What a year we have had. Bring on 2017!

Hi guys,

With Christmas nearly here, we all have lots to be doing around the house. If your home is anything like mine, you have excited kids and busy adults. We are in the process of wrapping presents, shopping for gifts, cleaning the unseen parts of the house (apparently this needs done for the new year?) and doing all this at the same time as trying to attend nativity shows and cover the normal day-to-day duties.

Christmas is a great time but a busy time. I often find that my aquariums tend to drop further down the list of things to do. Although they do still get maintained etc, the amount of time available to maybe move some plants about or re-scape the main tank again dwindles away and is replaced by TV shows like 50 greatest Christmas songs or top ten all time favourite toys. Only at this time of year would we find these nostalgic shows entertaining but we all find ourself laughing away. These TV shows always appear year after year at Christmas and I think its because we all like to took back and remember the key moments of the year.

I though we could do the same here. I want to take some time to look back at what we the Lothian Fishkeepers have been up to during 2016.

The first big thing to happen for Lothian Fishkeepers in 2016 was when we hosted 'the Aquascaper' George Farmer for an evening. This was a first for any Facebook group and also George Farmers first ever event in Scotland. It took a huge amount of planning and involved speaking with lots of different companies and members to bring together an evening of learning the theory behind aquascapes and also watching a live demonstration. Thanks to the support of several companies, we have some fantastic prizes to give away at the end of the night, including the finished aquascape.

Next for Lothian Fishkeepers was our regular Table Sale. Now this time round I wanted to incorporate freshwater shrimp into the day. I had recently found a love for these little gems and in doing so, i released that there were not that many serious shrimp keepers up on Scotland. The aim of this event was to show us fishkeepers just how nice the freshwater shrimps can look and hopefully give some fishkeepers that inspiration to go onto give it a try themselves. Obviously being a Fishkeeping group, I needed to look beyond our members and that led me to another Facebook group called Freshwater Shrimp. Barry Horrocks was the man in charge and once I explained what I was hoping to do, we agreed to work together on this event. I organised the Table Sale and Barry, brought some of his fellow Shrimpkeepers along with some excellent prizes from his sponsor Shrimp & Scape. This event now lays claim to Scotlands first every Shrimp show. The table sale was the biggest to date and we had queues waiting to enter of up to 100 people, the whole day must have seen close to 300 people come to check out the sales and shrimps.

The next and last event of the year was our catfish event. This was another collaboration of sorts. I had an idea in my head which was surrounding a catfish table show and catfish themed table sale. While visiting a member of our group who happened to run  his own website www.planetcatfish.com I asked if he would like to judge our show. This led to the idea of bringing the Catfish Study Group up to Scotland for their L-Number meeting. The end result was two fantastic speakers both focusing on L-Numbers and an excellent open table show for plecos and catfish. This show was sponsored by one of our local shops Riverside Aquaria who provided two lovely trophies for the winners. We also had some great prizes from our other sponsors. The west Lothian Fishkeepers community  lost one of there members during the lead up to this event and in memory of Paul, we decided to name the pleco award after him. we will now hold an annual catfish show which will include both best catfish and best pleco - pals pleco award.

So 2016 has been a great year for Lothian Fishkeepers. I have spent lots of time speaking with manufacturers and retailers to bring you offers and prizes. The group has gave me the opportunity to meet so many great fishkeepers. Its because of each and every one of you guys that we are the group we are today. The aim of Lothian Fishkeepers is to provide a platform where fishkeepers of all levels can support each other and enjoy this wonderful hobby. I am always looking for ways to improve the group too so if you have any suggestions or requests for feature topics or product reviews, get in touch and I will listen.

Over on our youtube channel, Ive been trying to upload as many videos as I can showing you new products and demonstrations. Finding time to create, edit and upload videos is difficult but hopefully in the new year we will see more new videos. the most popular video so far was the AquaEx 45 demo

Ive had a look at the last 12 months of activity on our group and for a bit of fun I would like to share some very interesting stats with you.

With over 1.5k photos and 265 videos shared alongside 1.3k status and 208 links all shared during the last 12 months, we really have been a busy bunch of fishkeeperers. Some members post more than others and here are some of the most active people in the group.

The top five members who have commented the most this year are:

  1. Craig Hamilton, 488 Comments
  2. Steven Bisset, 381 Comments
  3. Phil Jennings, 326 Comments
  4. Carol Barr, 243 Comments
  5. Lindy Crawford Aitken, 212 Comments
Thank you guys for keeping the group so busy.

The top 5 members with the most likes over the last year are:

  1. Craig Hamilton with 2877 overall likes
  2. Joe Dodds with 219 overall likes
  3. Derek Tweedie with 183 overall likes
  4. Phil Jennings with 176 overall likes
  5. David Learmonth with 172 likes
Its also nice to be nice and here are the top 5 members that have gave out the most likes:

  1. Steven Bisset with 505 handed out
  2. Jacki Learmonth with 303 handed out
  3. Colin Robertson with 294 handed out
  4. Candise Rackshaw with 264 handed out
  5. Derek Tweedie with 197 handed out
The post that received the most comments and attention in the last 12 months was one from myself regarding water quality. It received a total of 58 comments and can be seen here
And finally, the post that received the most likes was a very nice post from Craig Hamilton on the day of my wedding. Craig too the time out his day to post in our group to congratulate Diane and me on our wedding day. we were both overwhelmed at the kind words we received from everybody that day.

So overall we have had a great year in 2016. Next year will see us continue to have table sales and events. Our next event will be surrounding Cichlids and details with be announced very soon regarding dates etc. I would like to offer up more prizes and I'm working hard to do just that.

Thanks you everybody for giving me the joy of running this fantastic group.

Merry Christmas and have a happy new year.

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