Here we go...the "kick off to the Holiday Season" is just about here, and maybe this is the year you'll receive the aquarium-related gift that you always wanted!
Or, maybe not.
Huh? "What do you mean, Scott?"
Well, for the popular fish geek, the Holiday Season is actually a virtual "minefield" fought with danger! I mean, the possibilities for "bad outcomes" are kind of high, lol.
Maybe, just maybe, someone you know decided to get you a fish for the Holiday. On the surface, this is a really nice gesture- a thoughtful idea for the fish geek in the household. Only problem is, usually the person buying the gift is NOT a fish geek, and typically has no clue about what's involved in stocking and maintaining a fish tank.
It's probably the ultimate nightmare scenario for the fish geek!
(Image by Citron. Used under CC BY-SA 3.0)
Usually, it's accompanied by what is a very thoughtful, well-intended sentiment, like, "Your Uncle and I know you love the fishes, and this one 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 tiny rare Apistos, you're now the proud owner of a juvenile Arapaima or a young Asian Arowanna! Or, your docile Pencilfish species tank now has to host a baby Tiger Datnoid ("The guy at the store said he was super chill...")!
It could be worse, right?
Yeah, I suppose..
Even more nightmarish would be the super-inexperienced fish keeper who thinks he/she knows what he/she is doing, and what you'd want, cause, you know- you're both "fish people!": "He's so friendly, and he's eating pellets! Bob caught him down in Florida two years ago, and he's outgrowing his tank. Don't you have a 55 gallon tank? That's a big upgrade for him!"
Those crazy socks and iTunes gift cards look way more attractive now, huh?
And then there are those misguided, but well-intentioned friends who know you keep fishes...but perhaps they don't understand that there's a difference between fresh water and marine systems, and...
"That plant would look so nice in your African Cichlid tank, so we just had to get it for you!"
I suppose not all holiday gifts from non-aquarists are all this crazy- this bad, but...
Much like the fruitcake of holiday legend, there must have been that one fish-related gift you received- a fish, plant, coral, or piece of equipment- that totally rocked your world, and, despite the best intentions of the giver, turned into a pretty serious headache for you.
Right? Like, perhaps the right piece of gear, but maybe the wrong size- or the wrong version, or...
"I got it on e-Bay for you...They say it's so easy to use! It's gonna really help you do that stuff you do with your tank- and it works in European electrical outlets, too!"
Or, the off-brand, sketchy combination lighted electric siphon hose/algae scrubber device will now forever be a part of your equipment collection...Or maybe you received a pair of Albino Oscars for a "gift" (yeah, it happened to me once)! ou get the picture.
Now sure, these are highly "nuanced" examples of what could happen...Stuff that would put you in a weird situation at best, and a real bind at worst. How did you handle the real situations that might have arisen out of a well-intended, but entirely inappropriate "gift?"
I mean, we're all grateful for gifts- we all should be blessed to have people who care enough about us to even give such gifts, but...
What did you do with your "gift?"
Did you end up keeping the "fishy fruitcake"; make it work in some way- or did you somehow manage to trade it back for some Rasbora and 4 packs of frozen food at the LFS?
And, if you did- how did you manage that feat?
Or, did this gift somehow work out and turn into something that you actually kept and enjoyed?
I mean, it happens, right?
Let's hear your fave "gift that keeps on giving" stories!
Yeah, the Holiday Season is coming...
Stay Merry. Stay open-minded. Stay gracious. Stay prepared...And Stay Wet.