Notes from a 60 tank fishroom.

Dang, y'all are old. I ain't but 57 :D I did get a knee replacement when I was 50, though. Titanium is excellent! I've started doing squats while I hold the hose to empty or add back water during water changes. I used to gain a bunch of weight- work out like a fiend and work it off. Last 20 years, it's been more up than down. I'm doing a lot more to keep it down, though, and hope that my joints will hold up (my other knee was on the same path as my right one, but I think it got scared when the other got replaced and got its act together).

I don't see having more than 3 tanks at any point in the future unless we win the lottery and decide to move. Mine are high enough to get into, although I have to wear those headbands with lights on them to see stuff sometimes and getting at my CO2 under the big tank is not that easy. First world problems...
While the rest of the world deals with inflation, my fishroom has shrunk.
Not by much.
I've taken 10 tanks offline and stored them in the corner of the garage, and another 5 to 10 will follow soon. I expanded the room at this time last year in anticipation of bringing fish back from Gabon. Now everything has settled in, and I had too much wasted space. That led to too much time changing water, and not enough time breeding fish. It's time to get back to detailed 'work'.
I have the water changes down to a simple, quick routine, but for a while, life has been not very routine and I have had less 'fun' time overall. I'm going to stick with 2 tanks per killie species, though my favourite, which I maintain longterm, has 6 tanks now.
I have some little 5 gallons I'll switch pairs in and out of for egg collection, beside a couple I've set up for tetra breeding. The remaining 50 tanks include several empty and cycled ones for fry raising.
I also have 3 40 gallons for Cichlid fry that have yet to materialize.

If you ever get into breeding fish, you have to plan space to raise them properly so other hobbyists can get good quality fish from you. I'm in an out of the way corner of my country, so distribution is an issue, but I have some fish in a precarious state in nature that I would like to get out into the hobby.
I fell into the old foolishness of a system of infinite growth on a planet with limited resources - I'm aiming for negative growth for things to be sustainable! I like the tinkering out there, but I moved to the country, and that changes everything. This really is a better hobby for urban people, except for the problem of the cost of space. You want the dynamism of a city to trade, exchange, share, discuss and give you an outlet for any rare fish you breed. The local aquarists are really into it, but they aren't into the weirder fish, or the discovery side of things. Without that, you can commercially fish breed only. That's dull and doesn't pay off. All those fish have been bred before.

If you are going to produce limited numbers of strange and beautiful things, you have to be in a space where people want to know what they are, and may want to branch out into trying them. Otherwise, you end up with too many fish. There was a fish auction in my old city last week, and I realized I would have walked away from that with a pocketful of cash, and a network of interesting connections if I had still lived there. Here, I have to change that mindset and adapt.

I've been 'discontinuing' a number of species I can't find homes for my surplus with, simply by not making any effort to breed them. A few species have timed out age-wise, and the ones I'm keeping are ones I enjoy the most. Yup, the prettiest and strangest ones.

I'm unconvinced about hobby preservation of endangered or extinct in nature fish, because I've seen no ability on the hobby for us to develop networks to make that function. This is for fun with no high purpose.

But I am improving sightlines and scaping every tank I keep (with slow growing plants) so that visitors can see the beauties who like to hide. Who knows, maybe the cruise ships will run fishnerd tours...
You describe the problems of fish breeding and fish keeping in a rural area very well, Gary. I aspire to live in the middle of nowhere again someday, and I have pretty much decided that if I ever achieve that, I will probably retire from the hobby. It's just too hard.
I'm not so much in the middle of nowhere (which would drive me to the drink) but on the outside edge of somewhere. You can certainly have a great aquarium hobby in a place like this, as long as you have a forum of this type to get that fish talk need out of the way. I have a small core of local aquarists who drop by, but you don't get to share projects much out in the sticks.
For now, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. In most ways, I would prefer to live in the centre of a busy city. The rural life is for retirement and withdrawal from the happening side of human activity. But as an old man, I knew I wouldn't be able to afford city life, with the current undermining of living standards. Housing costs are skyrocketing. Now was the time to perch on the edge of a small city and give the lifestyle a try.
@WhistlingBadger - you like the hunting side of the outdoors, and for that, I can see living in more rural regions. But you'd still need fellow musicians to play with, and a scene to play in. Coyotes yelp well, but they don't harmonize... with aquariums, we don't need a band, and it is a good hobby for soloist loners.

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