NATURE IN THE GLASS ‘Gourami’s Paradise’

Naru UchidaNaru Uchida
I got inspired by Trichopodus leerii (Pearl Gourami) for this aquascape. So, I arranged the composition and chose aquatic plants while thinking about their habits. While thinking of how the natural habitat of Trichopodus leerii is, an environment in which Trichopodus leerii can peacefully grow and breed was expressed in the aquascape.


Shooting date: January 14th, 2022(ADA)
Creator: Naru Uchida
Aquarium: Cube Garden W150×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: Jati Wood, Sansui Stone
Substrate: DOOA Tropical River Sand, Aqua Soil – Amazonia Ver.2, Power Sand Advance L, Bacter100, Clear Super, Tourmaline BC
CO2: Pollen Glass Beetle 50Ø, 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: Green Brighty Neutral K, Green Brighty Mineral, Green Brighty Iron, Green Brighty Nitrogen
Water change: 1/3 once a week
Water quality: Temperature: 25ºC; pH: 6.8; TH: 50 mg/l

BIO Mizukusa no Mori Hygrophila pinnatifida
Anubias barteri var. nana
Blyxa novoguineensis
Bolbitis heudelotii
Phyllanthus fluitans
Nymphaea lotus
Nymphaea sp. Iquitos
Myriophyllum sp.
Cryptocoryne crispatula var. balansae
Crinum calamistratum
Vallisneria spiralis
Taxiphyllum barbieri

Trichopodus leerii
Hyphessobrycon phyrrhonotus
Alestopetersius  smykalai
Megalamphodus megalopterus
Crossocheilus oblongus
Otocinclus sp.
Caridina multidentata

Composition with s sense of fast water flow of the waterside

I initially thought about a layout composition while envisioning a habitat of Gourami hiding in the gentle waterside. However, I decided not to focus on aquatic plants from the same habitat as Gourami in this aquascape, but rather gave priority to the arrangement of aquatic plants suitable for the water flow. For that reason, I chose Bolbitis for the area with fast water flow and Nymphaea and floating plants for the area with gentle water flow. The water flow is one of the most important environmental factors for aquatic plants and fish, and this experiment was more interesting than I expected.

Planting that makes us think of water flow


The water flow from Lily Pipe has the characteristic of diving toward the substrate at a gentle angle because of the shape of Lily Pipe. I planted Bolbitis heudelotii and Hygrophila pinnatifida along the flow. And Nymphaea and Myriophyllum sp. in the background add an impression of the gentle flow. This planting enabled me to express the speed of water flow visually as well as the actual water flow.
The foreground with fast water flow. Epiphytes such as Bolbitis heudelotii and Hygrophila pinnatifida gave an impression of the fast water flow.

Selecting aquatic plants that are suitable for the environment

Because I planted Nymphaea that develops floating leaves and had Phyllanthus fluitans that is a floating plant float, there are some areas where the illuminance of the lighting is low. For that reason, I selected shade-loving aquatic plants that can survive even in such an environment like Cryptocoryne crispatula var. balansae and Anubias. In particular, Anubias has a high shade tolerance and comes in handy in the shadows of the intricate parts with driftwood pieces.
While thinking about the shade tolerance of each plant, I planted Hygrophila pinnatifida that prefers strong light among epiphytic aquatic plants at the top of the driftwood.

Clever ideas for expressing the water surface

Wild Trichopodus leerii (Pearl Gourami) tends to hide under the overhanging plants on the shore and in a bush of emersed plants. By focusing on the tendency and planting Nymphaea, floating plants, and aquatic plants that flutter on the surface of the water, I thoroughly created an environment in which Trichopodus leerii can feel comfortable. Although the arrangement looks eccentric, you can see Trichopodus leerii swimming gracefully on the surface in the layout.
Trichopodus leerii, the main character of the aquascape, gather in an environment suitable for living and grow up healthy while showing their characteristics and habits.
The layout immediately after planting / Photo shot on July 1, 2021
Photo shot on January 14, 2022
I was interested in the beautiful shape of Trichopodus leerii, which is the main character of this aquascape and its habits of making bubble nests for breeding. And I created the aquascape with the theme of how to recreate an environment that is comfortable for Trichopodus leerii to live in the aquarium. A place where the water flow is gentle and still became a relaxing area and a hideout for the fish, and a gathering spot of floating plants where the fish make bubble nests with the well-thought composition. Trichopodus leerii seem calm and relaxed as their nature without conducting a reconnoitering operation. I think they probably feel safe because there are plants covering the surface of water like floating aquatic plants and aquatic plants with pads.