Telling it like it is...and it isn't always pretty.

It's Monday...start of a new week; time for me to get out any vitriol that I was holding in my head. This may come off a bit negative today, and I promise it will be the only negative blog I do all week. However, it's something that has really been bothering me of late, having dealt with a couple of people who have just shifted my mindset.

Perhaps you can relate. I'm writing this as if the "target market" would actually be the one reading it, which I know is pure fantasy...However, for those of us who may encounter such people in our aquarium lives, just seeing this may provide some comfort or other "therapeutic" benefit (well, it does for me- feels good getting this out!)

What is it about some people that makes it impossible for them to create their own happy outcomes?

Every once in a while, I'll talk to an aquarist, or aspiring aquarist, (or someone who just wants an aquarium), who- for one reason or another- just flat-out refuses to follow the "rules of the game"; refuses to follow common-sense do things that will avoid tragedy. Ever deal with one of these people?  It's like they think that the laws of nature, which affect everything in the universe, somehow don't apply to them. After a detailed explanation of what you need to do, a typical response from one of these types of hobbyists will be something like, "Okay, so what do I need to do. Really?"

And you'll just sit there, shaking your head, incredulously. At least, I do!

These are typically the same types of people who, oh, I dunno- park their cars in spaces reserved for emergency vehicles or handicapped people, cut to the front of the que in the supermarket checkout, and ride in the "emergency lane" on the highway as long as possible before merging, changing lanes repeatedly in a short stretch, looking for some "advantage" over everyone else.

Some people will say, "Aw, those are competetive people. They just want to win!" To which I will respond, "Those are stupid people- who, when they lose-which isn't often enough- deserve it."

Frankly, I get disgusted sometimes at the inability of some people to comprehend that they need to follow certain procedures when working with aquariums. They act incredulous when you explain to them that you can't have a fully-stocked tank from day one. Or that you need to acclimate your fishes before placing them in the display. Or that you have to prepare your botanicals for use before adding them to your tank. Or that an ammonia reading in your aquarium means that it's not ready for fishes.

Some people just don't get this stuff. Or, refuse to. At all.

To those of you who come looking for information, assistance, and advice- you'll always receive it from many willing, helpful hobbyists out there. It's just part of our "culture." However, to those of you who ask for advice, and then let it go "in one ear and out the other" because it doesn't fit your needs, who flaunt the fundamental advice given to you to achieve success, and simply proceed your way after having been warned of the's your fault.

Own it.

Yup. I don't feel sorry for you. I don't feel bad that you wasted time, money, and effort when you were given a path to success. What do I feel bad for? The innocent life forms that were lost because of your ignorance, arrogance, and...stubbornness. They had no voice. No say in the matter at all. To you, they are a commodity.  Obstacles on the way to creating a piece of "kientic art" in your home that holds little value except to impress people.

You don't deserve to keep helpless beautiful animals, because you have no compassion for them. You have no compassion for them because you refuse to listen to common sense and reason, and do things in accordance with the way nature works. You're used to getting your way with everything...however, nature doesn't care. Nature doesn't work for you- nor comform to your timetables, needs, wants, and opinions. Rather, nature works in the fashion that it has for billions of years- perfectly fine without your agenda.

So, if you come into the hobby and attempt to force your way on it- attempt to flaunt the natural laws and common sense practices that have been developed by generations of true hobbyists, you'll pay a price. Or, rather- your animals will pay a price. To some of you, that's no big deal, because you've already taken the compassion out of the game. I feel sorry for you. And I don't want your money. And neither does any other aquatic vendor with half a brain and a conscience.

For those of you who do care, who have a conscience- who have come to the realization that what you've been doing is not the right way...who come back asking for help and follow advice- you'll always be welcomed with open hearts and open arms by people who truly love this hobby- this world- and the life forms which live in it. You'll receive advice, encouragement, support- more than you could imagine. 

Real fish people are that cool.

It's an easy choice to make: Come on strong, pretend that the world owes you a favor for some reason, and continue to thumb your nose up at the realities involved with keeping tropical fishes- or come seeking help, guidance, suggestions...friendship. You'll get it in abundance if you simply open your heart, lay down your arrogance, and listen to those who know. They'll assist you, advise you, support you, commiserate with you, and celebrate your successes with you.

And guess what? Not only will you be successful, and make a few friends along the way- you might just learn a thing or two...about aquariums, life, and people.

So, make the right choice.

Stay humble. Stay open-minded. Stay compassionate.

And Stay Wet.

Scott Fellman

Tannin Aquatics

(All better now. Thanks for sticking with me.)


Scott Fellman
Scott Fellman


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