I was talking to a non-fish person the other day, and she asked what it really meant to be a "fish person", and what the differences are between the cichlid people, reefers, freshwater planted types, Guppy breeders, etc. I thought that maybe we are all the same- fish people...Well, we are, to some extent...but there is one distinction…Really "serious" hobbyists are a bit different.
So I left with the nagging question of "What makes serious fish people so...different?" in my head. I had this bunch of thoughts as to how I'd describe myself...and it made me think about just what makes a "serious hobbyist" different than other fish people...
I'm a serious hobbyist.
I don't dabble in aquariums. I'm obsessed with them.
I know that keeping aquatic life alive requires understanding, skill, patience, and good habits.
I know that keeping a successful aquarium long term requires me to take certain steps that many other fish people aren't willing to do.
I regard my aquariums as microcosms of nature; learning tools, an experience..their main function is not to provide a piece of decor in my home.
I have procedures for every scenario, every problem playing out in the back of my head. I have other obsessed hobbyists to share these thoughts with. We are a community.
I obsessively maintain my tanks based on husbandry methods that work for me; skills learned and honed from years of practice, towering successes, and humbling failures. I listen to other aquarists, then do whatever I darned well please, if I feel my way is better...And then I try theirs, when my ideas fail! I'm stubborn..and proud.
I don't chase down every hot trend, obsess over every new gadget. I try things that work for my animals. I geek out over obscure stuff, however.
I'm not afraid to try new stuff, but I always consider the impact of any new practice, procedure, or piece of gear.
I support those who are propagating fishes, plants and corals, because I understand that the world's rivers, lakes, streams, and eefs need our help. As a serious hobbyist, I know that the future of the hobby- the future of the world's aquatic environments- is in part dependent upon how successful I am at keeping my animals healthy, and sharing my stories with others.
I screw stuff up all the time. And when I do, I share my errors with other aquarists, get up again, over an over, and try to learn from them.
I am eager to hear about what my fellow hobbyists are doing, because that seemingly crazy idea might be the basis for massive success.
I realize that learning is a lifelong process in the hobby. I want to be doing this for the rest of my life.
I know that aquarium keeping is not just a hobby...it's a lifestyle.
I am part of a tribe; a community, which grows and nurtures and shares ideas, concepts, experiences, and animals.
I am a part of a larger whole, which is much greater than the sum of it's parts.
I am a serious hobbyist. And so are you.
And I'm pretty darned proud of that.
Why are you proud to be a serious aquarium hobbyist? What do you feel makes us different than the rest of the casual fish keepers out there?
Let's hear it!