Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I Love My Job!

OK, so despite my occasional bitching about some of the crap I have to tolerate while working in retail... as a whole, my coworkers are great, my current boss is the best boss I've ever had, and I really do love my job. Here are pictures of a few work projects which help me to relax & keep my mind engaged while making ends meet.

75 Gallon Amano-Style planted display with an assortment of rainbowfish, rasboras, shrimp, & snails. I set this one up just over a year ago and it is by far my most beautiful planted display in the entire store. This tank more than pays for itself because the plants in it reproduce profusely and I am always harvesting bunches of them to sell in our main sales tanks.

South American species biotope tank: stocked with wild-caught Angelfish, Cardinal Tetras, Rummynose Tetras, Cory Cats, Otocinclus, and a few snails. I built this to simulate the sub-marginal zone on an amazon river bank. Not all of the plants are native to South America, but I still think that it replicates the effect of that particular environmental zone quite well. I built this one about 2 years ago.

This display is still fairly young, maybe 3 months old. It's sort of a fusion of a standard japanese rock gardening style mixed with a dutch formalist planting arrangement; an experimental work in progress. It is difficult to tell how a tank's layout will look until all the plants have completely grown out and matured, much like any ornamental garden.

One of my newest pursuits would be coral reefs. I've only gotten involved within the past few years (after some intensive research). It is one of the most easily misunderstood (and often poorly executed) aspects of the aquarium hobby. To truly keep a successful reef, there needs to be an understanding of the intricate balance between creatures in an open reef environment within the ocean, and then one must realize that it requires a fine attention to detail when attempting to replicate it within a closed system. It is not something that is undertaken as a cutesy little weekend hobby. .. Which is why I appreciate this 300 gallon tank so much. One of my coworkers and I have been the sole caretakers of the tank pictured above and below this paragraph. We began setting it up about a year ago and have watched it progress with all the pride of a father who is watching his children grow up (did I actually just say that? Oy, someone medicate me, hehe). It has been well-worth our efforts from a business perspective and a nice little side-benefit of our expertise is that we are helping to educate people on how delicate a reef environment is and how necessary it is to preserve them within their natural habitat. This message is being taken seriously by some people who normally wouldn't give a hoot about environmental issues.

Random brag: I built the stand that this tank rests upon (mostly out of the reclaimed lumber which composed the packing materials for this tank), yankee ingenuity. The tank weighs over 1.5 tons with everything in it.

Yes, taking pictures of fish tank projects and posting them to my blog completely cements my position as a nerd, even more so than houseplant pictures. Yet I am confident enough that despite the inherent geekiness of this post, someone somewhere will still find it interesting. For lack of talent with standard artistic mediums, these tanks are a major outlet for my creativity. They also serve as a much-needed gardening fix to counteract the mundane seasonal funk that winter typically inflicts on me. Seriously, what other job would allow me to do things like this and get PAID for it!!?? And yes... all the plants in these tanks are real. (Sorry, couldn't restrain that last random brag).


Suzanne said...

Exceptionally beautiful and interesting! Enjoyed seeing the pictures and hearing your thoughts, your brags, etc. Lot's of hard work and care went into the tanks! Bravo! I think my favorite pic is of the coral reef tank. It really weighs that much?!? Wow!

Glad to hear you love your job!

Steve S said...

At the aquarium here, they have one entire two-story wall that's a glass window into the most beautiful kelp garden I've ever seen. Huge strands about 50-60 feet tall just sway back and forth, it's very hypnotic and relaxing to just watch. Underwater gardens are beautiful. While I do think coral reefs are gorgeous, I'm definitely drawn to Life's green. That first pic looks like a fantasy meadow.

McPolack said...

These are awesome! Geeks are cool.