On creating underwater gardens

He came to MakoLab in April 2022 as a junior Java developer. His base is in Lublin and when he isn’t writing code or preparing to start studying for his master’s degree, he can be found immersed in one of his scores of interests. He creates and prints 3D models and likes nothing better than ATV off-road trips and good food. We have deliberately left another of his passions off the list, though. Why? Because you’ll be reading about it here, in our conversation with him!
So, without further ado, Insights is delighted to present Bartosz Zmysłowski and his love of… aquascaping!

You came to MakoLab fairly recently? How are you finding it?

Excellent! The project I’m working on is a really major one and MakoLab’s my first serious job in the sector. That makes it something of a challenge for me purely from the developer standpoint, but I’m learning new things and I’m looking forward to my future here with massive optimism. From the less technical side, the atmosphere between my colleagues is fantastic and there’s not a single person who hasn’t proved to be mega helpful and kind. I didn’t expect it to be as great as it is!

In the note you wrote introducing yourself to everyone in our weekly in-house newsletter, you presented quite a list of interests! One of them is aquascaping and I had to google that, I have to admit! When did your fascination with it begin?

Aquascaping is a fairly new facet of aquarium keeping, so my interest in it is quite recent and I still haven’t managed to create the arrangement I dream of. Mind you, my list of interests would have been endless if I hadn’t picked a few of the ones I’m most involved in at the moment… and aquarium keeping and I go back forever!

Where did you get the idea of taking it up as a hobby?

I’ve been keeping aquariums since I was a kid… following in my parents’ footsteps… and whenever there wasn’t at least one aquarium at home, I had a sense of emptiness. I’m also interested in interior décor. Not so much in terms of creating my own designs, but I do notice how spaces are arranged and used. Maybe that’s the origin of my interest in the art of arranging aquaria using living plants and objects like stones and roots, for instance. In other words, creating underwater gardens.

What does it involve in practice?

Spending hours and hours hypnotised by an aquatic ecosystem! In practice, though, it’s a lot of work. There are one-off jobs, like creating an entire design on the basis of an inspiration, choosing the right substrate and decorative elements like roots and rocks, selecting suitable plants, in line with the design, deciding on the lighting, which doesn’t only show the natural beauty of the flora and fauna living in the aquarium, but also enables them to grow into their full glory. There’s also choosing the aquarium itself, the filtering method, the system for providing CO2 for the plants and the cabinet that will hold it all. Then there are the ongoing jobs, from the most enjoyable, in other words, feeding the fish every day, to changing a large part of the water, which can sometimes need doing as many as several times a week, cleaning the glass, cleaning the substrate and trimming or pruning the plants. Along with changing the water, you have to remember about adding liquid nutrients. Once an aquarium is up and running, you also need to supplement the substrata from time to time. The filter media and the equipment itself also need cleaning, though less frequently.

It’s actually a lot more complex and demanding that it might seem. And it probably requires quite a substantial budget, as well. But if you could let your imagination run wild and create absolutely anything, what would it be?

It would be two aquaria, both of them around two hundred litres, cube-shaped and standing alongside one another. One would hold fresh water and the other, sea water. But keeping things a bit more real and bearing in mind my actual possibilities, the aquarium I’m working on at the moment is enough. It’s around a hundred and twenty litres and I’ve already designed the cabinet for it, because I wanted something that would really be stable and trustworthy. I’ve built it and now I’m getting the equipment together. In a few months’ time, I hope I’ll be able to sing the praises of my first major arrangement!

We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a ‘mission accomplished’ and we can’t wait to see the outcome! Until then, we’ll have to find a virtual aquarium on YouTube and give ourselves up to that hypnotic underwater world…

Translated from the Polish by Caryl Swift

26th August 2022
4 min. read

Kamila Braszak

Employer Branding Specialist


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