Do you tend to try lots of different things in your hobby adventures? In other words, you might be a cichlid girl at heart, but you can't resist the urge to try a cool pair of Bettas. Or, maybe you're a hardcore Rainbowfish lover, but you have this desire to play with breeding Loaches.
You switch stuff up a lot, huh? I mean, I know plenty of hobbyists with 40-50 aquariums, many dedicated to one variety of fishes...but you almost always see them have at least one or two "wildcards" in there- filled with fishes that are totally outside of their area of specialization...just because.
I think that's what's so cool about our hobby. There is endless variety and many options. And the skills that we learn in one are of specialization can often be applied to another, perhaps reaping benefits we haven't even considered yet?
Example: My discipline that I acquired from growing corals and keeping reef aquariums made careful monitoring of water parameters a huge part of my regimen as an overall hobbyist, which translated very well when I started playing with these soft water, lower pH "blackwater" tanks I am so obsessed with.
And conversely, my highly disciplined approach to husbandry (water exchanges, in particular), gave me a huge edge that reaped many advantages in the saltwater/reefkeeping/coral propagation realm.
In a lot of disciplines (like business, music, art, investing, etc.) people are hesitant to stray very far from their "core competencies"- however; in the aquarium keeping world, it seems that we thrive on the ability to "multitask" and focus on a variety of fishes and aquatic disciplines.
Looking at things from multiple angles is very important for our growth in the hobby. It helps us expand our skills, apply new or different ideas that work in one area to an entirely different aspect of the hobby. And it keeps things fresh and fun!
One of the most rewarding things about starting Tannin has been seeing a lot of hobbyists from various "disciplines" within the aquarium world applying the concepts of "blackwater", botanical-influenced aquarium keeping to their particular areas of interest...and vice-versa.
With new techniques and materials to work with, hobbyists who were perhaps limited previously in their specialized efforts now have the tools to continue "pushing the outside of the envelope", so to speak, in their respective aquatic disciplines.
And more than one hardcore adherent to one type of aquarium has emailed me or commented in social media after seeing a leaf litter tank with, "That's cool. I want to try one!"
Having different options helps us approach our traditional hobby "work" from a different angle, with different perspectives, and apply our new-found knowledge to what we're already doing well...and that pushes the hobby's "state of the art" along.
Opening minds, hearts, and changing attitudes is the single best antidote to stagnating groupthink that occurs when dogma dictates that thing are "supposed to be" done a certain way.
Rather, we're seeing people apply a different sense of aesthetic, experience, orientation, and creativity, questioning what was once considered "the only way" to do something, and applying their own unique style, influenced by nature, rather than by initiating others. A very exciting time to be in the hobby!
There are numerous possibilities for enjoyment, expression, and hobby advancement when we simply look up, open our minds, and approach from a different angle.
That was our simple thought for the end of the weekend...
Stay unique. Stay excited. Stay inspired.
And Stay Wet.