Founded in September 1968, the Michiana Aquarium Society is a hobbyist organization dedicated to the advancement of interest in all forms of aquatic life, and to support the efforts of other organizations with like goals. It has remained a viable source of fish, equipment, experience, assistance and comradeship for its members over the years.
The purpose of this Handbook is to introduce you to the Society, its role in the Michiana area, and its programs, and to provide you with a source document to which to refer if questions concerning Society programs, functions, or rules arise. Updated supplements will be issued as needed. Also included is a section outlining the responsibilities that accompany various Committee positions.
During its existence, the Michiana Aquarium Society has become noted in the hobby as a well-balanced group of general-interest aquarists, with strong segments of special-interest groups that support each other for the common health of the Society. Historically a strong “Show Club,” the enjoyment of “Tropical Magic” has, in recent years, only been limited by the amount of time allowed the “show weekend.” Visitors and entrants have been known to travel what was once considered great distances to attend. The “Killifish Karnival” is a prime example of the entire club supporting the interests of a few members, with the net result being the betterment of the entire Society. Initiated in 1979, it has steadily grown from a one-day event to one rivaling even the American Killifish Association’s annual show and auction! But more on these events later.
The anchor event of the Michiana Aquarium Society is the General Meeting. These meetings are scheduled monthly and provide a variety of functions. Included during nearly every meeting are such activities as: Informal discussion (perhaps the most individually valuable aspect); the agenda of Society business is presented and discussed with the attending members; programs covering various hobby-related topics are presented; Bowl Show competition is held; door prizes and snacks may round out the social atmosphere. Finally, the meeting is concluded with an auction of fish and equipment, with the bulk of the proceeds going to sellers.
The only other regularly scheduled gathering is the Board of Directors Meeting which is held the Tuesday prior to the General Meeting (usually the third Sunday of each month). The Board Meetings are held in various members’ homes and are strictly for transacting the “Business” of the Society. All Michiana Aquarium Society members are welcome to attend, voice their opinions, and present any and all proposals to the Board for consideration. Time and location are usually announced at the preceding General Meeting. Exhibitions and competition are mainstays of the aquatic hobby in that they provide one of the best forms of exposure available for the Society. Members are encouraged to compete for awards by showing fish under prescribed class and display conditions.
The Michiana Aquarium Society sponsors numerous competitive events ranging from the simple “Bowl Shows,”held in conjunction with the monthly General Meetings, to the above-mentioned larger, more highly structured competitions traditionally held in a public location (such as a shopping mall). Installments later in this booklet provide additional information on these events.
Among the most popular of hobby-oriented exercises conducted by the Society are the excursions we take as a group to further explore the wonders of our hobby. These are held as often as possible, and have included such events as lecture tours of Chicago’s John G. Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum of Natural History; group shopping sprees to the pet shops in larger cities, visits to State Fisheries and river exploration expeditions. Any member with an idea for a group, club-sponsored event such as these is encouraged to bring it forth for consideration; after all, shared experiences are why we are called a “Society.”
The Michiana Aquarium Society is privileged to perform many functions of benefit to the local area, to the hobby in general, and to the ecology of fishes. Perhaps the most far-reaching of these services is our support of area groups. We gave a series of talks in aquarium management to supplement the 4H Aquatic Science program; in conjunction with National Pet Week the “Science Alive” exposition, and the local Humane Society, members have spent time in public venues distributing literature on the hobby, exhibiting some of their favorite fish, and generally promoting the Society. Additionally, articles published in the Society’s Journal have appeared or been referenced, in several specialty magazines and thus the preservation of species, whose natural habitat has been destroyed, is encouraged.
The Michiana Tropical Times is the official club publication. More than just a news bulletin of upcoming club events, club business and officers’ reports, it has been recognized as one of the better society-published journals in the country. Many authors have received reprints and reviews of their works in the national aquarium magazines as well as too many of the other societies’ publications to mention here.