The Creation Of A Marine Aquarist

Phase 1.

I had to go down to town today. There’s this pet shop, thought if I have time I’ll pop in for a look when the car’s fixed. As it happened I had loads of time, so had a long look round. It was quite interesting. For sale were a lot of aquariums of many different sizes and shapes. Expensive though, the ones with equipment on. Had a look at the fish too. Wow! The colours and shapes were amazing. A salesman asked if he could help, said I was just looking round. He said the fish were [tag-tec]tropical marine fish[/tag-tec]. He also showed me corals. I never knew these were available at all.

Phase 2.

Amazing those fish. Can’t get them out of my mind. On the way home popped into the pet shop again. Saw the salesman, he wasn’t pushy, I’m pleased to say, as I hate that. He showed me a lot of aquariums, and I told him they were too expensive for me. He said they could arrange finance, but I said I didn’t want that. So he took me to see some other aquariums, these hadn’t any equipment attached. The price was a lot less, but still not cheap. I hadn’t noticed last time, but they have a set-up aquarium with fish and corals in. It looked fantastic. I asked if they would be hard to keep, he said not, but things needed to be done correctly. He asked what size aquarium I would like, I said I didn’t know, I hadn’t measured, didn’t know if I wanted one (but I did). He didn’t seem bothered, said I should call back if I wanted to know anything else.

Phase 3.

Got my expanding ruler out and measured the space in the hall. The little table is never used, and there’s a power socket there as one of those would be needed. I’ve decided I would really like a [tag-tec]saltwater aquarium[/tag-tec]. My wife looked a bit puzzled when she saw me measuring, asking what I was doing. I told her, but she didn’t seem too keen. I asked if she’d like to go to the pet shop. She agreed, but said she didn’t want mess everywhere in the hall. I tried hard to convince her there wouldn’t be, but she didn’t seem convinced!

Phase 4.

The two of us went to the pet shop and had a look around. The man I had seen previously saw me, said hello to my wife, and said to call him if I wanted anything. My wife had wandered off to the ‘fish for sale’ aquariums. She said ‘Look at that one, isn’t it cute.’ I was really pleased. Then we had a look at the aquariums. My wife was a bit shocked by the price! I said it could be done cheaper – besides, the one she was looking at was fully fitted and 6 feet long! I had my fingers crossed. ‘It won’t be a mess then?’ ‘No.’ ‘Ok, then, they’ll look good in the hall as long as it isn’t bigger than the bit you measured.’ Great. Over the major hurdle! Had to go home, but the man gave a general list of what I needed and some information brochures.

Phase 5.

I read into the early hours. It was all about salt mixes, protein skimmers, heaters, filters and lights. There were pumps and power heads to read about too. Made my head spin a bit, but I think I’ve got the idea. Two weeks later called into the shop on the way home, they were helpful as usual. (My wife said she would be there after 15 minutes.) Said I was definitely having an [tag-ice]aquarium[/tag-ice], but not a fully fitted one, but I did need a stand. He showed me the ones available with aquariums already on them. I liked a beech finished one. My wife arrived and she liked the beech one too, it would match in well at home. Seemed a bit expensive, but it was built nicely and the aquarium fitted in properly. The man, I now know his name is Paul, advised the stuff I’d need after he’d asked a lot of questions. I’ve decided to have just fish to start. Paul added up the bill for all the hardware and aquarium decoration and told us, I thought maybe my wife wouldn’t like this but, no, she didn’t object. I again refused finance. He and another man loaded everything but the tank and stand into the car. The stand and tank would be delivered a little later. I was surprised when Paul asked if we had time for a coffee. He’d already suggested some fish (in due course) and said he was going to give us a book called ‘Home Marine Aquariums’. He said it was really interesting and would cover everything. I asked how much, Paul said it was free, treat it like a discount. He then said that any problem, I must come into the shop and tell him so he could assist. Paul looked at me and asked when I wanted the fish. I said the aquarium would need to mature first. Paul looked really pleased, he said I must have been reading up well. He said the test kits I had would be in use soon.

Phase 6.

I nearly went mad waiting for the aquarium to mature and settle, but I didn’t rush things. The book I had been given at the shop helped a great deal. The waiting time wasn’t that long, and apparently nowhere near as long as it could be as I had ‘live’ rock (this term for rock gave us a good laugh). I went on the internet a lot and read what experienced aquarists did. Some of the pictures of reef aquariums were so good! It was said, quite a lot, that patience is a high requirement to be a successful salt water aquarist.

Phase 7.

The time came when I reckoned the aquarium was ready for fish. Very exciting for both of us. I took some water to the shop and Paul tested it. ‘Fine’ was the verdict. Paul showed us the fish he reckoned would be good for us. He explained each one. My wife fancied this bigger fish, Paul suggested not this time. He said he wouldn’t mind betting that in the not too distant future we would want a reef. He advised that the fish he had selected would be compatible with that, and hardy for now. He said, as I knew, that patience would be needed for maintenance. I said I had the buckets etc for water changes, and could get more salt etc from him when needed. I said I was going to keep the sea water at SG 1025. He looked at me and said ‘Oh, yes, in due course a reef for you.’ As we left the shop I was very satisfied. Glancing at the shop’s reef aquarium, I thought that Paul could well be correct.

Phase 8.

The aquarium is fully set up and has been for five months now. The fish are fine, we both feed them but are careful with the amounts. One fish was chased at the beginning which worried us, but Paul said to wait. He was correct, all seemed to settle. Paul said it was probably to do with settling in and security. The ‘live’ rocks look great, with the fish swimming in and out. My wife even said we should have had the aquarium in the lounge so we could see it more. She’s as keen as me!

The aquarium is great, I’m glad we have it. The rocks have some growth on, but they look a little bare to me. It’s that reef aquarium in the shop. In time, I’d love one of those. I’ve chatted to Paul about it over coffee already.

(Note: the above is not based on any real events. Though a little idealised, doesn’t it happen something like that?)