Discussion: Throwback Thursday

Discussion in 'Weekly Reef discussions' started by jlanger, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    TCMAS Weekly Discussion

    We would like to get more reef related discussions going on the forum. We will post a weekly topic to get the discussion started then let you all take it from there. The rules are simple, keep on topic and keep it positive.

    This weeks topic: Throwback Thursday

    Let's take a look back to where you started with this hobby.
    How far do you go back?
    [SIZE=5][/SIZE]

    Tell us how you were introduced into the saltwater aquarium hobby.
    Did you transfer from a freshwater aquarium?
    Did you see someone else's saltwater aquarium?
    Did a certain fish/coral/invert catch your eye?
    Honestly... Did you watch "Finding Nemo" and wanted a clownfish?


    Discuss your beginnings into the hobby.
    When did you start? What size tank did you start with? What was the equipment you employed? How soon did you upgrade to a bigger aquarium? How long before you started a second aquarium?
    What were some early successes/mistakes you made?
    Where did you buy your equipment from? What were some new products that you were excited about?
    Where did you purchase your livestock from? What was the first fish you purchased? When did you try your first coral? What was your reaction to hearing the term "live rock"? Live what?!

    Share any anecdotes that you can remember from your first ventures into the saltwater aquarium hobby.
    And if you have any pictures from those embarrassing "good ol' days", please share.
     
  2. David Grigor

    David Grigor TCMAS Old Timer
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    1996. I always wanted to do saltwater. Growing up always have tropical fish of somekind and also when out on my own. We got an unexpected Bonus at work for $6K. Thats was the perfect opportunity to get started. No internet ( for me anyways ) but I was real fortunate enough that my LFS in Virginia had good sound advice and didn't sell junk. So my first reef tank was MH w/ actinics a good skimer ( for the time period anyways ). A year later my first CA reactor a Knopp C. Shortly later I got internet and that aqualink forum became my main resource.

    I don't have any pictures of that first tank, only pictures of my second tank a year or so later. Pics can be seen on my oldertanks webpage under the 90g Tank apartment in Staunton Va ( 1996-1998 ) heading.
     
  3. danknuc

    danknuc TCMAS Event Committee
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    1973 (11 years old) – My dad retired from the Navy and set up 3 old tanks (50g and 2 15g freshwater) he had picked up along the way. I helped to take care of them, feeding, cleaning and changing filters. At 14 I set up a 10 gallon freshwater in my bedroom. I bread fancy guppies and mollies to help pay for food and filters. That lasted about 3 years.
    At 24 I purchased a 55g to raise freshwater angles then bought a 29g to raise two Oscars, they out grew the tank so took it down. Converted this 29g to a saltwater with under gravel filter and HOB Whisper filter. Since I was in the Navy at that time, I got transferred and had to take down all tanks after about a year. After I retired in 2000 I put the 55g back up with freshwater fish and then it became an iguana home.
    January of this year I started a 75g saltwater fish only and it has progressed to a FOWLR and now I have my first Monti and picking up another 75g this weekend.
     
  4. deneed4spd

    deneed4spd Senior Member
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    Started my first saltwater tank in 1993. Was a 29 gallon tank with dead coral Skeleton. Had couple clown fish and damsels. Was only in middle school so I used to bring home my fish in a plastic bag on a bike for 1.5 miles. Surprised more fish didn't die. My loca fish shop didn't give much advice and i tried my hardest to keep a sabre anemone alive. With just a bio wheel and undergravel filter I'm sure my nutrients were off the charts.
     
  5. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    I started my first saltwater aquarium in the spring of 1992.

    At that time, I was keeping a 20gal freshwater aquarium while at SCSU that featured a White-cheeked Moray Eel with some South American Cichlids and a few pairs of livebearing fish (live food for eel). While on a visit to the Pet Food Warehouse (PetCo) in Maplewood, I checked out their new huge U-shaped saltwater system. The tank was full of brightly colored fish (tangs, angels, butterflies and triggers), but what caught my eye was a beautiful and menacing looking Jewel Moray Eel. That was a real moray eel!
    Before I left the store, I purchased the eel and placed it on hold. I told them that I would come back to the store to buy my first saltwater tank and equipment. Yes, I purchased the fish before I had the tank!
    I picked out a 45gal aquarium, stand and fluorescent light hood. For filtration, I used an undergravel filter with a Penguin powerhead. The filter was run in reverse; the pump forcing water under the filter plate and up through the crushed coral. A heater was the only other piece of equipment I needed; other than a couple bags of salt mix. I picked put a few pieces of "rainbow rock" for decoration; and a coral skeleton :doh:. (I don't think aquascaping was a word yet.)
    After two weeks of cycling and constant conversations with Norm at PFW, I picked up my moray and brought it home.
    My next additions were are predators; a Rectangle Triggerfish, a Volition Lionfish and a Paddlefin Wrasse. I would feed these fish frozen shrimp and squid; occasionally I would purchased live ghost shrimp or fiddler crabs and add them to the tank and watch the fish go crazy.
    Here's a picture of that first tank; circa 1992.

