Naru UchidaNaru Uchida

Expressing bright but calm nature while thinking of a contrast

To express the eternity and wild taste of nature, I created an aquascape mainly with shade tolerant aquatic plants. How the shade tolerant aquatic plants and Taxiphyllum barbieri grow as if they were swallowing driftwood and stones reminds us of a scene from nature. I used not just shade tolerant aquatic plants but also Ludwigia with red leaves while being conscious of colors of the aquascape, and finished the aquascape with a bright impression by using cosmetic sand. In terms of the shadowy parts by the driftwood, although I was thinking of creating a look with a contrast, the shadowy parts were intentionally established with the aim of creating a habitat where fish in the aquarium can make hideouts and living things can live peacefully. I hope that this aquascape will soothe viewers’ hearts because I put a lot of thoughts into it.


Shooting date: April 20th, 2021(ADA)
Creator: Naru Uchida
Aquarium: Cube Garden W120×D50×H50(cm)
Lighting: Solar RGB x 2, turned on for 8.5 hours per day
Filter: Super Jet Filter ES-1200(Bio Rio L)
Material: Horn Wood, Manten Stone
Substrate: DOOA Tropical River Sand, La Plata Sand, Aqua Soil – Amazonia Ver.2, Power Sand Advance L, Bacter100, Clear Super, Tourmaline BC
CO2: Pollen Glass Beetle 40Ø, 5 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, Phyton Git Plus (after water change)
Water change: 1/3 once a week
Water quality: Temperature: 25ºC; pH: 6.4; TH: 20 mg/L

BIO Mizukusa no Mori Anubias barteri var. nana ‘Petite’
BIO Mizukusa no Mori Anubias barteri var. nana
BIO Mizukusa no Mori Blyxa novoguineensis
Bolbitis heudelotii
Vallisneria spiralis
Ludwigia glandulosa
Rotala sp. ‘Inle’
Microsorum sp. ‘krabi’
Rotala rotundifolia ‘Green’
Crinum calamistratum
Taxiphyllum barbieri (Moss Bag)

Fish and Invertebrates
Hasemania nana
Crossocheilus oblongus
Otocinclus sp.
Caridina multidentata
Covering the framework with shade tolerant aquatic plants and mosses
At the time I arranged materials, the driftwood and stones had a significant presence. But as they were covered in ferns and mosses over time, a sense of unity was created. Especially Microsorum sp. ‘krabi’ became a main star of the aquascape and gave a fresh impression unique to ferns to the aquascape.
Guiding the viewer’s line of sight
Placing red aquatic plants at the center of gravity of the composition is fundamental. However, for this aquascape, there was also an intention to guide the viewer’s line of sight when looking at the aquascape. Although a lot of Ludwigia glandulosa were used mainly for this aquascape, I carefully performed maintenance tasks while paying attention particularly to the planting area and trimming line.
The color of fish body looks attractive with the choice of aquatic plants
Because stem plants and cosmetic sand are bright, for fish, I had only Hasemania nana with a calm impression swim in the aquascape. Unlike having mixed fishes creating a festive impression, a calm impression is given to the aquascape by narrowing down the species.
Clear background plants
By using tape-shaped Vallisneria spiralis in the background, a sense of transparency is created when shining light from the behind, and a refreshing impression is given to the aquascape.

Re-designing an aquascape with same materials

Although I often re-use previously used layout materials to create an aquascape, I completely finished these 2 aquascapes without adding even a piece of driftwood nor a small pebble when it comes to materials. Because I changed the previous aquarium to a new one the day after tearing it down, it was more like an improvised production and a challenging aquascape for me. No single driftwood or stone in the aquascape has the same expression. And when arranging a composition in general, I basically place driftwood pieces and stones to show their good parts, but depending on the driftwood pieces or stones, there may be multiple expressions that I would like to experiment. I enjoyed creating the improvised aquascape while looking for charms that those materials have.
Materials used
Main materials used for the two aquascapes.
I tried to make the aquascape ‘reborn’ with those materials.
Layout before changing the composition / Shooting date: February 15, 2019
Completion /  Shooting date: September 11, 2019
Completed aquascape before changing its layout (featured in AJ289). I envisioned how powerful plants grew in harsh nature and expressed it in the aquascape.
Layout after changing the composition / Photo shot on June 29, 2020
Giving a bright impression with cosmetic sand
To avoid similar impression, I used La Plata Sand for the substrate and gave an impression brighter than the previous work. By putting quite a lot of cosmetic sand from the front before adding soil, the cosmetic sand gets into the gaps between the soil retaining stones and helps prevent soil from flowing out.
As continuing to use Vallisneria spiralis in the background from the previous work, I created a bright impression with Ludwigia glandulosa and Rotala sp. ‘Inle’. Because Vallisneria spiralis develops runners while growing, I planted it away from the glass surface and left enough space.
Completion / Shooting date: April 20, 2021
I removed fully grown Microsorum sp. ‘krabi’ and Bolbitis heudelotii and reused them as they were because in general, it takes time for them grow.