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Aquatic Pessebre

by Lluis Ruscalleda Turon

Here in Spain for Christmas we have the tradition of building a “pessebre” or also called a “Belen,” that is the representation of Jesus’s nativity, when the three wise men go to meet him. (Basically it is an excuse to play with the pieces and build the scene with sand, moss, rivers, etc -- children love it.) Each house has a Christmas tree and a pessebre.

This tank I made is from “L’esplai of Calella,” a playarea for the elderly.

I wanted to represent a pessebre inside a planted tank. That’s too easy, though (you just put the pieces inside and that’s all). So, to make something different I create the words of “happy holidays” in the Catalan language with Java moss.

◀ To make the words, I printed them with the computer.

I laminated them so the water will not affect them. I work in a paper supply store so I have access to all these materials. ▶

I cut them again, then I covered them with Java moss. I used nylon thread to wrap it. ▼

◀ I attached suction cups to the back with Velcro.

Here are the letters -- what will they spell? :-) ▶

◀ Some of the pieces of the pessebre were made of resin, so they were heavy and I didn’t have any trouble submerging them. Anyway, because I didn’t want to lose any fish with the experiment I cleaned the filter and I added extra carbon, in case there was some chemical release.

Some pieces caused me some trouble because they were made of plastic, so they float. I had to use crazy glue and stick them to a plastic sheet of lamination. This method gave more base to the pieces and now I can put some sand on top. ▼

I could not help but make a joke with the submerged pieces and the fish -- it's Christmas, so a joke doesn’t hurt anyone. : -)

The finished tank! I also added the three wise men's star that points them to Jesus' location – like a GPS.

Hope you like it and Happy Holidays (Bones Festes)!

Barcelona, Spain

to know more about Lluis work visit his website