My Pitch for “International Marine Aquarium Partner’s Day”

Saltwater hobbyists are great at setting up a system in any available space

Saltwater hobbyists are great at setting up a system in any available space

As I sit here and ponder the significance of Independence Day and the liberty it represents, it occurs to me that many of us in the aquarium hobby—in whatever country we reside—should also be grateful for the committed spouses or partners who, through their forbearance, give us the unfettered freedom to pursue our salty obsession. Absent their support (enabling?), our lives would be very bleak indeed!

So, I propose we establish a special day of recognition—International Marine Aquarium Partner’s Day (or IMAPD, if you will)—to commemorate the spouses/partners/significant others who willingly endure so many inconveniences on our behalf, including:

The loss of living space

Most normal-functioning humans look at an empty space in a home and wonder what type of furniture might fit there. But marine aquarists will look at that same niche and wonder how they can shoehorn a tank into it. To our salt-addled brains, ordinary conveniences, such as comfortable seating, tables, kids’ beds, and toilets, are merely secondary considerations.

To put this in perspective, in our 24 years of marriage, my wife and I have moved three times and in each of our homes, she’s never had a proper dining room. I guess you could say we’ve had “fining” rooms instead because these spaces have always done double duty as fish rooms in our houses.

The sensory onslaught

Marine aquariums can be beautiful to behold, but, unfortunately, vision isn’t the only sense they play upon. They also create a cacophony of trickling, gurgling, foaming, humming, and buzzing that can drown out any conversation and make it nearly impossible to understand TV dialogue without lip reading.

Odor-wise…well, let’s just say the heady scent of a well-established marine aquarium is something of an acquired taste. And even the most jaded nose can’t help but wrinkle a bit in protest when it catches a good waft of thick, dark skimmate.

The oddball foods in the fridge and freezer

The partner of a marine aquarist must learn to accept that their ice cream and popsicles must share freezer space with all manner of bizarre frozen fish foods (mmmm, Plankton Pops!) and that some truly stinky and disturbing items—chopped squid tentacles, anyone?—will appear from time to time next to the head lettuce in the fridge. We won’t even touch upon the horrors one might find in PaulB’s refrigerator!

The ongoing expense

Last but certainly not least, those of us who are of modest means should be eternally grateful that our partners are willing to take our ongoing aquarium expenditures more or less in stride. Many is the time my wife has had to do some very creative budget juggling to accommodate a bucket of sea salt, a replacement pump, or some other aquarium-related purchase, expected or otherwise.

Join me in celebrating IMAPD!

So, fellow salties, I hope you’ll join me in designating IMAPD to honor the partners who put up with all our annoying impositions and eccentricities.

All in favor say “aye”!

Photo credit: DSAM

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About Jeff Kurtz

Jeff Kurtz is the Co-founder/Editor of Saltwater Smarts, former Senior Consulting Editor for Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine, and the aquarist formerly known as “The Salt Creep.” He has been an aquarium hobbyist for over 30 years and is an avid scuba diver.

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