5 Common Mistakes Made When Setting Up An Aquascape

Local aquarist and amateur aquascaper Ethan Dickinson on the five most common aquascaping mistakes he sees people make.




Ethan Dickinson is one of Chattanooga’s biggest fish fanatics. Among his underwater hobbies is the art of Aquascaping, the emerging art form of creating beautiful aquariums that are living art pieces. Creating aquascapes can be tough, so to help out any newbies Ethan has given us 5 common mistakes for new aquascapers to avoid.


1. Not Knowing The Plants

Ethan says that a lot of people go into aquascaping not knowing enough about the plant life they use in their scapes. The result is that their aquascape looks nice when they first create it but within a few months the plants have begun to die and the entire ecosystem inside the tank collapses.


2. Putting Little Effort Into Hardscape

The hardscape abiotic elements of the aquascape. Items like rocks, wood, decorations, substrate, and other pieces drastically affect how the tank is going to appear. Ethan says that having a good hardscape is essential as this is the backbone of the aquascape and if it’s lacking, the whole tank will be lacking.

3. Forgetting To Pick Fish First

Before doing anything for an aquascape, the creator should know what fish and other animals are going to call it home. This is essential as it doesn’t matter how pretty of a scape you have created the animals for it can’t live comfortably in it. Aquatic life comes in massive varieties that all have vastly different requirements to survive.


4. Skimping On Supplies

A huge problem that Ethan sees with new aquascapers is a lack of quality equipment. New aquarium fanatics will pay as little as possible for the equipment that keeps the aquascape alive (lights, filter systems, heaters) and their tanks will suffer because of it. Ethan says that people shouldn’t pay a mint for plants and animals for their scapes if they aren’t going to pay for quality equipment first.

5. Make It For You

Every time Ethan discusses aquascaping he drives this point home. Aquascaping is incredibly unique and meant to fit the aesthetics of the creator. Beginners shouldn’t try to make their tank look identical to those of professionals. They should instead try to be original and make a tank that they like and are proud of.


To learn more about aquascaping and Ethan, make sure to go check out our past article on him here and to follow him on Instagram, @ethans_aquatic.

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