The modern aquarium is making a strong movement towards less neon colored gravel and more towards natural looking biotopes. It makes sense. When we try to keep a piece of nature in our home we should make it look as close to the natural habitat as possible.
The Back to Nature backgrounds were introduced for the first time on a grand scale in 1994 at the InterZoo fair in Nuremberg, Germany. The creators had been working on them since 1989. The team of creators have a long history of exploring, keeping enclosures, and experimenting within the hobby. Today they produce various biotopes from an Amazon tree root to a rocky African lake scenario.
The Amazon biotope is often looked upon to recreate in the home aquarium. The problem is that the Amazon biotope is actually quite varied. The Amazon is a huge expansive area. Many different kinds of areas exist but Back to Nature has concentrated on the rooted bank to represent their Amazon background. Many species of fish concentrate around small creeks and edges of waterways where roots would normally and naturally be found.
“The Amazon drainage in northern South America contains a wide range of aquarium fishes. From territorial cichlids and greedy catfishes to tiny tetras that live in schools. There are many different kinds of biotopes present in the Amazon, and quite often driftwood or tree roots form an integral part of these fishes’ natural environment.”
Back to Nature recreates several themes with their products. Rock dwelling cichlids or root hiding tetras should feel right at home. It is a wonderful alternative to the plastic sheet that is often taped to the rear of the aquarium. Back to Nature offers modules in their backgrounds so you can customize your tank to fit individual needs and ideas. Filters, heaters, and pumps can be hidden and aesthetics are increased dynamically. What you see is a virtual slice of a naturally occurring biotope.
Separately there are several readily available natural looking substrates locally, often sand, available to finish the natural appeal to your tanks. The old green and blue gravel does’t quite fit in well with a natural background or theme. Many landscape supply houses offer natural sands that are more than adequate for aquarium use. As a hobby largely the under-gravel filter has become obsolete and there is no need to continue using 3 or 4 mm gravel as a substrate.
Take a few minutes and peruse the offerings that Back to Nature has. While they don’t sell directly from their website there is a list of retail outlets that you can purchase from. You might be amazed at what Back to Nature has to offer for your aquarium.