"Beginner's luck?" Or the benefits of taking a different view...

No matter where you are now in your hobby "career"- you had to start somewhere, right?


You WERE a beginner at one point.

And think about this- beginners might have it pretty good in the aquarium hobby. Despite their inexperience, they don't have the "burden of experience" holding them back. There are tons of resources and support if they want it...And they can simply jump in and get after things, too.

Perhaps the beginner knows something we don't?

I often think that we- that is, more "advanced" hobbyists...know too much. We've "seen it all", know what to expect, and we let this guide- or perhaps, taint- our experiences...


And I don't mean that from an arrogant perspective or anything.

I just can't help but postulate that I- like so many hobbyists at my level of experience- tend to overthink every aspect of the aquarium hobby, particularly during the new tank startup phase, rather than just letting ourselves enjoy the moment- the wonder, and the awe that comes from doing something special, beautiful, and, let's face it- incredibly cool!

I mean, setting up a "slice of nature" in your own home?

This IS something amazing, huh? 

Something that nine-tenths of the world will never get to experience or even comprehend.

And yet, perhaps- just maybe...as a result of doing this incredible thing regularly...we know too much.


We understand all of this stuff. Well, most of it, anyways. Enough to think about multiple angles and concerns...

We've experienced it many times over the years, and have watched- and even reassured- others that "All of this is normal" and instruct them often to "...just be patient and it will pass..."

You know- "aquarium stuff."

Outright beginners actually have it much easier in this regard, I think.

I mean, when just having a glass or acrylic box of  freshwater or saltwater in your home is a novelty- a cause for rejoicing! You tend to live in a bubble of gentle "ignorance" (eeehw- that's kind of harsh)- okay, let's call it "blissful lack of awareness about some things" that some of this stuff really sucks...

And that's actually a beautiful thing- because a beginner is taken by the sheer wonder- and joy of it all.

They don't stress out about stuff like algal films, detritus on the substrate, micro bubbles and the occasional falling piece of wood in their aquascape. They're not worried about that yucky biofilm or water moment or any other of a dozen minutiae like we are, because they don't KNOW that it can linger a long, long time if you don't manage the tank correctly at this phase.

They're not "handcuffed" by their past experiences and the knowledge of having set up dozens of tanks over the years. Nor are they thinking that they have some kind of "luck." Rather, they're just stoked as hell by the thought of Glowlight Tetras, Amano Shrimp, Glass Catfish, and "ultra-common" Bettas taking up residence in the new little utopian microhabitat they just set up in their New York City apartment! 

What could be more awesome?

And what about us- the "experienced" hobbyists? How can we get that "free and easy" feeling back? Can we?

I think it's entirely possible to release ourselves from the "burden" of our own experience, and to allow ourselves to enjoy every aspect of this great hobby, free from preconception or prejudices. To just make decisions based on what our research- gut, or yeah- I suppose, experience- tells us is the "right" thing to do, then simply letting stuff happen.

In other words, taking control of the influence that our own experience provides, rather than allowing it to taint our whole journey with doubt, dogma, second-guessing, and over-analysis of every single aspect.

And then, relaxing into it.

Embracing the sheer joy of being a beginner again. Enjoying what's happening in your aquarium NOW- rather than worrying about it; impatiently "tweaking" stuff to get "somewhere else." 

Sounds like fun to me!

We should all try it some time: Just experiencing. Observing. Learning.

Today's quick lesson on the real joys of the aquarium hobby...brought to you by those who truly understand it best.

Stay enthusiastic. Stay diligent. Stay engaged. Stay blissful. Stay grateful. Stay excited...

And Stay Wet.


Scott Fellman

Tannin Aquatics


Scott Fellman
Scott Fellman


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