Hardscape, in its broadest sense, serves as the foundation for almost any aquascape, regardless of the concept or style employed by the specialist. As a result, it is customary to refer to an underwater landscape’s “skeleton,” which is composed of natural stones, driftwood, or materials that look like these as “skeleton.” Aesthetic and functional tasks are accomplished by the elements of the hardscape in the aquarium: they allow you to conceal the equipment, provide support for aquatic vegetation, and provide protection for the inhabitants of an artificial reservoir, such as fish, shellfish, turtles, and so on.
Mineral and driftwood compositions take on bizarre shapes in the hands of masters, evoking natural country landscapes or creating entirely new futuristic “landscapes” out of nothing. Such static “3-D paintings” are perfect in and of themselves; they do not require the addition of live or artificial aquatic plants to complete the effect. This steadily increasing popularity of hardscape as a distinct direction of aquarium design can be attributed to the unique beauty of laconic ” solid landscape “, as well as a number of other objective advantages of ” minimalist ” aquarium design (easier cleaning, no need for frequent water changes, and special attention paid to the care of vegetation).
Characteristics of Hardscape
The following characteristics can be found in aquarium decorations created in accordance with the “hardscape” concept:
- When looking at the composition from any angle, it should have a well-thought-out concept and perspective, well-chosen focal points, and clear, strict lines.
a sense of naturalness-the artificial underwater landscape appears to be an exact replica of the harsh rocky landscapes created by nature itself;
- The aquarium contains a natural landscape.
- Asceticism—the design concept is extremely concise and minimalist; minerals and wood of the same breed are selected for “mountain ranges” and “trees,” and the materials used in the construction of the structures are recycled.
Materials that were used
There are a variety of natural stones that can be used to create natural underwater landscapes, including:
- Magnesite, sandstone, slate, granite, and basalt; sandstone for aquariums; granite for building foundations.
- Pumice (lava) in various colors (black, red, grey, brown);
- quartz in various colors (quartzite, anthracite);
- Shell, Kenyan stone, limestone, marble, Carpathian stone, and other natural materials are available.
When using sandstone and shale to decorate an aquarium, keep in mind that they have the potential to significantly alter the chemical composition of water and “saturate” it with copper, iron, and other trace elements in excess. This problem is resolved through the use of continuous water substitution, improved filtration, and the selection of a competent “population” of an artificial reservoir.
Using less expensive and more readily available artificial materials, such as fireclay bricks, dragon stone, and non-toxic slag, it is possible to create equally beautiful “natural stone landscapes”.
In theory, the only materials that can be used to create a stylish, spectacular, and comfortable hardscape for residents are stones and earth. For red-eared turtles, for example, such minimalism will suffice to keep them safe. While doing so, some of the stones should rise above the surface of the water, forming an island, and their size and “shore” should allow turtles to freely “get on land” to rest and heat under the illumination of the lighting devices.
Meanwhile, the combination of driftwood and stones broadens the capabilities of aquascapers and enables them to create environments that are conducive to the survival of a variety of different species in a small space.
When constructing your own aquarium, it is important to remember that not all roots, branches, and trunk portions can be used for these purposes, even after proper pre-treatment (soaking, boiling, and so on).
These precautions are absolutely necessary because they allow you to avoid rotting because, with the exception of a few rare exceptions (cork wood, bamboo, stained oak), any wood decomposes into water. An alarming number of toxic substances are released at the same time. While these substances have no effect on fish and animals in large natural reservoirs, they can be deadly to the aquarium population.
While decaying stumps and driftwood do not harm the ecology of large natural reservoirs, they quickly deplete the aquarium’s life support system.
It is important to remember that even initially non-toxic and properly processed hooks can cause serious problems and even death to residents if not handled properly. The resinous substances released by coniferous wood, for example, can be harmful to fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mollusks because they are constantly released.
Additionally, when selecting wood, it is important to consider the ability of some species to stain the water, which should be considered. To avoid this effect, you can use additional carbon filters or “ugly” wood from the desert tree, mangroves, and vines that have been treated with special technology to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released.
This is a hook that has been modified
Exotic decorative hooks made of specially processed mopani wood do not stain the water and are suitable for use in aquariums.
Make yourself comfortable in an aquarium designed in the hardscape style.
According to the information provided above, Trachemy’s Scripta turtles are at ease in aquariums with a simple design.
It’s the perfect “beach” for a red-eared turtle to lay its eggs on an isolated stone island with rough sloping shores.
Laconic natural underwater landscapes of stones and wood are also ideal for angelfish, barbuses, neons, and discus because they are peaceful and relaxing.
Dragonstone Hardscape is a type of hardscape made of dragon stone.
Angelfish and neons in an aquarium with a hardscape of “dragon” stone as a background.
Our studio’s aquadesigners create aquariums in the “hardscape” style, using only non-toxic minerals and wood. It is our responsibility to design and build spectacular and stylish original compositions and to populate them with fish and animals from our own aquarium farm; if it is necessary, we will also take care of maintaining an artificial reservoir.