Involving friends and family with your hobby is on the wish list for many. Rewarding as it is, it can be hard for others to understand your passion entirely. Having the support of your significant other goes a long way to make your hobby even more rewarding than it already is.
Some of my closest friends just happen to be fish nerds just like me. I met most of them on forums and over the years, we developed a friendship that has it’s roots in a common passion. I think we all have that well meaning friend that thought your fish seemed extra hungry while you were away, and you came home to a jungle of algae.
Friends that are not in the hobby are still curious about the tank and enjoy looking at the corals. At get togethers in my home, we hang out around the aquarium and for that reason, I’ve been contemplating having my tank as the focal point of my living room, instead of a TV.
With children, the fascination starts early. Movement and color, and possibly an innocent disaster or two gets the involvement going. My niece and nephew used to be fascinated by the magnet cleaner when I first got into salt. They would ask permission to clean the glass and made it a point to show it to their friends when they came over. I am guilty of trying to impress their friends by activating the lightning storms on my LEDs. And succeeding.
video credit: Richard Back
I usually have the webcam pointed at the aquarium when I travel and it is not unusual for me to text my niece to have her clean the glass while I am supervising from afar. My nephew is the more curious one. He asks about the various species of aquarium inhabitants and remembers the types of corals that I care for. He is a responsible kid and that led me to appoint him my “Official ATO and Fish Feeder” whenever I have to travel. He tops off my pico and feeds my fish twice a day while I’m away and I’m not ashamed to admit that he helped me facetime with my tank as he sends pictures my way for a little extra peace of mind that everything fine.
When my niece was in Kindergarten, I was invited to her class to talk about my hobby so I took my iPad along and scrolled through the pictures, pointing out Dingbat the crab and the different fish I had. I totally expected every kid in that classroom to yell “NEMO!” as soon as they saw my Clownfish and as you might expect, I wasn’t disappointed. As a result of our little show and tell session I was monikered, “the aunt with the crabs”. I’m not entirely sure what their parents thought about that, but I got chuckle out of it.
Encouraging a spouse or significant other to pick out a fish or coral is another trick you can try. But beware, the Joke’s on you when they buy you a “birthday Tang” for your 10 gallon nano cube.
I polled my Facebook friends informally about involving their significant others: Chad said his lady came pre-hobby appreciative and he met her at MACNA. Josh says he ended up buying twice the amount of livestock. Claudia, Max and Sahin commented that their significant others did not care for the hobby or thought it was a waste of money. Bob has a supportive partner who was even involved in the business side of the hobby.
Richard has not succeeded in getting his wife to enjoy it as much as he does while Greg is of the opinion that if his girlfriend doesn’t have the love for any of the random animals he brings home, then she is not his type of girl. Ross is hopeful, his wife is getting more involved, albeit slowly.
Philip and his wife attend reef club meetings together. Mike, Luis, Steven and Charles wish their significant others did not hate the hobby. Chris’s wife has her own Red Sea Reefer “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” tank and Andrew is happy that he has a supportive lady.
Daniel has managed to entice his wife into being interested enough to go to shows and have an opinion about what they put in their tank. Sharing her husbands excitement when he won a raffle at MACNA also helps. Ed’s wife understands what he gets out of the aquarium and asks questions to understand more about what he is doing but keeping the living room aquarium looking good is important to her.
From my little poll I concluded, spousal interest is a mixed bag of appreciative partners and those that have resisted the allure of the salty side. What’s your story? Have you tried getting your significant other or your children to share your hobby?