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Iwagumi Aquascaping: The Art and Science Explained

iwagumi style fresh water aquarium aquascape

Welcome to the world of Iwagumi Aquascaping!

This is a special way of setting up aquariums, inspired by Japanese art. It’s all about creating simple, beautiful underwater scenes.

We’ll look at what makes Iwagumi unique and how it balances art with nature. Ready to explore this amazing aquascaping design?

Let’s get started with the basics of Iwagumi Aquascaping!

Table of contents

The Origin and Philosophy of Iwagumi

Iwagumi aquascaping has its roots in Japan, drawing inspiration from the minimalist elegance of Zen gardens.

This style is centered around the use of rocks as its primary element, placed thoughtfully to create a sense of harmony and natural balance.

In Iwagumi, each rock has a purpose and is chosen for its shape, size, and texture.

The philosophy behind this approach is deeply connected to simplicity and the beauty found in nature. It aims to replicate natural landscapes in a tranquil, understated manner.

This method isn’t just about the visual appeal; it also emphasizes the creation of a serene environment, evoking feelings of peace and calmness.

Through its simplicity, Iwagumi tells a story of the natural world and our connection to it.

30cm tank iwagumi aquascape

Iwagumi aquascaping originated in Japan and was popularized internationally by aquascaper Takashi Amano. It focuses on the intentional placement of rocks in specific geometric patterns to mimic natural landscapes.

Understanding Iwagumi

Definition of Iwagumi

Iwagumi is an aquascaping style that emphasizes simplicity and natural beauty. It mainly uses rocks as the central element, accompanied by aquatic plants and fish. The goal is to create a balanced and harmonious underwater landscape, mirroring natural environments in a minimalist way.

History and Evolution of iwagumi aquascaping

Originating in Japan, Iwagumi aquascaping has evolved over the years. Initially influenced by traditional Japanese rock gardens, it has become a distinct style in the aquarium hobby.

Over time, aquarists have adapted and refined the principles of Iwagumi, integrating new plant species and design techniques while maintaining its core values of simplicity and naturalism.

Gray Monk Statue in Between Plant Pots zen garden

Influence of Japanese Culture and Zen Principles on iwagumi aquascaping

Iwagumi is deeply rooted in Japanese culture and Zen principles. Zen gardens, known for their tranquility and minimalism, directly inspire Iwagumi designs.

This style reflects the Zen focus on meditation and introspection, achieved through the careful placement of rocks and plants to create a serene, contemplative space.

Key Components of Iwagumi Aquascaping

The main components of Iwagumi include:


The soul of Iwagumi, rocks are selected for their shape, texture, and character. They are arranged to mimic natural landscapes, often in odd numbers to prevent symmetrical patterns, which are less common in nature.


Aquatic plants play a secondary, yet vital role. They are chosen for their ability to complement the rocks and not overpower the scape. Plants are used to add color, texture, and depth, enhancing the natural look.


Fish in Iwagumi tanks are typically small, schooling species. They add movement and life to the aquascape without distracting from the simplicity of the design.


The layout is crucial in Iwagumi, focusing on balance, scale, and proportion. The arrangement of rocks follows specific rules to create a sense of depth and perspective.

Iwagumi aquascaping Design Principles

Iwagumi aquascaping relies on several fundamental design principles to create stunning underwater landscapes. Let’s explore these key principles:

rule of third iwagumi aquascape
Rule of 3rd In Iwagumi Aquascape

The Rule of Thirds and Golden Ratio In iwagumi aquascaping

In Iwagumi aquascaping, the rule of thirds and the golden ratio are essential guidelines. They help determine the placement of rocks and other elements in the aquarium.

By dividing the tank into thirds horizontally and vertically, aquascapers can create a visually pleasing layout that follows these natural proportions.

Simplicity and Minimalism In iwagumi aquascaping

Simplicity and minimalism are at the core of Iwagumi design. This principle emphasizes the use of a limited number of elements to achieve a clean and uncluttered appearance. Each rock, plant, and fish is carefully chosen to contribute to the overall harmony while avoiding unnecessary complexity.

Balance and Asymmetry In iwagumi aquascaping

Balance plays a crucial role in Iwagumi aquascapes. Achieving balance doesn’t always mean perfect symmetry; it can also be achieved through intentional asymmetry.

Aquascapers carefully arrange rocks and plants to create a sense of equilibrium within the aquarium, making it visually appealing and natural.

