How i got here...
So, i'm bored today and I thought this would be a neat idea. If anyone would like to participate, I would be very interested in reading your threads.
This is how my hobby life evolved.
When I was 14 years old my parent bought me a 29 gallon aquarium. We set it up freshwater, with an undergravel filter, an air pump, and carbon inserts in the uplift tube. We did exactly as we were told by the LFS, adding Stress Coat and Nox Ich to the aquarium every time we did a water change and every time we added fish. We never tested anything, but we did our regular partial water changes (using the garden hose). We had very limited success for about a year and eventually the aquarium was taken down. I remember having Red Swordtails and Black Skirt Tetras, but that is pretty much the extent of what lived well.
About 2 years later my brother set up a 10 gallon aquarium. This was 1989, if memory serves me correct. His aquarium was going well, with the help of a knowledgable man at the local LFS who really was a true hobbyist. Given his success, I dug the 29 gallon out of the basement. Being a little more mature and eager to learn, I lived at the LFS. I was there every day, just watching Tim take care of the tanks and talking his ears off. He was more than happy to let me participate and always willing to trade fish in and out. It was freshwater only at first, then a small number of marine fish to catch my eye.
Fast forward 3 years. I am 19 years old living in my parents basement. In my bedroom I have:
A 29 gallon African Cichlid tank.
A 55 gallon Cichlid Tank, way overstocked with large Cichlids. From memory, I had an Oscar, Jack Dempsey, 2 Pike Cichlids, 2 Jewell Cichlids, 1 Firemouth, and 1 Pacu.
A 10 gallon Saltwater tank. It was set up with a U/G filter and freshwater decorations. I kept a Coral Beauty Angel and a single Ocellaris Clownfish. I used baking soda as a buffer and did weekly water changes. Overall it was successful, but I got bored within a few months and went back to FW.
A 10 gallon freshwater tank, with basic community fish.
A 20 gallon freshwater tank, wtih basic community fish.
My mom was starting to get a little annoyed.
Fast forward 2 years. I am 21 years old living at home, and working at the LFS. In my bedroom I have:
A 10 gallon open top live plant tank with Cardinal Tetras and Albino Corys.
A 10 gallon species tank for a pair of Paradise Gouramies.
A 55 gallon with a Blood Parrot, Gold Severum, Green Severum, 7 Silver Dollars, and 3 Raphael Catfish.
FYI - the Blood Parrot lived 14 years.
A 29 gallon African Cichlid tank. I loved my Africans.
A 20 gallon long saltwater. It had a U/G filter and an internal protein skimmer home made out of a tennis ball can. It had several fake barnicle corals, 2 Clownfish, a Yellow Tail Blue Damsel, and a Domino Damsel. I had no problems with this tank, but was still not really interested in marine.
A 20 gallon freshwater community.
A 10 gallon Ram and live plant biotope.
A 29 gallon with Tiger Barbs, Serpae Tetras, and a Leporinus.
Fast forward 1 year, to 1995. I am 22 years old living with my girlfriend in a 1 bedroom apartment. We have:
A 29 gallon saltwater with Damsels, filtered by a Penguin Biowheel.
A 10 gallon saltwater with a pair of Clownfish, filtered by a sponge filter and an internal skimmer home made out of an old uplift tube.
A 29 gallon saltwater filtered by a Penguin with Clownfish and an anemone.
A 29 gallon live plant tank.
A 20 long live plant tank.
A 55 gallon saltwater with a Black Trigger, a Regal Angel, and a Porcupine Puffer. The Regal lived for about 6 months before I returned it to the LFS. It did not get along with the Puffer. This tank was filtered by a Penguin and a Skilter. Keep in mind, this was 1995. The internet was just getting its start and supplies were hard to come by. Information was slowly exchanged and sump systems were only used for the largest of aquariums. Weekly water changes were normal and live rock was not used in any of my tanks.
Fast forward 2 years, to 1997. My girlfriend and I now live in a 2 bedroom apartment. I am about to graduate college. We have a fishroom. Yes, we moved to a 2 BR apartment so that we could have a fishroom. We have:
A 90 gallon Asian FW tank. It was a square home made acrylic tank, 3'' x 3''. Very cool.
A 55 gallon saltwater, with a Black Trigger, Picaso Trigger, Maroon Clownfish, and Porcupine Puffer.
The saltwater tank now had a generic brand CPR type unit, with protein skimmer and bioballs. No live rock.
A 10 gallon mini reef, with live rock and dual light strip. It had mushrooms, Tubastrea, and feather dusters, along with a Yellow Clown Goby, Ocellaris Clown,and various inverts. It was a natural system with no filter, and eventually a skilter was added.
2 more 20 gallon tanks, 2 more 29 gallon tanks, and a pair of 10 gallon tanks, all various FW setups.
We also had a Turtle tank, a hedgehog, 2 Lovebirds, a Parokeet, a Cockatiel, and a lot of Finch.
Fast forward 2 years, to 1999. I bought my first home and turned the basement into a REAL fishroom. I will continue this part of the story later today, because now the hobby starts to really get fun!
wow !! :)
you've come a long way,you seem to be living the dream :)
and you had a hedgehog too.
Your leaving us in suspense!!! Did you marry the girlfriend that shared your passion for fish. My hubby thinks I am fish crazy. I think my house would be full of fish if I married someone who also enjoyed my hobby.
