Editorial: The joy of fish clubs
By Neale Monks
At the end of August, I was lucky enough to be a speaker at the Greater Cincinnati Aquarium Society in Ohio. Getting to talk for an hour on brackish water fish is always fun, but what was a real treat for me though was seeing a vibrant, successful aquarium club in action. From the playful banter between members through to the amazingly good value auction of fish, corals and plants, the whole thing was quite remarkable.
In this age of online forums and mailing lists, it's easy to overlook the value of real, live fish clubs. Compared with an online club, there are obvious advantages in being able to discuss issues specific to your particular area, such as water chemistry or differences between local fish shops. Members are able to share plants and livestock more easily, so that getting hold of rare specimens is less difficult, and less expensive, than otherwise. In the case of GCAS, I was simply stunned at the selection of fish on offer, including some livebearers and catfish you hardly ever see being sold retail.
But there's also the big advantage of a genuinely social dimension. GCAS had members of all ages, and things like breeder points and other awards made it easier for hobbyists to feel a real sense of achievement once they'd kept and bred a particular fish. It's easy to scoff, but things like club t-shirts and lively get-togethers at local restaurants help to bring people together in a way online forums never will.
So why do so few people belong to fish clubs? One reason perhaps is that people don't know they exist. I'd certainly like to see posters advertising local fish clubs in every tropical fish shop! But do look in print magazines for lists of clubs; many include such listings, and you might be surprised to find one not far from you.
Re: Thanks Neale, Could you please tell me
how to get involved with a fish club?
<For the US and Canada at least, TFH magazine always used to publish a list of them in their back pages, and Fish Channel has a list online, here:
So find you state or city, and click on the link! There are also some national clubs like the American Livebearer Association focus on one particular type of fish. They have meetings and even online forums of their own, and if a certain group of fish interest you more than any other, these can be very helpful.>
Do you know if they charge membership fees?
<Usually, yes, though rarely very much. Ten, fifteen dollars is typical for an annual subscription to many city clubs, though non-members are welcome to attend meetings, so feel free to look up a club, visit a meeting, then decide if "it's for you".>
By what you said before I guess one could purchase fish from them via mail?
<Indeed, mail ordering tropical fish is increasingly common. It's still pricey, but a good way to secure livestock not available in your area. That said, I'd try the local club avenue first, just in case someone in your city or state happens to be breeding the beast you're interested in.>
Thank you again.
<Most welcome. Neale.>
<A very nice letter Scott. WWM doesn't actually have anything to send that could be used by the club.
I encourage you to use a listing from one of the industry publications (like Pet Business, Pet Age), to find manufacturers who will participate.
My name is Scott Davis; I am the Corresponding Secretary for SWMAS Raffles, and Auctions. I’m a new person for 2014.
We were founded in 1978 and we have about 75 members at this time and growing.
The club has 12 monthly meeting held on the first Friday of each month, we have auctions and Raffles during the club meetings. We hold 2 Auctions, Spring and Fall auction every year with Raffles, The spring Auction is schedule for March 8, 2014, It will be held at ( 798 East Bridge Street Plainwell, MI 49080 )
The reason for this letter, I am asking for Donations to help support our Freshwater fish club’s Auctions and Raffles for the year of 2014.
I thank you for your support in advance.
My contact info Scott Davis
Wyoming, MI 49548