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On the Rocks
Among the many current trends in aquascaping is the hardscape dominated layout, in short this is an aquascape where the overall shape is provided almost entirely by rockwork and sometimes wood. Planting is usually sparse in these setups and takes the form of highlights in areas that the prominent hardscape allows. This style of layout has given rise to much debate on social media as in recent years they have frequently appeared in the top 100 places of the International Plant Layout Contest. In the context of this competition I can see why many people are reluctant to accept them given that it is a plant layout contest rather than a rock layout contest. However, within the arena of general aquaria I think this type of aquascape is as legitimate as any other style of layout. I have, after all, seen some truly stunning Tanganyika and Malawi Cichlid setups that consist of just intricately placed rockwork. As I am a fan of rock based aquascapes I decided to try and set up a low energy hardscape orientated layout with minimal planting.