"I'm done. Satisfied...Don't need any more aquariums..." Yeah, right.

You've made that pledge, right?

"Don't need any more tanks...I'm really pleased with what I have at the moment!"


Nope...I call B.S. on that. Really.

 Seems like there is something about this hobby that renders even the most hardened among us incapable of resisting the urge to add "one more tank." to our collection. I know I'm right about this, because having been a lifelong aquarist, I have a hard time recalling any time in my life, other than early childhood, where I had a single tank, bowl, or other container committed to keeping tropical fish!

To outsiders, it's weird.

To fish geeks, it's just sort of the accepted "natural prorgression" of our hobby. In fact, it's considered "normal" and "expected" in our culture, isn't it? I mean, it would be a bit weird if you didn't, right?

Even before the first diatom appears in our "dream" aquarium, we're planning the next one...You know, THAT tank- the one that you've been thinking about for years...

And, I'd hazard a guess that many of you have similar life experiences...It's almost like an addiction of sorts- or at the very least, an obsession. We have some success with one tank, one group of fishes, and then we immediately "peek over the fence" and see that there are a ton of other crazy-cool fishes, plants, and ideas on the other side.

With the confidence we've gained by keeping one successful tank/bowl/container of fish, we suddenly realize that the idea of keeping and breeding that cool Shell-dwelling Lake Tanganyika cichlid, or annual killifish isn't so crazy...And, wow, you don't need a huge tank to do it.

Suddenly, you're headlong into planning your next tank or other container to hold water. I know the mindset; it goes something like, "Wow, those fishes only need like a 5 gallon tank. I have a little space on that shelf in the bedroom..." Yeah, you find the space. You somehow find the aquarium, and you always fins the cash...the old cliche of "where there is a will, there is a way" most certainly pertains to tropical fish.

When you want more fish, you're usually not all that particular about what kind of "aquarium" you're using; where it comes from. That's why we see plastic shoeboxes, pickle jars, vases, and other assorted containers- virtually anything that can hold water- reconfigured as "aquaria" in almost every fish keeper's repertoire.

We're really good at this stuff. 

And of course, along the way, you accumulate things. You know, air pumps, gang valves, filter parts, media bags, and all of the other minutiae that constitute an aquarium. We all have that box of "stuff"- or multiple boxes, in many cases- ready to delve into when the need arises during some future fish project. Rare is the hobbyist who simply discards old equipment! One of the best parts about "bootstrapping" a new "aquarium" is that you learn to improvise, adapt, and overcome adversity, and you get to accumulate new skills, parts, and "stuff"- not to mention, some cool fishes! 

As we get older, and/or as space permits, we start turning to more and larger setups. You know, a tank in almost every room. Some of us do it very tastefully- either through our own amazing aesthetic capabilities, or at the urging of a spouse, roommate, or family member, who insists that the aquariums not make our house look like the typical den of a "crazy cat lady", with aquariums in every nook and cranny (trust me, I've seen a few of those situations- they're great to visit, but I'd never want to live like that.).

Some of us are fortunate enough to create a dedicated "fish room" in the garage, basement, or spare room...and then it really gets interesting!

Go into almost any "fish room" in any hobbyist's house anywhere in the world, and you'll see the same thing...All sorts of cool tanks, setup for almost every conceivable situation. Some fish rooms are very well thought out, with uniform sized aquariums, central filtration, water change systems, and specialized life support gear.

Others are far less sophisticated, but chalk full of cool aquariums and fishes, with tanks of every shape and size. Each tank, btw, has its own cool "creation/acquisition" story- just ask the hobbyist. It's ALWAYS that way: "Yeah, I got that 35-gallon hex from a guy who was trying to keep Australian Tree Frogs, and it didn't work out for him; cost me $5 and an hour of cleaning it up...that's the tank I breed my Aphanius mento in!"

It's the same basic story, regardless. Every hobbyist finds it almost impossible to resist "one more tank" or "one more fish"- it's in our DNA. That's why, when you attend a local fish club meeting, and that one hobbyist- you know the lady- she's bred 130 species of fish, is just killing it in the local BAP program- swears she has no more room for more fishes, yet always puts $10 into the raffle, and curiously enough, wins that cool pair of Neolamprologus, or whatever...and somehow finds the space for 'em.


That joke about "Multiple Tank Syndrome"- the fact that no tropical fish hobbyist can resist adding another tank to his/her collection- is very true, very real...and very awesome!

So, to all of those of you out there who insist that THIS is the last tank you'll ever buy/acquire/appropriate, I say...good luck! 

Not happening. Because if the opportunity arises to pick up that 75 gallon tall at a bargain price of $25 at the yard sale down the street...you'll fish SOME way to fit it SOMEWHERE in your home.

It's what you do.

Don't stop doing it.

Stay quirky. Stay excited. Stay geeky...

And Stay Wet.

Scott Fellman

Tannin Aquatics




Scott Fellman
Scott Fellman


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