NATURE IN THE GLASS ‘Tree Spirit Sanctuary’

Yusuke HommaYusuke Homma
Tree Spirit Sanctuary

Created with the image of a scene of aquatic plants and fish gathered around driftwood, a variety of lifeforms seem to have been dwelling there for a long time. Taking in elements, such as the texture of trees or the spread of stones, from all the natural places I’ve been drawn to so far to use as components of a composition, as well as understanding the natural vegetation, is also important to finding the balance in planting.  Recreating a natural ecosystem inside a glass tank is the essence of Nature Aquarium; the concept of long term maintenance is indispensable to the drawing out of that extreme beauty. We aimed for a place like a holy sanctuary, with the driftwood’s majestic presence and the aquatic plant’s luxuriance and mysteriousness growing with time. 
Photo taken on: October 20, 2023 (ADA)
Creator: Yusuke Homma (layout production, text)
Aquarium: Cube Garden W1,800×D600×H600(mm)
Lighting: Solar RGB x 3 (8.5 hours per day)
Filtration: Super Jet Filter ES-2400 (Bio Rio G)
Material: Horn Wood, Sansui Stone
Substrate: Aqua Soil – Amazonia Ver.2, Power Sand Advance L, Bacter 100, Clear Super, Tourmaline BC
CO2: Pollen Glass Beetle 50Ø, 5 bubbles per second via CO2 Beetle Counter (using Tower)
Aeration: 15.5 hours after the light is turned off using Lily Pipe P-6
Additives: Brighty K, Green Brighty Mineral, Green Brighty Iron, Green Brighty Nitrogen
Water change: 1/3 once a week
Water quality: Temperature 25°C, pH: 6.2, TH: 50 mg/L

Marsilea crenata / Staurogyne repens / Lilaeopsis brasiliensis / Eleocharis acicularis / Helanthium tenellum / Echinodorus horemanii ‘Red’ / Echinodorus ‘Green Pepper’/ Cryptocoryne albida / Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘Green’ / Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘Brown’ / Cryptocoryne ciliate / Cryptocoryne petchii / Cryptocoryne balansae / Cryptocoryne spiralis ‘Tiger’ / Ludwigia sp. ‘Crystal’ / Eichhornia diversifolia / Potamogeton gayi / Hygrophila stricta / Hygrophila angustifolia / Eleocharis kuroguwai / Blyxa auberti ‘Red’ / Eriocaulon sp. ‘Social Feather Duster’ / Crinum calamistratum / Cyperus helferi / Anubias afzelii / Anubias hastifolia / Microsurum pteropus / Microsurum sp. ‘Trident Narrow Leaf’ / Bolbitis heudelotii / Riccardia chamedryfolia / Taxiphyllum barbieri

Rasbora sarawakensis / Trigonostigma espei / Pethia phutunio / Sphaerichthys osphromenoides / Crossocheilus oblongus / Otocinclus sp. / Caridina multidentata

Maturing aquatic plant scenery through long term maintenance based on a sculptural-compositional framework.

Photographed on January 20th, 2023
Considering impact and perspective when composing
Because of its rich variation in shape and size, Horn Wood can be combined with a high degree of freedom, making it suitable for building sculptural or impactful compositions. In this aquascape, following the concave structure of the foundation, the placement of the larger hornwood piece at the right-hand end strengthens the impression of the shadows and, opposing the three Horn Wood branches that are central to the composition’s skeleton, create an increased sense of perspective.
A    Taxiphyllum barbieri placement
To give the atmosphere increased natural feeling, soften the bark’s impression by encouraging Taxiphyllum barbieri to take root.
Photographed on January 23rd, 2023
Planting to change the driftwood’s impression
As if a response to the sculptural composition, a diversity of aquatic plants are thoughtfully planted in the foreground and midground. In the background, on the other hand, tape shaped aquatic plants are planted, giving the overall construct a releasing atmosphere.
B   Combining companion ferns
A combination of Microsurum and Bolbitis heudelotii was planted to enhance the natural feel. In order to maintain the ideal balance of planting and arrangement, it is important to carefully observe the growth differences between ferns and adjust the number of leaves appropriately, for instance by thinning out the leaves and sticks.
C   Points to note when planting mixed foreground plants
Five species of plants with greatly differing growth processes, such as Echinodorus tenellus and Marsilea crenata, are planted as foreground plants.  When arranging like this however, simply throwing together the mix of plants will only result in an uncouth feel, so you want to pay attention to the appropriate amounts you are planting and understand the growth speeds and differences in leaf color, etc.
Photographed October 20th, 2023
Improving with time
Under suitable management, aquatic plants mature with long term maintenance, leading to the entire aquascape’s elegant aspect. The beautiful tiered structure is born of the Nature Aquarium aesthetic of separated planting in the foreground, midground and background.
D   Ludwigia sp. ‘Crystal’
The charm of this species is brought out with trimming and nutritional supplements. As well as adding colorful flair to the aquascape, it also strengthens the impression of the empty spaces by accenting the concavity of the composition.

E   Epiphytic presentation of ferns
Mixed planting of Microsurum sp. ‘Trident Narrow Leaf’ and Microsorum pteropus, with their different sized leaves, results in a natural feeling, three dimensional construct. The roots growing over the driftwood give a strong sense of the passage of time.
F   Landscape of mixed foreground plants
The different colors, such as the reds of Echinodorus tenellus and the greens of Staurogyne repens, as well as the differences in leaf shape and plant height, combine with the driftwood and stone composition to create an undergrowth landscape with an abundant, rustic beauty that is reminiscent of a grassy meadow.
G   Merits of Cryptocoryne
Cryptocoryne may be an ordinary mid length grassy species, but it has a unique charm that can be deeply augmented by long term maintenance. The deep affinity between its leave’s underside, of brownish hues not found in other aquatic plants, and the body color of Rasbora sarawakensis gives a calmness to the scene.