From the Editor
The Eye of the Beholder
There is a Latin saying that was popular in English when I was a
schoolboy carrying my slate and quill pen to school: de gustibus non
disputandem est. The equivalent native sayings are: one man’s meat is
another man’s poison and there’s no accounting for tastes. In any language
the idea is clear that in any group of people there will be many preferences that are
quite varied. Personal preferences are just that—personal. Still, we tend to view
those with different likes and dislikes as a bit weird. How can you not like oranges?
You don’t enjoy vacations? Don’t you prefer warmer weather? And so forth.
But the disagreement is generally good natured; a speaker at a cichlid convention
might crack a joke at the expense of killifish fans, but there is no malice. It’s all
just a matter of choice and taste no matter how rational it might seem to us.
In fact, sometimes we experience an enlightening moment that reaffirms the
extremely subjective nature of our preferences.
While going through this month’s “Cichlidophiles” (p. 38), I looked up the monograph that is starting
to shake up New World cichlid taxonomy. As I eagerly looked for the paper, I passed papers on topics such
as a new species of nyctibatrachid frog and a key to oribatid mites of the world, and I had to laugh at my
reaction—which was basically: how could anyone possibly be interested in such stuff? I of course instantly
realized that specifically those people who would be interested would almost assuredly not be at all interested
in the paper about cichlids that I sought. Fans of frog and mite taxonomy would stop hungrily at the links
for those two papers but quickly pass by the link I wanted.
So, why do I bring up this personal lucid moment here? Well, a few more seconds of thought reminded me
that the readers of this magazine, although all interested in fish, find very different aspects of this hobby to be
the most interesting. And that returned me to the mission of this publication: to bring all types of information
on all aspects of the hobby to our readers so that they can all find what intrigues them in these pages. Sticking
just with “Cichlidophiles,” the column has covered a vast range of topics, and not all of them could even
be called scientific. General aquarium husbandry as well as spawning reports and hobbyist gatherings have
also gotten the spotlight in this column. And when you consider the whole magazine, an immense variety of
hobbyist preferences are addressed in any issue, and over time you’ll find just about anything related in any
way to aquarium keeping—and so will readers with very different preferences from yours.
The same philosophy was evident in the North Jersey Aquarium Society’s mega weekend “Salt Meets
Fresh” at the end of October. Congratulations to the NJAS! It certainly was a mega event. The show, the
vendors, the presentations, and the banquet—everything looked like a national club convention, and the
incredible variety of topics in the presentations provided something for everyone. Just like TFH. This month
we’ve got a young man’s story of how he got started in the hobby (p. 122), a veteran fishkeeper’s story of
how his hobby has taken over his house (p. 116), some livebearer genetics (p. 100), a report on a British
aquarium festival (p. 124), suggestions on how even advanced hobbyists can make good use of plastic plants
(p. 96), and much, much more. Why such variety? Personal preferences!
Interest, like beauty, is truly in the eye of the beholder, so even if the subject of one of our articles isn’t
one of your current favorites, you can be sure we’ll get to one that is. For each article we run, there is sure
to be someone who will find it to be the most interesting thing in the issue. Even more important is the fact
that readers often report that they really appreciate our variety when they change or add interests within
the hobby—then all those formerly less-favorite articles take on a whole new light. And of course many
readers find it educational and fun to read about any and all fish and setups, whether they plan ever to
keep them or not. Remember, no matter what you like to read about, we’ve got you covered. After all,
we’ve been the world’s aquarium magazine since 1952!
Tropical Fish Hobbyist