I know what you're thinking. "What are these fish nerds talking about?! What does inspired by nature mean?"
That's what I'm here to tell you.
Paul and I have spent a long time keeping aquariums and building systems for fish, invertebrates, and plants to thrive in. We've spent time on the front lines of the retail world in little mom and pop fish shops and in the thick of it at one of the major big box pet retailers. We've worked as service technicians for other people doing it their way only to go home and do it our way. That isn't to say we didn't learn anything from the people we worked with and worked for, but at the end of the day we came to trust our way the most. The way we have come to believe is the best way, the way that takes its cues from nature.
What does that mean? We don't like to rely overmuch on chemicals. The most common aesthetic issue that a customer is concerned with is unsightly algae and many people reach for an algaecide first and ask questions later. That is our last resort. Imbalances between lighting, fish waste, overfeeding, and overpopulation are the most common reason for algae and so we work to achieve a balance between them. Doing so solves the problem at its root and leads to a healthier more stable aquarium over the long term.
Plants are wonders of nature, little machines that turn waste into oxygen and beauty for our aquariums. Fresh or salt, every tank can benefit from a little greenery (or red in some cases) and we are always looking for new plants to incorporate into the systems we care for. Not only do they help balance an aquarium, they encourage natural behavior from the fish and invertebrates that call your aquarium home. Not to mention they are beautiful!
Everyone loves to ask me what a specific fish "does." Many of us grew up with the notion of fish that perform jobs within a tank, and while this frequently wrong or at least misleading there are a great many critters that do serve the role of aquarium caretaker. Saltwater reef tanks especially are home to innumerable small creatures that tirelessly work day and night consuming algae, uneaten food, waste, and the occasional body hidden away in the dark corners of your aquarium. These little guys are the unsung heroes of the aquarium world, and though many of them are unsightly there is a beauty in what they do.
All of this is just a little bit of what it means to be inspired by nature, just some of the things we focus on when we set up and maintain a tank and this isn't the last time you'll hear me talk about what it entails.