The Iwagumi style is considered one of the more difficult aquascaping techniques due to its emphasis on simplicity, balance, and negative space between rock formations. Maintaining this minimalist aesthetic takes an experienced eye and a steady hand.

Understanding Negative Space In iwagumi aquascaping

Negative space, or the empty areas within the aquarium, is just as important as the elements themselves.

Aquascapers use negative space to draw attention to the rocks and plants. It adds depth and a sense of open space, contributing to the overall aesthetics of the aquascape.

These design principles form the foundation of Iwagumi aquascaping, guiding aquascapers in creating captivating underwater worlds that evoke a sense of tranquillity and balance.

golden ratio iwagumi aquascape
Golden Ratio In Iwagumi Aquascape

The Iwagumi Layout

Iwagumi aquascaping is an art form guided by specific design principles. These principles determine how rocks and stones are arranged in the aquarium, creating a harmonious and natural appearance.

iwagumi aquascape layout rock positions with name
Iwagumi Aquascape Layout – Rock Positions & Their Names

Oyaishi: The Primary Stone

The Oyaishi, or primary stone, is the focal point of the Iwagumi layout. It’s carefully chosen and positioned to command attention. This stone often represents a mountain or a significant natural feature, and it sets the overall tone for the aquascape.

See also  What Stem Plants Can You Use In Iwagumi Aquascape?

Fukuishi: Secondary Stones

Fukuishi, or secondary stones, complement the Oyaishi. They support the main stone’s visual impact and contribute to the overall balance of the layout. These stones are typically smaller and placed strategically to enhance the harmony of the design.

Soeishi: Auxiliary Stones

Soeishi, or auxiliary stones, serve as additional support elements. They help create depth and provide a sense of continuity within the aquascape. These stones are smaller in size and are positioned to fill gaps and complete the overall composition.

Suteishi: Sacrificial Stones

Suteishi, or sacrificial stones, are placed to mimic the natural erosion of rocks over time. They add realism to the aquascape and make it appear more natural. These stones are intentionally positioned to suggest the passage of time and the effect of weathering.

Layout Patterns and Examples

Iwagumi layouts can take various patterns, each with its own unique appeal. Some popular patterns include the “Tenchii,” “Sanzon Iwagumi,” and “Iwagumi with Island.” These patterns can be customized to suit your preferences and the size of your aquarium.

Choosing the Right Materials for iwagumi aquascape

When it comes to creating a stunning Iwagumi aquascape, the choice of materials plays a crucial role. Let’s explore the key factors to consider under this topic:

Types of Stones for Iwagumi

The selection of stones is fundamental in Iwagumi aquascaping. Different types of stones, such as Seiryu, Ryuoh, and Manten, can be used to achieve distinct textures and aesthetics. Understanding the characteristics of each stone type is essential for achieving the desired look.

Substrate Selection and Layering

The substrate in an Iwagumi aquarium serves as the foundation for both the rocks and plants. Choosing the right substrate, whether it’s sand, fine gravel, or ADA Aqua Soil, is important for plant growth and stability. Proper layering techniques ensure the longevity and health of your aquascape.

Water Parameters and Quality

Maintaining the correct water parameters is vital for the well-being of aquatic life in your Iwagumi aquascape. This includes parameters like temperature, pH, hardness, and ammonia levels. Ensuring high water quality through filtration and regular water changes is essential for a thriving environment.

Aquarium Size and Shape Considerations

The size and shape of your aquarium have a significant impact on the overall design of your Iwagumi aquascape. Smaller tanks may limit the number and size of rocks and plants you can use, while larger tanks offer more creative possibilities.

Consider your available space and resources when selecting the right aquarium for your project.

Eleocharis parvula (Dwarf Hairgrass)
Dwarf Hairgrass
Monte Carlo
Hemianthus callitrichoides also known as HC cuba
Close up of Glossostigma elatinoides the most beautiful aquatic plants for foreground
Glossostigma Elatinoides
freshwater iwagumi aquascape plant detail, blyxa grow in gravel bottom, Amano style planted aquadesign, vivid colors in bright LED light, professional aquarium care, blurred rhodostomus fish shallow dof
Pogostemon Helferi
Staurogyne repens
Staurogyne Repens

While originally focusing only on hardscape elements like stone, modern Iwagumi aquascapes often include foreground, midground, and background plants to enhance the sense of depth. (source)

Plant Selection for iwagumi aquascape

Suitable Plants for Iwagumi Aquascapes

The most common plants used in iwagumi aquascapes are dwarf hairgrass, glossostigma, monte carlo, and pygmy chain sword. These plants form dense, low-growing carpets that complement the hardscape elements.

