Is it possible for newbies to do advanced iwagumi/dutch style like these?


I came across an Aquarium Group on Facebook (from Asia) and was shocked that many newcomers got their first tank look as stunning as these. I've been in the hobby for 3 years and of course I'm still learning, but never got my tank to this level. I wonder how they could make this so easy!

Then one of the friends told me those were not technically their tanks. Somewhere in Asia there's service that sell the whole tank (including aquascaping, livestock, and equipment). They design the aquascape the way customers want. All you need to do is maintain the tank as instructed. That's why many of these tanks look professional. But the customers never admit they got someone to do that for them, they always claim it's their work. Don't get me wrong, I'm not judging, it's just what I've observed.
So I wonder, did you succeed to get to this level when you first got into the hobby?

Fishlore doesn't allow me to share copyright photos without the link and those photos are from a private group, which you can't see unless you're a member, so it's pointless. I'll just give some example I found on Google. They look identical anyway.



Well.. I havent made anything even close to this in my 7 months in the hobby. I've been really happy with what I have made though. As much as I enjoy keeping fish, I don't see myself getting to the level of these tanks. They look high tech and high maintenance.


With enough money, anybody can make a tank look pristine and professional for the 2min it takes to snap a pic. But even with the best tank, lights, filtration, heat, co2, ferts, substrate, plants, etc, you still have to know what you're doing, which "newbies" sort of inherently don't (if they did know what they were doing, they wouldn't be newbies).

After being in the hobby for about 8 years, I'm way more impressed when I hear about 20 or 30 year old tanks or plants. Or when I see the before and after images of someone whose tank had a massive algae explosion that they fixed. For the average newbie, no need to set this expectation. Like anything, it takes time and failure to learn and get good at something.


Yeah, it's totally possible. Most people don't get it on their first try though. The hard truth of the plant/aquascaping hobby is that every single setup like that is going to cost lots of money. A rimless tank, CO2, minimalist hardware, a nice plant/aquascaping light, the actual plants, aquasoil, fertilizer, aquascaping tools, certain types of rock/wood (backyard hardscape will not cut it 99% of the time). In my opinion most people's plant trouble stems from not investing enough in the materials required to grow the plants.

Beyond the money, I guarantee that anyone who does something like this on their first try has done a ton of research. Weeks to months of researching and watching aquascaping videos. They are familiar with aquascaping techniques, conventions, styles, materials, equipment, plants etc. Fertilizer dosing and maintenance also vary between the aquascaping styles, which one needs to know about.
Personally I think nature style would be the easiest for a beginner, then iwagumi, then dutch.

Here are some good examples of people's first scapes:
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