No, they are my "job", my friends, my little family and my hobby all in one. I am at home nearly 24/7 and they keep me company when I am for the most part alone here. The time I spend with them is a real joy. I talk to them and have been known to "sing" to them. (believe it or not they seem to like music.) I put the television on the Animal Planet for them or I put the Aquarium DVD in for them and the DO watch. Azul has even flared at some of the fish. It is SO hard not to spoil them and do something like overfeeding (I was already in trouble with that in Azul's case and had to correct it. :-[ ) when I know "tough love" is what is called for. They are just like my kids and probably just as loved, so I could never accuse them of taking what I freely give. :-*
I only spend about 2 hours (at a relaxed pace) on my tank a week doing actual "work" on it. That is small in comparison to the amount of time I watch the fish, fiddle with the plants, laughing at the corys fight the ghosties for pellets and whatnot. If it were more "work" I doubt it would have held my attention this long.
We kinda spread the work out between the two of us...but yes it takes up a lot of our time. Between setting up a tank, feeding fish, buying & selling fish & fish stuff, rearranging the tank and reading up on fish related topics. And all the time spent just staring at the tanks.
You could say when do we have time for other stuff?
It takes a lot of time, but I love every minute of it. When water changes become laborous it makes it so worth it to see the fishies swimming around happily afterwards. I think to be in this hobby, you have to love the work.
It does take a lot of time butr its time I enjoy so its a good thing..It takes up a lot of time not just because of maitenaince but also because I sometimes get mesmerized and can't seem to stop staring at the dand fish for long periods of time.
I'm sure my filter sizes have a lot to do with it and I have a few nice clean up crews but I can't say it takes me long to do any maintance. I know right now I've been finding it a little hard since I can hardly stand or walk but my family has been helping me with the basics (feeding them, testing the water, checking in on them, making sure the heaters are staying constant, etc).
I learned a long time ago that pets are big responsibilities, especially ones who are 100% depentant on you. If there comes a time when I start considering it a bother to keep up the work I think its time I find a better home for my little guys ^_~