5 Years into fishkeeping, and adulthood.

Fishman Dave

Potamotrygon
MFK Member
Nov 14, 2015
1,020
2,044
164
50
West Yorkshire
I started fishkeeping like many my generation, as a 9year old winning a goldfish at the fair (back when it was legal to give them away as prizes). That bowl in 1980 turned to a tank, then a pond with more coldwater fish, soon into a 2ft tropical tank in my mum and dads tv cabinet (on wheels!) back when tv’s weighed as much as a 2ft tank full of water. Through my teenage years I was very much earn money to buy more fish and run my fish house (a block built shed on the back of my dads garage).
I took a 2ft tank of 2 Clarias to uni with me and had to pair down my fish house quite a bit to what my parents could manage to feed. I was 28 before I realised life (for that read fish keeping) had taken me away from prospective partners and I was 29 when I married my wife and bought a house. Thankfully she is really accepting of my hobby and as long as I provide a decent income (I let her manage the finances) I can buy what I like when it comes to fish. I realize I am really fortunate in many ways but have always wanted to own what everyone else had, to an extent anyway, as I have always had a love for catfish.
Having just extended my fish house I don’t see me slowing down anytime soon and at 50 now with over 40 years doing this I don’t think I want to retire from fish keeping (from work, now that’s different!! Yes tomorrow please if I could just keep the income!)
I do think like jjohnwm jjohnwm though that I better start to consider how to make life (water changes, etc.) easier and more manageable as I am not getting any younger.
Looking back I have seen a lot of changes in the hobby, many of them good, lots more species, technology, availability (a tigrinus cat was £1,500 in 1990 and £120 today), etc. But lots of them not so good (in my opinion only) , damming of important rivers, invasive species which I’d like to keep being banned, some fish no longer being available, some becoming too readily available.
My advice to any teenager today, if you want to try, then do so!!!! Don’t dismiss advice from others but you can’t believe everyone either.
Most of us have learnt much more from trying and getting it wrong or trying and getting it right than from having info passed on from others, let’s face it, I had to read books, the internet didn’t exist, so most information was hard to get hold of on anything that was not bread and butter fish keeping.
 

Hendre

Bawitius
Staff member
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MFK Member
Jan 14, 2016
9,780
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South Africa
Life is like a road trip; if you spend some time planning the route, you can avoid most of the major traffic tie-ups, see some of the nicer sights, and generally have a great time. You can occasionally try some unknown sideroad, knowing that you can always get back on track if it doesn't work out. The problem for many people is that they don't look ahead any further than the end of the block. The sooner they realize that a bit more thought and foresight is required, the better; some never figure it out.

Yes, the stinging cold slap of reality across the face, when you first realize how much earning a living can interfere with actually living...well, it's a rude wake-up call. But again, the sooner you see it coming, the better you can roll with that punch and come back swinging.

I recall as a child getting my first fish tank at around 10 years of age. I spent the next few decades constantly expanding the hobby, more and bigger tanks, more and bigger fish. I had a few setbacks, caused by jobs, moves, etc. that drastically cut back my involvement, but I always moved towards more, more, more. I was well into my 40's when it suddenly struck me...another reality slap...it was becoming more of a chore and less of a pleasure. I realized that I simply didn't need (or even want) at least one of every kind of tank; I didn't need to keep every species of fish on the planet. And I had other interests that deserved some of my time and attention and effort.

I cut back drastically, this time out of desire rather than forced necessity. And for the past 2 decades I have considered each and every new tank or fish species verrrry carefully. The "collector" mentality can take hold easily, and having escaped its clutches once, I didn't want to fall into that trap again.

Now I keep a few tanks, a relatively small number of species I consider interesting (and these are not necessarily rare or hard-to-get or "monsters"), I put a lot of thought and planning into ways that make maintenance, cleaning and water changes easy and quick...and I probably enjoy fishkeeping more today than ever.

Enjoy the future...it can be great if you want and plan for it to be! :)
Planning is a good idea. I am trying to do this as far as I can, and engaging myself in several scientific disciplines to see what could work well for me when I am done studying.

I also had the tanks becoming a chore thing - especially when school/scouting got too intense. I cut down to what I enjoy and it is far better. I find specific tanks of interesting communities to be super rewarding, those are the focus of my future tank daydreams. A 6ft planted African oddball tank would be fantastic!