    [​IMG]

    I ended up upgrading to a 55gal tank and replaced the "rainbow rock" with "lava rock"; more realistic! :rolleyes:

    My first foray into keeping a reef tank happened in 1994.
    I purchased a 30gal tank set up similar to my first set up. Although this tank had two twin tube fluorescent fixtures ( :bow: four bulbs!!!) and a Skilter HOB filter. This was my first tank utilizing what they called "live rock". I purchased a large box (75pounds?) from a supplier that was featured in FAMA magazine; not sure who. I'll be honest. When the live rock was placed in the tank and settled in I watched the rock; all of those live critters were fascinating! This was a time when soft corals and some LPS corals were very common. I started with leather corals and mushrooms; and apparently caulerpa was popular. My first fish for the reef tank was a Kole Tang. Quickly followed with a Flameback Angelfish, a Watchman Goby and a Six-Line Wrasse. This was also a time I started doing some DIY. I would build closed loop plumbing to attach to my powerheads for better flow and circulation.

    [​IMG]

    That 30gal reef was soon upgraded to a 50gal tank. Now we're talking; 18" depth and width!
    Instead of using the four fluorescent bulbs, I purchased a metal halide kit from Saltwater Specialists in Crystal; talk about a bright light! I also upgraded to a HOB filter that worked like a sump, The filter had an overflow box and had two or three chambers before water was pumped back into the tank; I wish I could remember the name of it (I thought it was cool and high tech!). I built a canopy for the halide fixture; this was my first reef-related DIY wood working project. It appears I also experimented with a bare bottom tank at this time. The leather corals did very well and I would "propagate" them (not called fragging yet) for store credit at Underwater Caverns. I remember I eventually upgraded the Skilter filter to a CPR Bak-Pak protein skimmer.

    [​IMG]

    A couple of years later I upgraded the 55gal fish aquarium to a six foot long 100gal aquarium. A friend of mine had the tank sitting in his garage and I purchased the tank for $100. I built my first aquarium stand; not from 2x4's!!! The tank was drilled with an overflow by Brian at Saltwater Specialists and I used my first sump, venturi protein skimmer and power compact fluorescent fixture. I filled the tank with live rock (not yet called FOWLR) for a more natural appearance; and if I decided to go with corals. Some of the fish I added were the Harlequin Tuskfish, Checkerboard Wrasse, Rock Beauty Angelfish, Blue-faced Angelfish and a Foxface.
    I have a few pictures from this tank somewhere, but not tonight.

    During this time, we would frequent the LFS like A World of Fish, Something Fishy, Saltwater Specialists, Underwater Caverns, Aqua Pets + and the Pet Food Warehouses. Each summer we would drive down to Madison to a place called Neptune's Aquatics(?) for fish and corals.
    When the "World Wide Web" became a thing and online vendors started popping up, I would order from Flying Fish Express (purchased by DFS LiveAquaria) and another place I cannot remember now. (They had a Harlequin Tuskfish as the mascot on a t-shirt; which I of course had to have.)

    In 2001, we purchased our new home and I didn't want to move a total of seven aquariums at this point. We sold everything; all of it!!!
    I kept my books and magazines just in case I would get the urge again.

    For Christmas 2009, my son asked for a small desktop aquarium. Absolutely!!!
    We purchased a 15L tank and the necessary starting equipment; which had really changed in eight years. The first fish purchase was a Tailspot Blenny from Peggy at All-Reef in Stillwater. But that 15gal didn't last long, by March it was upgraded to a 45gal Cube. I built a custom stand for the tank so that it matched the decor of his bedroom. I purchased a Reef Octopus HOB skimmer, two 4-bulb T5 light fixtures, numerous Koralia powerheads (which upgraded to Vortech MP10's) and the extra live rock, sand and corals.
    This was when we purchased our Percula Clownfish pair. And this was when we first toured the LA-DD facility in Rhinelander. We were completely immersed back into the hobby. It was also around this time that I was introduced to TCMAS by Peggy.
    Here's one of the better pics from the old 45gal. Oh, do I miss that tank at that time!
    [​IMG]

    That 45gal was eventually upgraded in December of 2012 to the 120gal that I have currently.

    So... that's my journey of how I got here today.
    A lot has changed within this hobby over the last 24 years, but my excitement and dedication hasn't changed at all.
    All because of a Jewel Moray Eel...
     
    #5 jlanger, Jun 16, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017 at 8:00 PM
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  6. cypho

    cypho I contributed!
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    Inspiration:

    In Jan 1993 - I was in 3rd grade. My family went on vacation to Hawaii. I went snorkeling (sortof - I just used regular swimming pool goggles and I didn't actually use a snorkel) and fell in love with with what I saw.

