I am writing this article to explain myself to readers a little more.
My experience and expertise in the aquarium field does not come solely from myself. One of my talents is recognizing others talents and accepting that others may have good ideas even if they contradict my own.
I started an online aquatic information site and business after 40 years in the hobby and 28 years in the professional maintenance business (and LFS). I moved to Oregon for very difficult personal reason, certainly not for monetary reason and this became my new outlet since I no longer owned my business of many years (I sold it to my ex-brother in law).
Eatery with 100 Aquariums Here is a newspaper clipping picture of 31 year old Rufus the Pacu from the Bahooka Restaurant that I maintained and set up most aquariums for almost two decades. Please click the picture to vist the full article (post) and view a larger picture.
Back to aquariums and ponds; I used to have one room of my house with racks of aquariums where I conducted experiments, plus two of my largest aquarium/pond contracts (Bahooka Restaurant, Coaster Co. of America with 105 and 36 aquariums and ponds respectively) allowed me to also experiment around with different ideas.
Also the large number of aquariums I maintained allowed me the opportunity to run head to head test of different brand products or new products. I have also run trials of many fish foods in both fresh and saltwater (as despite what many say), not all fish foods are the same as there is sometimes wide variance in ingredients. I have found that many fish (although they may be healthy) can do better. Here is an article I wrote about this subject:
Proper Aquatic Nutrition
I also talked to and listened to others in the aquarium/pond maintenance field (as I still do) to get their opinions. In one example (shortly before I moved to Oregon), I was talking to another aquarium service person and was telling him about how I was think of adding several of the Marineland Bio Wheel sump systems to my aquariums. He then asked me why I thought so highly of bio wheels and whether I was just believing the hype (which was based on plausible scientific facts) or had actually tested them as he had recently. I answer no and then set out to test them (primarily against sponge filters) and found that he was right, although bio wheels do work, what they accomplish vs. other filters was mostly hype. My point here is that I was willing to listen to others in my field, even if it proved me wrong!
I have also attended many seminars over the years to further my education, such as ones sponsored by Aquatronics (an aquarium pharmaceutical company) and others.
Another point is that I do not place myself at Guru status such as Tom Barr; I read him and others as often as I can. This said, even though he probably knows more than I about planted aquariums, I will confer with others aquarium plant keeping, a case in point is ADA Plant Substrate; I noticed that he recently made negative comments about this over hyped product in plant forums, yet even though I have never used it, several in the maintenance business already had and had raised the same questions months earlier to which I had already passed on. I also feel that often many reading true experts such as Tom Barr’s article will often go overboard in trying to make the perfect tank, and this does not apply to plants alone, pH chasing is a very common problem in many freshwater hobbyists aquarium.
Also less known parameters such as Redox are also left out of many an aquarium keeping equation.
I will also note that I have always utilized experts in many a field to help me with my aquatic “problems”. Even though the concept for my UV Sterilizer is mine, an employee (who is now a senior electrician for CalTrans) aided me in the design and prototype changes of my sterilizer, and to be very blunt, based on my usage and others, I do not think any other UV comes even remotely close to it for the price (which is frankly too low considering the time it takes to build).
I had a friend and client who was a long time aquarium hobbyist and a Endocrinologist who was a great help in cutting thru the many aquarium medication myths that still exist today.
As for aquarium lighting, this is a fast growing field where I have to read a lot to keep up, however I am not afraid (unlike many) to change my opinion about new innovations or studies that show mine and/or others beliefs to be wrong. I subscribe to lighting industry newsletters (these are not just for the aquarium lighting industry which is frankly a borrower industry do to lack of real funding like most areas of the aquatic industry). Case in point is that the new SHO self ballast lamps in 6400 K have mostly ignored by many in the aquarium industry yet these are an incredible bulb especially for the price.
I can go on here, but I hope my point has been made and that is my aquarium (and pond) information is a compilation of my experience, research, industry and even more outside industry news letters, and finally the input of others.
While this is just a quick blog post about what was on my mind, here is my complete Aquarium Keeping:
Carl Strohmeyer; Aquarium Keeping Bio