Trimming hemianthus callitrichoides with special curved tip scissors by Mark Evans at www.plantedbox.com

Basic Aquascaping Tools

by Bing Sheng (December 2004)

1. Long tweezers

These are an indispensible tool for the aquatic gardener. More than just extending your reach, it allows precise placement of delicate plants. The sharp point will penetrate the substrate better (at least better than fat human fingers) and will not disturb the existing aquascape. We have long handled, straight point and bent nose tweezers for different applications.

2. Sharp, stainless steel scissors

Sharp scissors are a must for keeping your garden in good shape. Vigorous plant glowth needs constant pruning to encourage a thick head and short spaces between nodes. Stainless steel because well, anything else will rust in a heartbeat.

3. Hobby knife or blade

Basically the same use as scissors but sometimes it might be easier to work with a sharp blade outside the water.

4. A pan or tray

A tray is great for keeping all your new plant arrivals hydrated until ready to plant or a place to put trimmings and out of your way. Really this is a place to put all your wet tools and media so you don't soak the floor/carpet.

5. A comb

This is useful to shape and mound substrates to create texture in your layouts. Because it allows water to flow through, it does not build a pressure wave in front of the tool to blow gravel and bottom scum all over the tank.

6. Attachment implements

You will use any number of materials to anchor plants. Black thread can be used to tie a plant to a piece of drift wood ( It will be virtually invisible underwater and will eventually dissolve after the plant has attached). I don't like to use monofilament fishing line because although it is invisible it will not biodegrade and eventually might cut off growth. Hairnets are also a great little trick for attaching Java Moss or Riccia to rock and wood. Zip-ties can be used to keep bunches of plants together and are easier to use for various tying chores

7. Miscellaneous

Don't forget all your regular tank maintenance tools to keep your aquarium in its peak form. Crystal clean water, algae free glass, and a good fertilization regimen keep your work in "show form" at all times.

Wet arms are an aquarist's badge of honor.

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