Other options include micro sword and dwarf baby tears, but they can be more difficult to grow.

Planting Techniques and Patterns

Plants should be spaced closely together in triangular or circular patterns to cover the substrate fully. This creates the illusion of a larger landscape. Rock wool cubes or tissue culture plugs can be used to plant stems individually.

Carpeting plants spread via rhizome and stolon growth over time. Proper fertilization and lighting help encourage dense growth.

Importance of Carpet Plants

The carpet plants are essential for creating the simple but elegant aesthetic of an iwagumi. Their low-lying form draws the eye across the horizontal plane. This balances the vertical focal points of wood or stone hardscape elements.

Carpets also help prevent algae by outcompeting it for nutrients. Their roots stabilize the substrate and prevent disturbance of minerals and particles.

Maintenance of Aquatic Plants

  • Regular trimming is needed to maintain carpet plant heights and shapes.
  • Fertilization two to three times per week supplies nutrients.
  • Carbon dioxide injection or liquid carbon supplements encourage plant growth.

Pruning and removal of older foliage and stems prevents detritus buildup. Cleaning algae from glass surfaces provides good lighting penetration. Water changes help control algae bloom.

Some common Iwagumi rock configurations include triangular, horizontal line, vertical line and triangular arrangements of stones. Placing odd numbers of rocks is generally recommended for aesthetic balance.

Lighting, Filtration & CO2 for iwagumi aquascape

6,500K color temperature light

Lighting Requirements for Iwagumi Tanks

Iwagumi aquascapes require high light levels to grow carpet plants densely.

A minimum of 2 watts per gallon of LED lighting is recommended. A 6,500K color temperature best mimics natural sunlight.

Lights should be raised high enough to avoid algae issues but still provide 50-80+ PAR levels at the substrate. A photoperiod of 6-8 hours per day is suitable.

Why Is My Betta Fish Obsessed With Filter
Hang on Back Filtration System

Filtration Systems and Flow Patterns

Canister or hang-on-back filters work well by hiding equipment. Sponge filters provide extra biological filtration without disturbing the hardscape.

Powerheads circulate water evenly across the tank in a figure-8 pattern.

This prevents stagnant areas and distributes CO2/nutrients. Intake and output placement is important to avoid disturbing the substrate.

image of aquatic plants and fine carbondioxide bubbles from glass gas diffuser.

CO2 Injection and Its Importance

Pressurized CO2 systems are essential for achieving lush carpet plant growth. They supplement the high light levels and promote photosynthesis.

A drop checker monitors CO2 levels, which should be greenish-yellow. Injection rates may need adjusting with temperature/seasonal changes.

A timer switches CO2 on 1-2 hours before lights and off 1-2 hours earlier to avoid pearling at night.

Fish and Invertebrates for iwagumi aquascape

Choosing Compatible Fish and Invertebrates

When creating an Iwagumi aquascape, it’s crucial to select fish and invertebrate species that harmonize with the minimalist aesthetic. Consider fish like small schooling species or solitary swimmers that won’t disrupt the serene ambiance. Invertebrates like shrimp and snails can also complement the layout.

school of cardinal tetra
School of Cardinal Tetra


  • Neon Tetra: These small, schooling fish add a pop of color and elegance without disrupting the harmony.
  • Cardinal Tetra: Similar to Neon Tetras, they have vibrant blue and red colors.
  • Betta Fish: Solitary and visually striking, Betta fish can be a centerpiece in smaller Iwagumi setups.
  • Celestial Pearl Danio: Tiny, peaceful fish with eye-catching patterns.
  • White Cloud Mountain Minnow: Schooling fish with a subtle beauty.
  • Guppies: Colorful and easy to care for, they can thrive in Iwagumi aquascapes.


  • Cherry Shrimp: Small and non-disruptive, they add a pop of color.
  • Amano Shrimp: Excellent algae eaters and peaceful tankmates.
  • Nerite Snails: These snails help keep the aquarium clean and won’t disturb the layout.
  • Crystal Red Shrimp: Known for their striking red and white coloration.
  • Malaysian Trumpet Snail: Burrowing snails that can help with substrate aeration.
See also  10 Best Fish for Iwagumi Aquascape [Balanced Layout]

Bioload and Stocking Levels

Maintaining the balance of your Iwagumi aquascape requires attention to bioload and stocking levels. Keep in mind the tank’s size and the needs of the chosen species. Overstocking can lead to water quality issues, which can disrupt the harmony of your setup.

