I love the idea that we as a hobby continue to inspire each other. And sometimes, we even inspire ourselves...Or sometimes, as in my personal case...We get these amazing moments of self-awareness through our hobby work.
And I think that is quite interesting. And it's important to me. It's served me well for man years.
Sometimes, this self-awareness results in a realization that what I thought was "the thing" for me...isn't.
Maybe it's because I'm getting older or something. Maybe I get a bit bored or dissatisfied more easily than I used to? Perhaps, it's that I feel an obligation as a purveyor of ideas and aquascaping materials to share some new looks from time to time...Maybe I'm simply a fish geek doing what fish geeks like to do...
Yeah, likely all of the above!
So, I have an aquarium in my family room at home...one that we've talked about before... A planted Asian blackwater theme. Lots of Cryptocorynes in a strongly wood-based 'scape. There is some leaf litter too. This was probably the most "scape-centric" design I've had in years...more "contrived" to be an artistic interpretation of Nature than a realistic replication of it.
And it shows.
Both in my execution, and interest level. It just hasn't really reached its potential...And I'm not sure if it ever will, to be honest.
This is actually good. It's my truth.
Why? Well- I just am not that into planted aquariums, myself. They're not ME.
I mean, I love them. I admire them. I'd gladly have someone create one for me and would likely love it. But I personally have like no great desire to execute one myself. At least, not in the sense of a fully-realized planted aquascape. It's not for lack of trying...It's just not my thing, ya know?
I realized that the reason the tank in my family room doesn't make my heart sing or capture my attention like my "Tucano Tangle" tank does is because it is not me "speaking to my truth", as they say. It's cool to push yourself outside of your comfort zone- quiet another to try to do something that just isn't you.
As someone who has been in the hobby his whole life, and the industry for many years, I realize that it's in my own business self-interest to feature different types of executions using our materials and others. However, it's something that I personally shouldn't be doing- because it's not me. Yeah. Like, I'll feature other, talented planted tank enthusiasts' works, but until I really "feel it", I have no reason to execute one on my own and share it.
That felt good to get that out!
And sure, it's a great excuse to tear apart my planted tank to do something that is more "me!" 😆
What am I sharing this internal struggle with you?
Because it's important to walk my walk.
I always tell you to do YOU. Straying off your path gives you obvious insights...and it's never a wasted effort, because it creates that aforementioned self-awareness. And hey, if I'm going to attempt to inspire YOU to do something, it needs to come from a place of honesty and authenticity.
So, what are you going to see from this tank?
Well, we will still keep it "Asian-themed"- more 'biotope-inspired", and it will likely have a few plants! I mean, I have some nice little Cryptocoryne specimens- might as well use them. They're perfectly appropriate for the Southeast Asian jungle stream habitat which I'm inspired to represent in this tank.
I think that I will feature mostly leaf litter and some small to medium size botanicals, maybe some wood, but little else. It certainly won't be a massive hulking wood "superstructure"- more like some branches strewn about the substrate, offering ga tiny bit of vertical relief. But that's it.
It'll be about dark water, a dark, natural-looking substrate...and the fishes. The plants will be "window dressing" at best. Vastly different than the previous execution of this idea. And way different from what we commonly associate with an "aquascape" purporting to represent this habitat.
And that's okay. That's cool. That feels good to me.
And it IS good.
Because if you're going to listen to what I say, you really need to watch what I do.
And what I do needs to be real.
Stay authentic. Stay bold. Stay creative. Stay diligent. Stay creative. Stay self-aware...
And Stay Wet.