NATURE IN THE GLASS ‘Echinodorus Paradise’

Daichi Araki Daichi Araki 

Aquascape with Echinodorus expressing a fantastic water area where a cluster of Echinodorus grows with a simple composition and planting

I want to see an aquascape with only Echinodorus. This layout was created from such an idea. The composition doesn’t appear too strong, and I never get tired of looking at this type of aquascapes because the true beauty of aquatic plants can be recognized over and over again. Although the composition and planting are simple, many clever ideas are used not to make the aquascape look too plain with just Echinodorus. By using larger driftwood as a material, an area without aquatic plants is well kept, and by planting short aquatic plants in the middle, a space is effectively created. For fish that add colors to the aquascape, I mixed typical South American fish such as Pterophyllum leopoldi, Paracheirodon axelrodi, and Pristella maxillaris, and created a fantastic cluster of Echinodorus.
Shooting date: July 16th, 2020(ADA)
Creator: Daichi Araki
Aquarium: Cube Garden W90×D45×H45(cm)
Lighting: Solar RGB x 1, turned on for 8.5 hours per day
Filter: Super Jet Filter ES-600 (Bio Rio M)
Material: Horn Wood, Manten Stone
Substrate: Aqua Soil – Amazonia Ver.2, DOOA Tropical River Sand, Pea Gravel, Power Sand Advance M, Bacter100, Clear Super, Tourmaline BC
CO2: Pollen Glass Large 30Ø, 3 bubbles per second by CO2 Beetle Counter (using Tower)
Aeration: 15.5 hours after the light is turned off using Lily Pipe P-4
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: 50 mg/l

Jungle Plant Echinodorus ‘Joyo Red Star’
Jungle Plant Echinodorus major
Jungle Plant Echinodorus ‘Red Rubin’
Echinodorus ‘Fantastic Color’
Echinodorus uruguayensis
Echinodorus Ozelot ‘Green’
Echinodorus ‘Small Bear’
Echinodorus opacus
Helanthium bolivianum ‘Latifolius’
Helanthium tenellum sp. ‘Madeira’
Wabi-Kusa Mat Taxiphyllum barbieri

Pterophyllum leopoldi
Paracheirodon axelrodi
Pristella maxillaris
Crossocheilus oblongus
Otocinclus sp.
Caridina multidentata


Add sharpness to the layout with placement of materials and planting

For this layout, I wanted to try using only Echinodorus for aquatic plants except moss. But Echinodorus generally has a strong impression even just 1 plant. And if they were tightly planted, I thought it could create a heavy impression. Therefore, I used cosmetic sand in the front and created an area without any Echinodorus in the bush by placing pieces of driftwood. As a result, I was able to add sharpness to the aquascape. And Helanthium tenellum sp. ‘Madeira’ and Helanthium bolivianum ‘Latifolius’ are changed from Echinodorus to Helanthium in terms of Genus names a few years ago, but are still the same Alismataceae as Echinodorus, and they are very similar. Because I am familiar with their common names as Echinodorus, I purposely used them in this aquascape because the aesthetic expression was the priority this time. Helanthium bolivianum ‘Latifolius’ is mainly planted to keep a space in the middle, and Helanthium tenellum sp. ‘Madeira’ is planted to enhance the natural feeling.
Layout right after planting / May 29th, 2020
1.Separating the substrate
According to some pictures of Echinodorus’ natural habitat I found while researching, they were growing even in red soil and gravel. To give sharpness to the aquascape first, Tropical River Sand was spread in the foreground.

2. Use Taxiphyllum barbieri for driftwood
In order to create a natural feeling, I attached Taxiphyllum barbieri to pieces of driftwood. There are many distribution styles for Taxiphyllum barbieri. However, I stripped off from Wabi-Kusa Mat and used this time. The condition of Wabi-Kusa is usually great, and there are less chances of failing.
3.Dividing the substrate
To divide cosmetic sand and Aqua Soil, we often line up stones without gaps. But by creating areas where pieces of driftwood and gravels were used to divide the substrate, stones were naturally placed without using unnecessarily.
4. Echinodorus ‘Joyo Red Star’
Echinodorus ‘Joyo Red Star’ with its impressive submerged leaves in mixture of green and red is planted on the left in the back. It nicely filled the left end of the background and made a well-connection with Echinodorus major with large leaves developed as the center of gravity.
5.Echinodorus major
I was thinking of planting Echinodorus with red leaves as the center of gravity on the left side in the beginning. But as I kept planting, I thought placing red there could end up looking like trying too hard. So I planted Echinodorus major with large green leaves instead.
6. Echinodorus Red rubin
Echinodorus Red rubin is planted in the green bush. Because of the red leaves peeking out from the green leaves, the sharpness is added to the bush of green Echinodorus. Consequently, it created depth in the aquascape.