Behavioral Considerations in Iwagumi Layouts

The behavior of your aquatic inhabitants should align with the Iwagumi layout. Choose species that won’t disturb the carefully arranged rocks and plants. Avoid aggressive or burrowing species that may disrupt the serenity of the aquascape.

Red Cherry Shrimp

Maintenance and Care for iwagumi aquascape

Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Maintenance Routines

To keep your Iwagumi aquascape looking its best, it’s essential to establish a maintenance routine. Daily tasks may include checking for any signs of trouble, like algae growth or sick fish.

On a weekly basis, you should focus on removing any debris, such as uneaten food or dead plant matter.

Monthly maintenance involves more substantial tasks, like trimming and replanting as needed.

Algae Control and Prevention

Algae can be a common issue in aquariums, including Iwagumi setups. Learn about the different types of algae and their causes. Implement prevention strategies such as proper lighting duration and intensity, as well as nutrient management.

If algae do appear, understand how to safely remove them without harming your plants or fish.

Regular Water Change

Water changes are an essential aspect of maintaining an Iwagumi aquascape. Here’s a brief guide on water change techniques for an Iwagumi aquarium:

  1. Frequency: Aim to perform a partial water change every one to two weeks. The frequency may vary depending on factors like the size of your tank, the number of fish, and the rate of nutrient buildup.
  2. Water Quality Testing: Before conducting a water change, test the water quality using a reliable aquarium test kit. Pay attention to parameters like ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, pH, and water temperature.
  3. Prepare Replacement Water: The replacement water should be treated to match the existing tank water in terms of temperature and water chemistry. Use a dechlorinator to remove chlorine and chloramine from tap water.
  4. Partial Water Change: In an Iwagumi aquascape, it’s essential to be gentle when conducting water changes to avoid disturbing carefully arranged rocks and plants. Use a siphon or a gravel vacuum to remove water from the bottom of the tank. Remove about 20-30% of the water.
  5. Clean Substrate: While siphoning the water, gently clean the substrate by removing any debris or uneaten food that may have accumulated. Be cautious not to disturb the rocks and plants.
  6. Avoid Disturbance: Take care not to disturb the carefully placed rocks and plants during the water change. Use a gentle and slow approach to minimize disruption.
  7. Add Replacement Water: Gradually add the treated replacement water back into the tank. Using a slow drip method or a container with a gentle flow can help prevent disturbing the layout.
  8. Check Temperature: Ensure that the replacement water’s temperature matches the tank’s temperature to avoid shocking the fish and plants.
  9. Monitor Parameters: After the water change, retest the water parameters to ensure they are within the desired range. Adjust as needed.
  10. Observe Fish and Plants: Keep a close eye on your fish and plants in the days following the water change. They should show no signs of stress, and the overall health of the ecosystem should improve.

Pruning and Trimming of Plants

The aesthetic appeal of an Iwagumi aquascape relies on well-maintained plants. Learn the art of pruning and trimming to control plant growth and maintain the desired look. Different plant species may require specific techniques, so familiarize yourself with the needs of your chosen plants.

Common Challenges and Solutions in iwagumi aquascaping

Iwagumi aquascaping, with its focus on simplicity and harmony, offers a stunning aquatic display. However, like any art form, it comes with its own set of challenges.

In this section, we’ll explore some common issues that aquascapers face in the Iwagumi style and the solutions to overcome them.

Dealing with Algae Blooms

Algae blooms can disrupt the pristine look of an Iwagumi aquascape. They can be caused by factors like excessive light or nutrient imbalances. To combat this, aquascapers often adjust lighting duration, add algae-eating species, and maintain proper nutrient levels.

Managing Plant Health

Healthy plants are essential for the success of an Iwagumi aquascape. Maintaining optimal water parameters, providing CO2 supplementation, and ensuring proper nutrient dosing are crucial for vibrant and lush plant growth.

