Pets & Animal Pets Fish

Aquarium Landscaping

I grew up in Ireland on the outskirts of Dublin, and at an early age, my father purchased a farm, which became the responsibility of my Mother.
Because it was at the time of war, it was obligatory for all landowners to farm their acreage, as food was in short supply.
Previously we had lived in a modest house, and now suddenly I was immersed in the life of the farm, as well as schooling.
We had cattle, poultry, horses, plus a small menagerie of animals, which I had collected with great avidity.
These included, rabbits mice, guinea pigs and a raven, (of which I taught to say a few words),canaries, and parakeets, frogs, tortoises, and more, This added to a collection of dogs and cats.
The figures ran to fourteen dogs, and five cats.
The dogs invariably got into the hen houses from time to time, with predictable catastrophic results, all the small animals over a period of time would expire, for a host of diverse reasons.
This, needless to say would make me feel very guilty, as I had not yet come to a full understanding of life, I did not yet realize that all small animals would leave this world to go to whatever awaits us all sooner or later.
I have to admit, however that carelessness and other interests, sometimes justified the comments.
We had a slew of farm hands and servants on the farm, which made the TV series Upstairs Downstairs seem very clear when viewed many years later.
Many amusing incidents happened with predictable regularity, horses, broke out of their loose boxes, hens got slaughtered by the dogs, the farm hands and servants created many involved "situations" all of which caused my parents endless problems.
These would make the subject of at least one book, which perhaps someday I will write, but for now I will stick to this theme.
One day I was sent into the city, to buy some electrical accessory.
It irritates me that I cannot remember what it was, but I entered a large electrical store which was closing down, as the owner had passed away.
Whatever I was seeking evidently was in the basement of the store, and I was directed down the stairs.
I presume I found what I wanted, but in doing so, I noticed about fifteen aquariums, almost all of them empty.
I had never seen an aquarium before, and in one of the aquariums in the store there was a lone black molly.
A girl assistant told me that the late owner a Mr.
Handcock (that I can remember ) was a very keen aquarist, and had this department as a hobby.
Because the store was closing down, they had already sold most of the stock and equipment.
I knew immediately that come hell or high water, I had to have that aquarium and the black molly.
I did not have enough funds with me, even though it was going very cheaply, I earnestly besought the girl, to "hold" the tank etc, plus the molly, I gave her a small deposit, and promised I would be back within 24 hours.
Taking the bus home, I prevailed upon my Mother, to lend me an advance of my pocket money, in fact it took 3 weeks or more, the next morning I was waiting outside the store when they opened, to ensure I could complete the purchase.
Well! that purchase, changed my life, within a few months, I had 5 tanks, some purchased from the same store, before it finally closed, acquiring other items from other people I got to know over time.
I was soon breeding Siamese fighters, as well as mollies and several others.
However the hobby was consuming not only my time and interest, but taking up all and more, of my quite strict allowance.
I soon found out that there was an aquarium society in Dublin which I joined with great enthusiasm, and then learned that there was no dealer with the closing of the Handcock store.
Well this opened a great opportunity, as by enlarging my collection and buying fish and equipment from England, I could pay for my hobby, and have even more tanks etc.
I called this sideline business Irish Aquatics, and saved over the next 5 years from my "trading" enough to pay for, half of my first home.
At this time I was in Veterinary College, and although studies, sports, the ladies, and a host of other activities, occupied my time, somehow I managed to continue my hobby, and attend the monthly meetings of the aquarium club.
The club used to have a couple of shows a year, the members, as well as other societies, principally from the North of Ireland, would participate.
There were categories of competition for best egg layer, best livebearer, best fish in show etc.
The most attractive category by far for my taste, was the competition for the most beautiful tank.
Although the varieties of plants was limited at that time, the show tanks were amazing, especially as many members had access to a beautiful red sandstone which they used in many tanks as ornaments to set off the green plants.
I went on to do Marine Biology, some years later, as my love of fish, overtook all other interests in life.
From there I went for many years into Aquaculture, and later on International fish farming consultancy.
In 1989 I founded a company in Israel, called Red Sea Fish pHarm, in which I still hold an interest.
In 1994 I started Fish-Vet Inc.
which produces software for fish disease diagnosis, and this software is used by Governments, Universities, fish farms, veterinarians, and more.
As a result of our cooperation with some forty six professors in sixteen countries in the preparation of the software, we were able to create a few unique specialized treatments, that we also sell all over the USA.
As a result of our cooperation During 1997, I decided to get back into my first love within the hobby.
I started to grow some plants, and experiment with making attractive layouts.
I found that to achieve really good results consistently, one needed to pay close attention to many factors, and that this required specialized equipment, which was not readily available, or at least not at a reasonable cost on the American market.

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