Well, as some of you may know, I am "retiring" from the hobby -- at least for now. I have no doubt I'll return to fish and plant keeping in the future. It's a lovely bug you can never fully shake
I just wanted to thank everyone on this forum -- both moderators and members -- for being such a great resource of knowledge and inspiration. Truly, my planted tank would not have been nearly as successful had it not been for this forum. I had struggled with keeping plants for many years before discovering this network of peers. It brings me great satisfaction to know I have "conquered" the elusive planted tank before taking a hiatus.
If I had any advice for the newbies entering the hobby it would be pace yourselves. There was such a euphoria in the beginning -- buying new gear, setting up the tank, changing the tank around, running out to Home Depot at 1am to buy some tubing.
Learning new things, trying different aquascapes, and sharing ideas is what keeps it fun. A planted tank is never finished. Another piece of advice: keep it manageable. Beware of the specter of burnout. There's nothing like having to trim your tank for five hours every Sunday. Low light and slow growers can be your friend.
Never leave a Python unattended when filling your tank.
If there are any openings at the top of your tank, Amano Shrimp will find a way out.
Don't let your friends feed your fish.
And thanks as well to Plantedtank for providing a forum for selling off some of my gear. I've been able to recoup about half of what I put into the hobby... my gear is going to people I know will use it well... and now I have a little nest egg I can put aside for fish pursuits in the future.
I bid you all continued success with the hobby!