Seems like part of the reason terrariums are so trendy is that they enable small-space dwellers to own a bit of nature, a garden in a capsule. "Aquascapes" are an underwater version of this concept: freshwater aquariums that replicate natural ecosystems. Aqua Forest, a shop in the Fillmore, specializes in these stunning watery worlds...
The Chronicle ran a fascinating piece about Aqua Forest, interviewing Steven and George Lo, who own the shop. The Lo brothers, it seems, are really artists; just like designers who create gardens in urban backyards, they produce incredibly intricate plantscapes designed to replicate the layered ecosystems in rivers and lakes. They use driftwood, rocks, plants and mosses to create appealing habitats, then introduce the animals only once the plantings have been fully established.
Unlike terrariums, these aquariums aren't exactly easy-care. They require careful monitoring, pruning, and fine-tuning, and because of the amount of meticulous artistry that goes into creating them, they can be quite expensive. But even if the idea of owning an "aqua forest" isn't practical for everyone, aquascaping is a truly amazing art form, and the photo gallery on Aqua Forest's website is transporting in itself.
Read about the Lo brothers and their creations in more detail here at SFGate. Or if you're local, you can go visit Aqua Forest at 1718 Fillmore Street in San Francisco.