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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We see so many things to worry about, I thought it might relieve some new folks to know how bad many of us used to behave and still the fish and plants survived!
Maybe to get the real dirty dirt we need to set a time for the "old days"? Anybody want to start out by setting a time for what was the old days? Twenty years, thirty, fifty? Do we have enough old folks who will tell a few tales to make it entertaining?
Some story about how you "found" your first fish or plants? How you worked to get the first tank or you found things?
I've got plenty of my tales to tell, but better that some of you other "gentle folks" who have a few, adding your tale.
Want to tell how you cleaned tanks fifty years ago? Here's your chance.

My short story is that my first fish was fishing trip bait that we didn't use. They didn't last long though as we went fishing too often! It was a time when folks didn't let hobbies and fun interfere with food for the table.
 

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I think a good timer table is 20 years and prior. I can say after being out of the aquarium hobby that things have drastically changed in that time period.
 

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I was introduced to tropical fish back around 1952, when living in a small town in Missouri. Our local paper had an article about a dentist in a nearby town who had a tank in his office. I was fascinated, so I took a Greyhound bus to that town and saw his guppies and zebra fish. Great! I waited until he was ready to close the office and then talked to him about them. He invited me to visit his home where he had lots more tanks. Once there I decided I had to have some, so I persuaded him to sell me one of his surplus 10 gallon tanks - with enameled steel frame, with vals growing in it, and feeder quality guppies. We dumped out most of the water, and I carried it back home via Greyhound again.

When I got home I quickly replaced the incandescent light with a one tube fluorescent light, and set up the tank. I was cleaning it every week end. Removing everything in the tank, washing it out good, with soap and water, and resetting it up. The guppies reproduced until I had over a hundred, and the vals grew, no matter what I did. Summer came, and we had no air conditioning. The room temp climbed to 100F, and the fish began dying. By the end of summer all of them were dead, and the plants had died too. It was another 10 years or so before I had my next tank!
 

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Got my first tank, a 10 gallon metaframe with stainless hood around 1965. I was 10. Remember the box filter that you filled with charcoal and filter floss made from fiberglass. Had platys, mollys and swordtails. And of course colored gravel. If I remember right my dad bought the tank from the Speigal catalog. Had tanks off and on ever since.

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
 

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TryMy parents bought my first tank when I was 9 or 10 which would have been around 1971 or 72. It was a 10 gallon with one of the Metaframe stainless flourescent hoods and colored gravel with a corner box filter powered by a Tetra pump. It was a community tank with a couple of angels, zebra danios, etc. I've had an aquarium ever since.
 

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My dad brought home my first tank when I was 8; circa 1964. In the middle of summer. No stand, just a bare tank. An 8G Tall Metaframe. I thought the perfect place for it would be the Metal cover of the radiator in the living room. Sturdy enough for sure, and everybody could see it. If anybody here is old enough to remember those old-fashioned radiators that only had a thermostat in the basement where the oil burner was located, knows that the second and third floor apartments were subject to the whims of your landlord on the first floor. Our landlord had a real disdain for the cold. We never wanted for heat in winter and I thought the fish would be toasty-warm in winter over the radiator..............I'll never forget the "bulge" in those swordtails' eyes as they bobbed to the surface that first winter.
 

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So… it's around 1955 or so and the local church has a 'Bazaar" . The usual stuff, I guess . You know , rides , rubbery food , and games; one of which involved buying 5 or so ping pong balls and trying to throw one into one of a multitude of small round fishbowls filled with colored water and each containing a goldfish . Amazingly , I got 2 in and ended up with 2 goldfish.So the next day my dad and me take the bus to the next town where there was a pet store ( which is still there , owned by the same family) bought a 5 gallon tank and some goldfish food which looked like Grape Nuts …. and I began my descent down the long slippery slope . Amazingly the fish lived almost 10 years .
 

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My first tank was when I was 12 years old in the 7th grade. By the time I was 19, I had 6 10g, 1 20g and 1 29H. I had a cool little fish room in the apartment and I bred livebearers. Those were the days of corner, bubble up and undergravel filters, although most of my tanks were bare bottom. I somehow got the money to get a Vortex Diatom filter and was amazed at how it could convert cloudy water into crystal clear water in just a few minutes. In those days, we were pretty ignorant about the nitrogen cycle, but succeeded in spite of ourselves. I think the 'secret' was simply a few fish in enough water that the bacteria developed before the ammonia was a problem. Life's twists and turns took me away from the hobby. Then Abbey won a goldfish which led to a succession of acrylic tanks increasing in size, then a 10g. Gracie, the wonder fish, lived for several years, then sadly passed away. We then got (back for me) into tropicals and my interest in the hobby was reborn. Years ago now, I went to Petsmart looking for a hood for my old 29H and instead came home with a 60g ensemble (tank, stand, heater, filter...). I recently got the Finnex Planted+ 24/7 and planted....and on the story goes!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hoppy and I may have been long distance neighbors in Missouri as we started fish! I was in SW Missouri and about 55 -58, I was assigned to help do the weekly cleaning (burnout?) of the tanks with my sister in law. Man, that was a process that should never be done. We took all the fish out in a bucket and cleaned every spot of everything. The idea was that you had to get it clean! Fish must have been tougher than is all I can figure as we did quite well selling fish to the LFS who was a distributer for the area towns around us. I managed to sell a lot of fish but then I discovered how much more they would pay for wood I could find 5-10 cents per fish or a buck for a piece of wood made me think wood was a goldmine. The fish took time to grow but the wood could be found pretty easy and just took a bit of cleaning and the bleach soak. I finally got enough fish and wood sold to buy the first car. ($25) I could find the wood on weekends, clean, soak, and let it dry during the week and sell it to buy gas for the next weekend! Gas was 18-25 cents a gallon.
 

