Shout it out...

The aquarium hobby is really overdue for a prolonged "shakedown", IMHO.


We need to change some stuff up. We need to not be afraid to try some new things; push the limits of what is considered "conventional hobby wisdom"- and have the courage to share our ideas; our work. I think we need to take more risks in the hobby. We should try some things which challenge what is comfortable- not just because "they" say you can't- rather, because there is always room for improvement.


You can always do something a bit differently... Wouldn't it be amazing to do something that, although seemingly innocuous and relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of life...would irritate, agitate, and maybe turn some people against you in the part of the hobby in which you engage if you said something?


Could you do this? Would you?


If so, you're downright heroic to me. Really. People don't do this enough.

I see some of you doing this in the hobby right now. Perhaps, too quietly, though. You're doing some crazy shit:

You're doing stuff like creating pure hardscapes that don't follow a "Japanese garden-type" formula. You're playing with "semi-palludariums", minimalist sand and rubble-only scapes. Mangroves. Monospecific planted tanks. Blackwater, botanical style tanks. Biotope-inspired displays. Modern, spawning-oriented species tanks. Cave aquariums. Food-producing "refugium" concept tanks. Just, different stuff.

You are the true "outliers."

What, exactly is an "outlier?"

out·li·er (outˌlīər) - noun- A person or thing situated away or detached from the main body or system. A person or thing differing from all other members of a particular group or set.

It might be you?


You're bit outside of the hobby mainstream, aren't you?

This is important territory that you're playing in. 

It's the realm of the "discomfort zone."

And most of you hobbyists who work this magical place don't generally give a damn about "winning" contests or being "Insta-famous." You know that you likely won't, because you're doing stuff that not everyone gets, or thinks is "cool." Stuff that goes decidedly against the grain of what's "acceptable" or "popular." You're just doing your thing...occasionally showing up and seeing your work create a "disruption"- although it's typically an unintentional by-product of being unique in a stable space, and perhaps not your sole intent.

Yet, maybe you're inspiring someone else...

Yes, I'm fascinated by outliers.  

And what's weird is that there are a fair amount of them out there. Quietly doing what they do; occasionally popping up on the radar, perhaps garnering a curious peek by the "establishment", before retiring back into to the shadows.

There are a lot of supremely talented people in the aquascaping world, for example. 

Yet, I am thinking about someone really different. 

Although, I wondered, would bringing such a person's work to light "corrupt" the real "soul" of what we're talking about? Create a giant, obnoxious hypocrisy of sorts?

I don't know. I don't claim to have the answers. But I don't think so. The aquarium world needs an injection of the unusual right now, in my opinion. And it needs special type of person to do it.

I think it might be YOU.

An outlier. 

Someone who gets it. Someone who's not only not afraid of going against the prevailing trends...a person who simply does their own thing because it gets them excited. Fearless. Not afraid to face criticism from those who don't get it, like it, or appreciate it. The kid who wore black all through high school; maybe seemed a bit "weird" to others who didn't understand him/her.

I've always had this vision of supporting an aquarist who feels something deeper...Finding a person who has a unique dynamic. An artist? Sure. A poet. Sure.  A surfer? Possibly. A writer? Maybe. A "sage?" I don't know. An "old soul." A musician.

Perhaps even a philosopher, of sorts.

Someone who brings something different to the homogenized, prepackaged, neatly ordered aquarium world. Someone who can talk emotionally to you for a very long time about the 5-gallon hardscape aquarium they just created...and leaves you wanting to hear more.

Someone with a deep passion. A spark.

A very different orientation. Someone who asks "Why?" Someone who wants to make a little "noise", not just to be a pain- rather, because they care about pushing the boundaries of "conventional" thinking and expression in the aquatic world. Someone who looks at things from a totally different angle.  Not to "be cool", mind you. Simply because that's how they look at stuff. A person who feels that his/her work is not just a creative expression, but an instrument of change. 

And one who's not afraid to shout it out.

Just because it's time for one.

The hobby, in my opinion, needs such a person. Maybe someone who simply needs their voice to be amplified...


Who is that person? Where is that person? Are there more? 

I'll keep asking. I'll keep looking.

Stay passionate. Stay honest to your vision. Stay humble. Stay unique. Stay diligent. Stay generous...

And Stay Wet.


Scott Fellman

Tannin Aquatics

Scott Fellman
Scott Fellman


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