Do you sometimes worry that you may be spending too much time with your fish? I often hear people remark that although they enjoy their hobby, the routine maintenance tasks involved detract from the fun.
In this month's feature we will explore how we can increase our fun by maybe taking a different approach to those mundane activities that are so essential if we are to keep our fish in tip top condition.
Create a plan
When you get some time to spend with your hobby do you go through a sort of mental conflict wondering what to do?... and when you finally do decide, half of your time has gone already.
WELL...you are not on your own, most aquarists share the same dilemma. BUT... it is possible to overcome this problem, to even double your fishkeeping enjoyment. HOW? Well, certainly not by adding more tanks or even devoting more time to your hobby... the answer lies in a change of mental outlook, a change of approach.
Have you ever noticed that some people always seem to be on top of their work?, how their fish rooms and tanks are always tidy? how they always seem to have lots of time to enjoy their hobby? Yet others never get a minute to live, they always seem to have lots to do and yet nothing seems to get done.The most important ingredient in our formula for increased fishkeeping fun is planning.
Most of us lead busy lives, holding down a full-time job, and taking care of family commitments etc. Without a plan it is all too easy to put off our fish maintenance tasks until another day when life is a litle less hectic. Unfortunately, more often than not life doesn't get less hectic and our maintenance jobs build up until our tank(s) become dirty and our fish begin to suffer.
That's when the pressure starts to build.
Include the family
This can be particularly difficult when your partner doesn't share your love and enthusiasm for the hobby. It is only natural that they will have different priorities for your time than you and if harmony is to be maintained then some sort of agreement must be reached. Having a plan that includes both the family needs and your hobby needs goes a long way to ensuring that everyone's needs are satisfied. The biggest obstacle to overcome in any hobby is distraction. It is very tempting when we have the time to spend with our fish to waste that time on trivial matters or even just admiring our fish.
Now don't get me wrong... I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't take time to admire our fish, after all that is the reason we started keeping fish in the first place. What I am suggesting is that there are probably more suitable times to sit and admire our fish. We can fit in time for that when we are relaxing with the family, for instance.
What I am saying is that during those precious occassions when we can devote some dedicated time to maintenance, we should concentrate just on maintenance activities.The most important ingredient to making the best of our valuable time is one of mental outlook and organisation. Clear thinking about your fish is the key to getting maximum pleasure. No matter what your hobby or interest is, there can be no pleasure in it if it causes anxiety and frustration. Your hobby will only be pleasurable if it brings you satisfaction and relaxation.
Ask yourself ... is your thinking absolutely clear about your fishkeeping? Perhaps when you get some time one evening get a pencil and paper and make a few notes along these lines. Have you ever considered how much time and money you can afford to spend on the hobby? Give it some thought and write it down. You might think, for example, ......I can afford to work 2 evenings a week, 3 hours each evening and 5 hours every other saturday. ......I can afford to spend