Article © Julian Dignall, uploaded October 21, 2007.
".catfish" was first uploaded on the 27th of October 1996. It was later to relocate and undergo a name change to PlanetCatfish.com around the middle of 1998. In its infancy it was simply a collection of my own photographs, notes and anecdotal experience. However, it received more than a few visitors and many emails despite the fact I hadn't announced its arrival online. This interest confirmed what I had initially thought; there were huge gaps in what was available to the online aquarist. At the time only Cichlids and perhaps Marines (sweeping generalisations there) had a good representation online. The hobby was well served with paper based literature, but the bulk of this hadn't, as yet, reached the World Wide Web.
The web enables the supply of information on latest discovered species or taxonomic alterations without the aquarist having to buy new books or travel any further than the nearest 'phone socket. What I felt then and now strongly believe is that most web pages are far too broad in terms of subject matter. In the rush to get online there is a tendency towards loads of links, flashy icons and techie-toys, but little text or even pictures. At the other end of the spectrum there are great monolithic sites where pure information is presented in slabs of "raw text". This is very useful, but at best more difficult to digest. I set out to present both factual data and personal experience with anecdotal comment in a format that makes it easy to find out what you want, relatively quickly.
The subject of fishkeeping is huge, even the scope of PlanetCatfish is enormous and what's here is but a fraction of the total subject matter. So, I started this site to plug a hole and hopefully spur on others to do more selective pages. Since then I have built up friendships and contacts within the online catfish keeper fraternity and many of these individuals have contributed in differing ways to the success of the site.
More recently the forum has allowed PlanetCatfish regulars to meet and forge friendships and exchange information. Who knows what technology will bring us in the years to come - but you can bet hard that we will attempt to make best use of it.
Hope you like it, we intend that it be around for a very, very long time.
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