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I'm from a technical background, I guess I got it from my dad he was a Maintenance mechanic in the coal mines working underground. During the day and late shifts, coal was mined and during the night shifts the maintenance came in. So I didn't see much of my dad and didn't learn much from him, he was sleeping when I was running around and working when I was sleeping. Can't blame him for that after all he had 8 mouths to feed and I was cared for and fed very well.

Anyway back in the day I was a busy little bugger always running around and hard to control, school authorities didn't care much for diagnosis and I was considered a Bussy Child with pepper on his ass. Much later in life reading about things I found out that I'm probably affected by what is called ADHD today. I didn't care much for sitting around all day reading books, there was too much to see and to explore in the world around me. So I didn't do very well at school and soon they decided I needed special education for kids with learning difficulties, same education but with smaller groups and more personal attention. It's not that I had learning difficulties, but I couldn't be forced to do what was told for very long. I always wanted more and rather do something else that piqued my interest more at the moment.

That's where my dad came in and his tool shed and he was never around so I had a free game in that Walhalla of tools. And as long as I remember I had the urge to open and or take apart anything that had screws in it, name it if it had a screw or a nut I went for it to satisfy my curiosity. Genetic susceptibility I guess... As a kid, I was an outsider nobody could pinpoint either in the toolshed taking things apart and trying to build them back together or running around in the forest jumping into ponds to see what I could find in there, taking it home and studying it. These things always where my main interests. Mechanics and other technical stuff and biology, anatomy and biomechanics. And since I was raised bilingual languages came somewhat naturally to me and learned to speak 4 relatively fluently. 1 became a bit rusty due to the lack of practice, but drop me in the middle and will pick it back up again soon.

As I got older the ADHD changed into ADD and became less hyper, since reading books and sitting still for hours and hours reading about the same content wasn't my thing and liked switching the subject often and working with my hands. My first education and degree were in Blacksmithing and welding and I liked metalworking so much that after that I did a degree in mechanical engineering followed by Toolmaker. Meanwhile, my brother-in-law had a plumbing company where I worked in my spare time and holidays. After I got my degree in Toolmaking he offered me a full-time job but only if I also got a degree in Installation Technology so I did and went back to day school again for 2 more years to get that.

Working for family doesn't seem very fruitfully This full-time job didn't last long. So I switched and worked some years for different companies in the plumbing, piping other technical installations and mechanical industries, retired from this due to medical issues and went back to school to do IT and worked for 7 more years at a local education centre as an IT professional. A few years back I retired from this again due to medical issues and now I'm just doing hobbies and interests... Designing and building things, Fixing things, restoring things whatever as long as it has moving parts and wires etc. loving nature, my tanks, my fish and plants and cooking and drinking beer and I'm happy.

I guess I still got pepper on my ass but I don't come over as being hyper at least I'm not physically hyper and not bouncing around but more mentally hyper. I did and still do a lot of different things at the same time, Always said I don't have hobbies. But it is more like I have too many and can't decide what my true hobby and or interest is. I'm not 100% specialized in anything I rather know just enough about many things than know all of a little with 2 left hands. As long as it concerns mechanics and electronics and building, restoring or fixing and or biology then I'm in and going for it. I don't know any better and it is what it is, but some people said I have an impressive curriculum vitae. And I intentionally leave things out because I always thought nobody was going to believe this and the story becomes much too long. I guess that's the dark side of having ADHD. I also guess they have it very wrong it's not "Attention Deficit Disorder" it's "Forced Attention Deficit" The norm has 1 big bucket to fill and ADD has 10 smaller buckets to fill. :playful: It simply needs more time than they are willing to give hence Disorder. :geek:
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Apart from two long-forgotten and dusty O-Levels in Physics and Chemistry, no scientific background. Instead, two degrees in English and European, and then American Literature. [There's a lot of fish in Ernest Hemingway's stories - or, at least, fishing.] A rather conventional career path; thirty years an English teacher, then twelve years a University Administrator. However, the secret to my life-long aquarium obsession is probably a childhood spent, net in hand, wading through the then-pristine streams around the Medway in Kent, catching stone loach in the gravelly shallows. I did set up a Rift Lake aquarium in the biology dept of one of my schools. It went well for a year until one of the Lab Assistants thought it needed a good clean with soap and elbow grease. "These fish don't last long, do they?" I still recall her saying....
Only scientific back ground is one physics O-level. Then scraped through French and Maths A-level, failed English inspite of my grandfathers being journalists and both my parents and my brother being writers too. Three years at drama school. Then fifteen years acting - mainly on tv in corsets. By fluke ended up working for the Jim Henson company making puppets and then went freelance, specialising in art finish on animatronics. Basically punching individual hairs into rubber rats - feel those brain cells dying!
My interest in fish started with a minnow smuggled home from a family holiday in Southwold. My parents rescued it and gave me a little fish tank and a gold fish. I got a tropical tank for Christmas and later got a Saturday job at my local fish shop. (I can't remember it's name. It was in Goldhawk Road in Shepherds Bush in London and and had some connection with Queensborough Fisheries in Staines). I have kept fish for over fifty years; mainly tropical fresh water, briefly marines, bred farlowellas in a soft water tank, suffered from multi tank syndrome (8),. Now I have an 800 litre, 20 year old aquarium which is scaped by six clown loaches. I would like a lush jungle style tank. They like patios and paths all completely clear of plants. It's an ongoing battle which they win.
I've had a bit of a finger in several pies. At A-Level I did 4 STEM A levels and Theatre studies. Spent most of my time working in theatre and gig tech. Went to the other end of the country for university where I did Natural Sciences Biology & Philosophy with Anthopology and Geology. I spent a lot of my time again working in tech and events. Following uni I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and trained as an electrician for several months. Through that I ended up working as an administrator for a housing association and became interested in Mapping and Data so I became their GIS technician. At that point my partner got their pHd and a job offer at the other end of the country. So I took the opportunity to do a law conversion. The main thing I learned studying law was that whilst it was interesting I had no interest in working in law, so to earn some dough I took a job in a bakery in a large supermarket. A job came up to work in the pharmacy at the same store and I jumped at the chance to have nicer hours and fewer burns. Qualified as a stop smoking therapist and dispensing tech before my partner and I realised we didn't like the area we lived in and moved 250 miles again. The store I was working at let me down so I ended up in an NHS call centre. Loved that job but kept doing data work for them so transferred to data analytics for them where I still am.

