Office Lake…Another Link to Nature


We have creatures in the office, living creatures of Nature. If you are a returning reader on our Blog, you know that we like having green stuff around us. Since we are in a super lucky situation with Dr. Boobo we have our own budget for going out and have fun. Although it might sound “geek” we are not the type of developers who like to lose control due to alcohol some craziness or discotheque dancing, that’s Mateusz’s favorite hobby beside the Bollywood movies (and you thought my friend that I wouldn’t mention this on the blog). So at the beginning of this year we ended up with a pretty nice budget in the money box. It took a while till we figured out what we want to do with the money, several ideas were on the table but the final conclusion was that we should get something in the office which makes the place nicer, brings a bit of “life” between the PCs and monitors. And as usually, Ferenc had the best idea of getting a fish tank, the Aquarium, our Office Lake.

After doing some research on the matter we were happy to see that the budget can cover a serious equipment for this. Several items needed to be purchased, like the fish tank, the filtering and aeration system, water plants, decoration, rocks and of course the FISHES.

We have one of this, the ultimate fish tank cleaner ever born. It’s called Sailfin pleco, he eats all the algae from the aquarium keeping it clean and light. He has a natural beauty, a secret, he always hides behind the rocks, plants, quite hard to see him but always there in the shadow. We like him a lot, we even feed him separately 🙂

(Photos source: meetthepet.com)

After the terrarium project this was another boost to our office’s botanical vibe. The most exciting part of this is not only having plants in the office (everybody can have plants) but also living creatures, tiny fishes who need to be taken care during holidays and long weekends. Taking extra responsibility changes you a bit, makes you think of other aspects of life too beside your own comfort. Every tiny step of these decisions puts us in a different position. We won’t only run home for the Christmas holidays, we will organize who on which day will come to the office feeding the fishes. We will combine this with the holiday backup support for our customers. Double responsibility will sharpen our awareness of being present in customer services even when the rest of the world is having holidays.

Decision making about these things is always fully democratic in our team. Fish tank size, decoration, fishes, all of these were decided by the team. We ordered the aquarium online which turned out to be a pretty big mistake as we ordered it 3 times and in all 3 cases the fish tank was broken till it got delivered. I don’t even know why they are selling aquariums online, there is zero chances to get it in one piece to the destination. After 3 unsuccessful deliveries we ended up buying the fish tank in a real shop and it turned out to be a good idea as we got a lot of good advice on how to build and setup the ecosystem. It might seem easy but when you want to have an aquarium you need to be aware of who is compatible with who in terms of fish types, what kind of plants can be put inside, what type of design can be setup, etc.

If you want to do it right there are some basic steps to be followed:

  1. Decide how many fishes you want to have, based on the number of fishes shop a fish tank in which they will have enough space…we got one of 112 liter
  2. Shop the proper filtering system, this is crucial, you need to maintain a clear water in the aquarium otherwise your fishes will die. Beside this you need to have a thermometer to constantly have 25° water degree
  3. Fill up the fish tank with water and run the filtering process for 2-3 days
  4. Buy some rocks, wooden decorations or anything else which you would like to put inside, then wash these very carefully and put in water for 2-3 days, these need to absorb enough water before ending up in the fish tank
  5. Put the items from no. 4 in the fish tank, place some plants in the water and leave it like this for 2-3 days…pay attention to the behavior of “water”, it’s color and the things which might appear on the rocks or on any other decorating item. This is super relevant; maybe you have to disinfect the aquarium before you can put any fishes in it
  6. After one week of admiring an empty aquarium you can buy the fishes. We ended up going the whole group to the shop and everybody could have a word on what kind of fish we get…so you can imagine when 8 people (our 3 testers were on a training course) get into a small pet shop and start choosing fishes. We were like a big loud Italian family…super noisy and enthusiastic. Ma che cosa?!

Things getting together step by step

Washing and putting the rocks in the fish tank, a total team effort

Silence of Water

Final touches, every detail matters

Wood absorbing the clean water

Fishes in the aquarium, welcome to the team

Better to have a snail for the wholeness of ecosystem

You see?! Like a big Italian family…

At the end, the result turned out to be marvelous. We admire it every day, we feed the fishes every morning when having the daily Scrum meeting (a blog post will follow on the Agile changes we made this year 🙂 ). Scientists say that humans have natural attraction to water and a fish tank can reduce stress and anxiety by its calming effect. Gazing a fish tank during lunch break can have great benefits. There are moments when we just step to the aquarium and admire the silence during a crazy day, we admire the beauty and the colors of Office Lake. This is another link to Nature so we are more than thrilled to have it.

Over Zsuzsa

Zsuzsa has joined Autofactor in the beginning of 2015 and we have been benefiting from her skills ever since. She’s taking care of planning in all of it’s aspects and makes sure that project managers, developers and customers deliver as promised. Her ‘gentle reminders’ also frequently go out to Hans, by the way.

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