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  1. #1

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    Default When is it time to pull the plug?


    0 Not allowed!
    Evening, everybody.

    Pardon me if this is a bit of a ramble. I am having a mental wrestling match with myself, and I need some input from my AC buddies.

    I've been running three tanks the past several years, and helping with my daughter's little 6g. My main tank, the SE Asia "Angkor," has been running in its current incarnation for nearly four years. The South American Flooded Forest has been going for about two and a half years, and the Rainbow tank at the dentist's office has been running for right at two. They are all vibrant, stable, healthy, attractive communities.

    Here's the thing: If you look at the very first post of my Angkor tank, one of my goals was to have a system that "works" ecologically. Same with the South America tank. Though I ended up straying from the Walstad method, I might have done my work too well. A few years in, and these tanks are so stable I've actually grown pretty bored with them. I barely spend any time working with my home tanks--partly because they're so stable they actually require very little input from me--and when I do, I don't get much out of it. It just feels like another chore. I rarely spend time staring at my tanks any more, enjoying the antics and beauty of the fish. It's just another thing on the to-do list.

    The exception to this is the dentist's rainbow tank: I still find it interesting, probably because it has given me such fits!
    It continues to change and evolve, and it's a fun challenge.

    Anyway. At risk of getting all personal and touchy-feely, I've been really working on living more deliberately, focusing on things that move me toward being stronger, wiser, more positive, more thankful, more diligent, all that stuff, and sort of trimming off the fat. Because of some personal and professional struggles, I spend about half my time right on the edge of feeling overwhelmed. So...As nearly unthinkable as it is, I'm wondering if it's time for me to take a break from this hobby, or at least from my home tanks, which no longer bring me a lot of joy.

    Whew. There. I said it.

    It seems obvious, doesn't it? The trouble, which I suspect many of you will understand, is that I have invested so much in these projects, and they have been such a huge part of my life for so long, and have given me so much joy and satisfaction in the past, that the thought of giving them up is just...weird. Really, really weird. It's hard to let go of something like that. I'm tempted to fudge it and, oh, turn the SA tank back into a pure Walstad tank like I originally planned, tear down Angkor and rebuild it as a Himalayan hill stream or a south China paludarium or something, just to make it a challenge and get the creative juices flowing again. I'm not sure I really want to do those things right now; the thought doesn't really energize me that much. I find much of my challenge and creativity these days in archery, running, my music, my spiritual journey(s). But a hobby/passion/art form in which I have invested so much time, learning, money, and creativity is not something to be given up lightly.

    Besides, the Badgerling has named all the bigger (and many of the smaller) fish, and she would have a hard time with it if I were to re-home them. She is especially attached to "Pearl," the gourami that was born in our tank and grew up there.

    Also, I was at Petco in Casper today, and doggone it, they have 75g tanks for half off!!!

    If I do let this stuff go I don't think I'd quit the hobby entirely; I'll keep working at the rainbow tank, and keep helping Badgerling with her nano. If I do take a break, I'll find a way to store my stuff, and I'm sure I'll get the itch again at some point.

    Anybody else ever have this problem? What did you do? Off the top of my head, I can think of at least five highly esteemed members of this community who never drop by anymore and presumably have retired from the hobby. Maybe this is what happened to them. Any thoughts, wisdom, experiences, insights?

    Thomas
    Last edited by WhistlingBadger; 07-23-2019 at 04:46 AM.

  2. #2

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    2 Not allowed!
    "It's just another thing on the to-do list." Speaks volumes.

    There's no reason to keep going with a hobby if there's no enjoyment. There's no shame in taking a break. May sound weird, but I sense a feeling of sadness through your post. And of course, you have a couple of options.

    If you have a place to re-home/sell your livestock/plants and store both of your tanks and equipment, that's one option, while continuing to share the hobby through your daughter's enjoyment of her tank. Or, keep one running - perhaps with all new stocking, maybe try some (easy) breeding - and tear one down. Or, sell everything and use those funds for one smaller tank that is more interesting to you and more manageable for maintenance. 20g long tanks are wonderful and provide many good options for stocking. And just for me, that dentist's tank is one I'd give up - all work and no personal pleasure watching the results. But you may have your own reasons for continuing that commitment. There is some joy in providing enjoyment to others.

    I often read posts on other sites or see videos where folks are regularly changing things up in their tanks. Sometimes completely dismantling and setting up again, rescaping, restocking and other times just major or minor tweaks. They might come across a particular species that have interest for them and change things up to suit that interest. And inevitably, there are always posts like "back in the hobby" after a several years break.

    Your daughter will get over the loss of the fish if she has a happier dad.

  3. #3

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    Default


    3 Not allowed!
    Sad to read your doldrums with your current home tanks. As Sue said if their isn't joy then the hobby is a chore and there isn't any fun in chores. I am very sorry to read you feel that way but I can understand it. Almost two years with some fish in a tub and for the past few-8 months even with the little we have been doing in the basement I find myself thinking if I will or should do it, but then I find something to make me excited all over again.

