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What was fishkeeping like before the internet?

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What was fishkeeping like before the internet?

Post by l_l_l on Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:51 am

I started fishkeeping about 2 years ago, so I am still very young in that sense. I have kept too many goldfish in a 20 gallon for 6 months before properly doing my homework and if it wasn't for the internet, I probably wouldn't be where I am today. It seems like in this short 2 years, I have learned a lot! I have tried reading books on the subject, but the place I'm most comfortable in getting my information, is from forums. I have found that people are always there to help and will give valuable information based on experience and is always really relative to what you are living at the moment. What I got from books was a lot more vague, and always took more time getting to where I needed to go. The problem is that these books are most often not up to date/hard to find. Same goes with used equipement we buy today of kijiji/facebook groups..

I'm intrigued about what was the hobby like before the internet?
Do you have any stories to share that if it were for today, things would have turned out differently?

What are the benefits that you see the internet did bring to the hobby?
What do you think the internet damaged in the hobby?

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Re: What was fishkeeping like before the internet?

Post by charlie1 on Thu Oct 30, 2014 9:16 am

While the internet has done it`s share of good for the hobby, it has also done it`s damage also.
I share a belief it has taken away from the one on one interaction of the hobby & has almost made most clubs that filled that void non existent.
The common problem I see on forums is the amount of dated beliefs & technique still passed o to this day without any authentication, folks post stuff on the forums & because they have a high post count , hobbyist assume Mr. X must know what he is saying, they in turn pass on the same misinformation and it becomes gospel, it is a common issue with forums.
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Re: What was fishkeeping like before the internet?

Post by vince0 on Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:31 pm

The world was different back then, people talked to each other face to face! and also ready books and magazines...

I don't know what this world is coming to anymore! (I'm just as bad as the rest for not leaving my house though...)
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Re: What was fishkeeping like before the internet?

Post by raym on Thu Oct 30, 2014 2:52 pm

I remember going to a fish club with a couple guys in my neighborhood. I was most likely 12 or so (35 years ago) and my friend and I ran the refreshment stand selling coffee and pop. The oldest of our group, maybe 17 drove us there. Loved looking at the show table, listening to the speeches and of course seeing what was on the sales table. We asked questions from the more experienced fish keepers who seemed amused at having the young crowd there.
We did a lot of reading and it was a much slower pace to find out information. A lot of trial and error. Of course the fish I kept were just the common stuff; guppies, swords, mollies, angel fish, gourami, betta, barbs. No instant information available back then. It was a trip to the library and researching.

The internet has allowed me to do a lot more research and ask a lot more questions. If I see some new species of fish, I research on the internet to see if I can provide conditions for it and then I track down a store that has them available and then I ask more questions. For me, the internet offers lots of advantages.

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Re: What was fishkeeping like before the internet?

Post by Sbenson11 on Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:23 pm

I had no idea there was life before the internet, let alone fish keeping.

Gary this questions has you written all over it. Smile

Steve
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Re: What was fishkeeping like before the internet?

Post by nyleveiam on Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:56 pm

I kept my pair of breeding Angels in a ten gallon tank and was pretty sure no one else in the world kept fish.  I guess most of my information came from my lfs, I don't remember finding anything else except toward the end of my angels I do remember getting a magazine.  Forgot it's name now but this was back in the late 60's, early 70's.  It was like opening a whole new world.  
I came back to fish about ten years ago but only kept goldfish in an outside pond.  As I got older it was easier to keep them inside for the Winter and from there I got some tropicals to keep in my tanks in the Summer.
When I discovered Canadquaria you guys corrupted me and I now have upwards of Fourteen tanks, including my ones for Wintering the Goldie's.  I blame it all on the Internet! Bigfish Green Fish
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Re: What was fishkeeping like before the internet?

