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P. Sykes
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« on: April 20, 2015, 06:49:51 PM »

Hello my GPASI compadre’s ! I am introducing myself and giving some background about me and my aquariums and I hope to get to know many more of you than I already know.
     My name is Patrick Sykes and I am a 41 year old painter turned chemist due to physical issues with my shoulders. My first observation of aquatic life happened when I was about 5 years old when visiting an aunt and uncle’s house. They owned a beautiful adult mated pair of “Wild-type” Angelfish that as best I can recall were perfect in every way and their habitat was a crystal clear beautifully planted natural looking tank and I remember very distinctly staring at them practically the whole time we were at their house and being forced to the exit when it was time to leave and go back to our plain boring house. We were allowed to have dogs as pets when I was young but I never got over the amazement that fish could be kept in a home and back in the 70’s it was still somewhat of a novelty unless you were of a certain financial status. I carried this memory with me knowing that one day I too would have an aquarium in my home and only hoped that it would look as magnificent as theirs did.
     My first foray into aquariums was as a young adult when I tried to start keeping and breeding Angelfish and due to inexperience and lack of knowledge I had little success except that I was able to keep them alive and reasonably happy, but not happy enough to spawn apparently so being of young mind and little patience to persevere I gave up except keeping a few Goldfish here and there. I actually brought a large fantail Goldfish and Plecco from Oklahoma with me when I moved here in 2000 and kept them for several years until I still felt the yearning to raise and breed these magnificent Angels so I bought a used 55 gal. tank from a coworker and a dozen very small Angels from the aquarium store that used to be on route 19 (it’s closed now). Unfortunately the house I lived in was old and drafty so it wasn’t conducive to keeping Angels although I was able to raise them over the summer and amazingly ended up with 2 pair from the 9 that survived to adulthood. This time I was able to get them to breed but wasn’t experienced enough to raise the fry and once winter set in I sold them back to the pet store and gave up for 6 or 7 years.
     In 2009 I had the 1st of 2 failed rotator cuff surgeries and had to quit bowling and playing golf so I began searching for a hobby that would be low impact and give me a sense of fulfillment and once again I turned to aquariums. I still had the 55 gal and 29 gal tall tanks I previously had and started again in August of 2014 in my current man cave/fish room. My 1st batch of special order Black lace juveniles only lasted a few weeks and within a matter of a few days all 13 of them went from seemingly healthy to all dead. I then figured that the only way I would get started is if I found a desirable mated adult pair and found a supposed proven pair at a local shop. The assumed male began beating up the assumed female to the point where I felt the female was in danger so I separated them and let her heal and tried again with the same result. I almost gave up again until a coworker introduced me to Michael Heasely who brought me to GPASI. My 1st meeting I bought 3 double dark adults and within 4 days I had 2 pairs and they spawned within a day or so of each other. The original assumed female was put in with some juveniles to heal and once the juveniles were nearing breeding size I found out that the original assumed female wasn’t a female at all. He mated with a female and with so many pairs spawning I began frantically purchasing tanks to keep up with their production. I currently have 11 operational tanks with several in the garage waiting for fry. My tanks range anywhere from a little 5 gal. tank usually used for fry or quarantine purposes to a 60 gal. grow out tank. I am a purist and believe in doing things as naturally as possible allowing my breeders to live in spacious natural tanks and spawn on plants as opposed to slates or bare tank surfaces. Unfortunately I have yet to have a pair raise their own fry because apparently the fry taste pretty good and they keep eating them, but I refuse to give up on that dream as I find it quite beautiful to see the fry swimming around the parents. Ok, well that’s enough of a novel about me and I hope it gives enough information that anyone who reads it could find me approachable for conversation if desired.
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