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Having a chronic illness, being unable to move around the world, my aquarium is a world, a puzzling ecosystem of green and light, which I can care for and be part of. I returned to aquariums – not the perfection of aquascapes, for me, but a blend of natural elements in an approximation – after 30 years, a few months into Long Covid. They've bene sustaining and healing, if sometimes also infuriating and mildly tragic.
I am an architect. Therefore i never had a hobby before in my life.
Last year my sister forced me to take over her old 80p (she upscaled to 120).
At first, the aquarium served as an additional illumination source, in a dark corner of my living room, a month or so.
Then came the day, i somehow typed in „nice aquarium“ in YT. Then my live changed.
Planted tank and fishkeeping is hard drug. 😊
My wife bought our kids a couple of fish and a tank from the local garden centre, which they soon outgrew. During my research into appropriate replacements I discovered Takashi Amano and heard @George Farmer talking on Gardener’s Question Time, this lead me to the UKAPS and a simple planted tank. I love the challenges and get a real sense of achievement when things go well - I couldn’t have done half of it without the community here and I try and give back a little when the opportunities arise.
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A simple and fluffy answer is because it brings me joy!

To create something beautiful.
To watch it grow and evolve.
To rejoice in life’s tiny miracles…..an uncurling spathe, a fish dancing, a shrimps perfect moult.
For the privilege of having a piece of art, and nature in your home and to be able to nurture it…..and to learn sooo much from all the challenges and the cursing and the intricacies of managing an ecosystem.

And finally to be part of a community of likewise passionate, enthused, knowledgeable and oft strongly opinionated folks who are on a similar journey.

What’s not to like. 😊
Because of you! I’d never heard of it till I came across your videos. I’m a paraplegic who’s body only works from the chest up. I started out over lockdown and I’m now hooked. I’ve managed kill hundreds of pounds worth of plants and battled through every algae out there. But thanks to the community, I now have a tank that i strived for.
Even though I sometimes struggle due to having to work one handed side on to the tank It’s done wonders for my mental health, but wreaked havoc on my bank account.
you may remember me calling you very personable😀
I grew up with aquarium, fresh and saltwater. And i like art, nature and design....put everything together and whalla..... aquascaping. First experience were YouTube videos from Takashi Amano....the compleet package. I was hooked by that moment.😁
For me it was l suppose a natural progression always been interested in nature. After being out of the hobby my son gave me a tank after a relationship break up. Ended up reading a set up done by George and Dan Crawford and reading PFK were George had articles (surprising)were you didn't need high end gear for sucess. Later watched Amano and joined UKAPS which has helpede through some tough times in life
I just want to create beautiful and interesting homes for my fish and shrimp to explore and enjoy. A well maintained aquascape is also more pleasurable to observe when I'm spending time watching my fish go about their lives. Having live plants is also a huge benefit to the ecosystem which was the primary reason to use them for me. It was just a natural progression to then arrange them in a way that would be aesthetically pleasing. Those are the things that got me into aquascaping, and I say that with a great amount of humility because I don't think I have any skill as an aquascaper, but I do tend to fall in love my own creations.

The reason that I keep coming back to the hobby is that it is terrific for my mental health. I consider it one of the more healthy forms of escapism that I could indulge in when I feel the need. When I sit down to observe or maintain the tank I'm quite easily able to forget about everything else, which can be a welcome reprieve when life is hard. It brings me a sense of equanimity to a degree that I can only achieve through aquascaping and meditation, both of which are fundamental to my existence at this point.
Hey George good question.

For me I just really enjoy the entire process. As long as I have been growing plants, I feel like I am constantly learning and evolving. It never ends. A planted tank is like a puzzle you can never solve, so it never gets boring. And when you do think you have it solved, it always comes back to humble you!

And what many consider "work" I actually look forward to . A good session of trimming/pruning and practicing horticulture is very calming and I consider it cheap therapy. I can spend a good couple of hours going at it sometimes and it soothes my mind.

I also enjoy the camaraderie of the community. Through the hobby I have met many outstanding people who I now consider friends.

Of course I also like seeing the results. Sitting back and admiring something that you have spent so much time creating is a great reward.

And it was a pleasure meeting you at the AGA Conference this year. It was a fantastic event and flew by too quickly.

I choose descriptive! It may be hard to believe :), but I usually cut out most of the saccharine fawning I type here before posting to avoid sounding histrionic. But let's indulge (this is a weekend for indulging on tank stuff).

I keep aquariums because... I simply have to, it's in my nature and I have no choice any more.

Before I kept aquariums, for a few years I had a fashion brand where every season I made slightly obsessive collages of mythical Greek nymphs and naiads layered over paintings of nature. Now, post-aquarium-discovery, I am the nymph, presiding over my own living painting of nature. I thought I was just inspired by nature then, but actually I was yearning for it, a missing piece of my life. Luckily, I found it in a random youtube video (curtesy of @foo_the_flowerhorn, a name which really undercuts how meaningful the videos were to me). During the pandemic my house was the only place I could exist in, home went from an sanctuary from the world to mundane capitivity. Once I discovered such beautiful magical tiny worlds existed, my path to attaining one of my own was practically automatic and quite obsessive. It became a need. So I harranged my family until they helped me create a new, miniature oasis in my room, and it was immediately a delight.

We live in a nature-blind society where many, maybe even most, can no longer see the wonder that exists in front of our eyes, honestly it's very sad. But we can see it, and we're very lucky to experience this sight. The natural world is so full of wonder and weirdness, so glorious and alien, so full of drama and colour. I feel so lucky to get to keep fish, plants and other odd creatures from at home and across the world - freshwater streams, rivers and ponds in Europe, Asia and South America, saltwater coral reefs and lagoons in the Caribbean, Pacific Islands and Australia, a fabulous cross-section of nature's wonders, just sitting in my house like portals to another dimension. When I look in one of my tanks, I can literally feel these ancient primordeal bits of my brain lighting up with glee.

It's just so fun, and that's not even mentioning how lovely the people are too!
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