Like many of you, as an avid reader of ReefBuilders, I feel a sense of withdrawal on the weekends when Jake and the crew typically do not post a whole lot of new material. Granted like most of us who work Monday through Friday their work week ends on Friday afternoon. Still for many of us, the weekend is when we really get to enjoy our hobby and reading something new on Reefbuilders would add to that enjoyment.
Last weekend while attending the grand unveiling of the amazing coral farm at World Wide Corals, this very topic came up. After much discussion and debate it was suggested that I would write a Saturday morning column to help fill the void and address things that I would enjoy writing about and that I felt would be of interest or at least spark debate among my fellow hobbyists. Our initial discussions led to about 5 topics for articles, however during the plane ride home I came up with an additional 77, so we are covered for a while.
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Mike Paletta and I’ve now been keeping reef tanks for the past 30 years. Yeah I am old, starting with a 55-gallon tank and moving up to a tank as large as 1200-gallons. I currently have 300, 70, 45 and 26 gallon tanks running. I have worked on tanks as large as 4,000 gallons and have consulted with the National Aquarium and the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium. I have written 2 books and over 200 articles and have given almost as many lectures to clubs and at meetings all over the world.
As a result, I have been lucky enough to meet and talk with thousands of you, seen many of your tanks and gotten to see hundreds if not thousands of tanks and shops. I have also been lucky enough to consider many of you my friends, many for well over a decade. However, I do not do this for a living, I work in oncology, but as most that know me will attest, this is my lifelong passion and that I always say what is on my mind.
What I hope to provide in these pieces is my view of things from a fellow hobbyist’s point of view, because I am a hobbyist like you striving to have a “successful” tank, and I hope to discuss topics that we are all interested in. Like many of you I lose fish and corals for seemingly no reason, I spend more than I should, I have a basement full of stuff I once used that I know I will need again, I do dumb things because someone said it worked for them online, and I give money to people for the equivalent of aquatic magic beans.
I love gadgets, brightly colored things and the latest technology that “guarantees to make keeping a tank easier”. Some of the articles will be serious, some funny and some totally irrelevant, but I will always try to make them fun and informative. Not everyone will agree with what I will say, and that is fine, some of these topics need to be debated.
I look forward to your feedback, as like you I am still learning. As I said I hope to cover a lot of topics, and as new methodologies or equipment arises I will discuss these as well, because like many of you I am a tinkerer and am constantly experimenting to have the best tank I can, and hopefully do it with less and less effort and expenditure of funds.
If there is a topic that you would really like me to discuss please let me know. But the thing I really want to do with this, is to try and make the hobby fun for everyone, which sadly I think many new people are missing. So next Saturday I will begin trying to entertain and inform you with something for you to read with your Saturday morning coffee.