# Using The Golden Ratio in Aquarium Design

Posted on September 19, 2012 | 0 comments

Good design isn’t all art and creativity. Good design is mathematical. One such element is the Golden Ratio which is numerically described as 1:618. This ratio has shown up in art and architecture for thousands of years and is in nature. We can see the Golden Ratio in ancient construction like the Parthenon and the Great Pyramid at Giza and modern day construction like the United Nations Headquarters. In nature the Golden Ratio can be seen in places like parts of the human body and flowers like the daisy and sunflower. Creating an aquascape for the aquarium can be tough for some, especially to those who are new to aquascaping.  If you are one of those hobbyists who have no idea how to create an aquascape, you can use the golden ratio rule as a guide to help steer you in a good direction. The golden ratio is a very simple rule that has been used in many forms of art.

(Image Source: creativeautomaton.com)

When attempting at designing and aquascaping your aquarium, the main goal of creating an aquascape is to create a pleasing piece of art that has a balance of harmony and beauty of life. The aquascape should only have one main focal point as multiple focal points will cause the viewer’s eyes to go back and forth which can lead to tension of the eyes and destroy the whole pleasing view of the aquarium.  Having a focal point in your aquascape is important as it gives the viewer a sense of direction of what to look at first. Having no focal point can leave the viewer looking all over the aquarium, which can strain the view of the aquascape.

The golden ratio dates all the way back to the Greeks mathematicians. By dividing lines into extreme and mean ratio, also known as the golden section, the Greeks were able to come up with ratio 1:1.618. This ratio has been used in many forms of art and has been successful at pleasing the human eye. This golden ratio would be best applied to medium sized aquariums, roughly between 20-50g. Anything smaller than a 20g aquarium will leave the focal point heavily noticeable thus may be the only focus of the aquascape, and anything larger than a 50g will have too much space and a second focal point may be needed. Unless you are an experienced aquascaper, I advise only using this rule to aquariums between 20-50g.

To use to golden ratio for your aquarium, all you will need is a measuring tape. Lets say that your aquarium is a 20g regular aquarium, which is by standard, 24” long, unless you have a 20g long, then its 30” long.

Simply divide the length of your aquarium with the golden ratio, 2.618. So lets take a regular 20g aquarium and divide it by that number. By dividing 24” / 2.618 we get a calculation of about 9.167”. Using this measurement, from either the left or the right side of your 20g aquarium, go in 9.167”.  Using this measurement, we will be dividing the aquarium horizontally into two sections, one being 9.167” and the other being 14.833”.

Now do the same with the height of your aquarium. Using the same 20g aquarium, the height is 16” and we’ll divide that by 2.618.  Dividing 16” / 2.618, we get 6.111”. Now either going from the top or from the bottom, move up or down 6.11”.  Using this measurement, we will be dividing the aquarium vertically into two sections, one being 6.111” tall and the other 9.889”.

By combing the two lines, we create an intersection. This intersection will be the area of our focal point. Again, using either side left or right or top or bottom with the calculations is up to you. I decided to go from left to right and bottom to top to create the focal point shown below.