May 192017
 

Well, I spent a little time in the old cellar fish room yesterday and scratched my head quite a bit.  The first thing I need to do is come up with a better heating system.  I admit, the electric heaters I used in the past are still there and fine, but think I need something better.  We now have access to natural gas and I am considering converting the entire house to this option, which will include a new furnace and some work on the water circulation heating system.  I suspect with a bit of work I can find a radiator and a place to install it in the fishroom.  That may do the job.  *waves goodbye to a couple thousand dollars*  Yes, I have contracted a company to install what I need.

I need to clean pretty much everything in the fishroom from the tanks to the fry raising trays and egg containers.  I have 6 daphnia tubs which are of course emptry adn need to get starter cultures of daphnia, white worms and microworms at a minimum.  I counted the tanks available to me in this room and came up with ninety-nine 2-1/2–5–10-20-gallon tanks in the smaller room. That does not count the 1-gallon fry tanks and other things I have held fish in.  Everything needs to be cleaned.

My old refrigerator seems to have died.  I will be looking at that before I decide what to do.  A lot of melted stuff in there, but it might just have been shut off at some point to defrost it and now I need to clean it out.

It’s really strange to be looking at all of this after two years and remembering what it once was and how it looks today.

I guess I better get to work.

 May 19, 2017  Posted by at 9:25 am NEWS & INFORMATION, OPINION PAGE No Responses »
May 182017
 

A little over two years ago I underwent a quadruple bypass after suffering through a couple heart attacks (Myocardial Infarction).  During the surgery, I also suffered a stroke which has affected my vision slightly.  Fortunately the stroke did not affect anything else (as far as I know).  In terms of my killifish hobby, it all but destroyed it.  I no longer had the desire to spend hours a day in the fish room or do any of the related activities that were so much a part of my hobby for the previous 45 or so years.  Last fall, while on a vacation, my last tank of killies, some Panamanian Rivulus was hit by an unexpected cold wave and since I had no heat on in the house, those fish died.  I am down to one live tank in my house and it contains some tetras and loaches.  A sad state of affairs.

Today, as I sit here writing this missive, I am weighing a number of options on what to do.  I own over 200 tanks ranging in size from 2-1/2 gallons to 100-gallons (mostly 5- & 10-gallons).  I have a completely empty fish ready room in my cellar and an upstairs room in my house which I could easily convert to hold a number of tanks (somewhere around 50).  I just have to find the energy to do the work.  (Trust me, it took this long to really feel good about things again despite whatever I have done the past two years.  For example I am finally playing golf again after 2 years away from the game.)

In recent weeks I have been really thinking about the hobby and what I miss about it.  As a life member of the AKA, I still read every issue of JAKA from cover to cover and I check the BNL when it comes out.  Occasionally I drop by Aquabid to see what is available.  Over the past few days I have been really wanting to work with some killies again and I guess that is where I am headed.  It’s time to make a few decisions and in essence, order some fish.

Today I am going to go down in the cellar and start cleaning a few tanks and making some real decisions about what direction I want to go.  My real love is Nothos and I also really like Rivulus.  Actually I like just about any killie, but I do not want to go overboard.  I think as soon as the fish room is once again in order, I will make a few orders and see how it goes.   I doubt I will become a breeder selling fish online or in the BNL, but I am sure a few extra pairs will flow from my fish room, perhaps to shows and conventions.

I am always glad to hear from my old friends and am looking forward to seeing many of you again in the future.  I will not make the convention in Chicago this year, but who knows about the next one.  It would really be nice to go to a convention I do not have to work.

Wish me luck!

 May 18, 2017  Posted by at 6:54 am NEWS & INFORMATION, OPINION PAGE No Responses »
Aug 072016
 

Over the past few years I have watched the slow decay of our hobby, the ending of regional shows and the loss of membership in the AKA as well as the overall tropical fish hobby.  It saddens me greatly.

I don’t believe there is any one reason for this, but without a doubt our aging membership as well as the passing of some of the great hobbyists is a part of the problem.  That, along with the new generation of younger people focusing on different aspects of entertainment (computers in paricular), our hobby has been hurt considerably.  This is not specific to the tropical fish hobby, but instead affects nearly all forms of collecting and building interests have seen the same slide in membership.

Is there a cure for this?

I do not believe we can stop the current loss of interest in hobbies that actually require a combination of self-education and physical effort, not when there are alternatives as simple and silly as Pokemon Go which is literally the most popular activity out there today.  Who knows what is next for young people to invest their time in.

What can we do?

I think the only way any of these hobbies can continue to exist is through education of very young children.  We need to find a way to access their minds while they are still young enough to be fascinated with tropical fish.  In the past a few of our members have been teachers who set up biology programs in their rooms as a tool to teach children about various topics.  It is my opinion we need to find ways to become “educators” — to find places where we can talk about out hobby that are not inside clubs, but instead to approach the outside world.  We may also want to contact local newspapers and see if they are willing to do an article on our ‘fishrooms’ or hobby.  Clubs need to make appearances at local and/or regional events, fairs or commercial shows.  Get a booth, set it up and simply promote to whoever might be interested.

Having a monthly meeting is no longer enough, but instead we need to take what we do to the public.  The AKA needs to find someone seriously committed to advertising, but not in the traditional ways (fish magazines and maybe a classified ad in a newspaper), but instead proactively get out there and find people.

Is this the answer?  I don’t know, but I do know if we do not make an attempt, 10 years from now there will be no A.K.A., very few clubs and the hobby will essentially be dead.

 

 August 7, 2016  Posted by at 6:24 am OPINION PAGE No Responses »