Here's some of the environments I often head to on weekends.
Not a bad place to live and visit?
A local place is often the best place to find inspiration, oddly, many folks have never really sat down and seen the complexity of the rocky intertidal, when I go through and point out things, it opens up a whle new world they have not seen before.
That is one of the goals of aquascaping, showing that world in an aquaria.
Amano has done this with Japanese terrestrial gardens and natural locations he has traveled to.
One of my personal scaping goals is replicating marine plant enviornments and bring that to the hobby.
The colors of the fish and macro algae are nothing short of stunning.
The diversity is astounding as are the colors.
A chiller is requires for all of these organisms, but that's a bit more $ than a CO2 system and still generally less involved than some reef tanks.
The high biomass of macro algae is able to purify the water column effectively.
This means nice looking coral like reef diversity with easy fast growing seaweeds.
This stays true to plants and algae as exporters of nutrients and provides a better balance without skimmers.