Stone and Substrate Erosion

Over time, stones and substrate can shift or erode, affecting the aquascape’s appearance. Aquascapers use careful planning, substrate stabilization techniques, and proper positioning of rocks to prevent erosion and maintain the desired layout.

iwagumi aquascape with frodo stone

Advanced Techniques For iwagumi aquascaping

Iwagumi aquascaping is an art form that takes patience and practice to master. While the basics of rock placement and plant selection are straightforward, aquascapers can take their skills to the next level with some advanced techniques.

Advanced Planting Techniques for iwagumi

Some advanced planting techniques for iwagumi aquascapes include:

  • Layering stem plants of different heights to create a sense of depth. Taller stems in the back, shorter in the front.
  • Trimming plants into unique shapes beyond just rounded bushes. Triangle, spiral, and arrowhead shapes draw the eye in specific directions.
  • Using fore, mid, and background plants that overlap to hide equipment and provide visual interest throughout the layout.
  • Pruning and replanting stem cuttings regularly to encourage dense, bushy growth and prevent straggly stems.
  • Anchoring floating plants like riccia or dwarf water lettuce near the surface with weights to add texture without disrupting the hardscape.
  • Carpeting plants by separating stems and carefully placing individual shoots to quickly fill in open substrate areas.

Creating Depth and Perspective in iwagumi

  • Arrange rocks from largest in the back to smallest in the front to create an illusion of receding depth.
  • Overlap rocks partially to hide parts of ones in the back, similar to layering plants.
  • Place rocks at diagonal angles pointing into the layout for dynamic visual lines that draw the eye in.
  • Select plants with varying heights and colors throughout to provide visual interest at multiple depths and draw focus to specific areas.
  • Trim taller stems and plants in the rear shorter as they progress towards the front to maintain a gradual sense of size/scale.
30cm tank iwagumi aquascape

Seasonal Changes and Their Effects in Iwagumi Aquascape

Iwagumi aquascapes are designed to look a certain way, but seasons can bring changes that disrupt the intended layout. Maintaining the aquascape’s appearance over time requires adjusting to seasonal fluctuations.

In warmer months, increased temperature and lighting causes many stem plants to enter a period of rapid growth. Plants like ludwigia, rotala, and Hygrophila may need trimming every 5-7 days to maintain their shape. This frequent pruning is more effort but keeps the layout tidy.

See also  7 Best Plants for Iwagumi Aquascaping

Algae is also more prevalent when conditions are ideal for plant growth. Green spot, hair, and thread algae may appear. Increased maintenance like additional water changes, shorter photoperiod, and algae-eating critters can help balance the ecosystem.

As days grow shorter and temperatures cool in fall and winter, growth rates decline. Some broad-leaved plants may shed foliage and appear sparse until warmer weather returns. Cryptocorynes, anubias, and bucephelandra are examples. Their temporary absence changes the overall scape appearance.

During this phase, less frequent trimming is needed but adjusting fertilizer doses down may balance reduced metabolism. Lowering CO2 levels also prevents excessive pearling that wastes the gas. With some tweaks, the iwagumi can still look its best through the seasons.

By understanding seasonal patterns, aquascapers can anticipate changes and adjust maintenance accordingly to maintain their iwagumi aquascape.

Experimenting with Different Layouts for iwagumi aquascape

While the triangular golden ratio is central to traditional iwagumi design, experimenting with alternative layouts can help aquascapers grow their skills. Varying rock placement, negative space usage, and plant selection allows for creative problem-solving.

Some ideas for experimental iwagumi layouts include:

  • Curved rock formations that eschew straight lines and angles. This adds a sense of naturalism.
  • Asymmetrical designs with rocks clustered more densely on one side. Achieving balance is challenging.
  • Incorporating negative space by leaving some substrate areas bare. Proper plant trimming maintains visual flow.
  • Small accent rocks added sparsely outside the main formation to provide subtle visual interest.
  • Non-traditional rock shapes like slabs or oblong pieces arranged creatively. Requires plants to soften hard edges.
  • Monochrome color schemes using a single plant species. Achieving depth and texture is difficult.

By pushing design boundaries, aquascapers learn their strengths and weaknesses. Not all experiments succeed aesthetically, but each brings valuable lessons. Over time, a signature style emerges through trial and error. Exploring new layouts prevents creative stagnation and keeps the art form

Detailed Analysis of Famous Iwagumi Tanks

Some of the most renowned iwagumi aquascapes have been meticulously analyzed by experts to study various design elements:

  • Takashi Amano‘s seminal 60P tank featured in his book “Nature Aquarium World” is considered a classic example of the dry start method.
  • George Farmer’s famous One Pot Iwagumi aquascape was the subject of an in-depth analysis by ScapeFu. They studied how each stone serves a purpose and works together harmoniously.
  • Dutch aquascaper Dennis Wong’s 60H tank that won an IAPLC award was broken down by ADA to showcase precise maintenance techniques for pristine iwagumi tanks.

