Discussion in 'Eshopps Inc.' started by eshopps, Jun 6, 2014.
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love your stories guys
We shared your story on Eshopps' facebook as our story of the week. Hope you like it
That's awesome. Thank you I'm honored.
It all started with my daughter and a carnival goldfish 12 years ago. The bowl turned into a 10, which turned into a 20, which turned into a hex, which turned into a 54 corner with Africans. This past Christmas my fiance bought me a 100 gallon tank and my reef was born and the rest is history!!!! Oh yeah the 54 corner is in the process of a 95 wave upgrade!!! LOL
I had allergies as a kid and mom and dad put a fresh water tank with guppies in my room for humidity. I truly enjoyed them and loved seeing the saltwater fish at the lfs. In college I kept a few tanks including a 20 tall with way more fish than it should have. this evolved into a Berlin reef with seahorses (back in late 90's) when NO bulbs were popular. Wow. When I set out on my own, I had to get a 75. That bloomed into my 180 and now into my 66. Fish have always been in my life.
Posted on Eshopps Facebook!
I was born and raised on a farm.... raising things came natural.... I used to lug home frogs... turtles... small grass pickerel I caught in the bogs attached to the river... I caught minnows and kept them in a plastic swimming pool ... baby snapping turtles were a real prize ( I never liked snakes).... My Dad got me a gold fish tank for my 8th birthday...... by the time I was 14, I had read every book in the library( both school and town library.. there was no internet) about fish keeping and my father and I built a fish room from a blue print in Popular science book adjacent to my bed room complete with sink and an piston type air compressor...I kept everything from guppies to baby snapping turtles (until they got to big and went back to the swamp).. my crowning achievement was raising a brood of jack Dempsey's... Our house burned down in 1974, the year I graduated from high school... a 6 year stint in the Army kept me away from fish keeping.. when I returned home I got married and started a family.. including tropical fish... Today, my children are grown and I'm a grandfather, I've since divorced and remarried and through it all have kept at least one tank ( some times as many as 10... what better way to displace the divorce blues then with fish), but my love of fish keeping took a new level last February on my 58th birthday, I've been talking about having a salt water/ reef tank for 20 years... I just never got around to doing it... for my birthday, my wife made it happen...and bought me a 75 gallon long... I hit the books and the internet... studied until it put me to sleep... March 1st I made my journey into the world of salt water fish and the reef.. and that my friends is the path that brought me here....
Thanks for your story, shared on our facebook!
I've loved aquariums and fish since I was a boy. My earliest memories are of my best friend's double 10 gallon freshwater setup on a bunk-bed type stand when we were about 8 years old. We used to stare at that for hours. They were your typical tetra fish setups with plastic plants. A few years later another friend had several freshwater tanks from 10 to 30 gallons with goldfish and some giant plecos. When he had sleep overs I recall falling asleep to the sound of air-pumps. They were tranquil to me then.
In high school I bought my own aquarium. I started with tetras like my friends. It was a 10 or 15 gallon tank with under gravel filters and pebble substrate. But college was when I really caught the bug as I started up my first saltwater aquarium. This was around 1991. It was a 40 breeder with an Eheim canister filter and a custom hood pack with fluorescent lighting. It was a FOWLR with some aggressive fish like lion fish, a Picasso trigger and a snowflake eel. At some point I introduced caulerpa and it grew like the weed it is all over the rocks. I think I actually used lava rock and some dead coral heads back then. Wow, how ugly that must have been. But I loved it. I recall introducing an anemone that promptly died. I fished out the oozing remains and dropped it into the shag carpeting before I reached the sink. Oh the horror. I'm not sure there is much worse that you could drop into a shag carpet. The smell was overpowering. I shampooed it several times.
