_0551

Some wrack added (I cannot remember what species and cannot tell from the picture, it did well though). A strawberry anemone Actinia fragacea on the right.IMG_0593

Another version with Serrated wrack Fucus serratus (left), a small mop of Dudresnay’s whorled weed Dudresnaya vertillicata (far left) and some Solier’s red string weed Soliera chordalis (middle and right). A bit messy:IMG_0362


A worm pipefish, dog whelk and hermit crab in front of the serrated wrack. There is a lot of algal growth and detritus on the wrack. (I have since bought a circulation pump to keep detritus in suspension so it can go into the filter, more about that later).IMG_1285Another go. The nice thing about having an aquarium with native species is that you can collect them yourself, which is half the fun (and free), and when something does not work out you just chuck it back and try something else.  The green seaweed is velvet horn Codium tomentosum, the long brown seaweed is wireweed Sargassum muticum. Both did well, the wireweed grew quite fast, perhaps not a surprise as it is an invasive species in the UK. The red seaweed on the left is dulse Palmaria palmata, on the right harpoonweed Asparagopsis armata. The harpoonweed was not exactly thriving and the dulse was quickly eaten by the prawns:IMG_1319IMG_1701Recently, I noticed the Dudresnay’s whorled weed (love that name) sprouting from the rocks everywhere. This happened some months after removing a pluck of this weed from the aquarium. Up till then I had just planted seaweeds, but having them establish spontaneously I had not seen before. Most of the newly established weeds are only a couple of centimeters and do not seem to grow very fast, but the two weeds pictured above grew to 10 centimeters in a couple of weeks. Perhaps very local conditions in the aquarium matter.

9 thoughts on “first attempts at aquascaping

  1. My name is Kenneth Wingerter. I write for a number of aquarium science publications, and I am currently completing a book on the subject of coldwater marine aquaria. The book will be self-published in the late summer or autumn of this year.

    I very much admire your temperate marine aquarium system and would love to include a couple of photos of it in the book with your kind permission. If this would be okay, please let me know, and also to whom i may credit the images.

    Thank you very much!

    • Hey Ken,

      thanks for the kind words. Of course, feel free to use the images on this site. I could email more pics and or info if needed, just let me know. looking forward to read your book!
      cheers Mick

      • Yes, please send any original images to Originals would indeed look far, far better in print. I’d love to include a full-tank shot. If you can, it would be greatly appreciated, but would have to happen pretty soon as I am now in the process of lay-out. Oh, and please remind me exactly how you wish the images to be credited. Thanks so much!

      • Hi, Mick. I recently submitted an article about macroalgae to an aquarium magazine (UltraMarine). It would be great if I could include one or two shots from your amazing website. Would that be alright? If so, please let me know. And if so, would it be fine to credit the image(s) to Thanks again!

    • Thanks David,

      not my favourite incarnation of the tank but it was all right I guess! Temperate tanks are a different beast from the tropical tanks with live rock; definitely more trial and error. I should post about the aquarium sometime soon, as it has been a while!

      cheers Mick

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