Receiving an invite like that normally means getting into something really comfortable and going to town to study the nightlife, usually through a glass of alcoholic beverage. In this case though it’s a bit more sober – usually – but still a lot of fun.
Aquarists love nothing better than looking at other aquarist’s aquariums, except for looking at their own. Close to that is talk about aquariums in general and all the subjects, such as equipment, that go with it. That’s probably why internet forums are popular, it’s a place where other aquarists give their opinions and experiences and queries can be answered. The answers to queries can in themselves be interesting purely because they are often so different.
There’s another place where face to face contact can be made and that is at an aquarists club. These come under various titles which often include something about the location. In a way they are a live forum.
As said most aquarist love chatting and arguing about the hobby. What better than face to face? Bill tells Fred about the problems Jim had when he introduced that new fish. Good bit of head shaking to be had after that! What about Harry and his alkalinity, he raised it too high you know. General good natured chatter is great and even better if there’s a drink to be had. Most clubs are not private bars; members just take a drink or two to share. Sometimes there are sandwiches and cakes to be had as well.
The greatest potential use of a club, apart from allowing aquarists to make more friends who have interest in the same hobby, is to a novice. Talking directly to more experienced aquarists is going to be of more use than any internet forum, as questions raise questions and the discussion could go on for hours if necessary until the novice understands or has formed an opinion. This kind of discussion usually attracts other aquarists sitting nearby. A ‘what do you think to this’ kind of thing.
Another advantage of a club is the chance to get an invite to view other aquariums. Photographs and videos on the internet are fine, but nothing can replace the view by the human eye. Different equipment in action can be seen, and discussions about methods and improvements could take place.
Many aquarist end up with all sorts of bits and pieces of marine aquarium equipment lying unused in sheds or garages. They appear when upgrades take place, or just changes because the aquarist has decided to follow a different avenue. Aquarists with this dormant equipment would be more than pleased to pass it on, knowing that it is to be put to good use. The cost is very reasonable, in fact if the two making the transaction are club friends it could be free.
We all know the cost of livestock, it isn’t particularly cheap. Also, even if the LFS is of good reputation, there is always the risk of problems. Many aquarists now ‘frag’, a word meaning aquaculture corals. It is quite likely that club members do this, and other club members could benefit before the LFS. An interested aquarist could even be invited to pop round and have a look at the mother colony in advance and see the ‘real thing’. Again, cost is low or it could just be a matter of swapping one for another, with both aquarists benefitting.
Clubs sometimes go off for the day to public aquariums or other places of interest, such as a large but more distant LFS. This offers the opportunity for the aquarists to linger more or less as long as they like. They are also able to chatter about marine subjects, without the children being bored or the partner wanting to go and see some clothes shops.
There are many good things about a local marine club. Maybe it is an overall aquarists club for both marine and freshwater, all the better, more to talk about.
Why not see if there is a local club near you. Try it and see, join if you like it, you probably will.