Many years ago, a few of us belonged to a car club, and thoroughly enjoyed car rallying, and generally joining in with the other activities. When it was suggested to an acquaintance that if he joined, he might get some extra enjoyment from his car, rather than just a means of getting to and from work. His derisive reply was, he had a tooth brush and didnít belong to a tooth brush club, so he could see no reason to join a car club.
Looking back at the pleasures I have experienced in various clubs and societies including the Corby and District Aquarist Society, I feel sorry for that acquaintance because he has missed so much.
Aquarium societies, like many other hobby clubs, provide one with an opportunity to meet, exchange experiences with, and become friends with others who share an interest in the same hobby. This in itself would be enough for some people to join a club; however there are other reasons which may be equally important. Given the many changes and advancement in the equipment available and newly discovered species which find their way into the hobby, there is a real need not only for the new hobbyist to learn how to keep fish successfully, but for the experienced hobbyist to stay current with the latest technology.
The saddest aspect of our hobby is that through ignorance; too many newcomers make basic mistakes, lose fish, become discouraged and quit the hobby. All without ever reading an informative book or joining a local club and talking to experienced hobbyists.
Aquarium societies arenít the only way to learn about Ďthe artí and science of keeping fish. Much of the information the new hobbyist needs to start can be found in various books available on the subject. The problem here is that when most people start in this hobby, how do they determine which is the best book to buy for them, and its worth?
This is where the informal aspect of society meetings can be priceless. The exchange of information by individual members on virtually any of our hobby related subjects cannot be found in books. Most clubs/societies, including ours, have a number of individuals who together possess a large fund of knowledge and experience, which is readily accessible by talking and asking questions of these individuals. Amongst them you will always find someone who can provide guidance and answers on one aspect or another of the hobby.
In the main this huge fund of knowledge and experience has often been hard-won through trial and error. Many of us continue to study and experiment, we continue to challenge some of the theories, there are always valid differences of opinion on a lot of subjects, and therefore discussion improves our knowledge and helps to highlight where we can deviate without causing harm.
We feel that the new hobbyist will have the greatest success and not become discouraged if they have someone to help them with their problems which can normally be solved with that little bit of knowledge. In the past, many of us have wasted money on badly designed and manufactured aquariums, poor and useless filters, inaccurate testing materials and many other worthless products.
We are therefore dedicated to helping our fellow hobbyists, and would like to help newcomers avoid this kind of grief and unnecessary expense. There are those amongst us that have helped with problems concerning water quality, sick fish, etc., or we have helped to install new aquariums. We have found a lot of satisfaction and fun can be shared when helping someone achieve their very own first crystal clear aquarium with healthy plants and happy fish swimming in it.