Mastery Of The Hobby

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Kasshan

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I don't believe experience is a really good indicator of whether one has mastery of the hobby. saying I have 10+ yrs experience is a throw away statement to me which I routinely ignore and doesn't add a terrible amount of credibility to an argument. while experience is key, it's the data you gather. if you keep doing something half as well as you should for 10yrs that doesn't mean much. my parents had a friend with a terrible setup, 15 yrs unchanged, I would not ask him for aquarium advice. trying numerous setups and failing and moving on to new setups til a setting works without figuring out what u did wrong is also poor for creditibility. failing and failing failing til u get that one setup right and dialed-in speaks volumes.
 

OnTheFly

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I mostly agree. I'm one of those old guys that had aquariums for 20 years or so, but it was long ago. Much of what I thought I knew then has been proven wrong during my absence from the hobby. In some cases current wisdom seems misguided because I know what did or didn't work for decades. Some of what we know to be absolutely true today will be laughed at in ten years. You can count on that. I've gotten my nose bloodied many times through the years and try to learn from it. I don't care if everyone considers me credible or not. I don't come here to try and "win the internet". I am here to learn and help others when my experience is useful. And perhaps make a few friends along the way.
 
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Kasshan

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truthfully I love being wrong and I hate being wrong. but outcome should always be the same. learn from the mistake and take the advice. it's a hard pill to swallow for folks to admit being very very wrong despite evidence. I like science. "without data you are just another opinion." also science by definition cannot prove anything, so there is always room for improvement and variation in the hobby.
 

Punkin

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Experience doesn't mean knowledge. I have over 10 years "experience" in fishkeeping. But it wasn't until a few months ago (about 7) that I knew anything about cycling, water testing, and frequent water changes. So while I have had fish in the past and present (on and off since childhood, equaling more that 10 years, probably closer to 25) I still consider myself a newbie.
 

OnTheFly

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Kasshan said:
truthfully I love being wrong and I hate being wrong. but outcome should always be the same. learn from the mistake and take the advice. it's a hard pill to swallow for folks to admit being very very wrong despite evidence. I like science. "without data you are just another opinion." also science by definition cannot prove anything, so there is always room for improvement and variation in the hobby.
That's where it gets complicated, because we have hard data for very few things in this hobby. I've basically been accused of being lazy and a bad fish keeper because I won't do a 50% WC every Friday, just because it's Friday. I watch my water #s. If they are perfect I'll do something that makes sense because I happen to think fish may prefer aged water if it is clean and balanced over fresh tap water Can I prove that? Nope.

Anyway, for most of the major aquarium arguments we are very light on hard data so the opinions will always fly.
 

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As one of the old hands at aquarium keeping (40 years) I am of a mixed opinion. There is an old saying, if you do the same job for 10 years, you can learn 10 years of experiences or 1 month of experience 120 times. Now something that the long experience does add, is that 70s, 80s, 90s and these last few decades... we played by different rules that were different than each other. So in some cases people made do more often in the past. Some of that is good and some is bad. It can lead to some oddities, but does shape the fishkeeper.

Aquaria is art plus science... so sometimes it can get weird. This decade the art is slowly coming back, but science is at the forefront.
 

clk89

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I don't think one can really ever master fish keeping since it changes constantly. I do think one can learn the basics of how to take care of pet fish and then learn more as it goes along. I also believe that sometimes experience does in fact mean knowledge and sometimes it may not. To me experience doesn't just mean the number of years one has had fish, but goes more specific then that into different subjects. Personally, I have experience with treating specific fish diseases now, even though I have only been seriously keeping pet fish for more then a year. I feel comfortable enough to give advice on things like fin rot, bloat, internal parasites, and so forth based on my experience with my own fish. That being said somethings I haven't personally experienced with my fish but I still know a lot about it due to my own curiosity in researching.

The funny thing is most of the people I have come across on fishlore who have great advice and experience don't introduce themselves as being some sort of expert or master of fish keeping. Sometimes I feel like that is a bit of a myth that others keep bringing up, or that it has only happened a couple times and that gets spread around quickly. The only people I have come across who have said they are professional are a couple who have actual degrees in marine biology. I will probably never see myself as an expert.
 

