1) If you want to create a beautiful freshwater aquascape, beginning with a blank canvas it is best to start with a large, rectangular fish tank. We'd go for something 'classic' looking like a Juwel Rio 240 aquarium. If you want the focal point of your tank to be on your decoration and plants, you really don't want a "bling" tank. You can aquascape in any size tank but a larger one gives you greater flexibility.
2) Add some substrate. Make sure you make it deep enough to anchor your plants. A good tip with substrate is to build it in slopes, higher towards the back to create an illusion of depth. Aquarium gravel isn't your only option - many modern aquascapers use sand.
3) If you add some aquarium driftwood, it looks good about a third of the way across. If you put it in the middle it looks too "balanced" - instead you want one side more heavily decorated and the other more sparce. You can apply the architectural "rule of thirds" you won't go far wrong.
4) Try to have plants growing naturally around your rocks and branches. Again try to put things off centre. Plant them in groups, don't just plonk them anywhere.
5) Or, instead of going for the more "vanilla" aquascapes like the ones above, why not go for something like this Dutch style aquarium.
6) Or go Japanese. There are bonsai themed aquariums, literally with a small bonsai tree, and also the likes of this "Iwagumi" style aquascape which replicates an entire landscape:
7) Have fun with your aquascapes and use your creativity.
by David Nash