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4 Essentials For Minimalist Reef Aquascape!

Have you been considering putting together your own minimalist reef aquascape? It’s easier than most people think to get into this exciting, educational, and dynamic hobby.

The four essentials to any good minimalist reef aquascape are a good sand bedding, the corals that make up your reef, fish, and algae eaters to help with maintenance.

Once you’ve established these four basics for a good minimalist reef aquascape, the sky’s the limit from where you can go. You can consider all of the different styles of minimalist reef aquascape design such as the classic rock wall or Island approaches.

They’re also big considerations to consider when it comes to the color palette that your reef will ultimately grow into.

Let’s take a look at these four separate categories step by step and get the information you need to build an amazing minimalist reef aquascape.

Sand Bed For Minimalist Reef Aquascape

There’s still a lot of debate out there about whether or not a bare bed for a minimalist reef aquascape is better than the sand bed, but there are a lot of benefits to consider when looking at a sand bed.

Sand supports the good bacteria that help to keep reef aquascapes healthy while also giving shelter to plenty of the organisms that can make a minimalist reef aquascape more attractive.

Sand is one of the best reef aquarium substrate options. A properly cared for sand bed is home to healthy bacteria while also acting as the primary filter for your tank.

The bacteria in the sand are going to be responsible for cleaning up most of the ammonia in your tank as well as filtering out solid debris from the other organisms that live in your reef aquascape.

The sand bed can also act as a home to plenty of different organisms ranging from low-lying corals to fish and cleaning organisms like sea slugs and snails.

The sand bed also looks more natural for certain types of coral. It helps to add some visual appeal in depth to the overall nature of your minimalist reef aquascape.

There are even certain types of species of fish that require a sand bed in order to comfortably live in your aquascape. It’s worth keeping in mind that a proper sand bed is around two inches deep.

Corals For Minimalist Reef Aquascape

One of the most intimidating things about starting up a minimalist reef aquascape is picking your corals. There are certain species of corals that are incredibly challenging to grow even for experienced individuals.

However, if you look around you’ll be able to find corals that are a great choice for beginners.

Here are a few corals that you can confidently take care of as a beginner. You should look for star polyps, open brain corals, leather corals, and bubble corals.

These corals are very friendly for beginners and make a great choice for people looking to test the waters of making their own aquascape.

There’s one species of coral that we need to focus on when we talk about corals that are easy to care for. Zoanthid corals, or zoa corals as they’re commonly called, are not only some of the most beautiful and visually stunning crawls out there, but they are also one of the easiest species to care for.

These corals are a great choice for beginners or people looking for their first coral to add to their aquascape and, best of all, they produce a stunning range of colors that is sure to add visual appeal to your aquascape.

Fish For Minimalist Reef Aquascape

Fish are a must for people designing their own minimalist reef aquascape. Fish help add certain dynamism and depth to your aquascape that’s going to make the minimalist elements stand out.

Fish don’t detract from the simplicity of minimalism, but rather they help enhance the minimalism by adding contrast and movement.

Picking the right fish for your minimalist reef aquascape comes down to a few different factors. You want to be able to find fish that are going to fit nicely with the corals you chose and the other elements of your aquascape.

You should consider fish like ember tetras, ottos, and other fish that generally fit in well in a planted aquarium.

Clownfish are a great choice for a minimalist reef aquascape. Clownfish naturally fit in with an aquascape as well as living in corals in their natural habitat.

Clownfish are also very easy to care for for beginners which makes them an appealing addition for people just starting off with their minimalist reef aquascape.

Algae Eater For Minimalist Reef Aquascape

Algae is a serious problem for most aquascapes. Algae will naturally start to build up on the glass walls of your aquarium which creates a huge distraction from the beauty and simplicity of your reef.

The solution to this problem isn’t cleaning your reef aquascape, but adding elements that naturally consume algae to keep it clean on its own.

Did you know that there are fish out there that consume algae as part of their diet? The clown fish we talked about earlier is a great example of a type of fish that has algae as a natural part of its diet.

Around a full third of the diet of a clown fish is made up of algae that it can eat off the glass walls of your tank.

They’re also low maintenance options to choose when looking for something to eat the algae that is clouding up your aquascape.

The Mexican turbo snail is a great choice for a set-it-and-forget-it approach to algae maintenance. These snails will spend their entire lives cruising the walls of your aquarium cleaning off all that algae for you and that’s also all the food they are ever going to need.


Your minimalist reef aquascape needs a solid sand bedding of at least 2 inches, a selection of beginner friendly corals that will grow into the base of your reef, some exciting fish, and some algae eaters to help with maintenance. Once you’ve collected these for basics, you quickly build your skills in the minimalist reef aquascape community. Now that you know all the basics, what’s the next thing you’re going to do to build your aquascape?