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January 2011 AFI Editor's Note

AFI First: Hobby Icon on Cover

By Clay Jackson |

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Firsts can certainly be fun, like when my daughters first said “dada.” They’re both much older now, so I’ve got other firsts to look forward to, or not (driving, boyfriends, etc.). In the hobby, there are all kinds of personal milestones and firsts, such as a first freshwater tank, that first pleco or one’s first nano-reef; in fact, personal discovery is one of the salient qualities of aquariumkeeping that makes it such an arresting hobby.

And here’s another first: January marks the start of the 23rd year of Aquarium Fish International. And in all of those 23 years and on all of those covers, we’ve had tanks, saltwater and freshwater fish, marine invertebrates and aquatic plants — but we’ve never once had a well-known aquarist on a cover until now.

Of course, the main image on this month’s cover is still a fish — a damsel to be exact. But there is also a person, an aquarium icon — William T. Innes — in the lower right-hand corner. An explanation of why we’ve never had a famous aquarist on the cover of AFI until now is that the hobby doesn’t often see the likes of someone like William T. Innes.

Through his many aquarium books, fish photographs and his influential magazine The Aquarium, William T. Innes not only helped to popularize the hobby here in the United States, but he helped propel it to the heights it enjoys today.

You can read about William T. Innes and his aquarist life for yourself through the words of his grandson William Innes Homer, Ph.D., as he fondly reminisces about his grandfather in “William T. Innes: The Aquarium Life” beginning on page 40. For Innes fans (and really, aren’t we all?) there’s still more here on in the form of an online slideshow.

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January 2011 AFI Editor's Note

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