Naru UchidaNaru Uchida


“NATURE AQUARIUM EXHIBITION 2021 TOKYO” (NAE) was held for 2 months. Five SUIKEI creators expressed their current best, and it became a starting point to further expand Nature Aquarium that they inherited. Now, after it ended successfully, we would like to ask them about their feelings and future goals.

Always carefully observe aquascapes to maintain them in perfect conditions.

“Fall Colors Under the Water” had come to full bloom in Tokyo.
Since the event, NAE was scheduled in September, I planned to create an autumn-themed aquascape by scaling up my W90cm aquascape with an autumn leaves motif, which I had created about a year and a half ago, into a W180cm layout. I used Hakkai Stone, Aqua Gravel, and river stones, and decided to give it “a touch of Japanese taste” as a sub-theme. I had also decided to create a concave composition, and used the compositional balance of Japanese folding screens as a reference because a W180cm tank has a panoramic ratio. From my experience as a layout maintenance staff at the Sumida Aquarium, I knew that the tap water in Tokyo contains just the right amount of minerals and is suitable for growing beautiful red stem plants, so I was confident that I would be able to present my layout, “Fall Colors Under the Water” in the best condition to the public. As I had expected, the stem plants turned bright red as time passed as if announcing the arrival of late autumn.
Committing himself to maintenance work, he believes that inspiration is the result of dedicated work behind the scenes.
Being passionate about aquascape maintenance
This time, I served as the leader of the management staff stationed at the NAE venue, and focused on ensuring that visitors would be able to see the aquascapes in the best possible conditions. Also, as an aquascaping equipment brand, it’s also very important for us to demonstrate the appeal of our products. If equipment is not clean, the attention of visitors will be drawn to something other than the aquascape itself, so we carefully maintained the equipment, fine-tuned their placement, and thoroughly wiped down the aquarium tanks every day before the exhibition opened. From management standpoint, the algae bloom was the biggest concern since the light was on for 11 hours, which is longer than usual, due to the event’s opening hours and maintenance schedule. At first, we thought of raising the installation position of the lights to solve the problem, but we also knew that it would significantly affect the growth of the aquatic plants because of the reduced light intensity. Since the aim of this exhibition is to show visitors the beauty and vitality of aquatic plants, it would defeat the purpose. Based on my experience in daily maintenance operations, I was able to control the conditions of the aquascapes by very carefully positioning light fixtures to balance the growth of plants with algae control, and by adding cleaning fish. In fact, I had to slightly change the positioning of the light for each tank. At event sites, it is important to always carefully observe aquascapes and be able to flexibly solve unexpected problems. During the exhibition, I had some opportunities to attend the venue as an event staff. I was genuinely happy to receive feedback directly from visitors, which I had not been able to do before because of the pandemic, and that motivated me to work even harder.

A style of management that reflects the creator’s intention
As a Suikei creator, I want to broaden the appeal of Nature Aquarium, but I am also a member of the Nature Creation Department, specialized in daily aquascape maintenance operations. For this event, I needed to plan out the maintenance schedule from the perspective of a Suikei creator so that the creative intentions of each creator would be reflected in the schedule. Moreover, it was necessary to consult all Suikei creators in order to bring the finished form of each aquasape as close as possible to the image the creator had in mind. For example, for the “Echinodorus Paradise,” I went over every expression in detail with Araki. On the other hand, with the “Green Heaven,” Inoue left me in charge of details. Although the Hydrocotyle leucocephala in this layout looks swaying freely in the water at first glance, I needed to trim it in such a way as to give a sense of regularity and unity in the randomness. I believe that this sense of balance was made possible by the sensitivities I have developed through my work as a Suikei creator.

To learn from nature
I think the unique appeal of Nature Aquarium is that you don’t just “copy” nature as it appears, but by abstracting it with your sensibility, you are able to tell your own story and express your inner self through aquascaping. Lately, I frequently use a technique of fusing two different natural scenes into one aquascape like “Sasae Iwa (rocks in equilibrium)”, and feel a sense of accomplishment in creating playful and unique aquascapes in my own way. People often tell me that the aquascapes I create are “soothing” and “gentle,” so I think that is also part of my artistic style. I would like to go out to nature more often to expand my ideas.
Sasae Iwa (rocks in equilibrium)”
This aquascape was created with an image of standing rocks and caves in rock reef areas. After the texture and shape of the stones were carefully determined, they were arranged into three groups to create a sense of perspective, whereas the two stones in the front are firmly assembled as one, leaning against each other. The way these two stones lean against and support each other amidst fully grown aquatic plants gives a sense of stability, and I think I was able to express something that only this aquascape can convey. The school of fish dashing between the stones look very comfortable.
Tank Size: Cube Garden W120×D50×H50(cm)

Riccia fluitans
Hemianthus micranthemoides
Micranthemum sp.
Echinodorus tenellus
Microcarpaea minima

Hyphessobrycon amapaensis
Otocinclus sp.
Caridina multidentata
“Fall Colors Under the Water”
In this layout, a variety of red colored stem plants were planted, and its composition framework was created with a panoramic ratio like a folding screen painting. When the various stem plants formed beautiful clusters as if they were brilliant autumn leaves, the aquascape turned out like a “living folding screen of autumn leaves”, just as I had intended. In addition, a calm and serene atmosphere was created by attaching a lot of moss and ferns to the driftwood in the front, and the complementary color effect of their dark green colors makes the red color stand out even more.
Tank Size: Cube Garden W180×D60×H60(cm)

Microsorum sp. ‘Narrow Leaf’
Bolbitis heudelotii
Myriophyllum sp.
Ludwigia repens ‘Super Red’
Ludwigia glandulosa

Trigonostigma heteromorpha
Puntius titteya
Rasbora trilineata
Otocinclus sp.
Caridina multidentata