May 6, 2024

Dutch Aquascape: Achieving a Vibrant Underwater Landscape in Your Aquarium

Overview of Dutch Aquarium Aquascape

The Dutch Aquarium Aquascape dates back to the 1930s in the Netherlands and has stood the test of time, cementing its place as one of the most popular aquascaping styles till today. At the heart of this style is a focus on displaying a thriving assortment of aquatic plant life, intertwined in visually striking arrangements. Additionally, this aquascape style employs specific rules and techniques for a unique and precise aesthetic result.

Key Characteristics of the Dutch Aquarium Aquascape

The Dutch-Style Aquascape forgoes the use of traditional hardscape materials such as rocks and driftwood in favor of a lush underwater garden. The primary design techniques include terracing, high-density plant demographics, color contrast, and the strategic incorporation of focal points with large or red plants.

Plant species used in this style come with diverse aesthetics. A popular choice includes a variety of stem plants, low-growing species like the Saurus cernuus and Lobelia cardinalis, and larger aquatic varieties like the Hygrofilia corymbosa and Limnophila aquatica.

Layers in Dutch Aquascape

Strategic planning in Dutch-style aquascaping involves careful selection of plant species based on factors like tank size, lighting, nutrient, and CO2 dosing. Plants are categorized into foreground, midground, and background, with a vibrant plant serving as a focal point, ensuring a well-balanced layout.

Fish in Dutch Aquascape

Not to be left out of the captivating Dutch Aquarium setup are schools of native fish species. They complement the array of aquatic flora, and large schools of such species as Congo tetras or Angelfish are often kept in these aquaria.

Dutch Aquarium Equipment and Maintenance

Creating an effective Dutch Aquarium requires the right equipment. Standard lighting, filtration systems, CO² addition, substrate systems, and regular fertilization are integral parts of this setup. These requirements may seem complex at first but prove vital for maintaining a healthy and visually appealing aquarium.

Maintenance Procedures

Discipline in maintaining the Dutch Aquarium includes performing frequent plant trimming and daily tasks such as regularly adding liquid fertilizer and checking tank parameters. Weekly maintenance includes cleaning the aquarium glass and filters. This regular upkeep ensures a balanced ecosystem within the tank and an aesthetic appeal that lasts.

Judging a Dutch Aquarium

Several key factors are considered when judging a Dutch Aquarium in a contest. These include the health of aquatic plants and fish, water parameters, plant selection and layout, and fish selection and compatibility. Other factors that play a part include general design, initial planning of substrate, planting layout, and equipment setup.

The Value of Contrast and Variety

Important techniques in Dutch Aquarium include creating strong contrast between groups of plants and leaving room for a clear distinction between plant grouping. Variation in plant heights, leaf size, and leaf shape contributes to the visually appealing outcome in the Dutch Aquascape and can influence contest outcomes.


Emphasizing lush plant growth, Dutch style aquascaping creates a vibrant and dense underwater landscape that captivates viewers with its complexity and aesthetic appeal. It is a combination of deliberate plant selection, regular maintenance, careful planning, and adherence to traditional rules and techniques that help aquarists achieve this unique style. Once mastered, the Dutch style can transform any aquarium into a thriving piece of living art, providing both a stunning visual spectacle and a rewarding hobby.

Passionate and knowledgeable aquartist. Aquariums have always fascinated me. I enjoy sharing and learning about the wonders of a fish tank.

Justin A

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