wild drift, lush fronds

Two regal betta princes survey their aquatic kingdom, tails flowing like royal robes as they patrol the dense emerald foliage of their jungle realm. Like adventurers in an ancient tale, the intrepid fish weave through the tangled wood, the vast and wild frontier their underwater Camelot. Their sapphire scales shimmer like armor in the dappled light, noble knights of this verdant and vibrant wonderland.

For those of you who have been journeying with me through the tangle of tales and art of words and ideas on this blog, you’ll remember my old posts on aquascaping. As a gardener of water, I’ve nurtured my underwater realm, shaping it from a simple basin to a bustling, verdant underwater jungle somehow. It’s been a labor of love, a test of patience, and today I share with you the fruits of my labor of several months.

Imagine, if you will, a jungle. Dense with life, brimming with an untamed symphony, where every inch tells a tale of growth. Now, imagine that same wild expanse, but beneath the surface of the water. That’s the essence of my Jungle style aquascape. It’s a chaotic waltz of the wild set free within the glass confines of my humble aquarium.

Unlike the meticulous rigor of other aquascaping styles, the Jungle style finds beauty in the bedlam. It embraces the seeming disorder of nature, the spontaneous burst of foliage, the unanticipated twist of driftwood. The heart of this aquascape is the verdant array of aquatic plants, a dense range of varied species, each contributing its unique essence to the tableau. Towering fronds of small and long-leafed plants stretch towards the light, their surfaces a playground for dancing shadows and shimmering reflections.

Driftwood, the skeletal remains of ancient trees, punctuates the lush greenery, not to impose order but to echo the intricate disarray of nature. They’re like brushstrokes in an impressionist painting, adding depth and texture to a scene that revels in its beautiful chaos. Creating a Jungle style aquascape is an exercise in controlled chaos. It’s a delicate balancing act of allowing nature to unfurl in all its wild beauty yet curating it enough to ensure it thrives within the confines of a tank. It’s an art form that challenges you to harness your inner wild, channel your creativity, and test the boundaries of your ability.

The allure of the Jungle style lies in this freedom of expression, the liberty to let your aquascape be as untamed as your imagination. But within this wild abandon lies a silent covenant – to nurture and sustain this vibrant ecosystem, to be the silent sentinel safeguarding the harmonious discord of this underwater jungle. In cultivating this aquascape, I’ve not just created a humble art for the eyes, but a subtle art of balance in my taste. It’s a living, breathing metaphor of life itself – wild, beautiful, and forever changing.

seeds of passion

The art of gardening and decorating has always had a special place in my heart. I I remember a journey that intensified and deepened my zeal, a trip to a quaint hill station in Kerala called Peermade. A place where the mountains rose high, creating a barrier between the regions of Travancore and Madurai in ancient Tamilakam. I was staying in a guest house, a two-storied cottage, with my family and my brother helped to find this cottage. The family who owned the cottage lived on the lower floor and the guests on the top floor. Little did I know that my perspective about decor and integrating plants would be forever changed by the experience I had there.

The family’s love for plants and gardening was a sight to behold. The proprietors of the cottage, a family with a deep-seated passion for horticulture, left a lasting impression on me.

The family’s love for plants and gardening was a sight to behold. The proprietors of the cottage, a family with a deep-seated passion for horticulture, left a lasting impression on me. Their abode was a veritable jungle of flora, with an imaginative use of pots, cans, glass jars, and even repurposed waste containers to cultivate an astonishing diversity of plants. The cottage was filled with an abundance of greenery, and the owners would go around with a green plastic plant mister, talking to the plants and showering them with love. That stay opened my eyes to the possibility of making our surroundings beautiful and leaving our signature on them, no matter where we are.

Upon coming back to the UAE after my vacation, I sought out methods to bring greenery into both my home and work cabin. The capability for growth and knowledge housed within a seed never fails to stun me. Dreaming and planting a garden, born from imagination, symbolizes a declaration of autonomy of the soul. It is within these unique areas and touches that we can discover innovative ways to reconcile our sense of beauty with our living spaces.

