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I had to write a descriptive essay for a college class, I choose to write about a planted tank and thought I would share it here:

Slice of Nature

Imagine walking through the forest and you come to the edge of a pond with the most beautiful blend of diversity along its edge. I thought to myself, if I could take a slice out and bring it home, would I? If so, a nature aquarium was going to be the closest thing I can keep for myself. Building and maintaining a nature aquarium is a very unique way of testing one’s creativity and patience for a stunning payoff. Acquiring all the plants, fish, and critters are small but bold choices in an ever changing display that seems more like a mad scientist lab, with all the test tubes and chemicals, rather than something I can enjoy, but I absolutely do. After I got my tank setup and planted, I brought my new aquatic buddies home from the pet store ready to put time aside for maintenance, and of course, lots of time for enjoyment in-between.

First off, tank shopping is a way of determining my boundaries which is something nature should never have to deal with in the first place. Finding the plants was a perfect mix between trucking through local swamps or pond sides and ordering plants from dealers who have done this work for me at a cost. The wait for plants, as they arrive in packages, proved to be as anticipating as Christmas morning as I race to the door to check the mail. Placement is the key in arranging the plants to appear as a slice from a single landscape, that I cut from the cake I call nature. My aquatic landscape must make a bold statement as home to the soon-to-arrive fish and friends.

Now, choosing my little buddies can pose its own challenge as to who gets along with one another. I recently rescued a red and blue fighting fish. It needed a home to itself, so this was a perfect habitat. The only tank buddies I could get him were a handful of colorful snails, with all types of patterns, and transparent dwarf shrimp that the fighting fish has a hard time spotting. The entire ride home from the pet store was a concerning race, as I pushed the accelerator past other vehicles, risking my driving record over a couple of snails and some shrimp.
Next, I need to stress that maintenance is crucial to keeping my slice of nature alive and thriving, which is the tradeoff of taking it home where the wild can no longer maintain it. Daily feeding is necessary with the occasional pruning of plants, as I am stuck to the boundaries of this cube that everything alive inside must look at as a prison. Weekly partial water changes are a religious act, as well as all the additives and fertilizers required that smell like a pile of grass farted. I cannot stress how important putting this time aside is, right down to testing my water chemistry for things that should and should not be present.

Finally enjoyment, is the entire foundation of this adventure. If I did not make time to sit back and enjoy it, I would have tossed the entire project out the window a long ago, allowing it to smash to pieces as it hits the ground. Luckily I did not. It now adds another dimension to my office where I can reflect on life and gaze at the reflections in the water ripple as the filter endlessly keeps the water alive. I love seeing such a concentration of greenery during the winter when everything is grey and seemingly dead around me. I always awake anxious to feed my fighting fish. Rolling a granular pellet to the tip of my finger, I feel a wet peck as he jumps from the water thinking it was an insect flying by the water’s surface. The time spent here is truly the reward for all my dedication and money invested, not to mention it makes an excellent conversation piece - like a living display case.

I feel that constructing a nature aquarium and keeping it alive has been quite an adventure building on my personal patience skills, allowing me to be creative along the way by choosing everything - from the tank to anything I put inside it, as well as where it all goes. The final result has its pay-offs when I need to relax. I need to be able to enjoy my creation if I expect to set the time aside to maintain it. Go build a lush planted aquarium and make a connection to nature today. If you are going to maintain an aquarium of any size, make it a green one.

 

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I had to write a descriptive essay for a college class, I choose to write about a planted tank and thought I would share it here:

Slice of Nature

Imagine walking through the forest and you come to the edge of a pond with the most beautiful blend of diversity along its edge. I thought to myself, if I could take a slice out and bring it home, would I? If so, a nature aquarium was going to be the closest thing I can keep for myself. Building and maintaining a nature aquarium is a very unique way of testing one’s creativity and patience for a stunning payoff. Acquiring all the plants, fish, and critters are small but bold choices in an ever changing display that seems more like a mad scientist lab, with all the test tubes and chemicals, rather than something I can enjoy, but I absolutely do. After I got my tank setup and planted, I brought my new aquatic buddies home from the pet store ready to put time aside for maintenance, and of course, lots of time for enjoyment in-between.

First off, tank shopping is a way of determining my boundaries which is something nature should never have to deal with in the first place. Finding the plants was a perfect mix between trucking through local swamps or pond sides and ordering plants from dealers who have done this work for me at a cost. The wait for plants, as they arrive in packages, proved to be as anticipating as Christmas morning as I race to the door to check the mail. Placement is the key in arranging the plants to appear as a slice from a single landscape, that I cut from the cake I call nature. My aquatic landscape must make a bold statement as home to the soon-to-arrive fish and friends.

Now, choosing my little buddies can pose its own challenge as to who gets along with one another. I recently rescued a red and blue fighting fish. It needed a home to itself, so this was a perfect habitat. The only tank buddies I could get him were a handful of colorful snails, with all types of patterns, and transparent dwarf shrimp that the fighting fish has a hard time spotting. The entire ride home from the pet store was a concerning race, as I pushed the accelerator past other vehicles, risking my driving record over a couple of snails and some shrimp.
Next, I need to stress that maintenance is crucial to keeping my slice of nature alive and thriving, which is the tradeoff of taking it home where the wild can no longer maintain it. Daily feeding is necessary with the occasional pruning of plants, as I am stuck to the boundaries of this cube that everything alive inside must look at as a prison. Weekly partial water changes are a religious act, as well as all the additives and fertilizers required that smell like a pile of grass farted. I cannot stress how important putting this time aside is, right down to testing my water chemistry for things that should and should not be present.

Finally enjoyment, is the entire foundation of this adventure. If I did not make time to sit back and enjoy it, I would have tossed the entire project out the window a long ago, allowing it to smash to pieces as it hits the ground. Luckily I did not. It now adds another dimension to my office where I can reflect on life and gaze at the reflections in the water ripple as the filter endlessly keeps the water alive. I love seeing such a concentration of greenery during the winter when everything is grey and seemingly dead around me. I always awake anxious to feed my fighting fish. Rolling a granular pellet to the tip of my finger, I feel a wet peck as he jumps from the water thinking it was an insect flying by the water’s surface. The time spent here is truly the reward for all my dedication and money invested, not to mention it makes an excellent conversation piece - like a living display case.

I feel that constructing a nature aquarium and keeping it alive has been quite an adventure building on my personal patience skills, allowing me to be creative along the way by choosing everything - from the tank to anything I put inside it, as well as where it all goes. The final result has its pay-offs when I need to relax. I need to be able to enjoy my creation if I expect to set the time aside to maintain it. Go build a lush planted aquarium and make a connection to nature today. If you are going to maintain an aquarium of any size, make it a green one.

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