You have a GREAT memory. :-)
Outside of just keeping aquariums, i've been involved in everything I can. I had submitted multiple writings and had a few articles "published" by early subscription based internet magazines. I was maintaining a large web site that was near the top of the google hits, called "Ocean World". I was involved in ther first ever hosting of a MACNA conference in my home town, which allowed me to meet some of the biggest names in the hobby. I had become extremely active online, which over the prior 5 years had started to see the evolution of forums and chat rooms. (In the very early days I used the screen name "ffishmaster" and I still stumble across my user name in threads from time to time.)
Ok, enough of that. Lets talk fish. When I bought my home I decided to put a fishroom in the basement. So we put up a wall, separate electric, and heat. I used concrete blocks as legs and 4x4's as the framework for my stands. In the end I had wall to wall fish tanks, 48 aquariums at one point, ranging from 10 gallon fry tanks to a 90 gallon terrarium. The fishroom contained the following, to best of my memory :-D...
In order, along the wall circling the room.... (picture yourself sitting in my recliner)
* 16 x 10 gallon aquariums used for fry grow out and quarantine purposes. These were turned sideways on the stand, looking end to end, to save space naturally. These tanks were all bare-bottom with sponge filters, using one air pump and a series of gang valves.
* a 90 gallon terrarium, with a Turtle, various frogs,and fish.
* 3 consecutive double iron stands, 29 gallon on top of a 20 long. 5 of these were saltwater fish only tanks, and one of the 29 gallon tanks housed my Blood Parrot.
* another double iron stand, 20 gallon on top of 10 gallon. These were both live plant tanks, with the 10 gallon being my favorite open top style, with plants breaking the water surface growing out the top.
* a long homemande stand, with 4 x 20 gallons on top and 5 x 10 gallons beneath. These tanks were ever evolving, my "hobbyist" tanks. If I saw a unique fish, this is where it would be kept. Each was a species tank, keeping everything from Lake Tanganyika cichlids to Killies in species setups. I was the guy that the LFS would call on the phone if they had something unique on the fish list. Lots of fun.
* A homemade rack of 3x10 over 3x10 over 3x10, for a total of 9 more 10 gallon tanks. These were for breeding purposes. I never became to facinated with breeding, but I bred the basics and suggest you give it a shot also. Again, lots of fun.
* A series of fish bowls, I'm guessing 6 to 8 of them total. At this point in my life, if it held water it was a fish tank. I would look for unique shaped glass bowls and vases that would make cool aquariums. I loved to do saltwater setups with nothing but sand, live rock, and the appropriate small fish and inverts. I had a 3 gallon saltwater bowl with live rock and an air stone for filtration that housed an Ocellaris Clownfish for over 4 years.
* a 20 gallon storage tote with a hang on biowheel that I used to quarantine my marine fish. 8) It was also home to a Porcupine Puffer for about 6 months after my move.
* a double iron stand 29 gallon over 20 long. Both saltwater tanks. I really enjoyed the shallow 20 long saltwater look. They were simple to maintain and with the long tank I was able to keep several small fish if properly aquascapped.
* a 55 gallon Asian tank, loaded with over 30 Tiger Barbs and live plants. I loved this tank. A ton of fun.
* yet another double iron stand, 29 gallon over 20 long, again both marine.
Ok, lets count tanks and see how good my memory is. Yep, that is 48 tanks, not counting the fish bowls and quarantine tote! Oh yes, I also had a 58 gallon bowfront in my living room and a huge pond in the back yard.
The pond was an interesting story. One day I just decided to start digging. When I stopped it was 20 feet long and 14 feet wide, 4 feet maximum depth. This was a very fun summer project, with landscapping, a small picket fence to protect from the dog, and a patio area to drink coffee and enjoy the pond every morning. I can't wait to move into my new condo in March so that I can have a pond again. (Yes, it has a back yard.) I never expected to enjoy the pond, but it was the most enjoyable project of my fish keeping life.
So, all of this continued for several years until I met my ex-wife. We soon bought a new home (sad), had a kid, and I became a real adult. :cry: For the next 4 years my only aquarium was a 55 gallon saltwater tank, fish only. She finally agreed on a large tank project, and we had a 400 gallon tank on order from GlassCages.com. Unfortunately I had to cancel the order due to our relationship going south. Talk about taking candy from a baby. Did you hear what I just said. A 400 gallon tank. And i had to cancel the order. :-(
Then I divoced, moved into an apartment and promptly set up 2 tanks, both freshwater. A 58 bowfront Asian tank and a 28 gallon tall Angelfish tank.
Fast forward a few more years to today. I currently have my 38 gallon reef, a 20 long Turtle tank, and a betta bowl for my son.
I am now counting down the days until the closing on this condo, where my wonderful fiance is also excited about putting a large tank in the dining room. It is currently planned as a 180 gallon, and I actually have it picked out and an LFS that will deliver it. To say I am excited is an understatement!
And that folks, after a long boring thread, is how I got to where I am today.
Very interesting story! Best of luck with the new condo, wonderful fiance, and the new tank! How exciting!
Wow, best of luck with the condo(which i have been following :-P) should i input with how i got here?
Kells - yes, please! Lets hear it.
Cody - I want your story buddy!
OF2F - you're on the list.
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