Meet the man in the UAE turning aquariums into works of art

Logs of tan-colored driftwood lie scattered in Huzefa Goga’s studio business in Al Qusais, Dubai.

1 of the couple of aquascaping artists in the UAE, Goga, 37, is occupied slicing and glueing jointly pieces of driftwood to make his most recent planted underwater landscape.

Titled Twists of Mother nature, as an ode to the knotted roots of trees, this aquascape will be adorned with aquatic plants, rocks and freshwater fish in a bid to emulate the river beds located amid forest trails.

“Aquascapes are residing artworks developed in h2o, where crops and fish co-exist in harmony. I recreate a pure landscape in an indoor area, which then grows and evolves more than time,” suggests Goga.

These underwater tank gardens, carpeted with coloured pebbles and replete with abundant foliage, marine everyday living and even miniature mountains, caves and waterfalls, are are living ecosystems. A phase up from plastic crops and goldfish in a bowl, aquascapes are capturing people’s attention around the world, and make for an aesthetic addition to one’s living spaces.

Goga, who examined architecture and runs an industrial machinery small business in the UAE, was motivated by Japanese aquascaping artist Takashi Amano.

“I produced my to start with aquascape in 2014. From then on, it is been a self-studying process. I largely delve into ordeals from my travels, books, videos and from my interior environment to curate my tanks,” he points out.

Each aquascape is exceptional and bespoke, and can be customised as per customer choices. The artist’s final exhibition, called Character and Me, for instance, showcased aquascapes such as Miles to Go, which depicted a mini forest with a path between mountains inspired by Robert Frost’s poem Halting by Woods on a Snowy Night Slipping Waters, which showcased a waterfall in a tank and was named following a home developed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright and We are the Globe and Redemption, which reflected Goga’s interior turmoil and how aquascaping served him overcome it.

His imaginative approach, then, starts with a theme that Goga researches on-line or in guides to get there at a visual landscape picture he wants to generate. He then begins sourcing product from distributors across the world. Each tank is imported from Japan, and designed of handcrafted very low iron sapphire crystal glass, which is identified for its superior visibility. Tanks can range from 30 centimetres by 30cm to 800cm x 1,000cm.

It normally takes Goga up to just one month to comprehensive a tank. “Everything in the tank is sustainably sourced like the driftwood, which will come from Indonesia, Japan and Sri Lanka,” he says. “I also layer in lava rocks that are great for aquatic crops to grip on. Some of the rocks made use of are sourced from Ras Al Khaimah.

“I have to have to also preserve a examine on the limestone written content as that can raise the pH level in the h2o.” A layer of substrate is included in advance of the aqua soil to assistance cultivate the advantageous microbes wanted for plants to thrive.

Aquatic crops, acquired from tissue society laboratories in Denmark, incorporate to the greenery in Huzefa’s tanks. “You will obtain anubias from Western Africa with broad thick dark leaves tropical bucephalandras that mature on stones and rocks and bolbitis ferns and hygrophila pinnatifida, with their distinctive reddish hued-leaves,” he says.

The fish are introduced towards the stop. Goga prefers cardinal, neon and rummy-nose tetras, moreover rainbow fish or guppies. Snails and shrimps are also a aspect of the floating fauna as they aid hold a tab on the algae in an aquascape. The open up-topped tanks are equipped with overhead lights and carbon dioxide cylinders that assist in plant photosynthesis.

“Patience and consideration to element are vital in developing a excellent aquascape. It is, in fact, a blend of artwork and science. Aquascapers need to have to be conscious of the ecological setting of their tanks,” claims Goga, who rates from Dh4,000 ($1,089) to Dh90,000 depending on the sizing and detailing of every tank. Repairs incorporates changing the water each individual week and trimming the plants when essential.

In addition to showcasing his creations at numerous gallery exhibitions, Goga designs to open a long-lasting gallery area in Dubai to display screen his aquascapes.

Misplaced for hrs and times including details in his tanks, he says making aquascapes is incredibly therapeutic. “I am so immersed in my tanks that I shed keep track of of time, often even times and evenings. It is really like offering beginning to a little one, and the magnificence of it is you see the leaves consider deeper hues and the fish adjust colour, even as the plants spread their roots vast.”

Up-to-date: January 25th 2022, 8:16 AM