The Golden Ratio in Aquascaping

The golden section or golden ratio is a great help especially for inexperienced aquascapers when it comes to designing a layout. This ratio is also used in architecture and art when it comes to the division of space. First and foremost, the golden section aids in the optimal positioning of the focal point(s). It is basically a line segment subdivided at a ratio of approximately 1 to 1.618. The larger part of the line segment and the smaller one are in the same ratio as the entire line segment and its larger part. Since the Antique, this proportion has been considered especially pleasing and harmonious. In order to apply the golden section, we multiply one of the dimensions of our tank with 0.618. As an approximation and to make things easier, we could subdivide that dimension in a ratio of 8÷5 (= 1.6) or 3÷2 (= 1.5). This is applied to the length and the height of the aquarium in question, and best done from left to right and vice versa as well as from bottom to top and vice versa. These calculations give us four lines for the aquarium front. The intersections of these lines are possible focal points where we could place e.g. an interesting piece of driftwood or a larger rock formation. Groups of plants with a contrasting colour may also be placed in one of these points as an eyecatcher. The horizontal and vertical lines might also be used as a positioning aid for elements that draw the eye. The following diagram shows how this calculation is applied to a tank with a length of 100 cm and a height of 40 cm.

However, the golden section is but an aid for aquascaping, and an experienced aquarium layout designer might of course decide not to apply it. Many people use these points as focus in their layouts without even knowing they are in the golden ratio, though.

Golden Ratio