Reaching the point...

Maybe it's me.

I have this thing about creating what I feel is a good start to my blackwater, botanical-style aquariums, then reaching a point where I leave them to "evolve." It's like a fundamental practice of mine- perhaps even a "cornerstone" of the work I do.


There is a point when you're like, "Oh, I really like this hardscape"- and you set in your initial botanicals...and then you sort of just "walk away" and let it evolve for a bit. 

I call this "reaching the point."

A "jumping-off" stage, where our initial work is done, and nature takes over for a while, breaking down the botanicals, allowing a "patina" of biocover and biofilm to cover some of the surfaces, removing the crisp, harsh, "new" feeling.  This is where Amano's concept of embracing the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi takes over. Accepting the transient nature of things and enjoying the beauty of the changes that occur over time.

And of course, once stuff starts "softening" or breaking down, it doesn't mean that your job is done, or that you're just an observer from that point on. Nope. It means that you're now in a cool phase of actively managing (and by "managing", I am emphasizing observation more than "interfering!") the aquarium.

Making minor "tweaks" as necessary to keep the aquarium healthy and moving in the direction-aesthetically, functionally, and otherwise- that you want it to.

A lot of people may disagree, but I personally feel that THIS phase is the most exciting and rewarding part of the whole process!  

A phase when you interact with your aquarium on a very different level; a place where you get to play a role in the direction your 'scape is going, without constantly interrupting the natural progression taking place within the little microcosm you created!

Sure, you might add fishes, move a few things around from time to time; maybe even replace some botanicals, or add to them...But no "wholesale remodeling" occurs. Patience, as always.

Let it evolve...

When you reach "the point."

Today's insanely simple thought.

Stay patient. Stay engaged. Stay excited. Stay creative. Stay inspired...

And Stay Wet.


Scott Fellman

Tannin Aquatics 


Scott Fellman
Scott Fellman


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