Be the ripple...

The hobby is evolving.

Our practice of utilizing botanicals in our aquariums is evolving.

Tannin Aquatics is evolving, too. 

Over the next few months, you are going to see substantial changes in the way we offer our botanicals, and more ways to empower you, our global community, to utilize them. Some of these changes-very subtle and behind the scenes, have already been rolled out. Other, much more significant ones will debut soon.

One thing that hasn’t changed is how nature works with us. Or rather, how we accept what nature does, rather than “push back” against it.

We’re “doubling down” on our embrace of the way nature works with our aquariums. As you likely already know, a large part of the philosophy behind the botanical-style aquarium is to embrace the fact that our aquariums, and the botanicals which we incorporate within them, are ever-changing.

They “evolve.” 

Over the long term, our aquariums will evolve in many ways, much like a natural river or stream, without all that much intervention on our part. This is normal for almost every aquarium, to some extent, right? 

However, in our botanical-botanical-style aquariums, the “evolution” thing is almost a certainty. It’s simply part of the game. And it’s interesting to me to consider this process during the “functional lifetime” of our aquariums. Understanding and appreciating this process, without significant intervention on our part, forms the basis of the philosophy behind botanical-style aquariums.

We typically don’t need to jump in an modify all that much. We don’t need to “counter” it. Rather, under typical circumstances, we need to simply observe. To learn. To enjoy.

Yeah, as a moderately successful pop group once sang, “Let it be…”

Like a ripple in the water, we need to be flexible and just enjoywhat happens during this process. Love the ephemeral...

And there is a sublime pleasure in having a front-row seat to this natural process. One which might take some getting used to. One which is perhaps a bit different; a bit more “tolerant” than we’ve employed in our past aquatic work. We as aquarists have to accept the fact that Nature has the "starring role"; the final say.

Utilizing botanicals to alter the environmental conditions of the aquarium requires us to let nature do some of the heavy lifting. If we want a successful BWBS aquarium, we need to understand this, and to accept the process which she follows.

It all makes sense, really:

By their very nature, botanical materials are somewhat “ephemeral” under water; that is to say, they begin to break down and soften as a result of simply being submerged, and by the onset of biological activity. As the leaves and botanicals start to decompose, they enrich the environment with humic acids, tannins, and other organic materials, further spurring plant growth, etc.

As the substrate begins to take on a "life of its own",  with more life forms growing in its matrix, fishes will forage for supplemental food items in it. As wood softens, releasing more tannins into the water, it darkens. 


As a hobbyist, you help your little microcosm along by making adjustments, tweaks, deviations, if necessary, along the way. All of these require observation, analysis, and action. Decisions, made by interpreting what you see every day and then taking actions (or not) as warranted. You're doing this already, and probably haven't given it any thought. 

I mean, it's what we do as hobbyists, right?

Nothing really new here. You’re “buying in” to a process that nature has perfected for billions of years. 

Enjoy it. Go with it.

Be the ripple.

Stay engaged. Stay fascinated. Stay excited. Stay curious. Stay observant. Stay calm…

And Stay Wet.


Scott Fellman

Tannin Aquatics 

Scott Fellman
Scott Fellman


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