Old Salt Never Quits, Just Dries Out

Discussion in 'New Members' started by Amphibious, 14 Nov 2014.

  1. Amphibious

    Amphibious

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    Hello Everyone...

    It has been 68 years since I got into this hobby. I am blown away by the changes I’ve witnessed, especially in the last thirty years or so. My first aquarium was a 3 gallon pressed glass which distorted the gold fish inside. But that didn’t matter to a wide eyed kid that was fascinated with everything aquatic. I stared at that goldfish for hours every day.

    I spent the next 20 years expanding my holdings and knowledge of FW fish eventually doing some breeding, attending fish shows and even becoming a judge of fish shows. After getting married and buying a house, I expanded to keeping 20+ FW aquariums.

    In 1966 the marine hobby was in it’s infancy. Few LFSs had any SW set up and those that did knew very little about the needs of SW fish. Everything about a SW tank was knew and mostly unknown. Keeping coral was unheard of at that time. BUT, I had to jump into this newest facet of my aquarium passion.

    My initial set up was a 29 gal tank (if I remember correctly). What I do remember correctly is that everything died that I put in there. That frustrated me and I was challenged to find out the cause and remedy it. BUT, where to find the answers? The Internet was more than 20 years in the future. Books on the subject were non existent. Scientific journals were hard to find and difficult to understand with their technical jargon. Undaunted, I pressed on until I found, what was to me, the first book on the subject.

    Author, diver, SW fish collector, retail store owner, and supplier to public aquariums, Robert P. L. Straughan published his knowledge in the classic book, “The Saltwater Aquarium in the Home”. Robert’s book was the turning point in my quest for knowledge. I was so impressed with the book I had to meet him. The problem was he lived in Miami, Florida, I lived in Madison, WI, a distance of 1600 miles (2,575 Kilometers). I packed up my car with wife and kids, drove to Miami and met Robert at his retail establishment.

    After spending about two hours listening to Robert tell stories about his diving adventures, collecting stories, and the mechanics of aquarium set up for keeping SW fish alive long term, I went home confident I would succeed at this new hobby. I guess one could say I did succeed as now it’s been 48 years since that first SW failure and I’m more passionate about keeping SW than ever.

    Currently, I live in FL having moved ten years ago from Wisconsin. I’m a retired pipefitter/welder enjoying the warm weather. Do I still keep SW aquariums? Yes, more than ever. I set up a coral aquaculture facility on our property. I keep about 50 species of coral in colonies and 200 frags. Plus I keep a few species of fish which I quarantine for a minimum of 30 days before offering them to the public.

    So at the ripe young age of 76 (will be 77 very soon) I’m still fascinated by the marine aquarium hobby and have see many changes.

    By-the-way, I have a very different take on quarantine than most hobbyists and I will share that in the QT forum soon

    Dick
     
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  3. TaahirS

    TaahirS MASA Contributor

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    Nice! Good to have you on masa, you sound like you have lots of knowledge to share with us.:thumbup:
     
  4. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Hello and Welcome Amphibious

    yip, quarantine is something we should do, but most don't... Looking forward to see read your views on it.
     
  5. reef addict

    reef addict

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    i enjoyed reading your post.. would like to hear more about the equipment you used in the early years to keep marine fish.. today there is so much on the market..
     
  6. wookie

    wookie

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    Wow a fountain of knowledge welcome sir.
     
  7. Dexter

    Dexter

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    Ditto....welcome to masa and plse share all your knowledge. Some of us like me just started and read every single post that is posted on masa.
     
  8. Carcharias

    Carcharias

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    Wow. What an amazing story. Now this is history told first hand. Would love to here more and if possible do you have any old pics of your tanks or even just fish or anything related. Also would be unreal to see pics of your aquaculture farm. Thank you for sharing your experience. Can't wait to read your next post.
     
  9. Amphibious

    Amphibious Thread Starter

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    Thanks TaahirS, RiaanP, happy to be here.

    I enjoy reefing forums. When I can, I’ll add my 2 cents worth. I’ve done a lot, seen a lot, all through experience, no formal education in marine bio so all information is anecdotal, hands on trial and error. Lots of errors of course but, that’s how we gain knowledge.

    In the beginning we had just the basics, all glass tanks had just been brought to market, acrylic was several years away. We had heaters, hang on filters, under gravel filters, T8 fluorescent lights in cool white, and power heads. My first salt was Tropic Marin bought in 80 lb bags. Instant Ocean came out about that time which brought the cost down quite a bit. Tropic Marin was expensive and still remains expensive. Although, in my opinion, Tropic Marin remains the best salt on the market. Today, I use IO Reef Crystals.

    We’ve come a long way!

    Thanks wookie. The thing about being knowledgable in a subject is to share it with others and be open to gathering information from them. So, i look forward to learing from you guys...and girls of course. ;)

    Reading every post is a daunting task Dexter, but that’s how you learn new things. Research and trial is the key to success in any endeavor. We learn best by trial and error IF we pay attention to the errors. The successes are easy to remember, but it’s the errors that are the opportunity to learning.

    Thanks Carcharias. In the early days of my love of photography, I took slides. I have tons of them somewhere, buried in a box in the archives probably. Not sure I could even find them. A treasure trove of memories for me, would be cool to review my life before I die. May have to dig them out one of these days.

    I can share with MASA members interested in my aquaculture building, a slide show of the construction. My wife Sue and I built the building ourselves with the exception of the excavating, concrete work and electrical, all of which we contracted out.

    If anyone is interested There is a slide show of the building we built to house the aquaculture business on our web site. You can find it here. Dick’s Building Project.

    Keep in mind my wife was 60 and I was 70 years old when we built it. Pretty tough on us old birds in HOT Florida.

    FULL DISCLOSURE: The link goes to my web site which is an on line source for reefing stuff. However I do not ship out of the US. If the Mods see this link as a breach of the “rules”, they can remove it.

    Thanks again everyone.

    Dick
     
    Last edited: 15 Nov 2014
    reef addict likes this.
  10. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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  11. reef addict

    reef addict

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    forgot to say welcome.. nice having someone with so many years experience on the forum.. enjoyed looking at the pictures of the aquaculture house.. would love to see pictures of ur tanks
     
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