About SomeFin's Fishy
My obsession with fish started when I was seven years old, when my parents gave me a ten gallon aquarium for my birthday. It was one of those slate-bottom aquariums with a stainless steel frame and some kind of tar for sealant at the edges. My dad and I raised guppies, mollies, platys and angelfish until the glass cracked, and all the water leaked out on the family room floor!
Since that time, we have always had aquariums in the house, and all of our children have grown up with fish tanks in their bedrooms. The number of aquariums in the house has always varied, along with our level of interest, but over the years, I have bred Corys, Plecos, Angelfish, Swordtails, Guppies, Platys, Danios, and a wide variety of other livebearers, as well as an assortment of African and South American Cichlids. Along the way, we have also had a number of marine and reef aquariums ranging in size from 20 gallons to 125 gallons. But as a family, we began breeding fish “enthusiastically” in 2007. At the time, my “business partners” (daughter (19) and son (12)), decided they wanted to try breeding Bettas. They were so successful, that within 4 months, our basement shelves were lined with plastic cups of Bettas! Everyone we knew had been “gifted” with a vase containing a beautiful Betta and a philodendron!
Around the same time, my son and daughter and I went to a Greater Chicago Cichlid Association (GCCA) Swap Meet. My son was staring at a bag of silver angels on one of the vendor’s tables, and since it was close to closing, the man gave the bag of angels to my son. He took those fish home and put them in our 125 gallon tank. From those humble beginnings, our hobby was born. The first year, we started with two ten-gallon aquariums in our basement, and as every hobbyist knows, this is like an infectious disease, and you can’t stop with just a couple of tanks. Within two years, we had already outgrown the basement and garage, and were “forced” to build a separate dedicated fish room (garage) attached to our home. Today, we maintain approximately 70 aquariums ranging in size from 10 to 125 gallons.
While we still breed the occasional odd species, we specialize in breeding Rams, Angels, Apistogrammas and Discus. We have taken special care to obtain our breeding stock from other reputable breeders, and in some cases, we have even imported breeding stock from other countries. We employ both line breeding; to encourage the development of specific traits (colors, fin length, size, etc.) as well as out-crossing; to other breeder’s lines, or wild-caught specimens to improve the health, vigor, and maintain the integrity of our fish and fry.
All of our fish are hatched and raised in our local tap water. We do not use any chemical additives or Reverse Osmosis (R/O) water in any of our tanks, including our Discus. Since we have found virtually all of our fish are poor parents (or maybe it’s just us) we hatch and raise virtually all of our fish, including Discus, artificially. We do not use any hormones when raising any of our fish!!
This has truly become a family-run hobby. My son (now 21) has worked side-by-side with me, every step of the way since 2007. He performs most of the tank maintenance chores and water changes, handles the majority of the marketing and gets up with me at 6:00 a.m. to package and box fish for shipping. My daughter (now 27) helps feed the fish and occasionally helps with the water changes if we get caught short of time. Even my wife, who was skeptical at first, now realizes the fish are here to stay, and helps out when it’s time to mix the beefheart. That’s dedication!
Since we began breeding fish seriously, we have met a tremendous group of hobbyists who have eagerly offered their encouragement, advice and experience. Breeders like Ric Perez (IN), Ron Werkmeister (IL), Mike Whiteaker (TN), Joe Gargas (FL) Ted Judy (WI) Luis Tamarelle (FL), Mike Jacobs (FL) and Chet Perry (NV) have been instrumental in providing the highest quality fish and sharing their expertise with us, and we owe them special thanks.
Most of our sales are via the internet on Aqua-Bid or PlantedTank.net, but walk-ins are always welcome. If you’re in the area, you’re always welcome to stop by. All we ask is that you call ahead to make sure we are home.