Sometime in late 1992 I upgraded the filtration on my 40 breeder after graduating college and moving back to Chicago. I had been reading FAMA magazine a lot and decided to order a wet/dry sump and two giant 24x6 gravity fed airstone skimmers from Debron Aquatics in Denver. (I've mentioned these skimmers about 800 times over the years on 3reef. I loved them.) I was really hooked then. I found I could keep the skimmer level after adding a float switch and gravity fed ATO. My next upgrade was a Hamilton Halide fixture with actinic florescent tubes and a giant SE 6500k halide bulb. I also put a little giant external sump pump on it and increased the sump capacity by making my own with plexiglass and bonding glue. The external pump and giant air-pumps were loud, so I lined the inside of my stand with bed foam. This helped a lot.
Around 1993 I pulled stakes, gave most of my aquarium away (keeping the skimmers) and moved to the upper east side of Manhattan with my college girlfriend. While trying to get a real job, I got a temp job down at Age of Aquariums at 60th and 2nd at the time. The store was really ahead of it's time running reef tanks with the Berlin method. They had incredible rocks from Indonesia and some stunning corals. I worked the till at first but quickly got pulled into their large custom aquarium business. I was taught how to cut thick glass in their basement and we would pack it into the van and drive to some high-rise, where we would go up the service elevator and then carry it down to some well-off's big condo or penthouse and we would glue it all together on-site, building the aquarium and sump. The long-term business was in the maintenance. After a while they were throwing me my own accounts. I'd jump around on the #6 train with a duffel bag filled with a large python hose & test kits and hop around the city hitting accounts. If I could line up a few in a row it was good money. I was getting $75 a visit for general maintenance - cleaning and water changes - plus tips. And people tip in Manhattan. This one guy - a large-scale metal recycler (think fleets, not cans) - had a tall goldfish tank in his office. I'd be done in 20 minutes and he always tipped me with a $50 bill. I started to have several accounts like this. 20 years ago this was big money. My girlfriend with the office job was starting to marvel that I was starting to make more than she was with fewer hours.
I almost forgot about my aquarium in NYC. I kept an open-top 30 gallon that I drilled out in the store. I kept it stocked with indo rock and great corals that I got for wholesale - a great advantage to working in an aquarium store. It had a 10 sump, gravity fed ATO, kalk drip and skimmer. A 10k halide pendant was suspended with a movie-set C-stand. It still might be the best tank I've had. Occasional dosing, but healthy amount of water changes were the routine. It was bullet-proof. You can see pics in my profile photos.
The 'big' job never came. And after 9 months, my girlfriend and I broke up. I decided to move back to Chicago where my friends were. I moved my entire tank in a 2 day road trip in the back of my Honda Civic. All fish and coral were double bagged with double water and oxygen. Rock was placed wet in stryo-foam coolers. When I got to my new apartment, I was exhausted but I set up my tank. Everything survived.
My roommate introduced me to the Internet that he could access through his university account. It was all text but intriquing. Sometime later gofer brought simple graphics onto the Web. Around then I started to learn HTML from a book I bought. I began to think about building a web site of my own, but I didn't know what to write about. Then I thought about my time in Manhattan and all I learned. And that's how 3reef was born in 1996.
It's definitely a passion for me. I got interested in marine life after taking a Marine Science class at Orange Coast College. When I transferred to California State University, Stanislaus, i lived in the dorms. Unfortunately there were no aquariums allowed in the dorms. There was only one small LFS in the town and I went there at least twice per month to look at the aquariums. Eventually I became resident advisor in the dorms and at the end of each staff meeting my roundtable question at the end of each meeting was, "Can I have an aquarium?" Needless to say the answer was always, "NO!"
After returning home I continued to visit LFS's regularly but never considered getting a tank. My fiancé at the time (now my wife) also joined me on these trips our whole time dating. She saw how much she loved to watch the animals. At that time I was competing nationally in car audio competitions. I won the world championships and was getting kind of board with it. Since I am a competitive person, I always want to be the best. Problem is, once I achieve that I typically walk away. My wife saw I was ready to walk away from the Car audio scene and for our first Christmas together, she bought me an aquarium. I immediately bought all the books I could on saltwater aquariums and learned the hard way. From that point forward I wanted to have the most beautiful reef in the world. Since I don't have bottomless pockets, I know that I won't be leaving this hobby anytime soon.
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