It's interesting seeing how we are changing our perceptions as to how an aquarium "should" look.
As we've discussed before, for the longest time, to most aquarists, the term "blackwater aquarium" evoked images of dark, "dirty" brown water, decomposing leaves, and an overall "neglected" and somewhat "anomalous" image. Fast forward a couple of years, and we've sort of evolved and romanced the concept of a blackwater aquarium to the point where the perception is starting to shift...
Sure, there are still a lot of people who just don't like the aesthetic, and that's understandable. However, with more and more aquariums being created in the blackwater, botanical style, we're starting to see minds shift a little bit. Yes, images of dark water and decomposing leaves still dominate...Yet, there is an evolution of a philosophy that embraces the process- the process of leaves and botanicals breaking down to impart their tannins into the water. The understanding that this is a natural process, and should be embraced as part of the aesthetic and function of a blackwater system.
I believe that we're exiting the (no pun intended) long, dark phase of the greater aquarium world's perceptions that blackwater aquariums are a "side-show"; an excuse for a poorly managed system, or a dangerously precipitous path to disaster. Hobbyists are realizing that there is management required of these systems that is beyond just "dumping stuff into a tank and watching the water turn brown..." There are methods, ideas, operational guidelines. We've entered a phase of experimentation, where we are seeing and actually working towards, specific tangible results, such as spawnings of fish, etc. It's a very exciting time!
Aquarists who have no interest in blackwater aquariums of their now can at least understand that there is sort of a "method to our madness!" We as a community have been very open about sharing the good, bad, and the amazing in our blackwater obsession with the greater aquarium world. Now, when an aquarist sees one of our tinted tanks, he or she still may have an aversion to the look, but thanks to all of you, has a greater understanding and appreciation for what's actually happening in the aquarium, and why we are so obsessed with this stuff! And our enthusiasm is sort of contagious...
We're changing mindsets with each and every aquarium we share. Yup. one aquarium at a time.
Keep minding the craft. Keep sharing the art.
Stay obsessed. Stay engaged. Stay generous.
And Stay Wet.