The Future of Iwagumi Aquascaping

The iwagumi style is known for its simplicity and elegant stone formations, however aquascapers continue innovating with new rock placement techniques.

Some trends include incorporating taller stone columns and experimenting with different rock textures like dragonstone.

Aquascapers are also exploring new plant varieties that add interesting textures while maintaining the open space feel of iwagumi.

The Growing Community of Iwagumi Enthusiasts

As information is more easily shared online, the community of iwagumi aquascapers has grown tremendously. Local aquascaping clubs in many cities around the world organize iwagumi contests and workshops.

The International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest (IAPLC) also features many beautifully crafted iwagumi entries each year. As more aquarists are inspired by these competitions, the iwagumi style will likely continue evolving through sharing ideas and inspirations.

frequently asked questions

What is the Iwagumi style of aquascaping?

The Iwagumi style is a minimalist Japanese aquascape featuring a careful arrangement of rocks in the foreground and midground with green plants in the background. The rock placement is meant to evoke the beauty of Japanese zen gardens with smooth stones representing mountains emerging from a sea of green plants and gravel.

What is the best plant for Iwagumi?

Monte Carlo and dwarf hairgrass are commonly used as foreground plants in Iwagumi aquascapes. Their fine leaves and slow, spreading growth form allow them to beautifully cover the substrate area between rocks while not overgrowing the hardscape. Proper trimming maintains their low profile suited for the style.

What is the composition of Iwagumi?

A traditional Iwagumi composition uses an odd number of larger “mountain” rocks in the foreground and midground arranged according to the rule of thirds with smaller accent stones. Green plants are placed in the background and negative space is left around the hardscape for visual balance and focus on the rock placement.

What is the oldest aquascape in the world?

The oldest aquascape still in existence today is thought to be located at the Kourakuen garden in Japan, which has been maintained since the 17th century. It includes a shallow pond with rocks carefully placed to represent islands emerging from the water surrounded by vegetation, demonstrating the long history and tradition of the Iwagumi style in Japanese culture.

Does Iwagumi need CO2?

 While not completely necessary, CO2 injection is commonly used with Iwagumi aquascapes to promote dense, healthy growth of the foreground plants and prevent algae outbreaks that could disrupt the simple, minimalist hardscape design. Without CO2, the plants may struggle to outcompete algae for nutrients.

How many plants for Iwagumi?

Typically only 1-3 species of plants are used in an Iwagumi aquascape to maintain its clean, uncluttered aesthetic. Commonly 2-3 stem plant varieties are placed in groups of 5-7 trimmings per group throughout the background with 15-30 individual foreground plants scattered in open areas between rocks.

What does Iwagumi mean?

The Japanese word “Iwagumi” directly translates to “rock landscape.” It refers to the traditional style of arranging rocks to mimic natural landscapes, which has been refined over centuries in Japanese zen gardens and aquascaping. The goal is to use rock placement to evoke a sense of nature and serenity.

What fish for a Iwagumi?

Small, schooling fish that stay near the surface and don’t disrupt the aquascape with excessive digging or plant disturbance are well-suited for Iwagumi. Popular choices include neon tetras, celestial pearl danios, chili rasboras, ember tetras and green fire tetras. Larger fish may overpower the subtle hardscape.

Where do you put rocks in Iwagumi?

Rocks are typically placed in the foreground and midground areas of an Iwagumi aquascape following the rule of thirds for composition. Larger “mountain” rocks anchor the corners and sides with smaller accent stones in between, all arranged to lead the eye naturally through the scape. Open negative space is left around plants and rocks.

Resources and Further Learning for iwagumi aquascapers

There are many online and local resources for those wanting to learn more about iwagumi aquascaping:

  • Takashi Amano’s books such as Nature Aquarium World are considered classics and helped establish the iwagumi style internationally.
  • YouTube channels such as Green Aqua showcase many iwagumi tutorials and inspiration albums.
  • Online communities like Reddit’s r/Aquascape allow iwagumi enthusiasts from around the world to share advice.

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of AcuarioPets.com. I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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