I have been out of the hobby for a number of years. My career as an Audio Engineer who mixes rock concerts has caused me to be very mobile in recent years and therefore not able to sustain a tank.
Firstly, let me thank everyone in the hobby for the kudos on my little treatise on DIY Co2 systems. I have received many wonderful emails over the years thanking me for the work. At the time it was a labor of love and great fun to compile the data and ideas in one place for all of us in the hobby to use and enjoy. Thank you all for recognizing my effort and I hope it was useful and fun.
With that said, I have a humorous story ....
In my musical travels, I recently had an experience that I will never forget. I was in Europe doing a number of shows. I was mixing a performance in a municipal community center in Switzerland. In between sound check and the actual performance I had five hours to kill. I was strolling around this facility and came across a series of halls where there was a gathering of planted aquarium folks complete with tanks, fish and wonderful plants.
Apparently, in this particular part of Switzerland there is a large group of hobbyists who gather every two years at this facility. For a full two weeks, they setup and display Planted Aquariums. They even compete for the best setup. Some tanks were massive, but most were modest. All were beautiful. Very very cool!!!
I walked in and started looking around at the setups. Strangely I noticed every setup except a few of the large tanks were using what seemed to be my system
in some form or another. I said to myself, "Nah ... this can't be. I'm just being narcissistic. This is just coincidence."
Well ... I walked around some more, shrugging off this obviously pretentious notion. Then I suddenly notice behind a display table a big board, at least 10 feet wide and five feet tall. It was written in whatever language it is they speak there (Swiss?). But oddly, I noticed all my drawings were there! Then up at the top I noticed my name. On the table, there were copies of my treatise, translated and photocopied and even bound, being handed out to all who wanted them for free. They had translated my paper and placed it in prominence like it was some holy scripture of DIY Co2 Systems?!
Huh!? What? Naaaaaah? NO WAY?!
I walked up to the table and inquired to the man sitting there, "Do you speak English"
. The man looked at me and said, "Yes"
. I said, "What is this big board about?"
This man, in very good Queens English, "went off" ad nauseum about how, "...this is greatest paper ever written about yeast generation of Co2 written by a renowned American bio-chemist, academic and expert on yeasts"
. He went on and on and on ... I unfortunately and quite inappropriately began to laugh hysterically in his face.
I didn't mean to be rude but he was gushing over my little treatise. I mean really over-enthusiastic. The use of the word "renowned" is what got me into giggling. It was nervous laughing and I think I was embarrassed, as well. He had a very strange look on his face, and he was obviously somewhere between upset and confused. Yet he continued to describe how "... this single paper has helped so many hobbyists achieve great success in planted tanks without alot of expense"
. He then asked me if I would like a copy. Still giggling, I reached into my pocket and handed him my passport. He frowned, opened it and looked at my name. His mouth went agape. He looked at the passport in one hand, then pointed at the name on the bound paper he was handing me in his other hand. He said coyly, "You?"
. I nodded in the affirmative and apologized for my giggling.
Now mind you, at the time I was touring with a Heavy Metal band. I had long red hair down to my butt, and I was in biker leathers and even snake skin boots. I did not look like the "bio-chemist academic" he had just described or probably envisioned. I explained that I was indeed the author, I was not a chemist and told him why I happened to be there by shear chance. He began to laugh along with me at this point. I told him I was just a hobbyist like himself. He began to tell everyone I was there, the cameras came out and I took pictures with over twenty people and met many fine aquarists. It was wonderful. I even signed some autographs. I was humbled beyond belief.
Funny thing, the guitar player in the band I was working for, walked by the hall and and happened to see me there having my picture taken and signing autographs on the copies of my paper. He's very well known and accustomed to being the center of attention. He rushed over and said,"Hey man ... What the #*%# is this?"
I pointed to the board and said, "See the name? I guess I'm a guru."
He looks at me and says, "We come to Europe and you get to sign autographs? You're the soundguy, this is just wrong!"
My fifteen minutes are up ... I guess!
I'm settled now, working locally to my home and I am about to embark on a new planted aquarium again. Yippie!!! Well, I've had some recent experience with LED based theatrical lighting. No heat and incredible output. Maybe a new treatise on DIY LED Lighting for Planted Aquaria is forthcoming? Who knows ....