    How I got started:

    I made my parents take me to every pet store in the surrounding 3-4 counties looking for a store that could tell me how to get and care for saltwater fish. They all told me the same thing it is not possible for anyone, even experts like them, to keep saltwater fish in an aquarium. But I was young and dumb and did not believe a word they said. I started planning to be the first person to ever successfully keep a saltwater fish in an aquarium.

    Where did you purchase your livestock from?


    Not discouraged by the expert advice I received, that summer we went to the beach in Alabama and I got to work hunting for aquarium specimens. I caught fish a wrasse (Halichoeres bivittatus) and a baitfish (Lagodon rhomboides) with a fishing pole. I also caught a blenny (Ophioblennius atlanticus) dragging a dip net through the seagrass. I brought the fish and 20 gallons of saltwater home in a big trash can.

    Where did you buy your equipment from?


    A pet store without a clue. When I got home I put the fish in a 20G aquarium with an "reverse" undergravel filter (powerhead at the top of the tube pushing water down into the gravel instead of an airstone pulling the water up). This was state of the art equipment according to the local pet stores.

    For food, I used the frozen squid fishing bait that I had used as bait to catch the fish.

    Early mistakes:

    When I was fishing for aquarium specimens, I also caught some tiny (less than 1/2 inch) blue damsels. They were all eaten by the other fish (probably the wrasse) before we left AL.

    Early Successes
    :

    Despite the fact that I had no real sw equipment and only had access to new saltwater once a year, nothing (else) died. Those fish I brought back from the beach lived for many years.

    What were some new products that you were excited about?

    Two years later my father came home from with a surprize for me in his briefcase. Normally this would be a snake or turtle he saw on the side of the road on his way home from work. But he seemed more excited than normal. It was a box of instant ocean! Instead a 12 hour drive (each way) to retrieve new saltwater I could just dump this box into a 5 gallon bucket of tap water. That evening I did my first water change with artificial seawater.

    What was the first fish you purchased?

    A few weeks after discovering that pet store with Instant Ocean, I purchased my first "real" fish. A pair of ocellaris clowns which I also somehow managed to not kill for 15 years. (eventually they decided to go carpet surfing)


    How soon did you upgrade to a bigger aquarium? When did you try your first coral?

    The next christmas, I got 55 gallon aquarium with a hang-on-the-back filter that included an air-driven protein skimmer and bio-balls. About a year later it was upgraded with live rock and VHO lights, and coral.

     
    #6 cypho, Jun 16, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2016
  7. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Reminds me of a story...
    When I was attending college at UIC in Chicago, I would take the "L" train all the out to O'Hare and then walk up to the Living Seas Aquarium store to buy fish. One time while riding the train back down to the school, a flight attendant noticed my backpack was wet/leaking. The bag had sprung a slow leak and I had to try and keep a Diana's Hogfish from dying. The flight attendant didn't seem excited to see such a fish right next to her. I made it back to school and the fish did just fine.
     
    #7 jlanger, Jun 16, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
  8. Kyle T.

    Kyle T. Big Footed Ginger!
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    I started in the hobby back in the summer of 2011. What got me into the hobby was that I was setting up a planted FW tank in my bedroom, but the LFS in Northfield did not have the lighting needed. I stopped at Something Fishy when it was in Richfield near A World of Fish and picked up a light fixture, however they didn't have the bulbs and referred me to Ocean Devotion in Burnsville. From the moment I laid eyes on Ocean Devotion's display 240g tanks, and the other colorful fish they had for sale I decided that i would be setting up a saltwater tank. After a month of searching I found an ad on Craigslist for a 125 gallon set up and picked it up. It was a long grueling process with a 16 hour day to get everything taken apart and put back together. At this time I had been on Reef Central for awhile and a member on there referred me to TCMAS.

    It wasn't too long after joining TCMAS that I saw Angie's listing for an RODI system. I bought it from her and she became the first TCMAS member I met, hard to believe this was back in 2011... I had the 125 gallon set up for a short time but decided I wanted to redo it and do it better than it was set up from the previous owner. After getting it all torn down and set up again, I took the tank down again to set up a 120. That tank never came to be because I decided I wanted to get a system that I could buy quality equipment for the first time rather than buying cheap then buying the equipment again. I set up a 65g during my senior year in high school and it was a FOWLR where I challenged myself in attempting to keep a pair of orange spot filefish and a pair of multibar angelfish. I had also begun to set up a system for breeding marine fish like dottybacks, clownfish, and gobies that I never completed as I focused on the 65g set up. After moving to the cities for college, the inhabitants of the 65 slowly disappeared and I tore the tank down that Thanksgiving weekend.

    Now I am in the process of setting up a 17g nano for the apartment that I'm in, that I hope to keep me entertained through the remainder of my college career.
     

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