From the Editor
Take a Break
December is a great time to enjoy our fish. Short, blustery days
and long, cold nights keep us indoors, and the stark beauty
of leafless trees dusted with snow sets us yearning for verdant
signs of life. The peaceful beauty of an aquarium can sweep
us to the tropics for some quiet meditation. It’s worth mentioning such an
obvious thing because sometimes in our involvement with rare species,
breeding, rearing fry, etc., we forget to take a break and just sit and enjoy
our fish. We also tend to overcomplicate things. In the same way that a
toddler plays more with the wrapping paper than with the present, our
fish often fail to appreciate the time and care we lavish on preparing the
“perfect” setup for them. We import Neothauma shells from Tanganyika
for our shelldwellers, but the little rascals spawn in a cave they make
under the sponge filter. We try unsuccessfully for years to get a tough
species to spawn, pampering them in their own tank, then they finally
breed when we give up and toss them into a community aquarium.
Something else this should remind us of is that there are higher powers than us. Whether you view
them as divine laws or scientific truths, Almighty decrees or even cosmological jokes, the workings of
the natural world are near infinitely complex and often behave in ways we cannot fathom. It may be
humbling, but this notion is also can bring great joy. Perhaps our fish are so appealing and interesting
because they are unpredictable. Simple agrarian societies are much more in touch with nature, but in
our technological world we can lose the sense of awe and wonder enjoyed by people whose very lives
depend so heavily on the behavior of living things. Maybe we surround ourselves with houseplants and
pets to keep a sense of natural grandeur in our lives.
Despite our distance from ancient fears of vanishing sun and endless cold and dark, we mark the
darkest time of the solar year with festivals and celebrations. Electric lights and candles brighten, parties
and gifts raise spirits, and even Scrooges harbor warm feelings for others. Is it possible that the reason
aquarium club meetings and conventions invoke similar sentiments is that aquarists are always in
touch with raw nature? That hobbyists concentrate on the beauty and marvel of living things? Perhaps.
Whatever the reasons, it is known that observing an aquarium brings relaxation and a sense of peace.
As we progress in the hobby, we don’t want to lose this advantage. Sometimes a busy holiday season
detracts from the meanings behind the rituals, and sometimes in our commitment to our hobby we
forget to simply relax and enjoy.
So here’s to a relaxing, peaceful, and healthy holiday season and a magnificent new year for you and
yours, from everyone here at TFH.
As a special giftto to you this holiday season, TFH and our
advertisers have created a colorful 2008 aquatic calendar,
included free with this issue. We wish you and yours the best,
not only during the holidays, but for all of 2008 and beyond!
Tropical Fish Hobbyist