What happens when you make your hobby into your job

By Christine Williams 11 years ago1 Comment

Or perhaps “A Tale of When Your Mouth Works Faster Than Your Brain.” Hello all, and welcome to the blog. It’s a pleasure and an honor to participate with a fun, funny, informative bunch of reefkeepers. So, who am I and what do I do? (Insert obligatory ex-governator accent here). I started keeping fish shortly after my son Jeremy was born as a means of not going completely insane while staying at home (the jury is out on whether I was successful). A freshwater tank and some successful fish and invert breeding caught my interest, and I quickly moved onto the greater challenge of a full reef. So, I measure how long I’ve been in the hobby by how big my son is. I’ve currently been a reefkeeper for 49 inches.

I'm no expert, but this puffer looks a little off.

Since then, I’ve had the great fortune to travel all over the country giving lectures and workshops at reef conferences, including a couple of MACNA’s. I learned that reef geeks are some of the best, if oddest, folks around, and doing fish necropsies right after breakfast is not such a great idea.

Often, when I am traveling, I hear hobbyists wonder “how can I make my hobby into my livelihood?” Most of the time they think about selling frags, or owning a LFS, or working at an aquarium. The approach I took was slightly different: 5 years ago I began working for BASF (yes they make chemicals, no they do not make cassette tapes) as a microbiologist working with skin lotions and potions. One day I was sitting in my lab, silently lamenting the fact that I couldn’t keep a seahorse tank because I had run out of space at home. In walked in my boss, and out of my mouth came “We need to start a

Will silly staws. All professional laboratories need a stock of silly straws.

marine active ingredients program!” In the ensuing silence, as he raised his eyebrow and crossed his arms, waiting for the explanation, I thought “ohh…now I need to come up with a reason.” Fortunately whatever else I said that day sounded like a good idea, and today I spend my days working with marine organisms from all over the world for the cosmetics market. And yes, I set up a seahorse tank in the lab.


Prior to that, my work and education tended towards veterinary and human medical-type things, so my area of expertise in the hobby tends towards fish and invert pathology, tank-related human injuries and illnesses, and microbiology. A perpetual student, I’m continuing that vein of study as a graduate student in Marine Science at Stony Brook University. You can find me here at Christine@reefs.com, or on the forum as Spracklcat. Welcome!

  Industry, Opinion

 Christine Williams

  (8 articles)

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

buy ivermectin for humans buy ivermectin