If you hang around in the hobby long enough, you get acquainted with some really amazing people. I love my friends that are serious fish geeks, for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is that they think nothing of spontaneously embarking on a major fish room project, aquarium upgrade, or tank build.
Like, any time! It seems like not a day goes by when I don't read about some cool fish geek setting up a new tank. And it's often the guy who works two jobs, is raising family, retired, or otherwise financially challenged- yet they pull it off and make it..easy. I think it's so easy for so many of us, because we just always have tanks just lying around everywhere, empty, waiting for that impulse or spark, to fill 'em up with some sort of amazing assemblage of fishes, plans, or corals.
I love when I speak at fish club meetings, and they have the club raffle at the end. A curious phenomenon ensues: Hobbyists, many who have multiple aquariums all over the house, seemingly "stuffed to the gills" (LOL) with fishes and corals of all sorts, always seem to find more space for their spontaneous newly acquired tanks, gear, cichlids, catfishes, tetras, plants, coral frags, etc. that they win. And the "winners", of course, are almost always club members who claim they're "downsizing", or "done adding new fishes" to their collections, etc. Yet they bought like $40 worth of raffle tickets anyways!
Why is that?
It's almost like there is no need to exercise any restraint on buying raffle tickets or bidding on that batch of fish in the bag on the table. Fish people just find a way to make room for more. Always.
It's in our makeup. Our DNA. Whatever. We just love to acquire new challenges, try new things, and create new adventures for ourselves. Every empty tank is an opportunity to try something different. Rather than look at yet another tank as an additional demand on time, space, and money, the serious fish geek takes it in stride- indeed, can't get enough of this fun stuff, and jumps on every opportunity to expand and acquire. That's why cichlid fanatics also have 18 tanks of livebearers, killies, tetras, and Plecos. That's why reefers have a display tank and a frag tank. We don't want miss any opportunity.
Perhaps it appeals to some genetically-programmed "hunter-gatherer" thing. Or, perhaps, we ARE really geeks about fishy stuff.
Those of you who are "garage breeders" or owners of brick-and-mortar stores no doubt witness a sort of complimentary phenomenon: A giddiness that real fish geeks seem to get when they stop by your place. Yeah, it's palpable! I have seen this hundreds of times at Unique Corals, when reefers from all over the world would stop by our facility when visiting Los Angeles: Even the most hardened, battle-tested, ultra sophisticated reefers would simply melt into a morass of child-like excitement upon seeing thousands of eye-popping corals! Like, every time.
They just can't seem get enough.
And the best part about the sort of "aquatic euphoria" that serious fish geeks get? It's downright contagious! When you're around other excited, enthusiastic fish geeks, you almost can't help feel the same. Trust me, many an impulse acquisition was triggered by merely accompanying one of my fishy friends to an event, store, or wholesaler! Notice I said "impulse acquisition?" Yeah, because there it isn't always about buying stuff...There is another related phenomenon you encounter when you're around real hardcore fish geeks: Generosity.
Yeah, like to a fault, almost!
When you're geeking out over a friend's display tank, fish room, plant selection, coral propagation tank, awesome spawn of cichlids, catfishes, loaches...whatever- if you like it, they'll often just give you some. And the most amazing part- they will not accept a penny...and will never put any kind of condition on the "transaction!" The closest thing you might hear to "compensation" for this is usually, "Oh, maybe one day when I visit your fish room, I might just want a cool frag of something, or maybe one of those A. cacatoides fry you've been raising!" The only "condition" is that you "pay it forward" to other hobbyists someday. But, like that's it. It's not about money. It's about passion. Love. Sharing.
These are crazy-cool human traits that are at the core of every serious fish geek's existence. Values that exemplify the best of our hobby. And of humanity, for that matter. I sometimes wonder how the world would be if more people became hardcore fish geeks...and then I realize that there are simply not enough aquariums out there to handle all of the "acquisitions" we're continuously making!
Yeah. We just can't get enough. And quite frankly, we love it that way!
Have a great weekend. Keep paying it forward. Keep sharing, growing, and staying engaged in all things aquatic. And most important: