Originally printed in Killinews, March 1989, Issue 282.
Nobody else will know your fish, especially those who have only seen the species in other people's tanks
When I was responsible for an aquarium club's newsletter, I had to twist a few arms for articles on a number of occasions (what an understatement). The usual excuse was that the people didn't have anything to write about, or no data/information to start with. My answer was always the same, and could easily apply to all BKA members.
The first step is to decide what to write about, and that is easy to overcome. Tonight, when you go to feed your fish, the first killie that you look at will become the subject for your article (but of course you can choose more than one). Now that we have decided on what to write about, we are halfway to completing the article.
The second step is to collect some data, so no excuses about lack of information, as this is what you now have to gather. This collection may take anything from a month for the "mop spawners" to nearly a year for the "peat divers". Maybe for the latter you could split your article into two parts for publishing and allow the editor to cross-reference when the second part is printed. Of course you can collect data for more than one article at the same time. Now I will give you some ideas on the type of data you might include,
- Name of the species
- How many do you have (male/female)
- Age if known (from who/where did you obtain them?)
- Size, including variations
- Description (here you might get some help by looking at back issues if Killinews, but remember to describe the fish in your tank)
- Size of tank kept in (are there any other fish present)
- Type of water (tap, rain etc.) - qualities if known (temp., pH, DH)
- Are you breeding them - if not why not (lack of space?) - if yes,
- what method
- how many eggs per day/week
- length of time to hatching or storage time (at what temperature)
- how many hatched
- what was their first food
- losses in 1st week, 2nd week
- how many were reared to adults (sex ratio). This is more of an afterthought, and should be as an update some months after the original article
remember to describe the fish in your tank....
You might say "why write an article". Well, for any fish you are keeping, you are the expert. Nobody else will know your fish, especially those who have only seen the species in other people's tanks or just the name in a book. So, why not pass on some of your "expert advice", and don't wait on someone else to do it for you, as the more the merrier even if about the same species. It just might help someone start off on the right track.
Of course, there is always the possibility of collecting the articles on a particular species together, and producing a series of I.P.s from them (what a lovely thought).
Wouldn't it be nice to read that our editor had received complaints from his postman about the number of letters he continually had delivered to his house.
Of course, there are many topics to cover other than fish, but give it a try in 1989 (which should now be 2001, but date is irrelevant). It is not so difficult or as boring as you might think and there could be a few surprises in store for you. You might like to co-ordinate with a couple of friends and do it as a group project.