Serious fish hobbyists are different. Really.

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'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!

Stay wet...


Scott Fellman

Tannin Aquatics

Scott Fellman
Scott Fellman


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