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Issue: September 2012

Our 60th Anniversary: Looking Back (Full Article)

Author: TFH Staff

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Photographer: Lea Lee
On our diamond anniversary, we take a brief look at some of the developments and breakthroughs in the aquarium hobby from the 10 years that have passed since the publication of our 50th anniversary.

Looking back on the 10 years since our 50th Golden Anniversary issue, there have been some major changes in Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine, having grown since our landmark September 2002 issue both physically, in the larger trim size of the magazine itself, as well as intellectually and creatively, in the number of monthly contributors weighing in each month, but our mission remains the same: to cover all aspects of the aquarium hobby, freshwater, saltwater, reefs, plants, ponds, and more! In this issue we both celebrate where TFH Magazine has been and look forward to where we're going. Here's a brief sampling of some of the trends and highlights in the fishkeeping world we've been reporting on over the past 10 years.

Planted Tank Revolution

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In the early 1990s, TFH Publications published Takashi Amano’s Nature Aquarium World series of books and thus revolutionized the planted aquarium hobby in the United States. In 2005, Mr. Amano began bringing even more of his ground-breaking aquascapes to the English-speaking world with his monthly “Nature Aquarium” articles in TFH.

The Nature Aquarium aesthetic has helped evolve the freshwater aquarium hobby in wonderful ways, serving as a major driving force behind the recent popularity of planted aquariums in the U.S. Many aquarium hobbyists consider a lush planted aquascape to be the freshwater equivalent of the high-tech reef tanks that have also exploded in popularity in recent years. Much like the gorgeous colors and teeming life of a living coral reef aquarium, Mr. Amano’s creations touch the innate human love for beauty and nature, and few who see his work are immune from its power to inspire.

Freshwater Shrimp

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Before the early 2000s, shrimp-keeping was pretty much relegated to the marine hobby. Some hobbyists certainly kept freshwater shrimp, but they weren’t widely popular and didn’t come in the astounding array of color morphs available today. Times have changed, and now colorful freshwater shrimp are increasingly sought after by hobbyists for their algae-eating abilities, interesting behaviors, ornamental appeal—or all of the above!

It's Electric

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In 1986, the Jack Dempsey, a perennial favorite, was given new life when the electric blue color morph was found swimming in a breeding facility’s tank. While it didn’t become popular until the early 2000s, the electric blue Jack Dempsey is now standard in many pet shops. There is still debate surrounding its origins, but one thing is for certain: It is a popular, colorful, and valuable addition to the freshwater hobby.

Trending: Nano Tanks

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Perhaps one of the most popular trends in recent years has been the nano tank craze. Fans of these mini aquariums rave about their ability to fit into almost any space, the creativity of the layouts they hold, and their ability to showcase even the smallest fish and invertebrates that would otherwise be lost in a larger setup.

Breeding Marines

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When this magazine began in 1952, successfully keeping marine fish was exceptionally difficult. In fact, the first issue of TFH made no mention of the marine aquarium hobby. Clearly, things have changed—it is not only practical to keep marine fish now, but also corals and a host of other invertebrates for captive reefs. One of the latest breakthroughs in the saltwater hobby has been in breeding marine fish, an endeavor that was once considered all but impossible.

Although far from commonplace (the vast majority of marine fish are still wild-caught), breeding marine fish has come an incredibly long way. We now have a number of fish that have been captive bred, including the Banggai cardinalfish, which is threatened in the wild. Captive breeding has led to hardier, easier to care for animals—the quintessential example being the once almost impossible to keep mandarinfish, which has now been captive bred to produce offspring that can accept standard aquarium fare.

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Exploration has always been essential to fishkeeping, and the past 60 years TFH has brought our readers tales from explorers traveling around the world and facing untold dangers to find that one new species that will do well in an aquarium. It is because of these adventurous souls that we have the diversity of fish, invertebrates, and plants we enjoy today.

In the past 10 years we've featured excursions to such far-flung destinations as Uruguay (2004), Irian Jaya (2004), Borneo (2007), Tanzania (2010), and many more. Here's a brief look at the groups of fishes that come to us from across the globe today, all thanks to the intrepid adventurers who helped forge the modern fishkeeping hobby.

Fish Around the World

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ASIA: The majority of freshwater tropical fish are bred in and exported from Asia, and many of our favorite species are found there.

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AFRICA: When thinking of African fish, most hobbyists immediately think of the wildly popular Rift Lake cichlids.

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OCEANIA: (Australia, New Zealand, & Indo-Pacific Islands): While certainly boasting a large number of freshwater fish, such as rainbowfish, Oceania is perhaps best known for its many saltwater species.

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NORTH AMERICA: Although not typically regarded for its collection of fish, North America is home to some beautiful temperate species.

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SOUTH AMERICA: Tetras, catfish, cichlids, and various other ornamental fishes from South America grace tanks across the country and the world. The hobby wouldn't be what it is today without this amazing wealth of freshwater species.

See the full article on TFH Digital

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