Have you ever noticed that the aquascaping rituals we engage in with our aquariums are remarkably analogous to the processes which occur in nature?
Yeah, think about it for a second:
A tree falls in the (dry) forest.
Wind and gravity determine it's initial resting place (you play around with positioning your wood pieces until you get 'em where you want, and in a position that holds!). Next, other materials, such as leaves and perhaps a few rocks become entrapped around the fallen tree or its branches (we set a few "anchor" pieces of hardscaping material into the tank).
Then, the rain come; streams overflow, and the once-dry forest floor becomes inundated (we fill the aquarium with water).
It starts to evolve. To come alive in a new way.
The action of water and rain help set the final position of the tree/branches, and wash more materials into the area influenced by the tree (we place more pieces of botanicals, rocks, leaves, etc. into place). The area settles a bit, with occasional influxes of new water from the initial rainfall (we make water chemistry tweaks as needed).
Fungi, bacteria, and insects begin to act upon the wood and botanicals which have collected in the water (kind of like what happens in our tanks, huh? Biofilms are beautiful...).
Gradually, the first fishes begin to follow the food and populate the area (we add our first fish selections based on our stocking plan...).
The aquatic habitat is enriched by the decomposition of leaves, wood, and botanical materials, creating new food supplies, spawning locales, and biological stability.
It continues from there. Get the picture? Sure, I could go on and on drawing parallels to every little nuance of tank startup, but I think you know where I'm going with this stuff...
Yet, when we think about our aquariums this way, the parallels are striking, aren't they?
And the thing we must deploy at all times in this process is patience. And an appreciation for each and every step in the process, and how it will influence the overall "tempo" and ultimate success of the aquarium we are creating.
When we take the view that we are not just creating an aquatic display, but a habitat for a variety of aquatic life forms, we tend to look at it as much more of an evolving process than a step-by-step "procedure" for getting somewhere.
Taking the time to consider, study, and savor each phase is such an amazing thing, and I'd like to think- that as students of this most compelling aquarium hobby niche, that we can appreciate the evolution as much as the "finished product" (if there ever is such a thing in the aquarium world).
It all starts with an idea...and a little bit of a "waiting game..." and a belief in nature; a trust in the natural processes which have guided our planet and its life forms for eons.
The appreciation of this process is a victory, in and of itself, isn't it? The journey- the process- is every bit as enjoyable as the destination, I should think.
Simple observation on a quiet Sunday.
Stay excited. Stay enthralled. Stay observant. Stay appreciative...Stay patient...
And Stay Wet.