Good morning, this is Art Phnom, and this is the Tank on Fire podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in and spending a few minutes with me talking about planted aquariums in our hobby and aquascaping . I hope you’re enjoying it. I am very thankful and appreciative that you’ve chosen to listen today. I thought we should talk a little bit about practice back when I was doing Scape Fu.
I did a post that had, is sort of a, a, I guess, an enticing or catchy on purpose title called the one thing that Amano does that you don’t and how that makes all the difference in the world. And that one thing was practice. I’ve been talking to people. Hobbyists about planted aquariums and aquas gaping for many, many years in different forms.
And it is obvious to me that people just don’t practice. And then they wonder why their Aqua scapes don’t look good. Why can’t they be like the ones that they see online, they get discouraged and they exit the hobby. Well it’s practice like anything else? Very few of us are born talented Aqua scrapers.
I know a couple that are well, let me take that back. I know a couple of that seem to be a natural talents naturals, but when you talk to them, boy, it took a lot of work to be natural. They they’ve practiced tons. And so it comes naturally after all that practice, but really you cannot expect in here talking to you as a friend, realistically, you can’t expect to be good at Aqua scaping.
If you’ve only set up your aquarium and you’ve only done one Aqua scape that’s not fair, right? You’re setting the wrong expectations about yourself and you’re making yourself feel bad, which is wrong. So what you need to do is understand and accept the fact that your first doc was scape. Your second aquas gave me even your third Aqua’s scape.
They’re just not going to be very good. But if you’re willing to look at it and think about it as a true artist You know that this is a journey, you know, that it’s going to improve and get better, but you need to work at it and practice. So just like a writer understands that their first draft is going to be the crappiest thing ever for using words that R politically correct, as opposed to colorful, we all know it’s garbage to the first one.
And then you edit and edit again and edit again. And you start working towards your masterpiece, right? To improve same with Aqua escaping. The fact that you did an Aqua scape doesn’t mean that it needs to stay looking the way it does today, or the way it did the first time. You need to continue to edit and edit and work at it and work at it.
There’s no rule that says that you can’t take an aquarium apart. I know it’s sometimes painful. I know you have fish in there and shrimp that may create issues. So it’s not easy to always do it in the actual live aquarium. Right. So that’s why I came up with the idea of the scape food dojo. And if you don’t know what the dojo in, I think there’s still a YouTube video on the escape, food dojo, D O J O.
And I just called it that because it’s a practice area, just like a dojo is where you practice the craft of karate. And. What I did was simply kit a piece of wood, trimmed it down to the size of a a tank, my tank and creating a square sort of a frame. And that frame was two, three inches tall.
And you could make it whatever size you like. It’s going to hold sand. And then I put a piece of garbage plastic, garbage bag as the floor. Okay. Some people have modified it and actually made a wood floor for it. You can do whatever you’d like. The point is to contain the sand that you’re going to pour inside of this frame in it and not spill it everywhere and be able to swap it out easily.
So the bag works well. So I have the plastic bag. I had my frame, which the frame mimicked the dimensions of the aquarium, and I put a bunch of sand in it. And this became my practice area, as opposed to doing it in my real aquarium. So you start with hardscape, obviously, aquatic plants are not going to enjoy being placed in a dry environment.
However, A N a, a very ingenious listener did come up and purchase some plastic plants that were then used in the dojo. To try and mimic what we’re trying to do in the aquarium. But anyway, you don’t need that. This is more for hardscape planning and driftwood planning. So that’s where I did all of the work and tried to improve and try and refine and try and make it look good.
And really practice, practice, practice, practice, and lo and behold people get better at Aqua scaping with this sort of practice. So. I, I think it’s something for you to think about please practice. Yurok escaping, don’t just sit there and say, gee, I wish it looked better. Without practicing, please do act actively do.
One thing I’ve also noticed that. May I help you is that taking pictures of Aqua scapes that you’re putting together, even in the dojo environment are very useful for you, you can step back, you can see what. Pictures you’ve taken. Do they work? Do they not work? I usually will set something up and if I kind of like it, I’ll walk away and go do something else and then come back at it.
Sit there quietly, maybe look at it from different angles. And see if I can improve. Sometimes I’ll sleep on it. If it’s one that I’m truly trying to refine, and I find that I find fresh or I’m feeling different, I do have a different perspective. And sometimes that works better. Sometimes it doesn’t.
The beauty of this is that you can leave it there and really just refine maybe you’ve purchased online some hardscape material and. You know, when you do that, it’s very hard to see how it’s going to work for the idea that you had. So playing with it in the, in the dojo is going to help you, you know, flip the stone this way, put the branch that way until things seem to work for the vision that you have in your, in your head.
Sometimes, you know this, you don’t have a vision in your head and you need a little bit of inspiration. And so playing with the wood and the stone or whatever hardscape you have there, we’ll get your juices flowing your creative juices flowing, and you come up with a composition that you like, next thing, you know, it becomes a theme really that you’re after.
And you build the story around that. That’s also very useful and creative exercise that sometimes I do other times, you know, what I’m stressed out at work, and I just want to relax and I go play with my rocks. That sounds a little funny. Take your gut, your mind out of the gutter. It is Aqua scaping rocks and my wife knows when I’m a little agitated and short and she’ll tell me, go play with your rocks.
And that’s what I do, and I feel better almost Zen, like so I think it’s it’s has many benefits, as you all know, our ha hobby does. It does take you somewhere, gives you a creative outlet. And by having this practice area for you, it’s going to allow you to improve and refine your skills without having to fully take down the aquarium and do it.
Live impacting your ecosystem. Now, this is not to say that you shouldn’t constantly refine your Aqua scape it’s especially if it’s simply shifting a rock or a stone or a driftwood, a tying Moss. Moving or replanting a plant or changing out plants. That’s all relatively easy to do. And you can certainly do that.
And you probably can only do that in, in the true aquarium. But. And to the extent that it’s composition in related, then this sort of practice area works very well. Find a place to, to take the pictures of the items that you’re really happy with and put them up and get creative creative, constructive criticism from others.
This is where the forums work very well. I’ll post them up. Ask for some help and some feedback send them to me if you’d like email@example.com. Happy to give you my 2 cents. Now, please understand that I get a lot, a lot of these. So my response to you although yeah, I’m trying to be as helpful as possible to everyone.
It’s going to be limited, especially cause the picture doesn’t say And capture everything that you’re looking at. But I try and be helpful. And most of the time I can give you some good constructive criticism for what it’s worth. Like I’ve always said here I am not the end all be all with Aqua escaping.
There are much better Aqua Escapers than I, but I can give you my thoughts and, and my experiences. So that’s it for today. Please, if you haven’t done so. Go to tank on fire.com subscribe to the podcast and also sign up for the fire tribe. You’re going to get the Aqua scaping analysis form that I’ve walked through last yesterday.
And there’s a 30 minute audio tied to that as well. And I very much appreciate that if you do that, like always a quick reminder, if you do need activated carbon and I hope you do. Please consider buying it from us. HG carbon has the lowest price on the internet for the premium activated carbon.
It’s the best that you can put in your aquarium and it helps support the show. So thank you very much. You could buy the tank on fire.com. I didn’t leave you. With a, an inspirational quote yesterday. I forgot. But I’m going to do it today. I’m making it up. Today’s quote for you to think about is art is craft, not inspiration.
I’ll talk to you tomorrow. My friends take care.