Back into the hobby after 20 years


HI everyone, just wanted to shoot out an introduction. I'm Pat and I'm back into the hobby after a 20 year hiatus. Last time I had fish was as a kid and lets face it my Dad was taking care of things behind the scenes so it's been a lot of rude awakenings and learning over the past year as I'm "diving" back in...pun intended.

So to shorten this up here's a bit about me, my setup, my skill level, my goals.

I'm in my 30's, and have a few other pets hanging around the house but thought fish would be a nice addition. By day I'm a technology product expert for a big mortgage company and by night I dig into all sorts of unique hobbies. I've done photography, skateboarding, magic, puzzles, guitar, LEGO, model building, RC cars, rock climbing, and hiking, a few have stuck with me, others have lost my interest but all have been great learning experiences. Currently the passion is the aquarium hobby because of its interaction, rewards, and its longevity and relaxing effects. I've always been an anxious person so its a nice way to study, research, work on a project, and especially sit back and watch to relax. I'm also ADHD so having a hobby that is always requiring maintenance and is ripe for change is awesome! Plus being able to hyperfocus on research is a good outlet for my energy.

I am a research junkie. We are talking 3am forum digging, youtube marathons, books, google, and of course good old experimentation. I try to support my findings with facts but at the end of the day I rely on my personal experience and common sense. I'm always open to feedback and corrections and hints to hone my craft. If I say something dumb I don't mind getting the right information from someone who knows better so that I know better for next time.

Setup wise I'm running a 37, 38, and a 5.
37 Gallon
The learning tank. This thing looks like an unskilled, random, bi-polar, child put it together. Definitely the learning tank over the past year. It's got off the shelf petco decor, random assortments of plants, has been hit with ich, fin rot, a neon tetra massacre, and all the other things we come to learn in the beginning when getting started. But this thing is becoming better every day. Right now I'm looking at pretty stable water params, PH and hardness are still fluxing but its fully cycled, good plant growth, disease free, and a community of randomness. Stock: 2x Comet Goldfish, being held until I get a pond set up in the summer, 8x Zebra Danios, 5x Bronze Corys, 4x Amano, and 4 Mystery snails (gold and black), also some ghost shrimp in there, I keep adding them and they keep disappearing, only to have a half dozen of them pop up randomly one evening, then run off and hide again. Its been my experiment tank that I have fun with.

5 Gallon
Nothing to crazy here, my first attempt at a low tech planted aquascape, driftwood as a center piece, and then a bunch of Florida species; everything from Anubias, java, swords, moss balls, dwarf hairgrass, hornwort, etc. I do hit it wtih ferts now and it runs a Finnex Planted+ cliplight, Azoo 60 HOB and heat. Low tech went high tech real quick I guess. Its got a nice organic potting soil base with carb sea river sand/gravel. Stock: 1x Veiltail Blue Betta, 2x mystery snails, had 6x cherry shrimp but a bad temped water change and the Betta got to them (like I said lessons we learn).

38 Gallon
This is my newest tank. Just getting through the cycle now and am looking to make it a bright fish focus tank. More on this one can be found on my post looking for compatibility advice *hint hint*.
40 Gallon Tank - Setting up a new 38, Gouramis, Cichlids, and Snails...oh my? Compatibility advice - Aquarium Stocking Questions 430398

So that's my story for now. Hopefully I can lend a helping hand and also get some great advice from the rest of you as well. Glad to be a part of the hobby and the community. Just keep swimming!


Welcome back! For your newer 38 you could take some filter media from your 37 filter and essentially get an instant cycle by letting the established media run in the new 38 filter for a day or 2. As far as stocking i'm not the best with that so I'll leave that to the pros! Looking forward to seeing some pics of your setups!!


Glad to see people coming back to the hobby after so long. Hobbies are good for you, man needs to go fishing to be peaceful and calm or he will drive his family crazy!

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