As for fishkeeping. Dad had a terrible tank when we were kids. 3feet long with a pleco and cichlids, undergravel filtration, no hardscape or plants and awful flickering buzzing fluorescents. I was more into rodents than fish but was the one left in charge of the tank when dad went away. At Uni a partner bought me a goldfish in a 10L tank. I learned a lot, fast and ended up with a 90L 3ft tank with goldies and weather loaches in. Got more 60 and 90L tanks and kept gourami, tetra, mollies, danios,wcmms, various barbs and bred guppies & bristlenoses to pay for it all. Then I found a 5ft tank for sale and set up a large tank with Balas as the centrepiece. At this time I fell in love with how plants made keeping a fish tank easier. The health and clarity were superlative. Couldn't take the tank with me on one of the big moves so it lived in an attic for the best part of a decade but when I finally bought my own home setting up the tank was one of the first jobs I did.
Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Thermal Energy Systems.

Work experience in Biomedical devices, hydraulics, and spacecraft thermal control.

Currently working part time on a masters in Systems Engineering

For aquariums, I've kept tanks on and off since 6th grade. Got into planted tanks in highschool with a high-tech tank. I've never had much personal luck on the low tech side. Got back into things post university and now on high tech tanks 3 and 4

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This is a great thread. Anyone else care to share their background 🙂
Math and Computer Science MS with a good deal of Physics sprinkled on top. Pretty much been working in the field of imaging all my working life (+30 years) doing research and development on nitty gritty deeply technical stuff for various small and a couple of big and very well known companies. Due to my advanced age I am now mostly holding a role as a research science advisor / mentor... you know, the experienced but over-the-hill rambling guy that everyone "respectfully" are listening to because of some now completely obsolete past achievements :lol: ... what else... I am an avid cigarette smoker and a "heavy drinker" - according to the NIH ... I keep fish tanks (2), collect bourbon, read a lot, listen to good music, love good cuisine, live in an oversized house on a pristine lake and my carbon footprint is obnoxious...but I am trying to be better... Sorry Earth! :( Yes, and I am a centrist liberal (or "socialist" as we are now called here in the good ol USA)... And of course, I love my wife and my Country (most of the time... still!) Thats it!

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Anyone else? 🙂
Sure, I think I might be one of the younger ones here though, so don't have that much to share (yet). I grew up out on the Swedish country side, not quite in the middle of the forest but pretty close to. Started the aquarium hobby with the customary goldfish, and tadpoles in the summer, but didn't go much beyond that for a while. Instead me and my dads focus was more on restoring the nature around the house, an ongoing project. The place had been managed mainly for production before, i.e. straight drainage ditches and spruce plantations with very limited undergrowth. Rewilding that, and seeing the effects of digging some ponds and selective logging to create more diversity, may have triggered the biologist in me, and on that road I've been ever since. Went for the "Nature" program during high school*, and that's when the aquarium interest started to awake properly. As part of high school I did an exchange year in New Zealand, and being away from the couple of tanks I had back then really triggered me. After that there was no return :)

I finished high school without getting tired of studying (unlike many others), so went straight on to do a bachelors degree in biology. Studying is fun isn't it, lets add a Masters degree in "Ecology and Conservation Biology" on that as well. Then I had a year with a bit of a lull in the studies; I did some freelance work for the university (working with fish and lake monitoring), got a couple of articles published (one scientific based on my masters thesis, one less so in Practical Fishkeeping), and built a greenhouse. I then got a hint that there was a PhD-position coming up at my by now pretty familiar university. I applied and got the position, so I'm currently back to studying, this time river ecology. We'll see which path I choose next.

