30+ years ago I kept tropical freshwater fish. I went into a pet shop and saw fish with colours I could hardly believe. The proprietor came over, presumably having seen the look of awe on my face, and I discovered that they were marine.
At home I became something like toad of toad hall. The vision of these fish had lodged in my head. I had to do something!
Thus my first marine aquarium arrived. It was only 24″ long, and 12″ front to back. It became home to two common clownfish, Amphiprion ocellaris. Those two fish were staggeringly beautiful. To me, that species still is, as are the others I have had the pleasure and privilege to keep since. That first tank was supported by an internal filter. Not exactly hi-tech!
Of course the bug had well and truly bitten. The next tank was 30″ long, and was supported by a reverse flow under gravel filter. I wonder if anyone still uses them? There were three fish this time. The tank stood on a kitchen worktop.
Time moved on, and another tank arrived. Again fairly modest, it sat in a wall like a window. This time there was a sump connected, and, having discovered the wonders of rock, it was full of this. No fish though. This time the fascination was the colourful algae, the little shrimps and all the other minute life in my first reef, and in the sump. The day came when I ran into a Flame Angel, Centropyge loriculus. In hindsight my action was foolish, I bought it on sight having been assured it would not grow too large. I have never regretted it, however, and the fish was with me a long time, in regal splendor in the reef tank. He did eat a lot of my little shrimps, but I forgave him.
I started a much bigger aquarium, with sump, and much more sophisticated life support. I had two aquariums running. The bigger tank became the home for fish of various species, and also soft corals etc. What a sight it was! My love is still for soft corals. Eventually, the wall tank closed.
Then, marine disaster! I moved home and my beloved marine life went to the dealer. For two years I was without.
My current aquarium is smaller than the previous one because of space restrictions, measuring 36″ by 24″ by 18″. It still has a reef, with soft corals, and two fish, a Flame Angel and a Blue Damsel. The tank has been running a number of years and has developed well. I remain fascinated by the life within, and I suppose I always will.
& Joshua (The next
Salt Water Aquarist in
As a child I used to help my father out with his aquariums, I can’t really remember the first one but I remember the next as it was in the kitchen. The main memory I have is of the one which was installed in the wall. I was fascinated by what looked like spaghetti to me! I did not know at the time what it was called.
I used to help my father out – well when I say helped out I used to hold the water siphon pipe for him whilst he did a water change and go to the local fish shop with him and pretend that I knew everything!
I have one memory where I was entrusted, years later to look after my fathers aquarium whilst he was on vacation. I fed them as instructed, cleaned the skimmers as told, topped the water up – I thought I had done everything correctly, that was until I got up one morning to find that a fish had died – I was horrified. I shot to the aquarium to find out what I had done wrong and how had I killed the fish. Of course it was not anything I had done – it was just the fish’s time. I was so upset about it that I even offered to purchase another fish for my dad – of course he did not take it.
It was not until I left home that I got my first fish tank, well when I say fish tank it was actually a cold water gold fish in a bowl!
This did not last long though and quite soon a tropical fish tank arrived and sat in my hallway where I would watch and look after them.
As time went by I learned more and more and after visits to my local fish shop I became fascinated by the colours of the marine fish and corals and thereby my passion for the salt water aquarium hobby began.
My first aquarium was quite a small one by today’s standards but it was my pride and joy. It was filtered by live rock and became home to soft corals and fish. My father helped out and started to pass down some of his years of knowledge to me. This aquarium even moved home with me, luckily it was a larger home which meant more aquariums. I positioned the tank near a wall and connected another four tanks together keeping different varieties in each aquarium.
Time went by and my aquariums filled up. I wanted a bigger one and I had the perfect space for it. Along came a five foot tank, filtered by live rock and mud, so much water movement it was like a washing machine and lighting so bright that the electricity I was using could have powered a caravan! – This was home to SPS corals, hence the high water movement and high lighting.
I had this aquarium for years and the hard corals grew so large that I had to open a propagation tank and take cuttings of the corals which I gave away to other aquarists as well as my local sea life center.
Then little Joshua came along, I kept the tank for a while but before long I knew that I would have to downsize so reluctantly the aquarium had to go. Another smaller one came along though, but not that much smaller. This follows the same principles as the last tank, however without as much lighting and water movement. With wanting to spend time with Joshua I wanted an aquarium which was low in maintenance.