We all know by now that rock and (to a lesser extent) sand is the basis of filtration for any reef system. But for many of us, it's not enough to just throw some stuff in to a tank. We're addicted to the artform of aquascaping.

I called on the folks over at Nano-Reef.com to show off their aquascapes and we found some beauties. The great part about these nano aquarium aquascapes is that you can simply build them bigger or combine your favorites to build the 'scape for your larger reef tank.

So without further ado, here's a list of eleven incredible aquascapes, from rock walls to lagoons and everything in between.

Two Islands and a Trench

Lots of open space and multiple heights for coral placement make this a favorite of many reef addicts.  That's one happy clownfish!

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via Smithjm5

Tonga Branches 


Waters of the Tonga area are known for two things - shelf rock and branches. This scape does an amazing job of recreating the natural look of the Tonga in a shallow reef.

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via plainrt

Arches and Towers

I can't overstate how big of a fan I am of arches. But this aquascape takes things a step further with a huge, vertical reach of two pillars and an arch to combine them. Absolutely beautiful.

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via BattleAthletics    




Bombora, or bommies, is an Australian term for waves that break over a shallow area of a reef. This minimalist scape does an incredible job of showing off just how beautiful those bommies can be.

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via spazizz

Dual Trenches


Like the islands and trenches scape from above, this build focuses on an expansive sand bed and loads of places for corals to call home. Kudos on the use of the black sand too!

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via Pinner Reef

Single Arch


This single, massive arch plays in contrast to the trench and island aquascapes that we've seen before. Also, the lack of a vertical pillar makes the arch the true centerpiece of the tank.

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via ConnorFood

Three Pillars

While it might break everything about the "rule of thirds", this tri-pillar design is as beautiful as it is functional. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that it's absolutely packed with quality corals.

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via TJ_Burton

Three Islands (and a Bonsai!)

This unique take on the island idea uses hammer corals and frogspawns to create the coral version of a bonsai tree. Lovely!

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via Felicia

The Rock Wall

If you've ever had the pleasure of diving around a reef shelf, this will look very familiar to you. Although we don't normally see corals on the walls in the ocean, this scape gives lots of room to grow corals that need different levels of light.

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via HVani

A Shallow Reef

The beauty of a coral reef is that it's rarely ever one shape. In this aquascape we see towers, shelves, arches and a lagoon structure, all rolled into one view. An absolutely stunning example, and all hand crafted using dry rock.

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via jedimasterbean

Ultra-Minimal Lagoon

I saved this one until the very end because it's absolutely the most beautiful aquascape I've ever seen. I'm a fan of minimalism, and this ultra-minimal lagoon manages to evoke feelings of serenity before any corals are even added to the tank.

Multiple, smaller pieces of rock built up and buried, combine to form what I can only describe as perfection. Well done indeed.

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via Mr.zissou