By Adip Sajjan Raj*
Aquascaping is an art, not a hobby as most people consider! There is immense joy in aquascaping as it combines various aspects of science, physics, mathematics, perspective, photography, biology and fish keeping skills.
Aquascaping is a skill that requires an understanding of the art form and how we can create a masterpiece in a glass box with the help of stones and plants. The understanding of nature makes a big impact in creating a beautiful aquascape as nature is a wonderful teacher and there is no stop to learning.
The art is gaining popularity in India thanks to the internet and various events like the 3rd Aquagic that was organised at IIPTF in New Delhi in August 2019.
As this is an art form, I believe that using the best products helps to bring out a classy aquascape as we build scapes to last as long as possible and not for a short period of time.
Of course, there are some legends like Takashi Amano from Japan who have lived this art and made a huge impact to the hobby and also created contests like IAPLC to spread this interesting and creative hobby to many parts of the world.
India is in the nascent stage of aquascaping and some talent is booming especially in parts of West Bengal where we have seen some spectacular aquascapes.
Aquascaping is a fine art that feeds the soul. It transcends the person to a world away from their daily routine where one feels close to water and greenery. The movement of the plants; the fish; the air bubbles escaping from the leaves underwater; small inhabitants going about doing their thing; reflections that sync with the rhythm of water, greens and life provide a mesmerising view that soothes and rejuvenates the body as well as the mind.
The art of aquascaping helps us to relive our childhood again and celebrate the inquisitive child in us, making us nostalgic and bringing back fond memories. It makes one sensitive towards other beings and teaches one to nurture and respect smaller beings. It heals us and fills us with calm.
As time passes on, this aquatic ecosystem thrives and grows, filled with little surprises at times, like a flowering aquatic plant, tiny new fish babies hiding behind leaves. The very entity of our existence is now right in front of us – a precious paradise that we watch over very closely.
Nature Aquarium workshops such as the one at 3rd Aquagic in IIPTF 2019, bring people with similar interest towards aquascaping together and helps them to understand and learn concepts which they wouldn’t have learnt over the internet. This hobby is very visual and one needs to understand how nature works and how the plants will grow. The hobbyist needs to understand the characteristics of the plants being used to ensure that it is a testament to the passage of time. This hobby involves understanding the science behind how nature works. This requires, rather teaches patience, the right attitude and discipline.
Once the aquascape is ready and mature, and the creator sits in front of it. He/She can feel the aura, the zen that surrounds it. There is a sense of positive energy when you see the fish and the plants come together to form an ecosystem and see them sway and move around. There is a sense of calm that comes upon the viewer – something which we all need and crave for in this concrete jungle that we have made for ourselves. This art form is not just beautiful but also therapeutic.
* Adip Sajjan Raj is the President of Still Water Aquatics. He has been trained & moulded by the legendary Late Mr. Takashi Amano, Founder, Aqua Design Amano (ADA), Japan. He has huge amount of knowledge in aquarium design, setup, filtration, life support system, aquascaping and disease management. He has established the state of the art Public Aquarium project in Odisha State Maritime Museum, Cuttack, Odisha.