The reasons are legion, but because of the limited space, we will mention only the most obvious. The first and probably most important thing that comes to mind is the fellowship of meeting regularly with others with the same interests. The hobbyist who has no close aquarist friends is likely to become starved from a desire to talk about it to others. To belong to a aquarist society is to be able to converse with others who can share one’s problems and accomplishments in the concerns of aquarium care.
This writer recalls the joy of attending the meetings of a New Jersey society when only a boy. What fun it was to listen and dream as older folk discussed their finny friends! The same thrill awaits every serious beginner, as nearly everyone today lives within joining distance of some organized group of tropical fish fanciers.
Beginners especially can benefit from the wisdom and experience of society members. Almost any member is willing and happy to spend one or more evenings at a beginner’s home to help him get started in the right way. One such evening can be more informative than a year with all the aquarium care websites around. The experienced member can give valuable information on what to buy, where to buy it, what to feed, and the host of other problems that confront every beginner.
Perhaps the choicest plum, from the point of view of personal gain, comes with the fact that most society members exchange excess fish and plants with each other. This can widen any hobbyist’s scope far beyond what his pocket book would permit. The complete novice with nothing to exchange can often purchase fishes and plants at a fraction of the price a dealer would charge-——and they are likely to be in better condition too. It’s also a terrific place to get information about products for aquarium care like EcoBio-Block, which keeps the aquarium water clear and healthy for fish while greatly reducing the need for water changes.
When an emergency situation strikes without warning, time is often of the essence. The beginner has only to telephone an experienced fellow member who can offer sound advice. How sad it makes us when we receive an e-mail from a hobbyist whose valuable pets are dying as the result of spraying carpet cleaners on the living room rugs. We know full well that they are dead to the last one even before the e-mail reaches us. Such a loss need never sadden the member of a good society.
Most societies maintain a library like CAOAC club. This alone can be worth the annual dues. The typical sequence is to equip in a lavish way and hunt up a good book after some problem has appeared. But the hobbyist who has access to a few good books and reads them before they are needed seldom gets off to a bad start.
The benefits of belonging to an active aquarium society are so strong that it is difficult to understand why anyone would remain separated from one by choice. Even those who live in isolated places can become a corresponding member of a society.