The story of The 2Hr Aquarist begins on the sunny island of Singapore, at the crossroads of East and West and one the world's largest trading hubs of aquarium fish and plants. In 2015, well-known aquarist and aquascaper Dennis Wong started a youtube channel to share his techniques in growing aquatic plants and long-term maintenance of freshwater aquariums. Followers started experiencing the results that came with his approach (success with growing some of the hobby's most difficult plants, controlling algae, attaining previously 'impossible' richness of colours and form) and started sharing the news with others. This led to the development of The 2Hr Aquarist, an organization dedicated to providing the tools and resources for enthusiasts across the world to achieve mastery of the freshwater planted aquarium.
The 2Hr Way is a philosophy and proven technique to quickly and effectively master the planted aquarium. It is an increasingly popular way to achieve vibrant, enduring, algae free tanks without costly 'trial and error' or reliance on 'black-box' systems. The 2Hr Way explains how and why things work a certain way, and once you put that knowledge into practice, you get consistent, repeatable results.
Why do you do what you do?
I find planted tanks to be an interesting blend of science and art. As the plants grow, they change the landscape, so it's a piece of art that looks different day to day. That is what separates planted aquariums from static visual art displays. It is also a great opportunity to observe and appreciate the intricate working of natural systems - how tiny bacteria, for instance can contribute so much to overall tank stability. Anyone who has tried balancing an enclosed ecosystem will have a great appreciation of how the natural world works, which arguably is just a larger ecosystem enclosed by space.
The upkeep of planted tanks also require a certain amount of discipline and consistency. The same concepts apply to personal growth - improvement requires consistent, applied, conscious effort.
What made you start the initial website?
The internet is filled with thousands of articles and (often conflicting) advice on how to set up planted aquariums. Many of these sources borrow from scientific studies done on natural systems. Some are outdated, and others do not apply in a closed system with parameters commonly associated with a planted tank.
It is common to find people who, having found success with one particular method, preach it as the gospel truth, while in reality it is merely case of survivorship bias. I find it useful therefore to base theory not just on one's personal tanks, but also from managing tanks and solving problems for others (which I do for local aquascaping stores & helping others on the online community).
I have had opportunity to visit stores and meet hobbyists across the globe (mainly in Europe, Asia, and the US) and have seen many systems in person. All these contribute to useful experience. There are many books on the subject as well. I have spent the last 10 years going through the stuff, putting them to the test and doing experiments of my own. It was a lot of fun (if somewhat costly:) and after getting alot of requests (via my youtube videos) to share information, I decided to put up this site as a platform to share and connect with fellow hobbyists and enthusiasts.