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Just Add Water: How Aquaria Nurtures More than Creativity

January 11, 2021 - by Brooke Wilson

Just Add Water: How Aquaria Nurtures More than Creativity

Contrary to popular belief, the rumored marvels of Atlantis actually exist – but not as a fabled underwater kingdom. Anyone who has roamed about Old Bellevue over the last 5 years might have stumbled across an extraordinary little storefront called Aquaria, where luscious green fronds and speckled rockery can be found to cultivate and decorate a vibrant aquascape.  

Owner and operator Fiona Tu describes aquascaping like creating a unique, miniature ecosystem. "By utilizing live plants and natural materials, an average tank can almost be transformed into a piece of nature itself,” Tu explained. 

Those unfamiliar with the practice may not realize there are a fair number of technical challenges and creative aspects that differentiate aquascaping from simply dropping a few pebbles into a fishbowl. As Fiona explains, beyond its visual appeal there are careful considerations at stake in order to assemble a healthy, balanced ecosystem, like mimicking certain nutrients and sun exposure that aquatic plants need to thrive. In fact, her process follows a longstanding Japanese method, which first introduced carbon dioxide injections to multiply food supply and ultimately allow the flora and fauna to flourish.  

With the glimmer of new possibilities over the year ahead, Fiona said she wishes to further promote the Japanese-style aquascaping techniques that first caught her eye at the Sumida Aquarium in Japan, an attraction that fueled her curiosity and later blossomed into a dedicated hobby she shared with others at the Tokyo Aquascape Union. Between planning more in-person workshops and increasing access to other learning opportunities online, Fiona clearly strives to share her knowledge and artistic passion with the community, however she possibly can. 

Her store endured more than a few unexpected changes over the past year, including maximizing sanitation efforts, transitioning more products online, and launching curbside pickup to serve customers safely. Fiona noted that her regular customers who’ve visited her proved to be an encouraging reminder of positivity that has lifted her spirits during such a difficult time. 

From local residents to fellow vendors and even folks abroad, Fiona said her business has found eager interest and entertained various commercial and residential partnerships far and wide. Yet, she also has a special fondness for the downtown core, among its professional benefits and exclusive perks that distinguish the area from its neighbors.  

“Bellevue is not only very stylish, but the amount of diversity in Bellevue is very noticeable, which allows me to showcase aquascaping to people from all over the world,” Fiona said. 

Under normal circumstances, Fiona has been able to display her handiwork at local businesses through fruitful partnerships that have generated a wider visibility for her craft and of course, introduced an eccentric beauty, serenity and atmosphere to other spaces. 

Interested in learning more? Scope out the Aquaria website and enjoy a 10% discount on all aquatic plants, fish and other nature materials!  

This blog is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.