I thought life was like a box of chocolates?
Delicious.

That’s what you got from all of that 😂😂 jjohnwm jjohnwm good speech. As being a teenager I know how it feels to be a bit new to the hobby and want more and more but then realize that money is a thing. Why can’t the world go back trading animal fur and whale blubber as currency. I’d have a lot more tanks if that was still a thing 😂
Take this time now to get the basics down, then you will get more return on your adulthood investment. It's like photography, I nailed the basics with old kit and have now saved about enough to get a better model that I can take it further with. Who said you needed the best and newest to produce excellent results? All Pre 2008 kit:
IMG_0621.JPGIMG_4998.JPGJanMarais21.JPG

There was a time after joining mfk that I was absent. Had school and residency. After that I was back in the hobby and on the forum. Then the family came! Back and forth with the hobby. Still enjoy it but have to manage and plan everything ahead of time. So I can cont the hobby and mfk. The journey of life retires some parts and rejuvenates other parts of your life.Time flies when ur having fun. As the old cliche says live in the moment Hendre Hendre .
I like your stance!

I set up my first real tank in Jan. 2001. I was staring at my 53rd birthday in a few months. So I had a short time into which to cram a lot of fish keeping. I had been promising myself I would get a tank for at least 10 years by then. I already knew about how life throws curve balls.

Here is the thing. Over time we learn what is important to each of us and we make our decisions accordingly. I had more answers when I was 18 than I do today. But I am also smarter now than I was then.

The universe has way of reminding us on a regular basis that we are never really in charge of anything.
Rather late than never. We gotta take what comes.

Adulting sucks in some parts but it’s nice in other parts. I can buy whatever I like, nice. I have to work to get money, not nice. We’re both finding our that it’s overrated slightly.
Adult life is definitely better than teenage years. I am studying so living costs are still low, and I can funnel all my income into hobbies (Mostly photography). Working is unfortunately a pain as you say, especially when the minimum wage is <$2. I am lucky to have first aid paying me $7 an hour when Covid cases are lower. Finding a job worth your time is difficult!

I started fishkeeping like many my generation, as a 9year old winning a goldfish at the fair (back when it was legal to give them away as prizes). That bowl in 1980 turned to a tank, then a pond with more coldwater fish, soon into a 2ft tropical tank in my mum and dads tv cabinet (on wheels!) back when tv’s weighed as much as a 2ft tank full of water. Through my teenage years I was very much earn money to buy more fish and run my fish house (a block built shed on the back of my dads garage).
I took a 2ft tank of 2 Clarias to uni with me and had to pair down my fish house quite a bit to what my parents could manage to feed. I was 28 before I realised life (for that read fish keeping) had taken me away from prospective partners and I was 29 when I married my wife and bought a house. Thankfully she is really accepting of my hobby and as long as I provide a decent income (I let her manage the finances) I can buy what I like when it comes to fish. I realize I am really fortunate in many ways but have always wanted to own what everyone else had, to an extent anyway, as I have always had a love for catfish.
Having just extended my fish house I don’t see me slowing down anytime soon and at 50 now with over 40 years doing this I don’t think I want to retire from fish keeping (from work, now that’s different!! Yes tomorrow please if I could just keep the income!)
I do think like jjohnwm jjohnwm though that I better start to consider how to make life (water changes, etc.) easier and more manageable as I am not getting any younger.
Looking back I have seen a lot of changes in the hobby, many of them good, lots more species, technology, availability (a tigrinus cat was £1,500 in 1990 and £120 today), etc. But lots of them not so good (in my opinion only) , damming of important rivers, invasive species which I’d like to keep being banned, some fish no longer being available, some becoming too readily available.
My advice to any teenager today, if you want to try, then do so!!!! Don’t dismiss advice from others but you can’t believe everyone either.
Most of us have learnt much more from trying and getting it wrong or trying and getting it right than from having info passed on from others, let’s face it, I had to read books, the internet didn’t exist, so most information was hard to get hold of on anything that was not bread and butter fish keeping.
I would love to see a fishtank on wheels. Solid advice there, do not make the hobby your life is what I can take from it, at least until you retire ;)
Good advice for the young 'uns there :D
 

esoxlucius

Potamotrygon
MFK Member
Dec 30, 2015
2,592
7,127
164
UK
I am curious to hear how moving into adulthood influenced the keeping styles or freedom of other members
For me, when I was younger, the biggest influence by far on what I kept and in how many tanks, was always how settled I was where I was living. I left home at 17 and had many relationships through the years. I had tanks in many of those relationships but it soon became a real pita to move my stuff around from place to place. That is the number one reason why I came out of the hobby years ago.

