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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Today as I was prepping my setup for a contest, I thought about how far I have come over the past three years since I got my first real aquarium.

It all started when I was 8. My mom came home one day with a bag full of Dollar fish from Petsmart. A platy, a black skirt tetra, a plain ol' pleco, a neon and a tiger barb. We unknowingly put them in a 1g tank, with a air pump, black gravel and a "plant." Suprisingly, they lasted about 6 months before they eventually gave in. We took the tank down and stored it for about 3 years.

One "fateful" afternoon, me and a freind caught a small crayfish. I brought it home in a styrofoam cup thinking I would keep it as a pet and use the 1g tank as its home. I knew nothing about fish, or aquariums in the slightest, but thought it would be the coolest thing to have a little piece of nature next to my bed. Well eventually I got bord with the crayfish, so I got some minnows to keep him company. They all got eaten of course, but it was still fun.

This is when the ball started rolling. I started reading a little, got my hands on an old copy of "Aquariums For Dummies" and a huge (to an 11 year old me) 10g tank. I set her up using some money I had earned shoveling and eventually got rid of the crayfish. After reading and rereading "Aquariums For Dummies" about a hundred times, I decided to get some tropical fish. I came home from Petsmart not long later with a bag full of black skirts and a siamese algae eater. About a week later, ick came and our toliet claimed its first victim. I cried a little, yes, but kept going. (For those of you who are snickering, I was 11, give me a break!) I used some medication and the ick receded.

About this time I yet again got bored. Spent some hard earned money (no allowence for this guy!) on a brand new 20g high tank with a florecent strip light. I was super excited and spent an entire Saturday setting it up. A week later, I saw an add on Craigslist for some free convict cichlids. I ended up betting six (three pairs). Even with the six convicts (the others fish got eaten...) the huge (atleast to a 12 year old me) 20g tank needed something more. I got some plastic plants, but wasn't happy. I ended up getting a book from our local library that had dozens of pictures of planted biotope aquariums in it. I was enthrawled. The book had, under the heading "Central America" a picture of a cool looking tank with lots of slate and java ferns in it. That is what I wanted to shoot for I thought. So I did. Yet again I scourged Craigslist, this time for slate. I ended up finding some, thanks to a hobbyist taking down his fishroom. I put the slate in the tank, stepped back, and smiled. It looked pretty good. But it was missing something... Plants! I had this new fancy florecent light, so why couldn't I grow plants, right? I went to Pestmart, purchased some almost dead java ferns and some fertilizers that the Petsmart associate promised would perk them up. I took 'em home, planted them in the cracks and crevices and the slate and smiled. This was it.

Pretty soon after, I started getting worried that my six convicts were not getting along. Torn fins were, according to "Aquariums For Dummies" a bad thing. In vain I trolled the internet to find some miracle cure to let my fish get along; And boy, did I find it! I stumbed upon a forum. And not just any forum, The Planted Tank.net. I started my first thread, "Convict Cichlid Bullying" and the ball really started rolling. I look back on that thread, on everything I did for the first couple months of being on the forum, and laugh: I was an idiot! I bet I annoyed countless people with my stupidity and my horrible spelling. Anyway, with the help of the kind members here I progressed with my knowledge of the hobby. I learned that only one pair of convicts could possible fit in a 20g tank, and that I should stop using the "fertilizers" given to me by the Petsmart person.

At about this time, I saw an amazing tank. It looked like everything I could ever want out of an aquarium, and more. Who's tank was it you ask? Well, it was Hydrophyte's. A 65g planted riparium. So I decided to take the plunge and turn my setup into a riparium as well. I purchased my used Riparium Supply planters and rafts from Sewingalot. I got them and again spent an entire Saturday setting things up. After I was done, I stepped back, and smiled. It wasn't as good as Hydrophyte's, but it was a start. I loved the riparium plants though.

