Stuff I still suck at...

Ok, I’m man enough to admit it…

After a lifetime in the fish world, there are still some things that I’m flat-out afraid to do. Stuff that scares the daylights out of me. Some of these are challenging to almost anyone- others are seemingly mundane, yet have hidden difficulties that can sink your whole project…yeah.

Here’s a list you can build on, I’m sure…So, in no particular order, here is my list of the top 7 aquarium-related things that scare the @#$%& out of me:

*Drilling aquariums- Glass, acryilc; doesn’t matter…The idea of taking a perfectly good aquarium, and using my limited DIY skills to drill it out for a bulkhead, fitting- whatever, is a akin to performing an apendectomoy on myself…ain’t gonna happen. Strictly for professionals, IMHO, with experience, skill, tools…and liability insurance!

*Automatic water changing systems- If I had a dollar for every person I know who’s had a nightmare failure (ranging from minor leaks, to full-on flooding of a multimillion dollar Hollywood Hills home) caused by automating water changes, I wouldn’t be slinging fish stuff for a living. The mere thought of installing such a system in my home makes me shudder. Besides, I love manual water changes. Really!


*Building an aquarium stand- Seriously? Unless you have mad carpentry skills, this is another one that is just brought with danger, IMHO. I fully admire anyone who has those skills, and the courage to forge ahead on a project like that…and a gracefully step aside and admire from afar. I mean, if you don’t get it perfectly right…how long will it be until the inevitable disaster? 


*Plumbing- Look, I’ve set up my HDTV, learned how to build a website, etc.- but few things intimidate me like trying to plumb stuff like return pumps and skimmers. Why do you think I love sump-based skimmers so much? Calcium reactors are another one of those “ white knuckle” devices that I have had mixed results with over the years! Cannister filters push the "outside of the envelope" for me! LOL


*Retrofit Lighting Systems- Okay, I know I’m not alone in this one…Anything that involves wiring, light bulbs, and water is a recipe for problems in my book. To me, it makes a helluva lot more sense to pay the extra few bucks for the completed lighting system, right from the manufacturer. At least with LED, you're way safer...


*Bagging fishes and corals- Okay, even though I was an owner of a company that sells corals and marine fishes, I suck at bagging them. I sucked at it as a kid when I worked at the LFS, and I still suck at it. Like, I have two left hands or something…That’s why I had people that are really skilled with rubber bands to do the job. Oh, I’m a demon on an impulse sealer, but that is not quite as widely used..yet. Bagging. Yuck. Hey, I’m honest- it’s the task I like the least in this industry.


*Netting fishes from a display tank- Sure, it’s a fundamental skill we all need. Knowing I have to net a fish out of my display tank strikes fear into my hear, as well as that of the fishes I’m trying to catch. Pretty much always results in a wrecked aquascape, frayed nerves, and some seriously stressed-out fishes. I’ve found that, in recent years, I’m even pretty bad at it in an undecorated tank, so you can imagine how awful the experience is in a display! I don’t know if my skills deteriorated in recent years, or if I just never had ‘em..hmm?


Oh, there are plenty others, trust me…and that could conceivably fill a book…hmm, nothing to be proud of, really, but…


Anyways, I shared mine- let’s here some of yours!


Stay afraid… 


And Stay Wet.


Scott Fellman

Tannin Aquatics

















Scott Fellman
Scott Fellman


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