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I started keeping fish as a freshmen in high school back in 1984.
I have lots of stories, many of them on the marine side of things as well, including lots of stories about working at the LFS.

I've tried to good. I've taught husbandry classes, written articles, been a member of "the Crew" at WetWeb, boxed many many ears about the idiotic fallacy of "marine ich, C. irritans always being in your water"

HOWEVER....
One particular day while working at the store, and checking in fish from the wholesaler...well he had a bit of a situation.
You see after transport, all the fish are pale, and it's hard to tell one type of cory cat from another, or one type of tetra from another because
all their color is temporarily washed out. So we'd often put a bag in front of someone else's face and say "what is this?" and help each other out
so that we knew which tank to float the bag in.

Well on day someone got the idea of biting a small hole in the corner of a bag, holding it up and while the other guy was looking, trying to
identify, he squeezed the bag and shot water into his face. Well this happened again, and again, and then escalated into a full blown
fish room water fight among maybe 4 of us. I'm talking full on 5 gallon buckets of water being tossed over one bank of tanks onto a guy
working in the next row. (large fish room) but that wasn't the worst of it.

No the worst...and this is a true confession, and I would NEVER do this nowadays. We ended up tossing bagged Betta's at each other like water balloons.
We were soaked, the betta's were in slightly worse shape.

I KNOW I KNOW!! That's bad - but I was in my early 20's, I'm now 46.
I wouldn't have done that even in my late 20's.
We got in trouble....sort of. The assistant manager said if it happened again he'd just walk back there and start randomly firing people. We didn't take him very seriously, but we never did that again.
ALTHOUGH...it was the fishroom manager (another young guy) that started the whole thing. :red_mouth
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I started keeping fish as a freshmen in high school back in 1984.
I have lots of stories, many of them on the marine side of things as well, including lots of stories about working at the LFS.

I've tried to good. I've taught husbandry classes, written articles, been a member of "the Crew" at WetWeb, boxed many many ears about the idiotic fallacy of "marine ich, C. irritans always being in your water"

HOWEVER....
One particular day while working at the store, and checking in fish from the wholesaler...well he had a bit of a situation.
You see after transport, all the fish are pale, and it's hard to tell one type of cory cat from another, or one type of tetra from another because
all their color is temporarily washed out. So we'd often put a bag in front of someone else's face and say "what is this?" and help each other out
so that we knew which tank to float the bag in.

Well on day someone got the idea of biting a small hole in the corner of a bag, holding it up and while the other guy was looking, trying to
identify, he squeezed the bag and shot water into his face. Well this happened again, and again, and then escalated into a full blown
fish room water fight among maybe 4 of us. I'm talking full on 5 gallon buckets of water being tossed over one bank of tanks onto a guy
working in the next row. (large fish room) but that wasn't the worst of it.

No the worst...and this is a true confession, and I would NEVER do this nowadays. We ended up tossing bagged Betta's at each other like water balloons.
We were soaked, the betta's were in slightly worse shape.

I KNOW I KNOW!! That's bad - but I was in my early 20's, I'm now 46.
I wouldn't have done that even in my late 20's.
We got in trouble....sort of. The assistant manager said if it happened again he'd just walk back there and start randomly firing people. We didn't take him very seriously, but we never did that again.
ALTHOUGH...it was the fishroom manager (another young guy) that started the whole thing. :red_mouth
That sort of action is kind of normal on lots of places folks work. How do you feel about eating out and knowing what might be going on in the kitchen with your food? LOL
 

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I was introduced to tropical fish back around 1952, when living in a small town in Missouri. Our local paper had an article about a dentist in a nearby town who had a tank in his office. I was fascinated, so I took a Greyhound bus to that town and saw his guppies and zebra fish. Great! I waited until he was ready to close the office and then talked to him about them. He invited me to visit his home where he had lots more tanks. Once there I decided I had to have some, so I persuaded him to sell me one of his surplus 10 gallon tanks - with enameled steel frame, with vals growing in it, and feeder quality guppies. We dumped out most of the water, and I carried it back home via Greyhound again.