My tank really started to look like a piece of a river. Over the next months, I grew plants, and killed many more. I got a new light fixture, and my first canister filter. My tank evolved, just like I did (atleast when it came to my knowledge and wisdom of the hobby). At this time I also started my own aquarium blog, "The Planted Fish Bowl". I wanted to be like Hydrophyte, and Jason Baliban: The alpha hobbyists (atleast, they were in the mind of a 13 year old me). Pretty soon though, as usual, I got bored. A 20g tank wasn't that small anymore now that I was 13. I soon found out about the the Petco Dollar per Gallon sale. One August afternoon, I splurged and bought a 40g breeder. My (amazing) father built me a bulky and ugly, but usable stand, and again I spent a Saturday (and Sunday afternoon) setting the tank up. Everything I had was dwarfed by this new tank. But, I used what I had (as usual) and spent the very little amount of money I had on new equipment. The tank started to look good, and I was happy.

My blog "flourished" in my mind. I got a whopping 17 veiws per day, and got some compliments about my writing skills. All was good. My tank kept evolving as I did, I learned so much and my tank changed even more. In the spring of this year, someone (I am not sure who...) got it into my head to write an article about ripariums. Not a blog article this time, but a magazine article. A huge step up for a 14 year old. I had stuck with ripariums for along time now, I knew the ins and outs, and loved them just as much as I had when I got them. So I started writing. With the help of Hydrophyte and a freind of mine (who is a published author) the article started to shape up. Late this summer, I sent it it to Tropical Fish Hobbyist: The first aquarium magazine that I had layed my eyes on and my personal favorite.

Earlier this month I got an email with a contract: They had accepted it! I was bouncing off the walls exited. Maybe I am not being clear here: Me, a 14 year old gets to have his work in one of the biggest and best aquarium magazines in the world, next to the work of some of the "alpha hobbyist" of the modern aquarium hobby. I know that this isn't that big of an accomplishment, in the scope of things, but for a 14 year old homeschooler who had a 1g crayfish setup as his first aquarium three years earlier, it means alot.



WOW. You just read through all that? Oh, you didn't? You skipped through all of it? Ah, well, I don't blame you. It was pretty much a big mushy, boring "rant."

I really don't know why I wrote all that. Just thought I'd share on the spur of the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Sorry if I come across like I am bragging. I didn't mean for it to come across like that.
 

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Awesome story, Riparium guy! Reminds me of one of the first tanks I had. In the tank I had.. clown puke gravel, a gold fish, some japanese trap door snails that I found at a local pond, and some muscles that I found at the local pond. Funny thing is when I look back I loved that tank, and had tons of fun with it. I actually didn't have a tank for several years after that, and really got back in to the hobby about 2 years ago when I got a volunteer job at a store called Inland Aquatics. Flash forward about 1 year later, and I got a job at Inland. Flash forward to present and I have a high tech planted 75 gallon, a 5g, OEBT shrimp tank, and a 10g Gardneri tank. It's amazing to see how you've progressed. I think I've enjoyed this hobby even more knowing that I've earned the money for every bit of my set ups. I got the job at Inland about 1year and some odd months ago, and I still have it, I'm now the head of freshwater.
 

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i know what you mean.
im really big into reptiles and im going to start breeding soon all that stuff you know :p haha
but i felt like such a noob when i got my first cornsnake for christmas i was so excited and i think i was in like 4th or 5th grade. and now im a sophomore in HS
now im going to reptile shows, collecting reptiles, trying to get in the game haha
i have turtles, tortoises, geckos, snakes and even tarantulas, centipedes, and scorpions.
Now i feel all grown up :')
 

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Great story. I hated fish when I was younger so I didn't get my start until April of this year, so you are way ahead of me!

