I'd like to share a special event with you all today:
It is the 20th anniversary of Aqua Design Amano's corporate history.
On this day, April 12, 1992, Aqua Design Amano was officially incorporated in Japan. Of course, Aqua Design Amano was originally founded in 1980 by Takashi Amano when he was only 26 years old! Until 1992 it was a privately held small firm, when, upon release of Nature Aquarium World, the company went incorporated and began it's global expansion.
Since that time, it's been a hell of a ride for the hobby - it's seen many things come and go. The advent of the internet has spread it farther than any other singular means before, and with it, the message of the planted aquarium.
I'd like to share with you the following story:
A story of Takashi Amano's childhood:
In the post-war days in Japan there were no refrigerators, so people who lived in the interior couldn't eat fresh seafood. As children, we often caught carp for our families, especially in my home town where we had large expanses of wetlands.
Our fishing method was a primitive one: we would scoop the water along the banks with a net that was tied to a bamboo pole! Of course, there was always the more dangerous approach, where we would dam up the ends of a big submerged pipe, empty out the water with buckets and then climb in to get fish, hishi, lotus and other plants. What we brought home to our families from these trips was an important source of protein back in those days.
The catch was always evenly divided, using a fair method of rock-paper-scissors. However, if we had the fortune of coming across a colorful tanago (bitterling) or goby, one of us would always enthusiastically give up our entire share of the catch for the privilege of bringing home this living beauty.
The lucky boy would lovingly carry the fish home in one of the rubber shoes we all wore in those days. The shoe would be filled with water for the fish, for the two kilometer (1.25 miles) walk home. The road was so stony that it would leave bloody blisters on the boy's feet.
The feet would make it, bloody as they were, but the fish, due to heat and lack of oxygen never made it home alive. I was scolded many times for coming home empty-handed this way.
There were many plants in the wetlands that resembled the two-temple and Hygrophila that I use today in my aqua scapes. The abundant plants (sasabanohiromo, mizuoobako (ottelia) Matsumo, and mizuwarabi) were a beautiful sight in the water.
When I finally broke some of these plants off and stuffed them into my shoes, the fish, amazingly, survived the trip home!
Many of my layouts come from childhood memories like this one.
In honor of the 20th anniversary, and due to people asking me, I have a limited quantity of open substrate additives (Bacter 100, Clear Super, Tourmaline BC, Penac P and W), which I can portion together in mixed bags for uses on 5-20 gallon tanks for $25 ($32 shipped) while my supply lasts. You can pm me for details if you'd like to try them.