My wife and I live in the Florida Keys. We're always on the water, in the water, snorkeling, taking pictures, catching lobster and shooting fish and it's something we can do together.
In 2001 I took a 55 gallon tank that was sitting in my storage shed and decided that since we live on the water in Key West, we might as well start a salt water aquarium. Boom...we're in. Bought some crushed coral, ordered some instant ocean and did some research on how to "create" a wave making reef tank. I wish I'd taken pictures of the contraptions I created to save money back then.
Off we went on the boat with some 5 gallon buckets and a fish collecting net. Came back that same day with live rock that went right into the tank....(big mistake looking back), a queen angelfish and a few highhats. They also went right into the tank. We sat for hours watching them and had no clue about cycling tanks and such. Well, the tank did it's thing, over the next 2 years we kept adding rock, fish, anemones, and all kinds of things with never a thought about quarantine.....then it happened....
A new piece of live rock goes in the tank which now is totally built up with lots of fish...overnight our fish start to disappear....everyday my wife is crawling around trying to find her little friends and they are nowhere to be found. Late one night I hear a loud popping noise coming from the tank so I took a flashlight and snuck up on the tank.....not one, but 3 mantis shrimp surrounding a hermit crab and digging the sand out from under him to flip him over. If you have ever had one of these freaky little murderers in your tank, you'd probably give up the hobby!
Hours of study and looking for ways to get them out of the tank without killing everything and I was still only able to catch 2 of them. The rest of the fish were decimated except my angel which I released back into the ocean where hopefully it lived a long and happy life. My tank days were over for good.
Until now. My wife just celebrated her 50th birthday and I was told in no uncertain terms it needed to be a biggie. Now older, wiser and a little more financially sound, she got a 74 gallon bowfront tank with all the bells and whistles, 90 pounds of cured (safe) live rock and everything we need to have a reef tank with corals and fish. She's sitting on the floor in there staring at them now and it's only a month old with a couple of chromis, a few turbo snails and a couple of emerald crabs.
We've got the bug again, and we have a 10 gallon quarantine tank set up and we're ready to start collecting fish again, but this time without the reckless abandon. We're hooked!
Thanks for having me in the forums!!!