In previous articles I have
introduced many aquatic plant
layouts that utilized driftwood as the
main material for their composition.
However, in the Nature Aquarium rocks
can be the most important compositional
material. An aquatic plant layout composed
of rocks and short aquatic plants is called
an iwagumi layout, and it is classified
separately from other layouts.
Driftwood as a composition material
does not project a very strong presence
in a layout. This is because mosses and
ferns are often attached to its surface, and
colorful stem plants and other aquatic
plants are used in the layout. On the
contrary, the presence of rocks as a
compositional material is felt strongly in
an iwagumi layout. Therefore the selection
and the arrangement of rocks—and the
planting method to enhance the presence
of the rocks—are very important for this
style of layout.
In the Nature Aquarium, the naturalistic
appearance of the layout is enhanced
through composition and planting. It is not
an exaggeration to say that the success of an
iwagumi layout depends almost entirely on
the composition of rock arrangement and
planting. One must work very meticulously
when producing such a layout.
In an iwagumi layout, rocks are placed in
an aquarium by keeping in mind an image
of natural scenery with stones and rocks.
This type of scenery is often found from
the upper reaches to the mid-portion of a
river, a seaside, or high plains. Since it is
not possible to actually reproduce nature
in an aquatic plant layout, which has a lot
of limitations, we must express the image
of the scenery. It is important to observe a
lot of natural scenery and commit to our
memories the details regarding stones and
rocks. This information comes in handy
when selecting and arranging rocks, and
it is essential in creating a natural-looking
For example, many round river rocks are
found scattered in the upstream of a river.
Their locations and orientation change
with natural forces, such as the flow of the
Rocks are placed on the substrate, and soil is mounded between the
rocks. Substrate is mounded high on both the right and left sides of
the aquarium. Soil is poured between rocks liberally as well.
The appearance of the layout right after planting aquatic plants. The
key point is the meticulous planting around the rocks. Plants are
arranged carefully between rocks.