Post by GaryE on Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:27 pm

In many ways, I don't think it was that different. We didn't have forums, but the clubs were bigger. In Montreal, the SAM (in French) had 150 people at some meetings when I first joined. The MAS (English)pulled 75. Now, a good SAM meeting has 50, and the MAS can be 30.
We got to talk fish the way we can daily here once a month.
The magazines were big - we had FAMA, Aquarium Fish, and TFH in most medium sized corner magazine stores. I used to have a steady income writing for those mags - it was my second job. But if you wanted to ask a question, you had to mail a letter.
The mags sold anywhere from 60,000 to 150,000 per month. Now, they are barely standing. I'll go out on a limb and say they were better than the Internet, in that they had a fierce editorial review process. When I used to write fish books, the texts were all sent to Ichthyologists for technical review before publication - now I can make up an online name and write anything I want, and not usually be called on my errors.
Books were big, and there were a lot of encyclopedias of fish - big glossy books with tons of pictures and text on the various species. Every aquarist who now has a forum presence would have had a small library then. Fishbooks were big sellers at Christmas, and all the mall stores offered at least half a dozen different titles. You couldn't ask a question online, but you could read well edited texts on the subjects that interested you. A lot of what I know about fish now is based on the old bathroom library - those species descriptions were great reading in context.
A friend worked in a shop, and the employees were assigned chapters every week and tested on them as part of getting good hours. The reading culture did have advantages.
People used to hang around aquarium stores more. I knew one that secretly sold liquor from behind the cash, beside the angelfish tank. My grandfather was known to drink, and one of his favourite taverns had its walls lined with fishtanks, with the fish all bought by the customers. It was near a streetcar terminus, and the guys would get off work, check up on their fish and talk tanks while having a beer after work.

I got on the Internet before it had photos, and when you needed DOS commands to navigate (no mouse, let alone a touchscreen, all keyboards). Amazingly, there was already a thriving, text only aquarium scene happening. One of the first things I found online was a technical article on Aqua-Clear filters.

I guess the biggest difference is that if I said something really dumb in 1980, 2 people heard me. Now, if I say something dumb, 30,000 can hear it.
But I can access papers and real research, talk to hobbyists all over the world, talk with scientists in the field and access tons of photos. We're way ahead.
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Re: What was fishkeeping like before the internet?

Post by l_l_l on Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:47 am

This turned to be a very good information thread.
I'm wondering how it affected fish sales, and available fish species as well?

Was it easier to have uncommon fish? Was it harder?

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Re: What was fishkeeping like before the internet?

Post by GaryE on Wed Nov 05, 2014 5:51 pm

Me again, the wordy guy.

I see the hobby in decline now as far as choices go, at least in Montreal. A lot of it has to do with the nature of stores, and not the internet. Big chains with central purchasing don't encourage innovation or diversity. They want cheap stock, and a set list of possibilities.
Older stores of any size survived on innovation, so they prided themselves on having surprises. That's gone.
As well, since so many more people were into fishkeeping, the larger market encouraged diverse choices. Now, store after store has dempsies, oscars, guppies, zebras - a set lineup of 30 to 50 species. There were probably 100 standards you saw regularly in 1980.
But, small stores were like the big chains, limited.Still, in my teenage neighbourhood, I was within walking distance of two excellent local stores, a store with a dozen tanks, a saltwater store and a megastore that always had new species. When I moved closer to downtown, I could walk to 5 different aquarium stores and was within a relaxed bike ride to 5 more. Now, only 2 of those stores are still going, and they have no "walk to" competition.
There are good importers bringing in rarities, although business doesn't look like it did even 10 years ago.

So, when I was a kid, choices were limited. In the eighties, the hobby expanded. By the 90s, it was very diverse and there was a market for uncommon fish. Now, that market has shrunk and we have fallen back to 1960s choices with the chains.
But online is always there for the rare stuff, if you have the money for it. That is intriguing.
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Re: What was fishkeeping like before the internet?

Post by Starfish on Wed Nov 05, 2014 7:56 pm

GaryE wrote:Me again, the wordy guy.


And good words they are. Smile
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