Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine

Back in the fold

That One Guy
May 25, 2019
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On the banks of the Yellowstone
It keeps getting better. Got my March / April 2023 issue #759 in the mail last week. It has a detailed article on culturing daphnia along with pictures and an article that’s mostly pictures of diving a coral reef. Beautiful marine fish photography. Every issue is worth the modest $28 dollar yearly subscription. You also get access to the TFH article library on their website. Articles about anything you can think of. There’s a reason that TFH has been around seventy years. It’s great !
True, but something seems more 'official' about having it on paper. Plus you can't beat the glossy photos!
Yes , my thoughts exactly. I also think printed pictures are nicer than electronic screen pics. I like having a reference library that has been peer reviewed and fact checked too.
I assume they still have an editor working, and very few online sources do. Seriously Fish is one that springs to mind - we tend to trust it because it does have reviewers and editors behind the scenes. The book and magazine world is something we haven't replaced in the online world, and I'm glad TFH still survives. I doubt that will last much longer.
Most people with interesting perspectives and knowledge are so sick of the backbiting internet world, and of the creatures that live under bridges to post on forums or online. We have a serious break between the people whose knowledge used to provide the starting point to a lot of interesting fish discussions and the average aquarist now. We've lost that line between research and discovery, and access. There is a narrowing of the mind going on now in the hobby.
I have a large bookshelf of tightly packed in TFHs, including a lot from when I used to be a columnist and Contributing Editor, and an entire bookcase of fish books. In my local magazine chain I could buy 5 well editied 100 page plus mags every month, and my local bookstore had a section for aquarium knowledge. That ended less than 20 years ago.

A very rich resource is digitized articles, and you usually have to pay for access.

I work with youtube vids now, and when I look at the market studies of what kind of presentation people want, yikes. The short short videos that are called for now haven't replaced peer edited text, unfortunately.
@GaryE You summed it all up perfectly. TFH is at about 3,000 print subscribers and I have wondered how long they will go on. I cannot express how bummed out I am at the death of print. I get TFH , Fine Scale Modeler and Readers Digest. Back in the 1980’s I had at least a dozen magazine subscriptions , all with 12 yearly issues and an annual . I like my JAKA that the AKA puts out quarterly but there have been rumblings about going online with it because of costs and the members are reluctant to raise dues to keep it in print. Amazonas looks like a nice magazine but the subscription is a bit pricey. I may just break down and get it anyway.
The past is gone, and as Joe Strummer used to like to say, the future is unwritten. I just hope it stops being badly written and poorly researched like so much of what I read online.
I like to do a search adding pdf to the query, as that sometimes coughs up scientific papers I can access. But a 10 page paper on a fish might give one page of readable info. The purpose of the paper is to preserve research for others to build on, and I want to preserve living fish for generations.

The internet's years of childish tr*lling (I assume that's a swearword here) really broke something. The internet can be a nasty place for thoughtful discussion, so people who had filled their heads with fish knowledge retreated to invitation only discussion. We have a few real fish experts here, and I read everything I see them posting. But I know so many others who won't go near forums because they've been tr^lled too many times. It's simply no fun.

I say the past is gone, but that is untrue. The work done in the past to popularize fish learning still exists, and a lot of it is in digital form. You wish it were pouring out like it once was, but looking back is educational.

I used to work a split shift with 3 hours between jobs. There wasn't time to go home, so I would go to a local university library, where they had TFH starting in the 1960s. I read them all, and it was like taking an entertaining course. It took a while, but I had that job for years. If people can get at digital sources and they enjoy learning more than they enjoy thinking they already know, they should dig in. It beats reading about the royals or other celebrities, and takes about the same time. I've never seen a Prince that looked as handsome as a killifish.

I'm one to talk though - I don't have a sub to TFH and don't work with Amazonas anymore.
True story. The past ain’t coming back and childish internet trolling really broke something. No ! Do you think we are in the beginning stage of a new intellectual dark ages ? It sure looks that way but I hope not.
Nah, it's always been like this. The internet only lets us see it. There are just as many people thinking and creating as at any time. Even the real Dark Ages had a lot going on, even though on the surface it looked like all religion and war..

I think that for a hobby that lived at the edge of popular science, it'll be a killer. Although you never know - things move in waves sometimes and maybe a new generation of citizen scientists will find a way to save the internet from its anti-social directions. That remains to be seen.

I would love to see a strong wing of the hobby that has a focus on conservation breeding and eco-education, in partnership with the people studying biodiversity and evolutionary biology. That's a used to be now. This hobby can show us what we're destroying. We could be working with local fishing communities in the countries where our fish are found. As we learn, maybe we do something about it. Right now we're in one of those phases where we're interested in breeding larger tails, hybridization and selling fish as commodities. Maybe we'll get back to marvelling at newly found fish, and appreciating them by wanting to learn about their stories. Today's hobby is moving as far away from nature as it can get. If there's still a hobby in a few years, people will get bored with that, and maybe they'll steer it back to what I'd like to see.

Or maybe they won't..

I like beer. For ages, all we could get was boring swill. Then came the micro-breweries, selling stuff the Petco Breweries had stopped creating. A lot of it was crudely hopped IPA and trendy stuff, but a core of good, small breweries set up by ordinary people developed, and still haven't been bought out by the corporate boys. They will be, because that's how the market operates, but maybe the good product will remain as a side line, as long as people remain interested. That'll give us something to talk about.

I hope that happens with the fish hobby, and that the brewers of ideas hop to it soon!
As an optimist (these days) I think it’s inevitable that the broken internet will eventually be fixed. It’s the future, and it’s potential for the world is so vast, and tech advancement will one day be able to weed out the dross. It has to, right? But when? that’s the question.

I used to get Practical Fishkeeping, The Aquarist and Pondkeeper (sadly it folded), and for something exotic (well it was the 70s), the American one, TFH, which was like a window into a different world (different products, different fish, different style, etc).
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Let’s hope the antisocial part of the internet does correct itself. @GaryE is right I think. There are still creative people out there plugging along and doing good work in spite of the villains. To me , being the pessimistic Gloomy Gus that I am , it looks bleak but certainly there is still good out there .

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