Some of you may have been keeping fish now for a number of years and have put some thought into joining an aquarium club or society. Some of you may not even know that such clubs exist. I myself had been keeping fish for about ten years when I decided I would take the “plunge” and join my local aquarium society.
One of the greatest aspects of any hobby is finding others that share in that hobby. I remember my first club meeting very well. One thing that stuck out in my mind was being able to speak passionately about many species of fish and not be given strange looks. Instead others in the club would eagerly join in on the conversation and offer up their wisdom and experience with those fish. It’s a really great feeling to meet others who suffer from MTS, spend more money on special water for their fish than the water they drink, and who consider a road trip as a great opportunity to check out new fish shops. This alone would be a great reason for someone to join their local fish club, but luckily there are more great reasons to follow.
One of the things I love best about being a member of the fish club is the access you get to new and exciting species of fish and plants. Many of these species you would never find in your local fish store. During my first club meeting I picked up two species of fish that I had never before seen in a local fish store. Both of these fish I had read about in books and was extremely excited to find at the club meeting. Also not only are you exposed to new and exciting fish and plants but most of the time you can get great fish at much better prices than you would normally find at your LFS. I bought a bag of 5 killifish at one of my early club meetings for two dollars. Later on I saw these same fish in one of the aquarium shops but at a whopping twelve dollars each. I have found the same thing with plants and through being a club member I probably have acquired five or six great plant species at a cost of the gas to drive to a member’s home. So weather you are looking to acquire new fish or plants or maybe find some great deals on those “bread and butter” varieties then maybe a club is the right place for you.
Knowledge, something most of us who delve so deep into the hobby can never get enough of. If you are one of those aquarists who is constantly trying to learn more and more about fish keeping, husbandry, aquatic horticulture or any of the other great things the hobby has to offer then a club is where you need to be. Most clubs have a library where members can sign books out at no cost. I know from my own experience that my club has a great library which includes ichthyological journals, Aqualog series, and many more books, even some videos. Clubs also bring in speakers quite often. These people are generally very experienced aquarists who have specialized in one aspect of the hobby or another. Sometimes the speakers brought in are professionals as well. And last but not least on this topic many local club members are very experienced aquarists who are usually more than willing to share tips and secrets to help you on your way to becoming a successful aquarist. I am very grateful to many of my local club members who have brought their knowledge and wisdom to me, it has helped me immensely.
So those are just a few reasons for the budding aquarist to join a fish club. I encourage you that if anything in this article appealed to you then by all means find out where the club nearest you is and get in touch. To find a club near you generally there are several means. Some clubs have a phone book listing in the local directory, many clubs have websites, and many clubs also are listed in club directories in popular aquarium magazines. So, join a club and enjoy the fellowship.