NAME: Brandon Gregorius
Location: New York, NY
When did you first start working on aquariums?
Like many people, I was introduced to aquariums as a kid. I don’t remember what exactly I had growing up but I eventually returned to the hobby during my freshman year in college with a 55 gallon Oscar tank. That ended in disaster when the 55 cracked during the middle of the night in my dorm room. During my sophomore year, one of my roommates ran a 100+ gallon reef tank and he helped me get started with a pico, invert-only saltwater tank. I had a little mantis shrimp for a while then left the hobby for about 10 years. Two years ago, I started my first planted tank with a Fluval Spec V. Currently I run two high tech tanks: a Fluval Spec 2 and a Fluval Spec V both fed off of a single paintball cylinder with a dual manifold. I also have a filterless two-gallon, heavily planted, low tech bowl. I’m into wabi kusa, carnivorous plants, succulents and terrariums too (I have a BioPod One on pre-order). I plan to start a pico reef in the next year or two as well.
What are some of your sources for inspiration when you design an aquascape?
Nature of course is most inspirational. The challenge I find is that there are just not that many images of aquatic plants in their natural habitat to work off of.
The iwagumi and ryuboku aquascaping styles are my favorites right now. I’m most inspired by the work of fellow aquascapers across the world (Adam Paszczela, George Farmer and Gregoire Wolinski to name a few).
How is your personality reflected in the design?
I haven’t thought about that a great deal. I’m more left brained than right brained and wouldn’t be surprised if that showed through in my scapes.
What are your favorite aquascaping materials? (Plants, Rocks, Driftwood types- whatever)
Definitely foreground plants since I scape with such small tanks. I like ADA Yamaya stone and Seiryu stone. I’m starting to use more driftwood but really haven’t used it much before.
What are your thoughts on the state of the planted aquarium hobby in the US today?
We need to convert more reefers to the hobby!!!
What would it mean to be recognized as a leader and innovator in aquarium design?
That’s not what I’m here for and I’m just a novice anyway. I scape because I’m obsessed with the hobby.
What do you love most about the hobby?
There are many aspects of the hobby that have me hooked. At the most basic level, planted tanks are beautiful to look at it. But they fascinate me because they change. Most other art forms are static. An aquascape evolves. And it’s slow. You must have foresight and an understanding of basic aquarium science to be successful. The science of aquatic plants is interesting in its own right.
What can people expect from you during the contest?
I’m just there to have fun, learn and create something pretty enough that my wife will let me keep when I get home!