Hi! My name is Art Pennom.
I write and curate this site, ScapeFu.com. I live in South Florida with a wonderful wife and kids. I hold down a normal, grind of a 9-to-5 job, like most of you. I prefer Apple to Microsoft, iPhone over Android and wine over beer (although I’m happy to drink both).
Life is steaming along WAY too fast so I’m trying to jump off the train as much as possible and smell the roses. This site is the result of my frequent jumps but instead of roses, I’m smelling the fresh, beautiful scent of incredibly landscaped (a/k/a aquascaped) aquariums. It’s my meditation, my zen place.
Rather than taking long strolls amongst thick forests or awe-inspiring mountain scenes (there aren’t many of those in South Florida), I stare into the eyes of nature through nature aquariums. A nature aquarium captures the soul of nature within the small, glass confines of an aquarium. Lay people call it landscaping an aquarium. Those that have found the beauty of nature aquariums call it aquascaping. I call it an art (no pun intended).
My history with planted aquariums
My parents bought me my first aquarium around the age of 10. Since then, I’ve had an unbroken love affair with the hobby. For some reason, it speaks to my soul.
At first, I was very interested in keeping freshwater fish. However, a chance encounter with a book changed my view of aquariums forever. That book was Dupla’s The Optimum Aquarium and it was the mid-1980s. In this book, Dupla shared with the world the most incredible, planted aquariums I had ever seen. Unbeknownst to me, natural, planted aquariums had been long favored in Europe but they were unheard of in the US. I was amazed and hooked forever.
I began to learn as much as I could about freshwater planted aquariums. Being the type that throws themselves into areas of interest, I began teaching myself the science behind growing aquatic plants in an aquarium. I found a lot more research (mostly from botanist literature) than I thought would be out there but the practical aspects of keeping plants alive in an aquarium (without algae) were not well explored.
I joined, and later became the Aquatic Plant Section Leader of CompuServe– a very early version of an online forum that many of you are too young to remember (/facepalm). I then decided to marry my love of all things computers with my wet hobby and founded Aquatic Plant Central (APC). At the time, online forums were all the rage and I wanted to create a place to discuss aquatic plants all the time with anyone from anywhere. I think I succeeded and APC is still going strong although no longer under my leadership.
As many things, my interest in aquatic plants and the hobby evolved over time. Like a palatte’s interest craves more and more complexity in wine, my interest in natural aquariums grew (matured?) more complex. I graduated from understanding how to grow a tree to seeing how one tree fits into an awe-inspiring forest. Without discounting the science behind natural planted aquariums, I am now most interested in the beauty and depth of masterly landscaped (aquascaped) aquariums. The synergy of everything working together is what transforms an aquarium into a work of art that captures the essence of nature. That is what ScapeFu is about- learning the wonders of nature (and our true selves) through the simple confines of an aquarium.
ScapeFu is about aquascaping
ScapeFu is focused on learning, together, the art of aquascaping. I give my thoughts and perspectives. I analyze and question. Together, we look critically at aquascapes created by artists and see what they intended (or didn’t intend) and how they achieved their purpose.
ScapeFu is not about criticizing. It is about looking critically and learning. In almost all instances, artists explored are FAR more talented than I and are deserving of our admiration and respect. Encouragement and appreciation is what we are after.
Let me know what you think
One of the best things about the Internet is that we can communicate with each other. Let me know what you think. You can always find me on Twitter (@scapefu) or drop me an email using the form below.Twitter