Musing of a fish keeper

Just the other night we had our August club meeting, (C.A.F.E.).  Rusty Wessel came up from Louisville Kentucky and gave a talk about “Fishes of the Maya”.  Rusty usually brings fish to auction after the talk and this time was no exception.

As I watched all the super cool fish Rusty had brought along being auctioned off, I felt a little down that I wasn’t still keeping cichlids as this was a rare opportunity to acquire some very special fish. I soon found myself reminiscing about fish I have kept over the years and what a fantastic hobby fish keeping truly is…..

As a child, I kept a multitude of “critters” in bottles, jars and buckets.  All treasures carried home from streams, ditches and local farm ponds here in rural Ohio. In 1965 I started my “official” fish keeping career as I imagine many 8 year old boys did, with a 25 cent turtle from the five & dime store.

This soon lead to guppies and mollies & swordtails and the joy of having my fish reproduce for me.  I must admit here and now, that was what clinched it for me, and has lead to my life-long enjoyment in the hobby.

Back in the 60’s we had several locally owned fish shops in addition to the fish departments of Woolworth & W. T. Grant.  There was Hertz Aquarium, run by a lady and her daughter.  There was Kay Gee’s Aquarium,  where all the fish were the owners pets, but if you were really interested in them she would sell them to you.  There were several others as well, but these two were my favorites.

Both of the ladies that ran these shops would buy all the fry that I could produce. Something very encouraging to an aspiring young fish breeder.  I sometimes wonder how far I would have went within the hobby without the initial support of these shop owners.  At any rate, almost 50 years later, I’m still spawning fish and new fry never fail to bring a smile to my face.  Maybe by the time Rusty makes the rounds and visits our club again, I’ll have the room for some of his very cool fish!