GIfts...the aquarist's worst nightmare? (Or, "Don't look a gift fish in the..." ahh, whatever...)

Ever received an awkward, yet entirely well-intentioned aquarium-related  "gift" from a non-hobbyist friend for a birthday or other holiday? What prompted this piece today was a discussion with a fishy friend who was on the receiving end of such a "gift" recently. 

He's an Apisto fanatic, and he was stuck trying to figure out what to do with the large bucket of Instant Ocean he received! Yeah. True story. 

"I mean, it's for fish, right?" Ever heard that one before?

So, your birthday is coming up? The Holiday Season is only 4 months away. Maybe this is the year you'll receive the gift that you always wanted! 

Or, maybe not.

Maybe, just maybe, someone you know decided to get you a fish for your birthday, or for the Holiday. On the surface, this is a really nice gesture- a thoughtful idea for the aquarist in the household. Only problem is, usually the person buying the gift is often NOT an aquarist and typically has no clue about what's involved in stocking and maintaining a tank, right?

"Your Uncle and I know you love the fishes, and these reminded us of the ones you see when you swim in the ocean!"

What this means to you is that , despite the fact that your collection consists entirely of rare Apistos you're now the proud owner of a friendly brackish water Puffer!  Or, your docile Tetra species tank now has to host a "cute" baby Arrowana ("The guy at the store said he was super tame!")! Or, the off-brand Chinese-made combination lighted electric siphon hose/algae scrubber device (that's not UL-approved, of course) will now forever be a part of your equipment collection...Or maybe you received a pair of African Cichlids for a "gift" (yeah, it happened to me once) for your reef aquarium! Or, you received a "ill-behaved" baby Sweetlips for your 20 gallon "Nano Cube" marine tank...You get the picture.

"He's so cute, and he's eating pellets!"

Gift cards look away more attractive now, huh?  (Of course, you can always contact us to create a Tannin "virtual gift card" as an option for your fishy friends!)

"That plant would look so nice in your fish tank, so we just had to get it for you!"

Much like the fruitcake of holiday legend, there must have been that one aquarium-related "gift" you received- a fish, plant, coral, or piece of equipment- that totally took you by surprise, and, despite the best intentions of the giver, turned into a pretty serious headache for you. 

"I got it on e-Bay for you...It's gonna really help you do that stuff you do with your tank- and it works in European and Asian electrical outlets, too!"

Did you end up keeping the "fishy fruitcake", or did you somehow manage to trade it back for some Aphyosemion fry and 4 packs of frozen food? And, how did you manage that feat?

Now, we certainly don't want to come off as "boorish" or "ungrateful", but such gifts often create very difficult-to-resolve situations, don't they? What did you do with your new acquisition? Did you end up passing it off to someone else?

Or, did this gift somehow work out and turn into something that you actually kept and enjoyed?

I'm curious. And hey, the Holidays are only FOUR MONTHS AWAY!!

Oh, and my friend? He ended up setting up a saltwater aquarium. I mean, "when life gives you lemons..." Right?


Stay grateful. Stay Appreciative. Stay thankful you have friends, care...

And of course,

Stay Wet.

Scott Fellman

Tannin Aquatics

Scott Fellman
Scott Fellman


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