    If your not finding that excitement in our tanks then maybe its time to take a break with the tanks you have. Hope you can find homes for your fish and plants, they are really such beautiful tanks. I know the badgering will understand or not sure if you have any local friends that can take Pearl so badgerling can visit?

    Whatever you decide I am sure it will be the best for you, just don't be a stranger here. As you mentioned we have lost some members and it would be sad to loose some more.
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    DebinWhitmore

  4. #4

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    Default


    2 Not allowed!
    How long does it actually take to maintain the tank? If it takes only 30 minutes a day for both tanks, I say keep it. For some reason, chores are associated with something bad. Chores are there to keep things going. Would you give up your dog/cat because it is a chore to feed and clean up after them? I've seen a lot of remorse after dismantling a tank that "works".

  5. #5

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    Default


    2 Not allowed!
    Eeeeeyup.

    I’m one of the folks described by Sue (although I don’t think she really had me in mind when she was writing her post). I’m on of those who was constantly tearing down old setups and starting completely new projects. Going “high tech” and all that because I was always finding myself getting bored with the tanks and struggling to find something that would reinvigorate my passion.

    Unfortunately no matter how complex I tried making the tanks, I would eventually hit that point where they were all just additional chores tacked on to my already busy life. I downsized and tore down all but two tanks; my 90gal freshwater and my 20gal reef. The 90 was kept because of my love for my ghost knife, but then I rehomed him last winter when we thought we were moving. At that point the 90gal became just a big box of blah that I didn’t care for. I’ve been letting all the old tetra groups that I’ve had for years slowly dwindle away with no desire to restock them because I honestly don’t want to reset the clock again at this point. I have my angelfish and my wife bought a red oscar for the tank, but those can easily be rehomed when I eventually take the tank off life support. The saltwater still holds my fascination but I have changed things up and adjusted my routines and feedings to where the tank requires less maintenance.

    Since I have downsized I have freed up a lot of space in the home as well as additional time for my family and other duties and hobbies. I still have a lot of my equipment saved in storage that I can bring out in the future should I ever want to get back into the hobby as fiercely as I was before, but honestly I don’t really see that happening. I’m one of those kinds of people that get very intense in a particular hobby for only a limited time and then grow bored and wish to move on to something else. I don’t really go back to old hobbies, but that’s just me and you know what that’s ok. What matters most is how I feel at the end of the day and that is how you need to look at it, Tom. You have a pretty good idea of what you feel would make you happier. Go ahead and trim off the extra chores/stress/boredom and free yourself up for pursuing other interests.

  6. #6

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Rocksor View Post
    How long does it actually take to maintain the tank? If it takes only 30 minutes a day for both tanks, I say keep it. For some reason, chores are associated with something bad. Chores are there to keep things going. Would you give up your dog/cat because it is a chore to feed and clean up after them? I've seen a lot of remorse after dismantling a tank that "works".

    It doesn’t matter how long it takes him to maintain the tanks. He has already said he no longer is interested as he was before. There is no benefit to him to keep them going if they are not providing anything in return. A family cat or dog interacts with you and provides companionship. Most folks get more out of having that companionship with a furry friend than they do fish. Comparing them might not be the way to go.

    What matters is what makes him happy, not your own feelings on what you feel is “right.”

  7. #7

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    Default


    2 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Rocksor View Post
    How long does it actually take to maintain the tank? If it takes only 30 minutes a day for both tanks, I say keep it. For some reason, chores are associated with something bad. Chores are there to keep things going. Would you give up your dog/cat because it is a chore to feed and clean up after them? I've seen a lot of remorse after dismantling a tank that "works".
    Chores aren't bad at all. They're just things one has to do. All of my hobbies, passions, and love require chores. I guess I'm just doing a cost-benefit analysis here, and trying to decide if keeping up all these tanks--and frankly, I'm not doing a great job anyway--is still worth it.

  8. #8

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    Default


    2 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Rocksor View Post
    I've seen a lot of remorse after dismantling a tank that "works".
    On the other hand, you're right. "Seller's remorse" is real. That's why I'm really taking my time to think about this, even though it's been troubling me the better part of a year.

  9. #9

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    2 Not allowed!
    If you think you need to cut back, start with one tank. Rehome the fish and plants in just one tank, then take time to see how you feel. It's totally your decision, but I think taking down all 3 tanks at once would be overwhelming. One at a time. Slow and steady - remember - nothing good happens fast in this hobby. That may not apply to this situation, but then again, it might.

  10. #10

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Well, this is a strange coincidence. I was in town today when Mrs. Badger called to tell me that Pearl had died! Wish I could say that made the decision easier...

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