Like many people "in the business" of aquariums, I field a lot of PM's, emails, etc. from customers who have issues with aquariums, fishes equipment, etc.- 99% of it is totally unrelated to our specific niche, but it's "fish stuff", and I'm a "fish guy", so, when we're not tearing our hair out getting your orders filled, it's our honor to respond the best that we can.
Part of the game. Yeah, we're fish geeks.
As fish geeks, we love to talk about "stuff" like "how-to's", tank selection, and which fish to get. And even problems. As a culture, fish geeks talk to other fish geeks and try to mutually figure out what went wrong and how to fix the problems. Which made me think...How would I- and you -handle certain things that crop up in our own tanks? What types of reactions do you make? Do you make quick, decisive ones- regardless of possible outcomes? Do you freak out and make "knee jerk" ones? Do you research and implement solutions slowly?
As someone who's "knee deep" in the fish world 24/7, I guess it's a pretty good exercise to periodically imagine certain situations with my fish stuff and think how I'd react/respond. And not a bad exercise for you, either. I mean, you're pretty much "24/7", too, right?
How would you respond to a couple these sorts of common fish-keeping scenarios?
1) You just purchased some new awesome fish from, well- whoever...You acclimated them carefully, dipped them, and placed them in your display tank. You know in your heart that you should have quarantined them, like every new purchase..but you're not feeling badly about your odds for success. That is, until a week or so later, when a couple of the fishes start "scratching" on rocks and wood in your tank, twitching around a bit, acting strangely...Could it be ich? so other disease? Stress? Something else? And to make matters worse, you nice similar behaviors from the other fishes in the tank. Yet, no physical outward signs of disease other than those..
Do you: /Freak out and dump medication- any medication- right into the display tank? /Launch a nasty accusation campaign against the vendor on social media, accusing him of selling you a sick or infected fish? /Dip and isolate, and inspect each fish? /Observe to see if the behavior continues? /Get all the fish out of your tank for an extended period?
Here's one for my reefer "homies":
2) Your water testing indicates that there is some trace of copper in your water. (For those of you who are FW "lifers", copper is to marine inverts and corals what kryptonite is to Superman"- toxic, and very bad news!) You have noticed that your corals haven't quite looked their best recently, so this is not entirely surprising. Of course, it's COPPER! What to do?
Do you: /Do a 100% water change?/ Go crazy on Poly Filter, Cuprisorb, and other removal media?/ Systematically look for all possible sources of the contamination?
Okay, I could go on and on and we can play 30 rounds of "What would you do...?" and you'd get the picture after the first go around. The bottom line is this: DO you take a more thoughtful, reserved, analytical approach to problems with your tank, or do you tend to be a bit more emotional, dramatic and panicked (okay, my fish friends tell me that I'm a bit of a "drama queen" at times, lol)?
There's no shame in being emotional about our aquariums...I mean, they're living things, and we have a lot of time, energy, and cold, hard cash tied up in them...They are, in many cases, a reflection of our personalities, and extension of our essence- just like the home we live in, our clothing, our cars, etc. (Okay, that sounds really "L.A.", but I AM a product of my environment, okay?).
The point is that, to us-our tanks are not just a piece of furniture to set and forget...
Which is why we tend to get so emotional about them. I've seen genuine online knock-down-drag-out fights about various fish-keeping subjects played out in bloody full color on online forums over the years...and they're sometimes less than entertaining- and occasionally, actually scary.
Perhaps we take stuff too seriously?
Or maybe, not seriously enough? Or…
I dunno, but I enjoy analyzing useless things, as you know. Seeing how people react to problems in their aquariums always makes me realize that I might be more "sane" than I think I am! Of course, this remains to be seen once the fishes start jumping, the corals start melting, and the plumbing seals start leaking in my own tanks!
As summer winds down and the start of "aquarium season" looms ahead in a month or so- and like millions of fish geeks worldwide, I will find myself spending excessively large amounts of my free time playing with my tanks again, I cannot help but think about the way I’m going to react now to the inevitable things that will go wrong…(“Arrghhhh…the siphon hose should be in the bucket, right? Oops.”)
You know- reality. Having a coral warehouse with concrete floors and floor drains was the ultimate fish geek luxury…I mean, when you spill some water, it’s like no biggie, right? Or in the office...okay- it's part of a fish business. Goes with the territory. Of course, at home- totally different ball game…Pricy hardwood floors, quality furniture, and the usual obstacles…Oh, and my wife.
Fortunately, my wife, who is the ultimate neat freak, bless her heart- totally gets the ins and outs of aquarium-keeping, including the calamities and emergencies that go with it- and knows my tendency to- you know- spill a 'little bit" of saltwater on the floors now and then.
That’s why we have lots of really good towels. And tarps.
And of course, she knows me and my aquarium "urges" well.
I was "green lighted”, as they say in Hollywood, by my wife for yet another home tank…a new reef this time. And a revised blackwater tank with some different stuff. My current status: A bit out of practice…A billion ideas in my head…access to all sorts of cool stuff- and way to many enabling fish friends.
This is gonna be a fun year. And expensive. I can tell. Fasten your seat belts, please!
Stay calm. Stay cool. Stay collected.
And Stay Wet- er, DRY…