One tip on something to consider next though: learning to effectively use paragraphs when writing so you can organize thoughts and give us an easier time! Just some constructive criticism.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
And they say aqua culture in the US isn't as great as other parts of the world. We are evolving. You are probably one of the future greats...
Haha! I wouldn't go that far... :icon_smil I agree though: Aquaculture here is pretty low when compared to other countries. We need to setup up our game a bit. Something that has kinda made me think though, is the low amount of technology that gets to our aquariums. We have so much technology in this world, especially in this country, yet we aren't using it. I think that that needs to change soon.

Awesome story, Riparium guy! Reminds me of one of the first tanks I had. In the tank I had.. clown puke gravel, a gold fish, some japanese trap door snails that I found at a local pond, and some muscles that I found at the local pond. Funny thing is when I look back I loved that tank, and had tons of fun with it. I actually didn't have a tank for several years after that, and really got back in to the hobby about 2 years ago when I got a volunteer job at a store called Inland Aquatics. Flash forward about 1 year later, and I got a job at Inland. Flash forward to present and I have a high tech planted 75 gallon, a 5g, OEBT shrimp tank, and a 10g Gardneri tank. It's amazing to see how you've progressed. I think I've enjoyed this hobby even more knowing that I've earned the money for every bit of my set ups. I got the job at Inland about 1year and some odd months ago, and I still have it, I'm now the head of freshwater.

Nice story! I envy your job. Like, alot. :icon_smil If we took a poll here, I think we would all pretty much start out the same: goldfish tank. Kinda interesing in my opinion.

i know what you mean.
im really big into reptiles and im going to start breeding soon all that stuff you know :p haha
but i felt like such a noob when i got my first cornsnake for christmas i was so excited and i think i was in like 4th or 5th grade. and now im a sophomore in HS
now im going to reptile shows, collecting reptiles, trying to get in the game haha
i have turtles, tortoises, geckos, snakes and even tarantulas, centipedes, and scorpions.
Now i feel all grown up :')
I can certainly relate (as you have read). I love reptiles and amphibians as well. I unfortunately can't keep any though... fish are pushing the limits with my mom. :tongue:

Great story. I hated fish when I was younger so I didn't get my start until April of this year, so you are way ahead of me!

One tip on something to consider next though: learning to effectively use paragraphs when writing so you can organize thoughts and give us an easier time! Just some constructive criticism.

I don't know about way ahead. My knowledge is pretty specialized. I still have lots to learn over all.

Thank you very much for the critisism. My apologize about the quality of the post. I was mostly just wanting to get my thoughts on "paper" as quick as possible because it was almost 12 on a school night. (Naughty me...) I will deffinitely start using the "ENTER" and "TAB" keys more often, thank you!
 

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Canon pimp #002
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Nice story! I envy your job. Like, alot. :icon_smil If we took a poll here, I think we would all pretty much start out the same: goldfish tank. Kinda interesing in my opinion.
So, you have actually heard of Inland? yeah, it is pretty funny.
WOOOT! +1 for homeschoolers! go us :) especially those who are on TPT instead studying... bad me!
Homeschoolers rock! :)
 

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So, you have actually heard of Inland? yeah, it is pretty funny.


Homeschoolers rock! :)
im envious of your job too! i'd kill to have that job! i started with a betta......

yeah i have to agree with you on that one... us homeschoolers always have more posts than you public schoolers. haha. because we are logged on all day!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
you're only 14? i'm blown away. you're very articulate and mature for your age. Well done!
Yep! 14 is right. It would appear that I have obviously fooled you... Phase 1, complete... :flick: Thanks though! I try.
 

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Your right, I did not read through it all but I get the point. However, congrats on your accomplishment and your grammar skills for a 14 year old are excellent. Keep up the good work.
 

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Sorry if I come across like I am bragging. I didn't mean for it to come across like that.

I think you're entitled to a little bragging.

I enjoyed reading your post (Lucky me, looks like I didn't happen upon this thread until after you'd added the paragraph breaks! :red_mouth ) I look forward to reading your article in TFH.
 
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