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What got you into the hobby? What are your fondest memories of being in the hobby?

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I thought I'd start this new topic given the precarious situation the aquarium industry is now in.

(Being discussed currently here: http://www.qldaf.com/forums/general-aquarium-discussion-19/fish-keepers-123271/)

So on a brighter note - what got you into the hobby? Who influenced you in your early days? Fondest memories? Funniest moments even?

Basically a topic of all things positive in the hobby / industry.

So I'll start..

As a kid from as young as I can remember being in pet shops and looking at fish was the best thing! I lived near the Argonault Aquarium owned by Phil Casey. I'd spend hours looking at the fish and tanks. I was there all the time. I'd ask questions - read every book and TFH magazine I could get my hands on. I remember when Electric Yellows were newly available in the hobby; front page of TFH! I remember Phil having a big display tank up the top with Yellows and Australian Rainbows. They must have been amongst the first Yellows in the hobby. They were large, full grown fish and they looked sensational with Rainbows. I loved natives from an early age. Argonault set up a small 2 foot tank as a display of the local native - Empire Gudgeons. The tanks was chock full of driftwood stacked from to to bottom. The Empires looked sensational - to this day I have never seen a better strain that the variant which used to be found there locally. I guess that got me more hooked into natives.

I was always fascinated by their feeder fish and feeder shrimp (lge macros) tank. I looked at the tank for hours watching the shrimp trying to catch the fish. One day I noticed this amazing coloured fish in the feeder tank. I knew it wasn't a Gudgeon or a Gambusia (we called them Mosquito Fish back in those days). I watched it for days and days and watched the shrimps nearly catch it. I couldn't bear it anymore and asked a staff member what it was and how much. She said it was a Gudgeon - I knew it wasn't but paid - I think $1 and some change for it. It was an awesome fish. Bright orange fins - blue eye- WOW! Showed one of my parents and they said to go back and ask Phil what it is. "No way!" I said "He'll charge me more for it!" "He can't do that" they told me, and reluctantly I was dragged back. Phil took one look at it and his eyes enlarged - he adjusted his glasses - pushed them up from his nose (if you remember Phil you'll know what I'm talking about!), and had this amazed expression on his face. "Where did you get this??!!" He asked me. I told him and the look of disbelief on his face was unmistakable. I wondered if the girl would get in trouble. Come to think of it I don't think I ever saw her there again. He told me the fish was a Honey Blue Eye - a native. To this day I believe it was actually a very colourful Pacific - but either way - Blue Eyes simply were not around in those days and this was an amazing fish. Fast forward over 30 years later and I'm as hooked on natives as ever, having kept most types of fish.

Incidentally my first fish were a non-native - two Bitterlings. I wanted to buy a turtle - was told shops couldn't sell them. I couldn't afford a heater and didn't want goldfish and to me Bitterlings looked like real fish - Bream - so went with them! An interesting choice for a first fish hey! Hardy as - and if you are not familiar with them - very unique as they lay their eggs inside freshwater mussels!

Browsing aquarium shops is still the pinnacle of the ornamental hobby for me - the "you never know what you'll find" excitement.

These days seeing native fish in their natural habitat - snorkelling with them - filming them - on video and still pics is a passion. Being able to do so in pristine World Heritage listed national park is so breathtakingly amazing!

In summary - fondest memories - that Blue Eye, the excitement of finding new fish while browsing pet shops. Seeing natives in their natural environment and doing my bit to preserve them and their habitat.

Look forward to reading others' stories!

Cheers!

Edited by none

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Exploring the creeks and mangroves; wildlife docos; fish nerd books and magazines; joining fish nerd club

Dive ticket -> to the lakes. I'm one of very few hobbyists to dive both lakes on dive safari with Ad Konings and take part in conservation of declining saulosi

Not luck, no rich background, Just did the hard yards with sacrifices to experience it first hand and bring back great memories like this....

http://www.qldaf.com/forums/photography-video-lounge-23/bouli-emperors-short-vid-rainy-day-viewing-119105/

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For me it was a very cooperative pair of Brown Discus - once I saw them with the wrigglers stuck on their sides , I was hooked they were as good a pair of parents you could get .

For all the B.S. about what fish is most impressive etc. A pair of Discus actually raising their fry as they are supposed to , is a sight not soon forgotten !

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@none. Did you breed the bitterlings?
No they didn't breed. Pretty sure I had two girls - they never got the colour the males get in breeding season. Edited by none

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For me it was being shown P. Mellis and P. Gertrudae for the first time about 40 years ago, this one was the original form from Cairns, i do'nt think it exists anymore since the expansion of the Cairns airport.

It had a lovely Mauve body and large salt and pepper spots, beautiful fish. We also used to get a Rhadnocentrus on Fraser Island which had a complete red body, where the irridescent blue is on most, these were red, red tail and fins, WOW! No wonder after seeing these i was hooked on keeping natives for the next 40 odd years.

