This month’s theme is based on the idea of a portal to a new world. A gate straight out of a sci-fi story is used to conjure up the idea of a portal in the viewer’s mind, and the two sizes are placed together to give the illusion of a concentric gate (a circle within a circle). For this aquascape, all of the plants are placed on resin rocks or plugs. This makes planting and placing decorations much easier to do, allowing you to carefully craft a fully symmetrical environment. Plugs on the back are hidden by foreground plants to allow for minimal actual planting.
That being said, it’s still recommended to bury them as well. A lot of thin and needle-like leaves were chosen to provide a uniform look, creating a stark contrast with the smooth circles of the gates. The substrate used is chosen for its ability to provide additional texture and depth. Keep in mind that this substrate does in fact impact your water’s pH, so it is not recommended for all aquariums. If that’s a concern, it can easily be replaced with other inert white or pale gravel or sand.
The otherworldly garden that leads to the mythical land of Asgard is shrouded by a symmetrical forest. There lie concentric gates which allow those who cross over to experience a life of wonder. The garden rests in perfect harmony with itself, surrounded by dense forest and bush. Only the worthy whom seek the gates may find the garden in the forest.
This theme ignores the rule of thirds and uses symmetry to its advantage. You can feel comfortable doing this with a fantasy-inspired aquascape, as it is not meant to mimic nature in any way. As we aren’t trying to recreate a natural habitat, we can use straight lines and symmetrical formations to create an unnatural aesthetic. This lends more depth to the story behind the scenery.
A practical benefit to this aquascape is that there are lots of places for fish to swim through and hide in, making this set up ideal for livebearers as the fry can hide away in the tall bushes in the background while adult fish swim freely in the foreground’s open space. The plants also obscure any wiring like airline tubing, heaters, and filters from view. Finally, a great perk is that the plants are all on plugs and rocks, making everything easily removed and replaced at your whim.