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  • Writer's pictureGautam

Finding Balance: Mindfulness Meditation Meets Nature Aquarium

Recently I completed a course on Mindfulness Meditation under the able guidance of Dr. Anirban Pal. By profession an anaesthesiologist currently associated with KPC Medical College out of Kolkata, India, Dr. Pal is a certified Mindfulness trainer. He runs an institute named Harmony in Kolkata ( whose objective is to make people aware and teach them about Mindfulness practices.

As Dr. Pal explains the objective of learning meditation is to help one always be there in the “Present Moment”. If your mind dwells too much in the past then you get depressed and if you are always thinking about the future then you will get anxious. Meditation helps you to attain a Balanced state of Mind by being there in the present moment.

Practising meditation regularly brings many advantages, but keeping at it to become skilled is essential. There are various meditation methods, such as mindfulness, but there are certain behaviours that can assist you on your meditation journey, no matter which technique you choose. After discovering these behaviours from Dr Pal, I noticed they're similar to the habits you need to develop to excel in Nature Aquarium. This blog aims to share this insight with my readers.

Before proceeding further let’s understand what is Mindfulness meditation and what is a Nature Aquarium.

What is mindfulness meditation?

Mindfulness meditation is a practice where you intentionally focus your attention on the present moment, without judgment. It involves paying close attention to your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surroundings, fostering a sense of awareness and acceptance of the present moment. It’s a practice that helps you attain a Balanced State of Mind.

What is a Nature Aquarium?

For my readers who are aquarists, Nature Aquarium is a familiar concept. But for others who are not into aquariums or fish keeping let me explain what a Nature Aquarium is.

As the ADA Japan (Nature Aquarium pioneers website (3) mentions, a NATURE AQUARIUM is like creating your version of NATURE in an aquarium.

Nature Aquariums typically feature carefully arranged plants, driftwood, rocks, and substrate to create a harmonious and visually striking underwater environment. These setups prioritize the balance between Biotic or living components like aquatic flora and fauna, bacteria and other micro-organisms and Abiotic or non-living components like Water, Wood, Rock, CO2, soil etc. It is in obtaining this Balance between the Biotic and Abiotic components that define the success of creating a serene and naturalistic ambience in a Nature Aquarium.

Whether you're aiming for a calm and centred mindset or simply seeking to bring a touch of nature into your living room, the key goal is finding balance. Expanding on this idea, balance is crucial for the delicate ecosystem of our planet Earth. Issues like plastic pollution and greenhouse gas emissions disrupt this delicate balance, highlighting the importance of maintaining harmony in our environment.

So what are the “mini habits” that can help you in the journey of meditation?

1)    Start Small – When you start meditation you will find it difficult to sit in one place and concentrate. Many thoughts will come to your mind and you will get jittery. So accept the fact that from the beginning itself, you cannot meditate for a long duration. But the important thing is to start and start small. Even 5 minutes can be a good starting point.


2)    Flexible – Setting a consistent time for meditation is beneficial, although it's not crucial to stick rigidly to a specific time. While mornings are generally favourable, it's okay to be flexible. If you miss your scheduled meditation time for any reason, you can always make up for it later in the day. The key is to prioritize meditation while remaining adaptable to your schedule. Unlike railway schedules, which must be precise, meditation timings can afford some flexibility 😊


3)    Consistent – Recent scientific studies have indicated several positive changes in your Brain pattern and even your physical brain structure and mindfulness meditation. Because of this strong linkage, you must remain consistent with your meditation regimes. The time of meditation can be flexible but the duration needs to be consistent. While the monks in Buddhist monasteries are known to meditate even for 12 hours, people like us should start with a modest but consistent target of 15 to 20 minutes a day.


4)    Accept imperfection – It is quite normal for thoughts to keep on moving here and there during meditation. It takes time and practice to attain the state where the mind does not move about. It is not easy to attain that state. So you should not feel frustrated that you are unable to focus or control your mind always during meditation. Accept this imperfection and do not be overly judgmental about your ability to meditate. Remain consistent and you will surely achieve control over your mind.