And I didn't get back into it until 2015, by which time I was married and well settled.

Now the biggest influence by far on what I keep and in how many tanks, is my wife!!! Lol. I always call her out on here for not allowing me to over run the house with tanks, but she knows what I'm like. She's there to protect me from myself. And to be honest she is brilliant for keeping me in check.
 

jjohnwm

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Mar 29, 2019
1,009
2,278
154
Manitoba, Canada
I thought life was like a box of chocolates?

It is! All the chocolates look good, but a fair percentage of them taste like crap. Experience helps you tell the difference without having to eat the lousy ones every time you get a box. :)
 

jjohnwm

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Mar 29, 2019
1,009
2,278
154
Manitoba, Canada
That’s what you got from all of that 😂😂 jjohnwm jjohnwm good speech. As being a teenager I know how it feels to be a bit new to the hobby and want more and more but then realize that money is a thing. Why can’t the world go back trading animal fur and whale blubber as currency. I’d have a lot more tanks if that was still a thing 😂
It's definitely important to learn that money is "a thing".

Super double bonus points for figuring out that it is not the only thing. :)
 
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Dalfrey86

Piranha
MFK Member
Apr 8, 2020
371
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Life is like a road trip; if you spend some time planning the route, you can avoid most of the major traffic tie-ups, see some of the nicer sights, and generally have a great time. You can occasionally try some unknown sideroad, knowing that you can always get back on track if it doesn't work out. The problem for many people is that they don't look ahead any further than the end of the block. The sooner they realize that a bit more thought and foresight is required, the better; some never figure it out.

Yes, the stinging cold slap of reality across the face, when you first realize how much earning a living can interfere with actually living...well, it's a rude wake-up call. But again, the sooner you see it coming, the better you can roll with that punch and come back swinging.

I recall as a child getting my first fish tank at around 10 years of age. I spent the next few decades constantly expanding the hobby, more and bigger tanks, more and bigger fish. I had a few setbacks, caused by jobs, moves, etc. that drastically cut back my involvement, but I always moved towards more, more, more. I was well into my 40's when it suddenly struck me...another reality slap...it was becoming more of a chore and less of a pleasure. I realized that I simply didn't need (or even want) at least one of every kind of tank; I didn't need to keep every species of fish on the planet. And I had other interests that deserved some of my time and attention and effort.

I cut back drastically, this time out of desire rather than forced necessity. And for the past 2 decades I have considered each and every new tank or fish species verrrry carefully. The "collector" mentality can take hold easily, and having escaped its clutches once, I didn't want to fall into that trap again.

Now I keep a few tanks, a relatively small number of species I consider interesting (and these are not necessarily rare or hard-to-get or "monsters"), I put a lot of thought and planning into ways that make maintenance, cleaning and water changes easy and quick...and I probably enjoy fishkeeping more today than ever.

Enjoy the future...it can be great if you want and plan for it to be! :)
^This
I enjoy my fish but also enjoyed the research and effort I put in to make the maintence easier and less time consuming. To John’s point, life is a journey but you remember you only get to travel the path once. Make it worthwhile, no one else will for you.
 

Ogertron3000

Aimara
MFK Member
Nov 6, 2017
973
1,888
134
Australia
For us in our 40s its sort of amusing to see all you younger guys in your early 20s talking about adulthood. It makes me feel like an old man but i do remember how i felt at your age when it feels like the whole world is ahead of you then before you know it 25 years have gone by.

Ive pretty much had fish since i was in my late teens, then as you say money was the biggest hurdle. Once i was i my 20s i discovered travel, cars, nightclubs girls and weed so fish took a back seat for a while but i usually had a tank on the go, Generally a mix and match community with all sorts of fish in it. i found it was a good thing to have a hobby that was just mine and didnt involve any of my regular crew that i could use to escape all the overindulgences and nonsense of that time of my life.

