In Belgium there’s still a long way to go when we talk about Nature Style Aquarium. If we introduce ADA or even aquascaping to our common visitors, we’re always surprised to notice most of them have never heard of this before. But if they have, it’s our 3,2-meter long Iwagumi tank that drives them inside immediately. It gives an incomparable satisfaction to be able to show the possibilities of lay-outing a tank naturally if people have no knowledge there’s existing something more than a ‘Dutch planted’ aquarium or Malawi tank. Showing these hobbyists the work of Mr. Amano or introducing ADA products is mostly a first step to convince them of making the change.
There’s a slowly growing generation making the step from planting an aquarium to designing with a rising awareness and a growing understanding of the natural balance within an artificial, aquatic environment. It’s a challenge to make these groups, both the unknown and the fanatics, aware of the many advantages – aesthetically & scientifically – of the Nature Style Aquarium. When we started lay-outing our aquariums as natural ecosystems, simulating the conditions of the original habitats, we noticed a striking improvement in the behaviour and appearances of the inhabitants. In Antwerp, Flanders, there wasn’t a single aquarium shop working with these ingredients or a greater respect for the natural environment, so we decided to introduce this with our concept-store.
Rusty colours of an autumn leaf can unlock an emotion of beauty and amazement, while the same tints on an old water pipe often don’t bother us at all. I believe we’re more moved by natural things, as we’re somehow connected to all that’s alive – to nature itself. This is exactly what we hope to achieve in our store: contributing to a growing (re)connection between men and nature, caused by a wonder for the smallest living things. A piece of lichen growing on driftwood or the simulation of a wild meadow within a glass sphere, the shape of an old bonsaï tree, the peaceful feeling caused by our vertical green walls, or driven by aquaponics,… All these elements are presented in the shop as it was our decision to show all different aspects and possibilities of nature in combination with our greatest passion: the Nature Style Aquarium. Clients can feel at ease because they feel they’re in a natural environment, created by carefully chosen materials and products, just as we design our aquariums.
We daily notice new possible scapes, growth variants, overwhelming patterns and balance, but we also face great challenges when we start new projects, as you can’t truly guide nature. There’s certain ‘randomness’ in a Nature Style Aquarium. You can’t always control or prevent, you design a lay-out and let it become something even you couldn’t previse. For us aquascaping is having the ability to add to this natural beauty, by trimming the plants or by a thought-out choice of the residents. In our store we explain to customers how to achieve a natural balance or ecosystem by following the right steps, care and patience. We have therefor several show aquariums of different sizes, biotopes and materials, all fully equipped, and we often organise workshops about wabi-kusa or aquascaping. However the effort and means, the result should be that of a miniature aquatic world that stirs us by beauty and calms our nerves. In past times people went out in nature to escape and find peace, nowadays they bring nature inside for the same reasons. We consider it our task to make this journey effective and if possible careless, by helping or giving a lot of personal advice and information. Every room should be a living room. And thanks to you, Mr. Amano, there’s a lot of new life born in our store. You’ve planted a thought, and it’s an honour for us to help it grow.
Jan Vos, shop owner and proud ADA reseller.
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(* AQUA JOURNAL #238)