Gardening is not just about creating beauty, but also about embracing the imperfections and limitations of life. It’s about finding joy in the simple things. Embracing the art of gardening and decorating, enables to leave our mark with a space that speaks of our soul.

peaceful glide

The little betta fish that I recently added to my desk is a true beauty, with its bright red color and white fin ends. It’s a half-moon type and as it gracefully glides through the water, it’s a peaceful watch for me to behold. The mere glance of the fish is a satisfying one, and it brings a sense of calm to my day. I enjoy watching it explore every inch of its lush green forest-like aquarium, swimming through the dense foliage and resting on the wooden driftwood. It’s a reminder of the vastness and beauty of the world outside my four walls.

The betta fish also serves as a reminder to me, that amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s important to find moments of peace and tranquility. It reminds me that sometimes it’s the small things in life that bring the greatest joy. My betta fish is a source of balance and harmony in my daily desk routine, and it’s a reminder to appreciate the beauty in the small things. It’s a reminder that even in the smallest of spaces, there is always room for something beautiful and peaceful. May you have a day of inner peace : )

elevated greenery

elevated greenery.

As I surveyed my cramped abode, my potted companions and I seemed to have reached the limits of our cohabitation. But then, a glimmer of an idea dawned upon me – why not elevate our greenery to new heights?

With a curious toddler constantly exploring every nook and cranny of our home, the tops of my windows seemed like the perfect solution. Not only would it free up valuable floor space, it would also keep my plants out of reach of little hands.

And so, with great care and perseverance, I transported my verdant friends to their new home. The task was no easy feat, as each watering and replenishment required a treacherous ascent. Yet, the reward was more than worth the effort.

Not only did the plants invigorate my dwelling with their lively presence, they also aided in the creation of an optical illusion, making the space below seem more expansive. It was as if a gust of fresh air had swept through my humble home.

While this solution may not be suitable for all, it was, for me, a simple yet effective means of maximizing my residential retreat while also keeping my plants safe from curious little hands. It is often the minimalist ideas that have the greatest impact. As I beheld my flourishing flora, a wave of accomplishment and satisfaction washed over me.

aquatic oasis

principal photography, aquascaping & styling : The Border Of a Mind Studios

After moving into my new apartment, I realized that the aquarium setup was in need of a bit of an overhaul. The plants were overgrown and the layout wasn’t quite what I had in mind, so I decided to embark on a complete rescape of the aquarium.

One of the first things I did was add a standing wooden driftwood piece that projects above the water level. I wanted to create a natural, forest-like aesthetic, and the driftwood really helped to accomplish that. It’s not only visually appealing, but it also provides a place for the fish to hide and explore.

I also replanted and pruned my Japanese Hydrocotyle, which has really taken off since the rescape. It was a bit overgrown before, but now it’s spread evenly across the sand, adding a touch of greenery to the aquarium.

In addition to the plants, I decided to switch up the type of sand I was using. My previous sand was just a plain, uniform color, but I wanted something a little more interesting. A friend recommended a blend of aqua soil (brown) and beige sand, and I have to say, I’m really happy with the result. The mixture of colors gives the base of the tank a more elegant and cohesive appearance, and it looks much more natural than the plain sand did.

I also added a few ferns to different positions in the aquarium. These add even more visual interest and help to create a more natural-looking environment. Ferns are great for aquariums because they’re hardy and easy to care for, and they look really nice when they’re planted in small clusters.

Finally, I have around 14 beta fish in the tank. These are very sensitive fish, and they were born in this aquarium, so I’m hoping they’ll last for a long time. Beta fish are known for their bright colors and interesting patterns, and they add a lot of visual interest to the tank. They’re also relatively easy to care for, which is a plus.