In my later 20s after travelling for 3 yearsr, settling down a bit and getting a well paying job i went pretty wild with the hobby with multiple tanks and a collector mentality as i had a decent disposable income and no responsibilities beside work rent and food. Looking back I would have preferred one massive spectacular tank done right intead of lots of tanks all over my apartment.

Now im married with a kid and mortgage, money isnt quite as free as it used to be and neither is time, i now have just 1 tank but im really enjoying it and try to act like an experienced fishkeeper eg. not giving in to impulse buys, regular maintenance is non negotiable etc. I have set up a small tank for my wife with livebearers and a betta tank for my daughter too so really have 3 tanks. My 120G is still empty in the shed and in the back of my mind but that can wait. Its become a different scene now as my daughter tags along to the fish shops with me and seems to enjoy the hobby as a 5 year old.

Who knows, maybe in 10 years things will have changed again and I can have a fish room set up or the massive tank i mentioned. I think i will always have some kind of tank

The point of this rambling i guess is for you young dudes to realise that you have plenty of time, life is fun and there will always besomething else going on besides fishtanks, sometimes you will be rich, then poor, then have cash again. There willl be times you love your tanks then get sick of them and so forth. Jobs will come and go and take up your time, so will girls or guys or whatever But there will always be an aquarium scene, sometimes you will be up to your neck in it and sometimes it might just be a betta in a 5G on your desk. I guess the main thing is just enjoy yourselves and the hobby
 

TwoTankAmin

Dovii
MFK Member
Oct 2, 2008
205
398
102
New York
I do not have any of the fish from my first tank. It was a community with some corys, swordtails and zebra danios. The tank, a 45, eventually leaked and went to the local dump. However, in my second year in the hobby I started to buy clown loaches. I was also given several at close to 4 inch. I still have two of them today. I also still have some of the proven breeding zebra plecos I got in 2006. Finally, I also have a few sidthimunki loaches from about 2003.

And the best part of being old for those who were able to save for these years, is that there are no fish I wanted that I did not get because i could not afford them. Consider that one can keep a not large tank without needing a lot of strength or agility. I am still going pretty strong at 73. I don't see why I cannot have a 28 gal tank if I am still alive at 85 or 90.

There is one thing I can say for sure about growing in the hobby. When i set up that first tank I could not care less if any of the fish I had in it. or which might get in the future, spawned. I did believe fish should be kept with both sexes though. Today 14/20 tanks are dedicate to breeding and growing out B&W Hypancistrus plecos from the Rio Xingu. I guarantee you that at almost no point along the way was this the plan. I also became somewhat fascinated with the various strategies fish used for reproducing. I wanted to see as many examples as I could. Splash tetras ( Copella arnoldi ) are still on my to do list ☹

 

Hendre

Bawitius
Staff member
Moderator
MFK Member
Jan 14, 2016
9,780
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South Africa
For me, when I was younger, the biggest influence by far on what I kept and in how many tanks, was always how settled I was where I was living. I left home at 17 and had many relationships through the years. I had tanks in many of those relationships but it soon became a real pita to move my stuff around from place to place. That is the number one reason why I came out of the hobby years ago.

And I didn't get back into it until 2015, by which time I was married and well settled.

Now the biggest influence by far on what I keep and in how many tanks, is my wife!!! Lol. I always call her out on here for not allowing me to over run the house with tanks, but she knows what I'm like. She's there to protect me from myself. And to be honest she is brilliant for keeping me in check.
Moving around is basically why I have scaled down so much, just down to what my family can feed while I'm away. Props to your wife for controlling the MTS ;)

For us in our 40s its sort of amusing to see all you younger guys in your early 20s talking about adulthood. It makes me feel like an old man but i do remember how i felt at your age when it feels like the whole world is ahead of you then before you know it 25 years have gone by.

Ive pretty much had fish since i was in my late teens, then as you say money was the biggest hurdle. Once i was i my 20s i discovered travel, cars, nightclubs girls and weed so fish took a back seat for a while but i usually had a tank on the go, Generally a mix and match community with all sorts of fish in it. i found it was a good thing to have a hobby that was just mine and didnt involve any of my regular crew that i could use to escape all the overindulgences and nonsense of that time of my life.