Books&Fish

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OnTheFly said:
That's where it gets complicated, because we have hard data for very few things in this hobby. I've basically been accused of being lazy and a bad fish keeper because I won't do a 50% WC every Friday, just because it's Friday. I watch my water #s. If they are perfect I'll do something that makes sense because I happen to think fish may prefer aged water if it is clean and balanced over fresh tap water Can I prove that? Nope.

Anyway, for most of the major aquarium arguments we are very light on hard data so the opinions will always fly.
This isn't proof by a long shot, but I agree with certain circumstances where older water with good numbers is better than fresh. I have a small RCS colony. Every time I do a water change, one dies. I always have good numbers (it's an invert tank) and I have to dose nitrates for the plants. But I do the water changes weekly because that's what you're supposed to do. But for the 3 weeks I had them, I lost one each time. I use a python changer and add prime as the water is filling. I'll be doing water changes when they're necessary rather than "just because" for this tank.

I also believe experience =/= knowledge. Case in point: my mom has had a 30 gallon fish tank running for 30 years. I taught her about the nitrogen cycle a few months ago. I've been keeping fish for almost a year and I have way more knowledge and experience than she does. (She has no internet access and doesn't seek out information/doesn't care/stubborn/etc.)
 
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Kasshan

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ironically much like hipsters. once you admit it you no longer are. Real mastery comes from admitting how ignorant we really are. I mean everything is anecdotal. but that where we need to be responsible scientist. because u are right. science is an art.
I don't want to insult your mum by any means lol. but still 30yrs of fish keeping and just learning abt the nitro cycle and such. just cuz it works doesn't mean that it ought to be . an ex gfs parents had two +20yr gold fish in a 20h. terrible conditions but hard to convince folks set in their ways
 

OnTheFly

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When I let experience over-ride current knowledge backed by data I just became a grouchy old man.

Probably my biggest gripe are new internet aquarists armed with an API test kit and a year of fish keeping experience that think they can dispense stocking advice to somebody else 5 states away, or across the globe. I know most have never even seen their own water analysis report, let alone somebody else's. Nitrogen numbers are a tiny part of total water chemistry. My water is perfect for some species with minimal care, and a death sentence no matter what I do for some others. How was that rant?
 

Books&Fish

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OnTheFly said:
When I let experience over-ride current knowledge backed by data I just became a grouchy old man.

Probably my biggest gripe are new internet aquarists armed with an API test kit and a year of fish keeping experience that think they can dispense stocking advice to somebody else 5 states away, or across the globe. I know most have never even seen their own water analysis report, let alone somebody else's. Nitrogen numbers are a tiny part of total water chemistry. My water is perfect for some species with minimal care, and a death sentence no matter what I do for some others. How was that rant?
I fit your ranty-bill quite well, but I have seen my water quality report. Unfortunately my state doesn't require much disclosure. Helping people with stock really has nothing to do with their water. Stock questions are more for what can safely fit in their tank. After the asker gets the advice, they should research their own water and find out if the recommended stock will work for them (amount of copper in the water, GH, KH, and pesticides, etc.)
 

OnTheFly

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KeepSwimming said:
I fit your ranty-bill quite well, but I have seen my water quality report. Unfortunately my state doesn't require much disclosure. Helping people with stock really has nothing to do with their water. Stock questions are more for what can safely fit in their tank. After the asker gets the advice, they should research their own water and find out if the recommended stock will work for them (amount of copper in the water, GH, KH, and pesticides, etc.)
Glad you are informed. And we are the smart ones who bother to do a little research. I have a well, but my neighboring community has 2.0 ppm ammonia in the tap! I don't think I would be dosing my fish with a bunch of new water every week. Sounds like a bad idea. I am quite sure the LFS is not sharing the ramifications of the local water stats as it would be real bad for new business. Sorry, I'm getting off topic.
 
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