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The underwater worlds of aquatic gardening

by Timber Press on February 7, 2017

in Craft, Design, Gardening

Photos by Karen Randall unless otherwise stated.

It’s so easy to fall under the spell of a skillfully planted aquarium: it’s like peeking into a tropical forest, an enchanted meadow, or a miniature mountain range. In Sunken Gardens, Karen Randall explains how to plan, design, plant, and maintain a beautiful, thriving aquascape. Here are some of our favorite images of these strange and beautiful underwater worlds.

Stem plants, like many of the plants in this beautiful aquascape are usually sold as bare-rooted bunches. However they produce strong roots quickly under good growing conditions. This design was an entry for The 2010 Art of the Planted Aquarium contest in Germany by Chris Helemann.


Negative space is important to a good aquascape. Can you imagine this tank if the maker had plants running right to the surface, all along the back? It wouldn’t have near the impact that this fantastic aquascape does. Aquascape by Luis Carlo Galarraga.


Microsorum pteropus is a very variable species. Here a small variant of the species was used to completely cover the back and sides of a tank.


This sloping design features a whimsical tree for a lovely, terrestrial-looking aquascape. Aquascape and photo by Filipe Olivera.


Even Rift Lake cichlids can be housed in a planted tank if you choose both the fish and plant species carefully. This beautiful tank by Jan Ole Pedersen is the jewel in the center of a restaurant in Denmark.


Karen A. Randall is an expert on planted display aquariums and the propagation of aquatic plants. Her articles and photography have been published internationally. For many years she wrote the monthly column “Sunken Gardens” in Aquarium Fish Magazine and is now technical editor of the Aquatic Gardeners Association magazine, The Aquatic Gardener. In 2003 she won the Northeast Council of Aquarium Society’s Betty Mueller Award, a lifetime award for her outreach work and other contributions to the aquarium hobby.


Click the image below for a look inside this book.


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