There are many hobbies that people enjoy. Some people have a hobby that is a consuming passion, others its just something that is an enjoyable way to pass the time.
There are lots of different hobbies, some depending on the area of the world the hobbyist lives in. For example, gardening. This is a very large group, but it is mainly restricted – but not wholly – to temperate areas. Growing flowers in a desert is difficult! There are cacti of course and they have their own following.
The hobbies that are available vary from large numbers of participants to small. Stamp collectors may enthuse greatly, but their numbers are comparatively low. Amateur photographers run into much greater numbers, but those numbers are not that large. So it goes on: scuba divers, kite flyers, hang gliders, sailing, painting, art collecting, athletics, cooking, DIY, written competitions – well, you get the idea, the list could be very long.
None of the hobbies I can think of seem to equal the popularity of marine aquarium keeping. Maybe I have the wrong idea of the numbers involved in some other hobbies, or perhaps I have missed a massively popular one.
Look at the marine aquarium hobby. Some are interested in fish only aquariums, others in pure reefs and others, probably the most, in mixed reefs. It doesn’t matter whether the hobbyist is rich or of more modest means, all can participate.
Then there are the internet forums and other websites that have sprung up, and there are large numbers of them.
I receive Emails from around the world on various aspects of marine aquarium keeping.
Then consider industry. It was not that long ago that manufacturers had little interest in the hobby. If there are few hobbyists, there isn’t a viable market. But look at it now, there are manufacturers producing equipment in competition with one another, and additives to allegedly enhance the aquarium environment etc. It is a vibrant industry and, again, would only be viable with a large enough customer base.
Marine aquariums can exist anywhere in the world, hot or cold. All that is required is the equipment to maintain the seawater at the required temperature, be this heaters or seawater chillers, and have other equipment and of course livestock availability. This marine hobby is worldwide.
I suspect that hobbyists are the most numerous in the US and the EU. In those two the hobby really is very big. However, other countries, large or small, have representatives, perhaps just a few up to a good number.
So this hobby of ours could be the biggest in the world. In a relatively short period it has grown from diminutive with just a few determined and often struggling followers, the pioneers, to the position it holds today.
This wonderful hobby grows because it is so interesting and educational, and the marine aquarium creation so beautiful. It is also addictive!