* The Swedish high school system is a bit different from many other places, in that you choose a program that you stick to, with limited options of choosing which exact courses to take.
Missed this one first time around, here it goes, moved to the UK in 1989 (well my parents dragged me to the UK ) when Portugal joined the EU.
I have a degree in Accounting and Finance but I work in IT as a Network Manager, looking after the computer network for a University in Central London, over the years have worked with Cisco, Juniper, Nortel, Avaya, Extreme Networks, Checkpoint and various other vendors.
Computing was always a hobby from when I was 13, I had Spectrum from that age, then an Amiga, then went to PCs, by 18 I was building my own PCs, joined the internet in the mid 90's and started to learn to create websites, run IRC servers, etc...
Fishkeeping was never an interest to be honest, that started around 2005/6 when my mother brought home a little fish tank that a friend was chucking in the bin and I bought a goldfish for it, the goldfish outgrew that little tank and I decided to buy a Juwel Rio 125 for it as a focus point in the living room, I then went online and started looking what I could do with it and found an online Portuguese forum Fórum de Aquariofilia and saw what was possible in terms of planted tanks, someone that was creating planted tanks at the time was the late Filipe Oliveira that everyone got to know eventually. I also found Aquatic Design Centre and brought my plants from them (Tropica at the time).
Wasn't until 2008 that I found UKAPS by searching on Google images for "Juwel Rio 125" and came across George Farmers Rio 125 and decided to join. I did run that Rio for around 7 years with plain gravel and a full planted tank with carpeting plants and all.
Over time became a moderator on UKAPS and when JamesC decided to step down being an admin (back in 2010) I took over the role, made a lot of changes to the forum, gave it a facelift (back in 2012) to what you have now, and have been keeping it online for you guys ever since ;)
I am not an aquascaper, I just like to keep simple heavy planted tanks that I enjoy in my living space, with as little maintenance as possible and easy to keep plants ;)

Forgot to mention, I met my partner in a IRC chat 23 years ago lol she moved to the UK in 2002!
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Cultivation manager/cultivation advisor at various plant companies. Trained at the HAS Green Academy for horticulture.
25 years of experience in tropical ferns, then as a consultant at various nurseries. About 5 years in the hobby. I'm more of a plant guy than a fish guy.
Have a passion for aquascaping, touch of Zen, Martial Artist. love coffee, sushi and my wife, also collect small pieces off happiness.:thumbup:
I have an MSc in applied psychology, and have worked in the area since graduating. I design and deliver a wide range of people focused stuff for client organisations, including coaching, assessment and selection, management and people leadership development. It's a great job/role that's enabled me to work with a wide range of interesting people doing interesting jobs in many different places across the globe.
I only managed a handful of GCSEs, and totally flunked my A Level's as I lost all interest in the subjects I took. I sprayed cars with my dad all through my teenage years until through a friend of his I landed a temporary role at Cadbury factory. Since then (2009) I've worked my way up to an Engineer here, and now I travel to all of Mondelez's European factories to commission our new products onto production lines!
I got into aquarium keeping when I was around 5 years old with a betta fish and my dad's goldfish tank that I was fascinated with. Going to the fish stores was one of my favorite things growing up and I could spend the whole day there mesmerized by the fish. My dad worked as a cook at a public aquarium so that was another place we visited often and really got me in love with aquatic life. When I was about 14 I tried keeping my first aquatic plants. I thought growing plants underwater was one of the coolest things. I actually have a video of my first planted tank . Fun times growing my first aquatic plants.

Around this time when I was 14 my dad got me my first job helping him out during catering events at the aquarium. All my money would go into fueling my hobby. Every wall of my bedroom would eventually get covered with aquariums. I worked various jobs at the aquarium including guide, cook, gift shop stocker, and cashier. It wasn't until a friend of mine saw my passion for this that she pushed me to ask the owner if I could work with the fish. The owner said yes and I've been working there helping the aquarists ever since. Around 2 years ago I stumbled upon this forum and began to get more serious about planted tanks. With all the knowledge and help here I could setup my 1200L High Tech Planted Tank. My supervisor at the aquarium saw this tank and wanted me to do the same with one of their fish tanks which led to the creation of the 3000 Liter High Tech Planted Tank

Currently I'm in my 4th year of university studying computer science. I orignally wanted to study to continue working as an aquarist but I was afraid the pay wouldn't be enough to support myself, especially with all the debt I would go into. Still I hope I can turn this passion into a full time job one day.
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