Don't you think that sometimes, as hobbyists, we tend to get a bit- well, "overly concerned" about stuff that non-hobbyists don't understand? Or, perhaps they do-more than we can comprehend- and will occasionally come up with some "pearls of wisdom" that blow us away!
Huh? Case in point:
Not long ago, I recall walking into my office early one morning, and I immediately was taken aback. Someone had apparently left one of the computers in the office on all night, and the room was fairly brightly illuminated. No biggie, except for the fact that one of my office aquariums, the South-igarape-inspired leaf litter tank that you've see so much on these pages, resided there, too, and I recently added some cool wild fishes to the tank, acclimated and carefully quarantined...and then- THIS had to happen, and....you know where I'm going with this?
This was going through my mind:
"Omigod, the fishes didn't get any dark period...they've been seriously stressed..."
You will say that this wouldn't bother you- but you're totally lying! It would bother the shit out of you, too! I know it would, 'cause you're a fish geek. It's part of what we do.
Of course, I relayed this concern to my wife later in the day, when we touched base and asked each other how are days were progressing.
To which my wife, not a fish geek, yet ever the pragmatist, noted, "You know, sometimes, unexpected things happen in the Amazon."
She was on to something there.
And it's not just me who freaks out about stuff like this. I know for a fact...
It's a fish-geek thing.
I think, that as hobbyists, we tend to get caught up in every little minute detail of the little worlds we've created for our fishes- so much so that we often forget the one underlying truth about them: They're living creatures, which have evolved over eons to adapt to and deal with changes in their environment-big and small...or even insignificant, like an excessive amount of light one evening.
I mean, there must have been some natural precedent for this, right? Some atmospheric phenomenon- or combination of phenomenon-which rendered the night sky inordinately bright one evening at some point in the long history of the world?
Think about it for a second.
I think this high level of concern-this "overkill", if you will, on the part of all hobbyists is based on the fact that we take great pains to assure that we've created perfect little captive environments for our fishes, and do everything we can to keep them stable and consistent. When something out of the ordinary happens- a pump fails, a heater sticks in the "on" position, we forget to feed, etc.- we tend to get a little bit, oh...crazy, maybe?
Look, I get it: When a critical piece of environmental control equipment fails (like a heater), especially during a cold spell or heatwave, it could be life or death for your fishes. If you're about to spawn a particularly picky fish or rear some fry, it could be a serious problem. You can't really downplay those concerns. However, some of the less dramatic, non-life-threatening issues, such as a light staying on or off longer than usual one evening, a circulation pump stopping unexpectedly for a couple of hours, or forgetting to change the carbon in the filter one week, don't really create that much of a problem for your fishes when you really think about it objectively, do they?
At some time during the exisience of our fishes in the wild, there was a temporary blockage in the Igarape in which they resided, slowing down the normal flow. At some point, there might have been a once-in-a-century cold morning in the tropics, right? At some point, the swarm of Daphnia or Cadis Fly larvae that were so abundant for months at a time, weren't...
In most instances, the animals that we keep are not so delicate, and the closed environments we provide aren't running so "close to the edge" that we should panic when some random factor changes things up one day. And consider this: When we purchase our fishes, they are unceremoniously netted out of the tank (or stream, lake, river, etc.) environment in which they reside, placed in a plastic bag, transported for who knows how long, and possibly making a few stops on the way before ultimately landing in our aquarium.
That's a LOT of changes to cope with. Stress.
But guess what? Fishes manage to deal with it. Somehow.
Sure, our first choice is to have rock-solid parameters and environmental conditions for our fishes 24/7/365, but sometimes stuff happens that throws a proverbial "wrench" into our plans. We have to be adaptable, flexible...just like our fishes apparently are.
So next time your light doesn't come on, or you forget to feed your fishes as you rush off to work some morning, don't stress out over it. They'll be fine. Keep calm. Always keep your concern high, but don't let obsessing over your fishes keep you from focusing on the even more important things in life (yeah, there are a few, right?).
And remember, sometimes unexpected things DO happen in the Amazon.
Don't panic. Don't freak out. Don't take this stuff too seriously...
Stay cool. Stay calm. Stay engaged.
And Stay Wet.