In my later 20s after travelling for 3 yearsr, settling down a bit and getting a well paying job i went pretty wild with the hobby with multiple tanks and a collector mentality as i had a decent disposable income and no responsibilities beside work rent and food. Looking back I would have preferred one massive spectacular tank done right intead of lots of tanks all over my apartment.

Now im married with a kid and mortgage, money isnt quite as free as it used to be and neither is time, i now have just 1 tank but im really enjoying it and try to act like an experienced fishkeeper eg. not giving in to impulse buys, regular maintenance is non negotiable etc. I have set up a small tank for my wife with livebearers and a betta tank for my daughter too so really have 3 tanks. My 120G is still empty in the shed and in the back of my mind but that can wait. Its become a different scene now as my daughter tags along to the fish shops with me and seems to enjoy the hobby as a 5 year old.

Who knows, maybe in 10 years things will have changed again and I can have a fish room set up or the massive tank i mentioned. I think i will always have some kind of tank

The point of this rambling i guess is for you young dudes to realise that you have plenty of time, life is fun and there will always besomething else going on besides fishtanks, sometimes you will be rich, then poor, then have cash again. There willl be times you love your tanks then get sick of them and so forth. Jobs will come and go and take up your time, so will girls or guys or whatever But there will always be an aquarium scene, sometimes you will be up to your neck in it and sometimes it might just be a betta in a 5G on your desk. I guess the main thing is just enjoy yourselves and the hobby
Nice post! Sometimes other hobbies or projects take priority, my fish tanks have been gecko tanks or propogation areas for carnivorous plants as of late, and down the line I hope they become fish again. Still waiting for those disposable income days!

I do not have any of the fish from my first tank. It was a community with some corys, swordtails and zebra danios. The tank, a 45, eventually leaked and went to the local dump. However, in my second year in the hobby I started to buy clown loaches. I was also given several at close to 4 inch. I still have two of them today. I also still have some of the proven breeding zebra plecos I got in 2006. Finally, I also have a few sidthimunki loaches from about 2003.

And the best part of being old for those who were able to save for these years, is that there are no fish I wanted that I did not get because i could not afford them. Consider that one can keep a not large tank without needing a lot of strength or agility. I am still going pretty strong at 73. I don't see why I cannot have a 28 gal tank if I am still alive at 85 or 90.

There is one thing I can say for sure about growing in the hobby. When i set up that first tank I could not care less if any of the fish I had in it. or which might get in the future, spawned. I did believe fish should be kept with both sexes though. Today 14/20 tanks are dedicate to breeding and growing out B&W Hypancistrus plecos from the Rio Xingu. I guarantee you that at almost no point along the way was this the plan. I also became somewhat fascinated with the various strategies fish used for reproducing. I wanted to see as many examples as I could. Splash tetras ( Copella arnoldi ) are still on my to do list ☹

Wow that sounds like quite the adventure and some long-lived fish, congrats on keeping them going for so long. Splash tetras are supremely interesting. I am sure you'll have a chance for them ;)




Something I have enjoyed thus far is being able to work towards more goals. Doing botany, getting involved in science, working to afford extra things I want. Have more freedom to go hiking with my friends and so on. My fishkeeping goals have went from having a huge fishroom to now probably having a few nice display tanks, especially an African Oddball one! It seems like everyone else has experienced that too :)
 

Chub_by

Aimara
MFK Member
Jan 30, 2012
4,775
594
135
Europe
I remember when you were still brand new here.. man you posted a lot lol, but it's genuinely great to see how far you've come both as a fishkeeper and personally as well!
I'm in the same boat somewhat.. joined this forum as a high school kid with lots of time but no money, then was a student with less time and still no money.. I actually almost got out of fishkeeping completely because I was sick of having to cut corners and improvise or DIY everything.
Fast forward a bit and I'm now working full time and as you say it's hard! I actually even work somewhat in the aquarium industry industry so I definitely have good access to the stuff I need for good prices. However I will admit that working for 8-10 hours a day on this stuff makes you less motivated to spend time on it after work, too.

The bottom line is that we're all MFKs because fishkeeping is our passion and no matter the obstacles nobody will ever get us out of this hobby completely 😜
 
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