Calling All Old Timers

GaryE

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My nickname when I was a kid was "The Old Man". I just kind of grew into it.

The illegal fish thing is a thing. I know importers who average a call or two a week requesting that they smuggle fish, and when they refuse, they get yelled at by "customers". There are a lot of people in the hobby who want fish because they're illegal. I don't question the intelligence of those people - to me, there is no question. That's a side of the hobby that hasn't changed over the 55 years I've been around fishtanks.

So pre-internet - I used to have a 45 minute walk home from school. The public library on the way home was unbelievable, and had TFH magazine going back to its early days, and several shelves of fish books. How many of you had access to, or liked to spend time reading up on species you thought you might never see?
 
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Back in the fold

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@GaryE My Dad got me the Innes book when I was in 4th grade and I devoured it. I read the description of every fish in there so often I knew them by heart. I credit that book with teaching me to pronounce the Latin names fluently and correctly. Remember the pronunciation guide ? Then I would read the location guides and pore over the maps inside the front and back cover. Every time I went to a fish or pet shop I would stare at the fish and then run home and read about the fish in Dr. Innes' book again. I read TFH like it was scripture. Couldn't wait for the new issue every month. Yeah, they used to be monthly. Youngsters today are missing out by not reading books. You read and read and learned. Now they read a half baked opinion from some yardbird on the internet and call it research. No ! That's not research. Research is reading and lots of it and comparing what you read and going back over it many times until you really get it.
I'm slowly putting a small library of fish books together. Next is one called Gouramis and Other Labyrinth Fishes by Oliver Lucanus and some other guy. Ever hear of it ?
I pitied the man who had no internet connection until I met the man who had no books.
 
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GaryE

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The Innes book - I still have about 3-4 editions of it here - a few before Herbert Axelrod made changes. I think what we miss with Internet culture is that the books would expose you to possibilities you might not see, while the Internet tends to be a fantastic tool if you already know what you're looking for. Seriously Fish is a great source, as are Fishbase, ScotCat, Killifish of Western Africa and a few others. Forums like this aren't (I'll stir the pot) reliable. People can get on here and post nonsense, or get drunk at night and post to create trouble. An editor would cut those posts to pieces. I'm a great believer in the usefulness of those expert editors who would make you answer a million detailed questions before they'd let stuff through. It was a good process.
An unedited forum can push you in the direction of better sources, if you get into the hobby. You learn pretty quickly who is grounded and who isn't, if you get involved, So I quite like this forum, but I can see its limitations loudly.
I had a very old, backshed find of a book when I was a kid - colourized pictures and author forgotten. I have slowly kept almost every fish in it. It's been kind of a quest within the hobby - I read the pages on each species so many times when I was a kid that they are burned into my brain. When I see one of those fish, I find a place for it.
If you are a younger hobbyist reading the old farts, get yourself the Baensch Atlas books. The taxonomy is dated as science has developed the tools to dig deeper, but beyond the Latin names shifting with learning, there is a wealth of possibilities in that book series. The information on keeping doesn't change, and you'll see things that may push you to make demands on the boring stores and push them to bring this hobby back to life again. As a hobby based on curiosity, experimentation and new challenges, the fishkeeping hobby has gone backwards rapidly. The new tetras Oliver Lucanus has video of in his below water youtube page would have had people fighting over getting them 30 years ago, and now, the stores are barely curious because people only buy the very very familiar things, and fishbreeding as a hobby has really fallen away. We're a straight up, cut flower type consuming hobby now.
 

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The Innes book - I still have about 3-4 editions of it here - a few before Herbert Axelrod made changes. I think what we miss with Internet culture is that the books would expose you to possibilities you might not see, while the Internet tends to be a fantastic tool if you already know what you're looking for. Seriously Fish is a great source, as are Fishbase, ScotCat, Killifish of Western Africa and a few others. Forums like this aren't (I'll stir the pot) reliable. People can get on here and post nonsense, or get drunk at night and post to create trouble. An editor would cut those posts to pieces. I'm a great believer in the usefulness of those expert editors who would make you answer a million detailed questions before they'd let stuff through. It was a good process.
An unedited forum can push you in the direction of better sources, if you get into the hobby. You learn pretty quickly who is grounded and who isn't, if you get involved, So I quite like this forum, but I can see its limitations loudly.
I had a very old, backshed find of a book when I was a kid - colourized pictures and author forgotten. I have slowly kept almost every fish in it. It's been kind of a quest within the hobby - I read the pages on each species so many times when I was a kid that they are burned into my brain. When I see one of those fish, I find a place for it.
If you are a younger hobbyist reading the old farts, get yourself the Baensch Atlas books. The taxonomy is dated as science has developed the tools to dig deeper, but beyond the Latin names shifting with learning, there is a wealth of possibilities in that book series. The information on keeping doesn't change, and you'll see things that may push you to make demands on the boring stores and push them to bring this hobby back to life again. As a hobby based on curiosity, experimentation and new challenges, the fishkeeping hobby has gone backwards rapidly. The new tetras Oliver Lucanus has video of in his below water youtube page would have had people fighting over getting them 30 years ago, and now, the stores are barely curious because people only buy the very very familiar things, and fishbreeding as a hobby has really fallen away. We're a straight up, cut flower type consuming hobby now.
Well-said on all points. This is a great forum, and we mods try to ride herd on the worst misinformation, but it's a forum, not a peer-reviewed journal. Let the reader beware!

I also agree with the Baensch/Riehl atlasses as a source of inspiration. I have pretty much memorized volume 1, and I'm in the market for volume 2. (And I have a birthday coming up next month, everybody. Just saying.) Online sources are great for focused research when you just want to learn everything that's known about a certain subject or species. But thumbing through those old books is a great place to start when you're just looking for ideas.
 

GaryE

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I also agree with the Baensch/Riehl atlasses as a source of inspiration. I have pretty much memorized volume 1, and I'm in the market for volume 2. (And I have a birthday coming up next month, everybody. Just saying.) Online sources are great for focused research when you just want to learn everything that's known about a certain subject or species. But thumbing through those old books is a great place to start when you're just looking for ideas.
I have the first three, though volume one somehow got wet and isn't in the best of shape. I think of fish by volume - volume 1 fish are around, volume 2 is the harder stuff, at least to find, and a fish I think of as a volume 3 or beyond is a real rarity. But it also comes around to an earlier part of the thread, as the fish in the various volumes are often there because they were added as they arrived in the hobby.

There's no other aquarium book or site that shows such love for the subject, and such painstaking detail about it.
 

Myrkk

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For my 5th birthday, my sister (godmother) bought me a 5G tank, clown puke gravel, and whatever fish we could find at KMart

It had one of those corner filters, with carbon on the bottom and fiberglass floss at the top (Hartz Mountain, yes)....she cleaned the tank every Saturday, and changed the carbon/fiberglass religiously...put the fish in the bathroom sink(!) during the cleaning

I wonder why my fish never lived for very long?
Hehe, my hubbies Mum used to clean their fish out and once for some godforsaken reason put the fish in the toilet while she was cleaning the tank! Funnily enough dropping them in caused some to swim around the U-bend... poor things. She also managed to let their pet zebra finches out the window. Happily they gave up on pets after that.
 

Slaphppy7

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Hehe, my hubbies Mum used to clean their fish out and once for some godforsaken reason put the fish in the toilet while she was cleaning the tank! Funnily enough dropping them in caused some to swim around the U-bend... poor things. She also managed to let their pet zebra finches out the window. Happily they gave up on pets after tha
:sad:

Good to hear they moved on from pets!
 

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