Overall, I’m really happy with how the aquarium looks now. I’m trying to take a minimalist approach to things in my new apartment, and that includes the aquarium setup. It’s a small touch, but it really helps to create a sense of calm and tranquility in the space. The combination of the standing wooden driftwood, the Japanese Hydrocotyle, the blended sand, and the ferns all work together to create a natural and cohesive look that I’m really happy with.

re-scaping tank

After over 6 months, I decided to do a deep clean of our little tank and re-scape the entire foundation of the tank. Took more than 3 hours from the deep cleaning to the removal of stains and dirt from the tree barks. I was literally surprised at the amount of dirt accumulated with wooden blocks submerged in water. After a thorough cleaning process, I removed one of the barks and decided to go with only one bark to give a more roomy and wide space for the Neon tetras to swim around. Upon reading somewhere, I learned that Neon tetras are more comfortable with open wide spaces. The half-moon betta is not in the photograph, and it seems to be unwell for the past week or so. I doubt it’s related to the chemistry of the tank, as I’ve been using some new conditioners for curating the water quality in the tank.

3 hours of re-scaping work

I’ve been reading and watching a lot of aqua-scaping tutorials on different layouts possible in a smaller tank and I was inclined to a more simple one as opposed to the seemingly dense option we had previously. After removing the dirt from the soil bed, I filtered them out by removing floating watery dirt with a manual water pump by water cycles of over 8 to 9. Later, I deep cleaned every single element in the aquarium and separated flora which was affected by line algae which were dominant in the aquarium. Netta helped through all the stages. I removed one of the wooden blocks, set up a new tree bark in an inclined position with ferns slowly arranged on the top. Meanwhile, I planted the grass and Japanese Hydrocotyle on the front side of the tank. I hope it will take up a more dense profile as time passes. But now we have a minimal, simple, and much cleaner and roomier tank space, and here’s the final result.

A much more roomier tank. Excuse those flying ferns on the top. More on that below.

One thing what I learned from this whole process is that when we do a deep cleaning for the tank and if there are ferns to be included, they need to be attached to the wooden barks by some means. Either it can be a glue or they can be manually inserted into any holes or spaces available in the bark or by another means. Even though I watered them slowly, I found out that the ferns were floating around after the pump and filter started working. So, I should be taking care of it in the next episode of this whole thing.If you love aquascaping, skim through Story de’aquatics.

I have also written a detailed article on Planted aquariums – How to make them last based on my personal experience of setting everything on my own.
And yes, we love short videos, and here are the ones on those themes
Fluvial Zeal | The Woodland | Neon Gems

plant tread.

Remember those days where we passionately spoke of Golden pothos propagation craft and the flora shelf. Finally ticking a long term pending list scroll, I potted some money plants and other flora out of the roots of them which I had in water containers for quite some time now.  I made use of this 20 l potting soil. Had a couple of pots available on the shelf that were waiting to get potted. Here are some of them. I shall try to put in a video montage of these new ones soon. Delve into the simple golden pothos propagation technique.  This is where we started the plant stand. Happy gardening!
Love aqua-scaping? We’ve got stuff to keep you interesting : )
Matshona Dhliwayo, a Canadian philosopher said: “A seed is its own world, a garden is its own universe.” I had an experience during a vacation to my home town that kindled within me the seed of love for plants and pruning them in whichever medium I find plausible. I shall try to write that little story sometime soon. Keep reading!
Thank you for the warm messages and letters I received from various readers. I’m very grateful for the time you spend reading these lines. I hope everyone loves the new design for the website as much as I do. God bless.

seeds sown.

“I grow plants for many reasons: to please my eye or to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow.”

— David Hobson

I have been longing to make a b’roll on the indoor vertical garden for quite some time now. Since I’m mostly indoors lately, I thought to give it a shot.

The woodland.

Here is a video update to the tank. The ferns have spread across the woods and the Hydrocotyle has really grown well with its deep roots. Probably, I would have to give it a trim after a certain height. Repositioned some ferns that were preventing the Hydrocotyle from steadily growing up. Removed some white algae and did some overall cleaning for what it is, a dense and thick aqua forest 🙂

Read: Story de’aquatics.

Planted aquariums – How to make them last

Fluvial Zeal