NATURE IN THE GLASS ‘Clustered Spring’

NATURE IN THE GLASS ‘Clustered Spring’

Editors of Aqua JournalEditors of Aqua Journal

Outstanding beauty of the aquatic plant cluster
With a convex composition
And the ingenuity in planting arrangements

This aquascape is an orthodox convex composition. One of the themes for the aquascape is to create a beautiful cluster of various aquatic plants. Many types of aquatic plants are used, but by giving meanings to each planting of the aquatic plants, the aquascape becomes well-coordinated. In this aquascape, Nymphaea lotus ‘Red’ is planted as accents and creates an underwater feeling. Cryptocoryne in the middle creates a natural feeling and makes a group of stemmed plants stand out in different colors. Although the maintenance becomes more difficult, the beauty of the aquatic plant cluster looks fantastic. In the aquascape with colorful aquatic plants, I would like many types of fish to swim together.
Shooting date: October 24th, 2019(ADA)
Creator: Daichi Araki
Aquarium: Cube Garden W180×D60×H60(cm)
Lighting: Solar RGB x 3, turned on for 8.5 hours per day
Filter: Super Jet Filter ES-2400(Bio Rio L)
Material: Branch Wood, Sansui Stone
Substrate: Aqua Soil – Amazonia Ver.2, Power Sand Advance L, Bacter 100, Clear Super, Tourmaline BC
CO2: Pollen Glass Beetle 50Ø, 10 bubbles per second via CO2 Beetle Counter (using Tower)
Aeration: 15.5 hours after the light is turned off using Lily Pipe P-6
Additives: Brighty K, Green Brighty Mineral, Green Brighty Iron, Green Brighty Nitrogen
Water change: 1/3 once a week
Water quality: Temperature: 25ºC; pH: 6.2; TH: 20 mg/l


Wabi-Kusa Rotala nanjean
Rotala rotundifolia ‘Green’
Rotala macrandra ‘Green’
Ludwigia glandulosa
Hygrophila stricta
Myriophyllum matogrossense
Ludwigia arcuata
Vallisneria spiralis
Vallisneria nana
Echinodorus angustifolius
Echinodorus tenellus
Glossostigma elatinoides
Nymphaea lotus ‘Red’
Cryptocoryne balansae
Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘Green’
Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘Brown’
Cryptocoryne petchii
Microsorum sp. ‘Narrow Leaf’
Anubias barteri var. nana
Fontinalis antipyretica (Moss Bag)


Trichogaster leeri
Marosatherina ladigesi
Sundadanio axelrodi
Trigonostigma hengeli
Sphaerichthys vaillanti
Crossocheilus oblongus
Otocinclus sp.
Caridina multidentata

Key points for creating a structure with a convex composition in mind and arranging aquatic plants

Composition (Photo taken on May 29th, 2019)

Convex composition structure

I envisioned creating a convex composition and arranged the pieces of driftwood and the stones in the layout. Although the driftwood and the stones have strong impressions immediately after planting aquatic plants, it is estimated to make the driftwood and the stones look subtle as the aquatic plants thrive.

① Key points for the composition

I used relatively thin pieces of driftwood to make them look subtle when the aquatic plants are fully grown. The pieces of the driftwood were arranged in the image of the driftwood pieces supporting a bouquet (cluster) of stemmed plants which is the highlight of this aquascape, spreading upward.

②Planting shade aquatic plants

In the areas expected to become dark because of fully grown aquatic plants, I planted shade aquatic plants such as Anubias and Cryptocoryne. These aquatic plants play a role to create a natural feeling.

③Planting stemmed plants

At the both ends of the stemmed plant cluster which is the lowest part of the cluster, I planted Rotala rotundifolia ‘Green’ which is hardy for trimming and Ludwigia arcuata which is less likely to grow tall. In order to create density in a narrow area, I chose Wabi-Kusa Rotala sp. ‘Nanjean’. And when creating the layout, although I initially planted Rotala sp. ‘Hra’ because of its small leaves to aim perspective, it lacked impact. So I changed it to Ludwigia glandulosa instead.

④ Placing Microsorum sp. ‘Narrow Leaf’ on driftwood

Microsorum sp. ‘Narrow Leaf’ had been maintained in water for about a year attached on Wabi Kusa Mat. And it was divided and used in the aquascape. I fixed them on the focal points of the driftwood with Wood Tight. Because it was already thriving in the water, the leaf development was great immediately after fixing them on the driftwood, and the condition became beautiful in a short period of time.
Completion (Photo taken on October 24th, 2019)

Red and Green Triangles

In this aquascape, by creating a red triangle with Nymphaea lotus ‘Red’ and red colored stemmed plants and a green triangle with Microsorum sp. ‘Narrow Leaf’ placed on the pieces of driftwood as accents, sharpness and stability were given to the layout.

Techniques to emphasize the aquascape

Creating an underwater feeling

Tape shaped aquatic plants which are likely to sway gently with water flow and Nymphaea lotus ‘Red’ with thin leaves are suitable to create an underwater feeling in the aquascape.

Maintenance of Echinodorus tenellus

To prevent Echinodorus tenellus from having a messy impression when spreading too much in the aquascape, I trimmed its runners in order to keep them stay neat in the middle.

Shadow and Highlight

By planting brown colored aquatic plants such as Cryptocoryne in the middle, shadowy areas were created. By doing so, the highlighted part, a cluster of stemmed plants was successfully emphasized.

Planting of Ludwigia arcuata

Although planting deep red colored types in the center of the stemmed plant cluster and pale colored types towards the empty space are basic principles, deep red colored Ludwigia arcuata is purposely planted at one of the ends of the cluster while considering the balance of the red color arrangement in the whole aquascape.


 Contrast between red and green

By planting green Hygrophila stricta which is easy to maintain the height by replanting and Myriophyllum matogrossense which tends to grow voluminously in the front area, deep red color of Ludwigia glandulosa in the back is emphasized.