When I got home I quickly replaced the incandescent light with a one tube fluorescent light, and set up the tank. I was cleaning it every week end. Removing everything in the tank, washing it out good, with soap and water, and resetting it up. The guppies reproduced until I had over a hundred, and the vals grew, no matter what I did. Summer came, and we had no air conditioning. The room temp climbed to 100F, and the fish began dying. By the end of summer all of them were dead, and the plants had died too. It was another 10 years or so before I had my next tank!
Did you know Walt Disney? I think he was from your state.
Do you have air conditioner now?

I have guppies and I have never seen 1 baby.

I have seen them for the platty and 1 for a black neon tetra but never any for guppies. I wondering if the other fish are eating them before they can be seen ?

Anyway, thanks for the story.
 

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That sort of action is kind of normal on lots of places folks work. How do you feel about eating out and knowing what might be going on in the kitchen with your food? LOL
My buddy's Dad in high school worked at KFC when he was a kid.
They played football with a chicken in the back parking lot, then when they were finished they took it inside, cooked it, and served it.
 

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1969 I was 9. Got my first stainless steel framed slate bottom 10 gallon tank from Ben Franklin. They had everything, corner bubble filter, colored gravel everything but fish. So I set it up let it run until my parents took me to the next town over that had a Kmart that sold fish.
I bought a couple platies and saved every baby!
 

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In 1966 I was 8,I thought I'd do the fish in my 10 gallon a favor by warming the tank water after a cleaning.My cory immediately floated to the top upside down and I thought he was dead,so I fished him out and when I tossed him in the toilet he came back to life.I then fished him out with a net,cooled off my tank and put him back in.

That's how I learned cory cats like cooler water,lol.
 

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freshman year of college I had a piranha. Of course friday night was feeding/beer night!

After class I hopped on my bike big with a gallon glass mayonnaise jar in my backpack to get minnows at the bait store.

Front tire dropped into a storm grate and over I go onto the glass jar. Sliced my back open.
I ride to the ER to get stitches, nurse yells at me for bleeding all over the reception area! LOL..
 

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Might say I'm carrying on a family tradition. My aunt and uncle had a fish farm from 1950 - 1980. I've got films of a vacation at the farm in the 60's.
We went to Florida for our honeymoon in 1980 and got to see what was left of the farm after developers bought the property. All those old Metaframes. They were there for a lot of the "discoveries" and were friends with the greats of the time. I started my adventure a few months before we got married. And within the first year I was up to 20 tanks in a 1 bedroom apartment. Out of the last 35 years I think I've been tankless only while we were building this house. And of course it's skyrocketed.
There have been a lot of changes in that time. And a small bit of it is actually worth it. I've gone from the latest and greatest (read that as expensive) back to Lees corner air powered filters. After all this time I still find them working great in breeding tanks.
 
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Interesting stories one and all. I think the interesting thing reading these stories is not only how the hobby has changed but the people as well. I know my own fish keeping has changed as I have aged. When I was young I was all about the new world cichlids. I had a breeding pair of green terrors. I had red devils. I had an oscar that I hand fed live food. These days I find myself enjoying dwarf species and small 'community' fish like cories, oto, espeis. I still have cichlids and since I have really lined out my planted tanks and have them running smoothly I am turning my eye toward really improving my tanganyikan tank. As cool and 'exotic' as my altolamps are my tastes have changed and I spend more time watching my planted tank. It is indeed an interesting study in the evolution of a person.
 

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29 gallon Metaframe with SS hood and 2 of those 6" or so light bulbs in 1968.
Had the slate hardscape for the back and 1/2 slate hardscape for the bottom.
Talk about a few years of getting zapped every day.
Learned to stand on a rubber pad and not touch the stand or perimeter of tank.
Finally a plastic style T12 hood went on, no more zap!:laugh2:

I was breeding convicts at the time supplying all LFS.
Only 1 tank, babies in buckets with airstones etc...
No heaters in the buckets, had to learn how close to place them near the baseboard heat.
My father thought I was nuts, "They won't buy them fish."
I made the calls during the week, Saturday very reluctant mind you,
we drove to 3 LFS and I came home with $40.
He never complained about the Saturday trips after that.

I was lucky, no massive fish deaths or fallouts.
I don't think cycling was an option then.
We were taught patience and stock your tank very slowly.
Water testing was limited to pH, I don't recall other tests.

Our LFS was located in a run down industrial park.
Rent was cheap I suppose and electricity at the time too.
Block building with a metal roof, no heaters in any tanks.
Compensated with gas heat or A/C in the summer.
Place smelled like you were walking on soggy Tetra flakes with a 100% humidity.
Mom always new of our visit you kinda wore the smell home.

Being young and amazed with how much water actually weighed?
They had a Metaframe cube type of tank suspended from the ceiling.
Guessing dimensions I would say a 3' cube.
They claimed it was a 180 gallon.
I would go no where near it fearing it would all crash down.
It housed a Pacu that was at least 2' someone gave to them when it was much smaller.
It did fail, the bottom started a slow leak and they had to replace it.

Enough memories for today.
 
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