New Year, New Aquarium Resolutions

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    The new year brings along a lot of hope and a flurry of new resolutions that most likely won’t make it past March. While we may chose resolutions to eat healthier, do more exercise, or spend more time with friends or family, we should also think about what we could do more around our favorite hobby.

    For many of us, we may find our time and attention pulled in other areas and things we used to love get neglected — reading, exercising, aquariums, etc. — and we could use some motivation to not let that happen again. On the other hand, maybe there is something new or different we wanted to try, but are afraid to change what is working or the fear of something new. To help out, here are three aquarium resolutions to get you started in 2017:

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    • Better Organization — Are you the kind of person that can’t remember the last water change? Have all your fish gear just thrown in a tote in the garage? Always looking for your net or siphon or test kits? Then maybe you need better organization. Try by gathering all your gear in one place and throw out what is broken or what you don’t use. Organize the necessities in smaller containers (e.g. test kits, spare parts, food). Keep a log to track your aquarium. Some people prefer paper and there are plenty of great looking journals and logs you can use at places like Amazon. There are also many great aquarium apps that allow you to track water changes, aquarium stocking, water parameters and more. Tip: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start with a good cleaning day and commit to a regular water change and testing schedule.

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    • Try Something New — Maybe you are looking for a new challenge or not happy with your current aquariums setup. Whatever the reason is, try something new! Don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board. Grab a notebook and some alone time — maybe heading to a local coffee shop or even better yet a public aquarium, to contemplate. Ask yourself what you want to do. Take those ideas and start doing research. Spend enough time on it that you feel confident enough to succeed and then go for it! Some potential ideas are going with a biotope-themed tank (Thailand river, Central American, African Lake cichlids, etc.), going larger, starting a planted aquarium, or even just trying a more challenging type of fish. Tip: Research is key, you want to make sure you are comfortable with the challenge in order to succeed.

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    • Get More Social — Sure its great going to the fish store and chatting about what your aquarium, but every day it seems harder to find quality local fish stores with the knowledgeable staff and passionate customers like it was 10 or 20 years ago. But there are aquarium clubs that are a great resource. They typically meet once a month, have nominal dues and give you the opportunity to meet fellow hobbyists and make great friends. Clubs are known to bring in guest speakers, organize field trips like visits to public aquariums or tank tours of hobbyists in the area, hold raffles for cool prizes and more. There are broad-focused clubs and niche clubs (discus, planted tanks, reefs, etc.) to fit your interest. If you can’t find one in your area, look for an active message board, its a great way to learn and share while making new friends. Tip: If you don’t know where to start, check out organizing bodies like the Federation of American Aquarium Societies (FAAS), Aquatic Gardeners Association (AGA) or the Marine Aquarium Society of North America (MASNA), they can help steer you in the right direction to a local club.

    Whatever your plans are around your aquarium in 2017, make sure you put yourself in a better position to succeed this year. Think about little ways you can improve your experience and set up reminders to make sure you follow through! This is an incredibly rewarding hobby, but it can also be quite frustrating too. But the good news is with proper planning and regular maintenance, we can eliminate 80-90% of the headaches in advance. Happy New Year and good luck in 2017!

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