So I was enjoying just looking at my aquarium tonight and decided to snap a photo. Here's a photo of the aquarium looking pretty much exactly like it did yesterday:
This inspires me to have a talk with you about something important, often overlooked:
The Planted Tank, More than Any Other form of Aquaria, is about Enjoying the Process
Do me a favor for just one moment: completely forget about the science, the products, the plants of the planted aquarium. Because this isn't what it's all about.
This is the most important post you will ever read about the planted aquarium, so read every word thoroughly.
Everything you do with the planted aquarium is about one thing, and one thing only: coming to enjoy every process of it. No, scratch that, I want you to LOVE every step of it.
What do I mean by that? I mean that you need to develop a passion so deep, that you enjoy every aspect of it.
1. Nurture a love for doing water changes, understand that water is what gives life itself to the aquarium, and to renew it's source on a constant basis means you give it life itself: from the microscopic bacteria to the plants, to the fish & shrimp.
2. Develop a love for the process of setting up the hardscape: do it with decisiveness and confidence. Study the patterns of great aquascapes and approach your own with enthusiasm.
3. Carefully plant every species, showing the plants care, pay attention to them and trim off dead and dying leaves: they drain the plant's resources to grow.
4. Modify your filter media to best suite your aquarium's growth patterns, the planted tank constantly evolves and it's needs change over time to require different things.
5. Make it a habit to clean your glassware and net out old trimmings from the top, this keeps the flow of water and distribution of vital co2 in good condition. Be proud of your setups.
To illustrate the points, I have an inspirational story to share:
Not too long ago, a member from this forum came into ADG with his son, Connor. That forum member's name is Dantra. As they came into the shop, they had an exuberant enthusiasm for the two displays we had up. As I had began talking with Dantra, it had begun as a fairly standard question and answer session. I thanked him for his compliments on our set ups, and answered the questions he had.
But then, there was a surprise:
His young son, Connor, was actually incredibly enthusiastic and incredibly knowledgeable on planted aquariums. I didn't know it at the time, but he had been studying the works of Amano, following this forum, and had wanted to come to ADG for a long time to see for himself.
So taken aback by Connor, I took out the last remaining copy of The Book of ADA we had available, to Dantra and Connor's great surprise. When Dantra asked me about the book I said "you can have that one." To which, he replied "I can't believe that, how much do I owe you." I told him then, "no, don't worry about it, I want Connor to have it. It's a rare thing to see in anyone - much less someone his age." To which, the two were completely stunned at.
Just this past week, Dantra gave me a call and asked a few questions, and when asked how Connor was doing, he told me a story.
Connor had become so dedicated to the planted aquarium that he poured over research after research. He - unknown to me, had gone over every old post by planted aquarium experts, had poured over The Book of ADA like it held all the secrets of the universe in it.
More amazingly, he then began applying everything! Dantra told me how Connor was so insistent about doing water changes on schedule, about trimming off dead leaves of plants, about making sure every technique he used was by the book, and more amazingly: how he was in love with every step of the process
Dantra then said something, which we should all take into exact account and learn from:
"you know, he was so insistent on doing water changes, and so insistent on trimming, and adding exactly what was prescribed by Amano, and I told him "Connor, that's just not necessary, you don't have to go overboard like that." and Connor replies (which I might add, is a completely indefensible statement)
"Dad, I remember all your old tanks and your battles with algae, and I'm just saying that if Amano does it, Frank and Jeff (Senske) do it, then we could at least try it. Otherwise you develop bad habits."
So, being unable to defend against such a well argued point (that phrasing is something out of a lawyers playbook!), Dantra let him do it. And sure enough, the problems they had classically had disappeared.
This level of research, the adamancy to technique, the love of maintenance and care for the aquarium and the bonding experience those two had is something that is completely rare and to be treasured.
Immediately go to this thread and look at Connor's work. Then take a look at yourself and say "you know, I can learn something from this."
I know I learned something from it.
P.S. if you've found these techniques valuable, help share the information with new comers by linking back here in your own journals when you use my techniques!