5) Celebrate small wins As I've emphasized previously, maintaining dedication to your meditation practice is crucial. Starting with modest goals, like committing to 10 minutes of meditation daily, and consistently achieving them deserves recognition. These small wins should be celebrated and at the same time inspire you to gradually challenge yourself further. By continually motivating yourself, you'll soon begin to reap the rewards of this highly effective practice.

And how these “mini habits” can help in making a successful Nature Aquarium?

Going by the definition of Nature Aquarium, I am sure you have understood that it requires effort and dedication to build a balanced piece of living and thriving mini slice of nature. The mini habits that can help you with your meditation journey can also help you with your Nature Aquarium. Let me explain how.

1)    Start Small – When you begin with your first Nature Aquarium choose a standard size of 2 ft or a maximum of 3 ft. You can go a little down say 1 ft, but do not go above 3ft with your first aquarium. Managing it both in terms of manual effort needed or recurring expenses can make the journey difficult and not enjoyable.

2)    Flexible – There are some daily maintenance activities (like glass cleaning, and adding plant fertilizers) and periodic (weekly or monthly) activities (like trimming plants, cleaning filters, and removing any decaying material) to maintain a Nature Aquarium in pristine condition. Remember you are building a mini aquatic ecosystem, so while you can be a little flexible with the dates of maintenance you mustn't miss them altogether.

3)    Consistent – While a degree of flexibility is acceptable when caring for a Nature Aquarium, it's crucial to maintain consistency in providing the necessary time and attention. Unlike larger ecosystems that can self-regulate, your miniature ecosystem relies on your regular and consistent inputs to sustain its balance. Let me illustrate with an example. The majority of Nature Aquariums, with their submerged aquatic plants, require artificial CO2 injection to facilitate effective plant photosynthesis. Although a matured Nature Aquarium may manage for a period with external CO2 injection, prolonged gaps can diminish photosynthesis, resulting in impaired plant growth. This can ultimately lead to ecosystem collapse and the proliferation of algae, overtaking the plants.

4)    Accept imperfection – Many Nature Aquarium lovers dislike algae, and it's easy to see why. Algae can spoil the beauty of a Nature Aquarium. Some enthusiasts resort to drastic measures like using harsh chemicals such as Glutaraldehyde or Hydrogen Peroxide to get rid of algae. However, it's important to remember that algae, a diverse group of organisms, have been around for over 400 million years. They're incredibly resilient and can thrive in various environments, from freshwater to saltwater. Algae, like plants, use light energy to make food through photosynthesis. So, it's normal for your Nature Aquarium with aquatic plants to have some algae. Instead of resorting to extreme measures, it's better to accept this natural imperfection. By maintaining ecosystem balance, you'll find that plants will eventually outcompete algae, keeping your aquarium looking clean and beautiful.

5)    Celebrate small wins – For someone starting their first Nature Aquarium hobby, it's important to know that creating the perfect aquarium takes time. Just like natural water bodies, every Nature Aquarium requires both technical skills and an eye for beauty. The first step is to learn how to grow healthy plants. Starting with easy plants is perfectly fine before moving on to more challenging ones. Once you've mastered plant growth (and controlling algae), you can focus on making your aquarium look beautiful. Celebrate each new plant shoot as a small success, and let it motivate you to keep going until you've built your dream underwater paradise.

In this blog, I've highlighted the shared habits required for both mindfulness meditation and building Nature Aquariums. I intend to explore this topic further in future posts. Meanwhile, if you're interested in creating your own Nature Aquarium, like above, you can check out the tutorial linked here ( For those interested in learning more about meditation, I recommend reaching out to Dr Anirban Pal and Harmony (

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1 Comment

Mar 26

Very impressed with your work....keep it going 😃

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