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[MENTION=8516]none[/MENTION] I was a customer of Argonaut Aquarium in the early to late 80's as I lived at Slacks Creek.

You describe Phil to a tee.

He also started a fish hobbiests club. Probably Australian natives because he loved them

I bought Malawis from him and Scotts Aquarium at Salisbury. I remember Phil had three Tropheus Moliro in a tank for sale, I thought wow they are different, black body with a red collar so I paid an arm and a leg for them and took them home. Within a week one female was dead and the other had a mouthful! She spat 8 fry and they survived for a while but ended up dieing. I was a noob. lol

So I have bred Malawis off and on since the 80's and loved it.

My next breeding project will be Bettas. I am looking forward to the challenge. Keeps the grey matter ticking over.

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We had a goldfish tank when I was a kid...looking back I realise now that my parents had no idea how to care for them...they were overcrowded, the water never got changed and when they started eating one another my mum did not want them anymore and so I put them in the pool over winter..which was cool and they flourished...however, come summer mum made me catch them and we took them to Centennial Park in Sydney and dropped them in a pond...we really had no idea...when I was 21 I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder...which really turned my life upside down..but I found that when I looked at fish in the pet shops I felt peaceful and more relaxed..and so I decided that I would when I could, get my own tanks to come home to after work...now I am studying my bachelors at university and doing honours..which is a lot of work and stressful..I have currently 5 tanks set up and my fish are my means to relaxation and enjoyment..do I still struggle with mental illness? ..at times I do..but I am positive that having the fish has been a help and a therapeutic thing for me.

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^Similar to me when I was younger. Had a goldfish tank along with my father when I was around 9 years old back in 1999. Unfortunately, it didn't exactly work out due to overcrowded conditions and waste levels. So then he and I eventually gave up on them and decided to get regular silver dollars and blood red parrots in a much much larger tank. Worked out. Then I got my own tanks and I blossomed on from there; keeping Rainbowfish, Discus, very large fish (Oscar, Tinfoil, Bala, Datnoid) at the moment. So it was pretty much my dad who got me in the aquarium hobby. Been keeping aquariums with my dad for 9 years and 6 years myself, he officially stopped and let me manage the tanks and maintenance. So 15 years of fish keeping total? Haha :) Still currently going strong.

Fondest memories was shopping for aquarium plants, meeting a lot of informative online members of other aquarium forums that have a ton of knowledge, going through trial and errors, and getting into planted aquariums along with invertebrates.

Nice to meet you guys, by the way. I'm rather new here. From the US.

Edited by NeonFlux

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I got into the hobby thanks to my Dad who always had a dream of keeping and breeding Discus but never quite could do it, thanks to the regular moves that being in the RAAF forced on us.

My first experiences that I can recall were looking at all the weird and wonderful things being bred in Malaysia when we were stationed over there in the 70's. Then I received my first tank (and 18" er) into which went all sorts of in appropriate things. But around Butterworth (again still in Malaysia) where all these creeks and paddy fields - and all the fantastic things we caught that I never ever saw until much later here in Australia - such as golden panchax, snakeskin gouramis, croaking gouramis, weird bettas that we called "Thai fighters" as nobody knew what they were, and lots of odd rasbora like things.

Coming back to Australia I still had the "burn" so to speak and decided to stick to west African cichlids (kribs and the like). That was until 1990 when I went along to the now defunct Pet and Hobby Expo and there was ANGFA with a display of newly discovered Red-finned blue eyes. And all the other stunning fish from around Queensland and PNG. There was rhads from straddie, blue eyes from Cairns, Bosemani from PNG. I was hooked (and I'm in debt to Aquatic7 above who helped transport a poor student to/fro ANGFA meetings in Brisbane from Ippy). And since then I've been a member and locked myself into natives all the way (mostly rainbows and gertrudae), as well as getting into the activism side of things to save our waterways - and travelling the country side looking into all and sundry waterholes.

Met a lot of great people thanks to this hobby. Some even on this very list :-). And looking forward to continuing to get the message out there to preserve our water ways and the many and varied things (including H.sapiens sapiens) that depends on them.

cya

Graeme

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Well said Graeme, BTW it was my pleasure to have assisted you at the time and take you to the meetings. Good to hear you are still active and hope you are still the $2.00 man at the auctions. I must try and come along again sometime, best wishes.

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My uncle had a fish room which I loved visiting as a kid, eventually mum and dad got a tank my uncle built for someone and they no longer wanted it' we had all sorts of stuff from marines to tropical and most things in between as I grew up

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My partner and I decided that as a rather unusual anniversary gift we'd get a dual present - an aquarium... we'd both had aquariums as kids. From our first 'anniversary aquarium' it kind of spiralled out of control. In fact I came home from work today and he'd bought me a new tank + accessories for a planted tank I've been planning. Keeping the fish lovin' alive. Us kids, hey?

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