I live in Palm Harbor, Florida, north of Tampa. I have a 9 to 5 work-from-home job, but what I really want to do career-wise is get dirty taking care of your fish.
And your reptiles and ampibians...and your arachnids, and your crustaceans!
Basically...If it fits in a tank, it fascinates me and always has.
I grew up on a farm, about a half-mile from the nearest neighbor, in Southern Illinois. By the time I was 5 years old, my parents had bought me a book about North American snakes, because they were deathly afraid I would pick up a venomous one.
I was the kid who always brought something home and tried to talk Mom into letting me keep it. Over the years I kept anoles and geckos from the pet store, wolf spiders, garter snakes, rat snakes and milk snakes from the yard. By about age 15 or 16 I was a card-carrying member of the St. Louis Herpetological Society and attended monthly meetings, completely absorbed in the great presentations they would have by various breeders herps and professors of biology.
Mom always had an aquarium and her favorites were angel fish, gouramis, plecos, and loaches. I watched her monitor the water parameters, go through water changes, and feed them, but I can't say as I helped much as a child. My real love affair with aquaria began about 6 years ago when I found myself trapped in a lifeless, grey-tone cubicle and thought it would be nice to get a betta fish to keep me company. While I never managed to train him to do my job as I had hoped,
Robert the Fish was the first of many betta fish, and I currently keep 4 bettas (2 males and 2 females), a couple cory cats, a few tetras, and a couple hillstream loaches. The tank and stand designs are my own. If you're not familiar with bettas, they have their own peculiar care guidelines, and most importantly they have to be segregated from each other.
My wife and I are avid snorkelers, and I've found myself in absolutely ridiculous places, all to satisfy my own curiosity. Over the years I've run into various blennies, gobies, tangs, turtles, eels, jellyfish, etc. To really understand how much I love aquatic life, I'd have you look at my jellyfish videos, which I shot at Riviera Beach in SE Florida last October. Literally no one would go in the water because it was swarming with jellyfish. You couldn't get past the wake without running into a dozen of them. What was my first thought? "When life gives you jellyfish...make jellyfish videos."