"Someday, I'm gonna..."

As aquarists, we pretty much all have that “bucket list” of things we want to do with our hobby. Some of us have less lofty goals…you know, stuff we’ve intended to do but just haven’t gotten around to it.

I know I certainly have. In a lifetime of aquarium keeping, I still have dozens of things that I want to do…when I get around to it. In fact, the scary thing is that there is this sort of “inverse” law going on…The longer I’ve been in the hobby, the larger my list of things I want to do but haven’t yet grows! Please tell me that I’m not the only one who this has happened to?

Yeah, okay, whatever…I’m still trying to get to that list…I mean, I have like hundreds of diverse things I want to do, some dating back to my teenage years, or even earlier! That’s one of the cool things about spending a lifetime in the hobby- you get to be exposed to lots of ideas over a very long time span…good for the imagination- a you-know-what on the budget and your free time! 

And the list is really extensive, running the gamut from freshwater to saltwater dream tanks, experimental systems, biotopes, breeding schemes, plumbing setups, etc. The expansiveness of the list is only matched by the amount of fish-related crap I’ve accumulated over the decades…We all have “that closet” or place in the garage dedicated to THAT stuff, so don’t get me started…

So, I figured that if I’d come clean and list a bunch of stuff from my lifetime aquarium keeping “to-do” list, it might inspire some of y’all (where did I get the Texas drawl thing from…?).

Anyways, here are a few doozies from my list, which I actually keep in a little notebook I’ve had since high school…sort of geeky, I know, but still.. In no particular order:

*Large Amazon River biotope aquarium, with Tetras, Knifefish, Discus, and Altum Angels (okay, so what if the Tetras would be menu items for everyone else? Apparently I failed to think that one through)

*Black sand monospecific reef aquarium covered with contrasting bright Pink Pocillopora damicornus (that’s not such a bad one, huh?)

*Super shallow look down tank with a bottom comprised only of fine gravel and botanicals with Anubias nana "Petite" (I think it would take most of my annual allotment of patience to complete this project, however)

*Brackish water biotope, with Scats, Monos, Puffers, and Pipefish (I mean, who HASN’T had this fantasy before, right? LOL)

*Marine Paludarium (look up this term if you don’t know what it is…I can’t feed you everything!) designed to replicate a Palau “Coral Island”, complete with terrestrial tropical plants topside and lush corals underneath. (If you know me, you know I’ve been talking about this stupid idea for years- I should just do it already!). Perhaps the Aqua Verdi Riparium Planters could work with this concept!

*Shallow wide aquarium dedicated to only blennies and gobies (for saltwater), or loaches and small Rasbora or Danios for freshwater!

*Saltwater bare bottom “hardscape” with only Tonga branch rock and 20 assorted Damselfish (okay, so it’s really just an ill-fated FOWLR tank, right? Let a guy dream a bit, okay? I actually did something like this in the 1990’s, starting out with two dozen assorted damsels and ended up with just one big ugly Domino- ironically the ONLY Domino I had- as the “survivor.” What an awful “Lord of The Flies” type of experiment, right? Perhaps next time with Chromis?)

*Seahorse and Pipefish Seagrass Biotope- Yeah, I actually started this one…Got the seagrass part going. Just never got around to getting the Seahorses. Did get some Pipefish…It was probably just a bit too ambitious for my 40x40x22 cube aquarium…I KNOW I could have completed it if I tried it with a smaller aquarium. Yup!

*Fancy guppy breeding system- Uh ha- the full-blown FW dream scheme, complete with like 10 tanks, water sprite, and the ambition to show up the stodgy, arrogant old school breeders who dominated the show circuit back in the 1980’s. (Alas, I was a teenager, with bigger dreams than budget- and there were only so many tanks I could stuff in that bedroom of mine…Sigh. One day. One day.)

*Royal Gramma tank- So, how many reefers actually dream about this stuff? I do. Ever since a dive trip that took me to Belize, Roatan, and Grand Cayman, were I saw whole harems of these fishes living together in caves, I’ve had the urge to recreate something like that…Like 20 specimens, a rock overhang, Halimeda..maybe some gorgonians and a Hamlet, Blackcap Basslett or two as well..Complete with a colorful palette of maroalgae…(Maybe someday)

Well, there you have like 1/25th of my “Things I’m gonna do but haven’t yet” list. Every reefer has one- or should have one, IMHO. Because without dreams, goals, and “one day I’m gonnas,” life can get kind of dull. Yes, live in the moment, but keep your dreams in front of you…There is so much out there to tackle in the aquarium hobby. Some of it is still the stuff of fantasy (yah, the swim-through Eagle Ray touch tank is a bit…ambitious), yet many of our dreams are easily attainable. Some are downright practical (“Someday I’m going to rearrange my sump so that I can actually change the reactor media without tearing apart the entire sump…’)

So, to coin the phrase, “Just do it.” Or, just “try to do it..” Whatever. Have dreams. Build fantasy reefs, if only in your head…But don’t ever fail to write them down..take notes…discuss them with other hobbyists. The hard truth is that you may never actually get to some of them…Or, you may get to all of them! Regardless, just having ideas and working them into your current reality is pretty satisfying. It can benefit your current aquarium, your animals, the hobby- and your spirit!

Let's hear some of your "gonna get to's...! Inspire others- or yourself!

So, dream the dream, live the reality, and make things happen. Stay ambitious. Stay creative.

And stay wet.

Scott Fellman

Tannin Aquatics



Scott Fellman
Scott Fellman


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