Mom had black water fish when I was a baby, a whole mini eco system with its own never ending supply of tubifex worms, plants so lush the fish were a rarely glimpsed distraction, and several small schools of different tetras. My first tank was the ubiquitious bowl of gold fish, I was 6 and hooked. High school brought on betta breeding, a succession of bad luck with dwarf blue gouramis, good luck with other gouramis, and a planted tank of my own. College brought on my first salt water tank, a 10 gal
nano with engineer gobies and live rock and an undergravel filter, when nano wasn't even a word outside of science fiction. Then a 29 gal
was another undergravel filter affair with calcium carbonate chunks and 50lbs of live rock, a starved green mandarin, several lps
and softies, and a serious bout of conscience after the mandarin affair. I successfully kept that tank going for quite a few years. Went off to join the Army and had a succession of tanks from 29 gal
to 40 gal
. During the patchup process from my little side trip to Iraq, got the 58 show tank which has been up since Feb 04 to help pass the hours not in physical therapy. That tank was the best investment in stress coping! Now I'm just about finished with the medical retirement process, purchased a home, and working on the next and last (I can fool myself can't I?) big project tank, the 135 over the 75 sump. Once I'm settled out with the VA I'll be going back to school to finish out my marine biology, ethnic studies, and fisheries management degrees (36 credits to go). Then hopefully on to a more peaceful job for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fisheries Commision, or its equivalent in the Pac NW. And child safety is a HUGE concern of mine, I have massive bouts of paranoia about my kid getting into the aquarium, falling into buckets, sumps, etc, throwing things, dropping weird food into the tank... so I've got enough hidden child safety locks to keep patent holders happy for decades.