Have you played around with our aquatic botanicals yet?
We're pleased to say that more and more adventurous and creative hobbyists are creating aquariums with diverse selections of natural materials for unique and memorable displays.
If you haven't experimented with these botanicals, and have been itching to explore some new aquascaping and habitat enrichment ideas, you'll be delighted to explore our collection. And if you have, you've probably already found some faves...With a diverse selection, and new ones coming into the mix all the time, some of our most beloved botanicals sometimes are overlooked. Here are some of our favorite botanicals, which definitely deserve a place in your aquascape:
1) COCO CURLS
WHY WE LOVE 'EM: These botanicals are simple, natural, and have a unique curled shape which lends them to a variety of aquascaping uses. Integrated with leaf litter, or just scattered randomly on the substrate, they help evoke that "jungle streamed" look. They also impart a nice tannin "tint" to the water as they break down, enriching the environment.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE AWESOME: They are easy to prepare, requiring a relatively short prep time. And, Plecos LOVE them! They do, however, have a tendency to "disappear" in a mix of other, more dynamic botanicals, so you would want to use them in unexpected places on the substrate for maximum effect. They last for a very, very long time in most aquatic environments.
2) TERRA SORRINDO PODS
WHY WE LOVE 'EM: A study in textural contrasts, these botanicals are super cool to mix in with more "transient leaf litter" for a complete effect. They are useful on their won for creating really great aquascaping effects, and provide terrific foraging areas for shrimp and dwarf cichlids.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE AWESOME: They have a completely unique look, and don't break down quickly at all, so they retain their shape, color, and texture indefinitely. They take a little bit longer to sink than we'd like, but tend to last for very long periods of time with minimal degradation.
3) LAMPADA PODS
WHY WE LOVE 'EM: They have such a cool aesthetic, and set off botanicals like leaves and other "flat" specimens with their curvy, pear like shape and interesting color. They come split in halves, so you get a great look whether you use them "right side up" or inverted. Occasionally, we have intact "snappers" for a totally different look!
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE AWESOME: Lampadas are easy to sink, and help you create little pockets of interest in your substrate, standing out against leaves with their distinctive shape and texture. Shrimp love 'em! They do tend to recruit more of that "funky" biofilm than we'd like early on, looking kind of nasty, but it soon clears (with or without human or piscine/shrimp "intervention", and they last a really long time submerged!
4) HEART PODS
WHY WE LOVE 'EM: Heart Pods sink...like a rock...like, immediately. They also last pretty much "forever" underwater (I still have my original test specimens from 2 years ago!). They are small, and look exactly like what they are- little seeds that fell into the water! Some are darker in color on the exterior...making for a cool contrast!
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE AWESOME: Heart Pods can be used "right side up" or inverted for random natural effects. They impart no real detectable tint to the water. Their small size means they can get easily lost in a 'scape using lots of botanicals, so you have to use them creatively to highlight their charms. Did we mention that they last...indefinitely?
5) DRIED BANANA STEM PIECES
WHY WE LOVE 'EM: These are assume of the most distinctive-looking botanicals we offer. They look for all the world like a fossilized bone, but are distinctly botanical in form! They are easy to use, and perfectly compliment almost any other leaf or pod.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE AWESOME: These sink after relatively little prep time, and impart a surprisingly nice amount of tannins into the water, given their typical small size. They do tend to accumulate a bit more of that "biofilm" and "funk" during their early stages underwater, but it's easily mitigated. An added bonus is that, once the are submerged a while, they swell up significantly, to sometimes twice their original size and diameter, for a great look!
The best thing about aquatic botanicals is that they provide you with a real "palette" of shapes, forms, and colors to experiment with. By using a simple variety of just a few selected pieces together, you can create memorable, attractive hardscapes, which happen to be extremely functional as well!
Hopefully ,we've encouraged you to take another look at the "supporting players" highlighted in this brief piece. Each one has its own distinctive charms, and deserves a place in your natural aquascape.
Until next time...leave no pod unturned..Stay creative...
And stay wet!