The phrase “watching grass grow” is synonymous with boredom. For aquascapers, though, watching an aquarium gradually grow and change over a long period of time can be an incredibly rewarding experience. It’s something that you can enjoy whether you have a saltwater or freshwater aquarium — coral gradually crawls across rocks in saltwater tanks and plants grow ever upward towards life-giving light in freshwater aquariums.
The only downside is the wait. It can take months for a new aquarium to reach its full maturity. Some people might be bothered by the long wait, but I personally love every step of the process. There’s something beautiful about being able to surrender control of your aquascape and watch as it grows into a unique ecosystem. You can exercise some control over your aquarium’s layout by placing plants and corals in certain areas, but ultimately the growth patterns of your aquarium inhabitants are up to the whims of Mother Nature.
Today I thought I’d show you a few timelapses of aquariums as they oh-so-gradually transform a new, sparsely populated ecosystem into a lush paradise full of towering plants and twisted corals.
The Australian Institute of Marine Science has shared a timelapse video of the Davies Reef off the coast of Australia. The video captures 18 months of growth for three different coral species. Watch as the three different corals (the plate-shaped red coral on the left, the fluffy yellow coral on the bottom, and the spiky yellow coral in the upper right) grow outwards in completely unique patterns.
This next video shows you why aquarium maintenance can be so important. This Atlantic Staghorn coral (the spiky one on the left) juts outward until it reaches the glass and it doesn’t stop there. The coral attaches itself to the glass and eventually consumes the aquarium glass like some sort of saltwater pancake. A bit of chaos is good for an aquarium, but too much will ruin your view!
You don’t have to worry about freshwater plants covering up your tank’s glass, but they can still obscure your vision in a very different way. Personally, I kind of like the wild, overgrown look of a rampant freshwater aquascape. This aquarium goes a little bit too far by the end of the video, admittedly — a few snips of scissors here and there will go a long way towards making a beautiful aquascape.
Here’s another look at what an aquarium can do in just a few weeks:
So, don’t pay any attention the next time you hear somebody mention “watching the grass grow” like it’s some unbearably boring activity. With the right attitude, enough patience, and a gorgeous aquascape, you can watch the ocean slowly come alive before your very eyes.