The other day I was browsing the internet and came across a spectacular video of a hobbyist's reef tank:
As I was watching the video I started thinking about when I started my first saltwater fish tank back in 1993. Back then the internet wasn't as accessible so the only other tanks I ever saw was my roommate's tank and the tanks at the local fish stores. Even though I love to see these videos and photos of successful reef tanks now I wonder how I would have felt about them back when I started. Would these videos be a source of inspiration, giving me something to shoot for, or a source of frustration? I suppose I should explain how watching one of these videos can be a source of frustration for a new hobbyist.
One of the things about these videos is there is a certain lack of information about the featured tank. Most of the videos don't tell you how long a tank has been set up. Most don't include information about how much money was invested in the tank. Some videos give you some "behind the scenes" footage of the equipment involved but some don't. And lastly, and probably most importantly, none of the videos explain the amount of work that went in to the tank to get it to look like it does.
So how does all that add up to future frustrations for a new hobbyist? First of all lets face it, nothing good happens fast in this hobby, but most "noobies" don't know that up front. When they see this beautiful reef tank they want to duplicate that success. Everyone has different preferences but all of us want to have a beautiful tank; especially one that we can video tape and show to the world . With out realizing that it might have taken several years for the featured tank to reach this stage of success a noobie can easily become frustrated when they don't see that level of success right away. Being a more seasoned hobbyist now I know tanks go through several stages before things start to really click, but back when I started I didn't know that.
The issue of money involved can easily be a source of frustration. Back when I started my first tank I was in college and had a very limited budget. Some of these videos feature tanks where thousands of dollars was invested in both equipment and livestock. Sure a tank can be successful with out a lot of expensive equipment, but once again a new hobbyist might not know that.
The last and probably the biggest frustration is not realizing the amount of work involved with these tanks. Some people getting in to this hobby don't realize that if you want one of these successful tanks your going to have to work for it. The amount of dedication and time it takes to get a tank to this level and keep it going can be difficult to duplicate. Life can get in the way and priorities change after all.
All and all though I love seeing these videos and photos of successful tanks and find them to be an inspiration for me, but I can definitely see how they can lead to some frustrations for a new hobbyist. I'd be interested in hearing some more opinions about this. What do you think?
[video by tanuhov]