The burden of our own experience...

If you've been in the aquarium hobby long enough, you're bound to find yourself "editing" what you do, in apparent deference to the past work you did, or to the "expectations" which our experience and the experience of others have placed upon us.

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. Not trying to live up to expectations that we-or others- have set for us. To just make decisions based on what our research- gut, or yeah- I suppose, experience- tells us is the "right" thing to do, then letting stuff happen, is such an important way to progress in the hobby- and to help others do the same thing.

Interesting thought, right? It seems like it should be obvious. However, I know that I myself have- and I've seen fellow hobbyists- get caught in this sort of "feedback loop", much to our own detriment.

mean, I guess we DO sort of carry with us the self-imposed "burden" of our prior aquarium work, which often influences the new stuff we do. And I suppose, it's a tough one that can truly hold us back sometimes.


You know, "Dude, your last tank was so bad-ass...can't wait to see what you're gonna do with this new tank!"

Sort of scary to hear that (well, for me it is...)- I mean, you suddenly feel this pressure to live up to- or exceed- your prior efforts and create something truly awesome this time around.

I don't know how the great ones, like our friend George Farmer, do it!

Being awesome sucks sometimes, right? ☺️

And, being human, you might find yourself stressing out to try to meet to exceed your last tank, and suddenly, the whole thing isn't as fun as it's supposed to be. Suddenly, you're doing things in a way that satisfies the expectations of others- and that's not too fun, right?

A classic example of the "burden of our own experience..."

And then, of course, there is the expectations or preconceptions we have about how one of our experiments is going to work out...I mean, if the last time we tried the water exchange right before that pair of Apistos spawned, then we should definitely try it again this time, right? 

Or, falling victim to "conventional wisdom" about "the way stuff is done" is another one of those "traps" that we sometimes allow ourselves to become ensnared in. Just because the hobby has done something a certain way for decades doesn't mean it's the only way- or even the correct one. It just doesn't...and failing to go with your intuition could very well deny the hobby of an important evolution or even a breakthrough. 

If you have a hunch- play it.

And, while there very well may be a decent set of "best practices" for the stuff we do in our sector of the hobby, it certainly doesn't meant that you can't modify or alter it as you see fit. Sometimes, those very slight, incremental tweaks and iterations are just what is needed to push something towards the destination we want...and can even lead to serious breakthroughs!

Allowing yourself the luxury (yeah, it seems like one) of unburdening yourself from your own past experiences allows you to "next level" stuff.

We are in a rapidly evolving hobby space, filled with excitement, new ideas, and on occasion, significant breakthroughs. And in such a space, we need to allow ourselves the opportunity to innovate, attempt new ideas, and occasionally, to fail at them.

This is how we advance.

To allow ourselves to cave in to the burden of our own experience- our expectations- or these of others- is to deny oursleves- and others- the opportunity to make new discoveries and perfect techniques and concepts which may have lasting value for generations of future hobbyists.

Release yourself!

Stay courageous. Stay creative. Stay smart. Stay relentless. Stay unburdened...

And Stay Wet.


Scott Fellman

Tannin Aquatics


Scott Fellman
Scott Fellman


Leave a comment