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2001, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008
, J. Atchison

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Not all collecting is done in exotic location like Arkansas or Los Angeles. Sometime one must really take a long journey to find suitable collecting sites. In July of 1998 my family and I took an opportunity to make a trek and find some fish.

Well, the trip was not about collecting fish but I have an understanding family and they tagged along...not always getting out of the car but they didn't complain about the bags of fish in the bathrooms of the hotels.

We went to Birmingham, England to a convention of Lions Clubs International...an organization that most of family is a member of and active in. Birmingham is a wonderful city and the surrounding area is full of great stuff to see...including some fish shops. But to really see the cool shops you have to be lucky to find them or have an inside source. I was lucky and also had a source.

Here in the United States, most of our aquarium shops are inside, heated and more often than not carry a high percentage of warm water tropical and marine fish. It would be unusual to find a shop that had a selection of cold water fish of any size. The US shops might be associated with other types of pets or pet products. It was shock to find the majority of the shops we looked at in The Midlands of England to associated with nurseries...plants and such. It seems that fountains, ponds and the cold water fish are a bigger part of the fish trade in that part of the World than this part. Never thought about it. It was fun to walk from the cold water fish areas into the tropical areas...which generally were separated by doors to keep the heat in.

Earlier in the year, I fielded a question from a Steve in England. He was seeking killifish eggs and was having a bit of a problem with a vendor. I told him I was coming over in a couple of months and suggested that I might bring the eggs with me. Just prior to leaving, Steve arranged for a meeting place and told me that I would have no trouble remembering the names of he and his two friends that were coming with him. I though that their names would be something on order of Smith, Jones and Thatcher...you know, English sounding names...noooo, Steve meant that their names were Steve, Steve and Steve. He was right, I have not forgotten their names. (Recently Steve posted that another Steve had join the Club)

Steve, Steve and Steve met us in Matlock Bath. We wanted to get some Killifish eggs to them and they wanted to talk shop. We have a delightful time with these members of the Grimsby Cleetthorpe Aquarist Society. They taught us a lot about English fish keeping and the English fish groupie scene. We think nothing of hopping in our car and driving an hour and a half to a fish meeting...Steve, Steve and Steve have the luxury of walking. It was interesting to compare notes on which fish were available and what each of us was keeping...comparing prices of the hobby made me appreciate what is available to us here...cheaper and more variety...more consistent water...more food variety...and the Internet. One of the things we rely upon at the Farm is the Internet. We communicate though it (oK, sometimes we're too slow to respond)...and we do a lot of research on new project fish. Our dialup fees are nil because it is a local call, so the Internet hookup is very cheap on a per minute basis...no necessarily so in parts of England where we were told that dialing next door is a toll charge. Sure kills the love the 5 hours a day we spend on the Net in this office.