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I have been in the aquarium hobby since the purchase of 3 tanks (a 10, a 15 and a 30) for $15 when in 7th grade. This grew into the development of a socially maladjusted geek that lived under the glow of 15 watt cool whites until forced into the real world after high school, when "getting some" did not mean new fish. After four years in the US Marine Band, and later touring around the country with various other bands, I settled down with my wife, dog, 10 tanks and spent 5 years working with IFGA guppies, which I came to think was simply crazy-making.
One day after becoming frustrated at not being able to get a livebearer person to respond to an email, I sought out fancy livebearers on a web chat room. That soon led to an argument with Jim Langhammer over what I thought was the poorly run state of the American Livebearer Association, not knowing that he had founded it... and was the current chairman. To save face I became involved, eventually becoming chairman from 2000 to 2004, making full use of the office to fix all I thought needed fixin'. Like any hobby position, people do what you say because they are glad you are the guy in charge- and they are not. A fun time was had by all, and the ALA has nearly doubled its membership since.
Today I run about 55 tanks of mostly rare wild livebearers, all on a central automatic water change system, and like everyone else wrestles with my own lack of self discipline to not take on more than I have room for. Still somewhat a geek I only show the room to those who are as crazy as I am and that I know will both continue to speak to me afterward, and leave with at least as many fish as they brought.
I believe in giving away all I can spare, and maintaining fish long term that others won't or choose not to. It's about knowledge and meeting a great opportunity that is important for the future. At least while I'm here. We can only hope that others that are younger and just as maladjusted as we were continue to care that these fish are still around after we are gone.
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