Welcome to The Greener Side of Aquascaping
A Novice's Journey to Becoming a Master Aquascaper
Hello everyone. This is Nikita Baptiste and I am the creator of The Greener Side, a chronicle of my journey to becoming a master aquascaper. I created The Greener Side to showcase the reality of aquascaping from a novice perspective. Beginner’s luck is a rare occurrence in aquascaping. Without ample research creating an artificial ecosystem can be difficult and confusing. Its discouraging especially if everything doesn’t work out as perfectly planned. With The Greener Side, I want to show that by using my sheer determination and unwavering interest to do the appropriate research and practice I can learn how to design, build, and maintain a healthy and lush planted aquarium. Nothing is off limits here. You’ll be seeing everything from how I manage and troubleshoot my pitfalls to relishing in the glory of my successes. The Greener Side’s purpose is to inspire the novice or seasoned aquascaper, alike, to create beautiful aquascapes by capturing your vision in the glass canvas. But to do this, we will both need to understand what makes up an aquatic ecosystem and use our observations to set our aquariums up for success while looking naturally occurring.
Above you'll find three categories in which I've stored everything I've learned during my study of aquascaping. All of my gathered information has come from my involvement in the aquascaping community, listening to the advice of experienced aquascapers, and learning from my own and others mistakes. Everything that I've written here has helped me create the aquascapes you'll see in my galleries. When planning a new aquascape I might use inspiration from walks in the woods, nature photographs, or other aquascapers. From following the basics when setting up the aquarium to building the aquascape with valuable hardscaping and planting techniques, I can successfully maintain an aquascape using tried and true methods shared within the planted tank community.
My goal is to share my aquascaping experiences so that you can be inspired to build your own masterpieces. Please be patient while The Greener Side is filled with everything that you want to know about aquascaping. Learning any skill takes time, patience, and energy so bear with me and I'll give you your hearts desire. The best way to be up to date on the latest occurrences of The Greener Side is to sign up for our newsletter to get the scoop on aquascaping.
So, who is the novice dreaming of moving to The Greener Side of aquascaping?
Do you remember the first time you saw an aquascape? I do. I stood there in amazement staring at a photo. It was just a photo and I was still blown away. How could anyone create such a masterpiece? I’ve seen mini replicas of nature scene before… but not submerged in water. Never mind the fish, shrimp, and other little creatures. There were plants of all shapes and sizes. Some aquascapes has what looked like grasses from the Plains, creeping mosses that grow among rocks and decaying trees, and soft beds of foliage that line the forest floor. It was impeccable.
I remember thinking that it seemed impossible. These masters, like Takashi Amano, George Farmer, Oliver Knott, and the Senske brothers (just to name a few) must have some special touch. They’ve harnessed the power of aquascaping and are able to grow lush, green foliage to create a scene that takes you to another place. A magical place that seems so real you might think of it as the new ‘El Dorado’. An unknown world glittering wth activity; plants swaying in the current, shrimp combing the leaves, and fish swimming in and out nooks and crannies. How do they do it? Must be magic or some intrinsic gift that allows these masters to make the audience feel such detachment with reality escaping into a dream.
Like me, I’m sure you are dreaming of making the same aquascapes. You saw photographs, video, or even a live aquascape and thought, “That’s my next project!” Let me tell you a secret.
There is no magic to how the masters create their aquascape. Shocker, I know! Like with anything else, there is a method to the madness. No I am not claiming that I know the secret, but I do know it isn’t magic. You don’t just add plants to a tank and cross your fingers. That is just throwing away valuable dollars spent on livestock, plants and fish alike. Maybe if you have a disposable income that would be fine. But, most of us are less fortunate. Instead I made a goal, certainly life goal I would say, to become a master aquascape starting from zero. I decided to actually put the work in, do the proper research so I don’t throw money out the window, and create something worth all the time I’ve spent.
Why aquascaping you might ask? Well the short and sweet answer is it felt right, like home even. Interested in the long version of how I got started in aquascaping. Read my first post and follow along to watch me and my aquascapes grow.