When I was around 3 years old I took a couple of the big Time-Life books that my parents collected and dropped 2 or 3 of them into our family fish tank...not sure why I felt compelled to do that, but I certainly remember that everyone was really mad at me afterwards! (I'm told that no fish were hurt but the books that were scooped out of the tank were beyond help)
What actually led me and my spouse into the hobby was our move from Philadelphia to Texas. Back in Philly we owned a single betta that lived in a large bowl on our kitchen table. My husband came to Texas first to start his new job while I stayed behind to pack up the house and get rid of everything that wouldn't fit in the storage pod or my car. I was stumped about what to do with Royal, the betta. I tried to give him away but no one wanted him. Someone actually suggested flushing him down the toilet, and I was horrified. Finally out of desperation I filled up a 5 gallon water jug, added de-chlorinator, dropped a heater into it for a few hours, then plopped the betta in, stashed it in the back of my VERY full SUV and hit the road. 3 days and 1600+ miles later I arrived in Texas, and Royal the betta was doing fine in his 5 gallon jug. After moving into our new house I wanted to give Royal a proper home after his arduous journey, so I bought a 5 gallon tank starter-kit from the local Petco. At this point in time we knew diddly-squat about proper fish-keeping, had never even HEARD of cycling a tank...so I naively got the new tank home, filled it up, added some water conditioner, and proudly let Royal loose into his new tank. Well.....I'm sure you can guess what happened...24 hours later Royal the betta was dead, and we were heart-broken. We couldn't understand why this pretty little fish that had survived a 1600 mile cross-country drive in a water jug had died almost instantly in his brand-new tank. On a whim we stopped in at the Petco with a water sample and started asking questions about what we had done wrong. Fortunately the employee we spoke with was pretty knowledgeable about aquariums and he gave us an ear-full about water parameters and the off-the-charts Texas tap water. Intrigued, we wanted to learn more and decided to try again at fish-keeping, but THIS time we did a ton of research, asked thousands of questions at several local LFS, watched a doctoral degree's worth of YouTube videos, and eventually joined a local aquarium club. Today, with my husband's 125 g planted discus tank and me with my 75 gallon rainbow/angelfish tank (and several small miscellaneous tanks), while we're a far cry from being experts, we look back at how ignorant we once were and marvel at how far we've come; we owe it all to poor Royal the betta, may he rest in peace!
ďA pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.Ē Ė Winston Churchill