My

name


is


James


Christopher


O'Brian.



Those


of


you

who


frequent
the

DIY

Aquaponics


Forum

have

possibly

seen

my


admin


user


name
there,
JCO

and

this

is


how


that


website


and

forum

all


came


about.
I

actually


volunteered


for


the


Navy


prior


to


graduating


from

high


school
and
was


off


to


boot


camp


in


San


Diego

two

weeks


after


graduation.



After
some

chilling-

thrilling

escapades


around

the


world


in


various


unfriendly
places,

the


Navy


stationed

me


in


Pensacola,


Fl.


in


1965.
I

started

raising


tropical


fish

shortly


thereafter


when


I


made


friends


with


a

local

gentleman

who


had

a

garage
full

of


aquariums

filled

with


all


sorts

of


tropical


fish.



Hooked


is


the


word

to


describe


what


happened


to


then.
When
I


was


discharged


from

the


Navy


in


1966


I


went


to


work

as

a

manager


trainee

for


W.T.


Grant


Company.


Some
of


you

may


remember

them;


they


were

a

nationwide


retail


chain


similar


to


Sears

Roebuck


and
Montgomery
Wards.



They


had

over


1,200


stores


nationwide


and

their


stores


called

"Grant's

City"


were
actually

huge


in


comparison

to


anything


that


Sears

or


Wards


had

at


the


time.
Upon

completion


of


my


training


in


1967


I


was


transferred


from

the


training


store


in


Pensacola,


Fl.


to


a

Grants
store

in


the


Gateway


Shopping


Center


in


Jacksonville,


Fl.



At


that


time


on

the


opposite


side


of


the


strip


from
Grant's

there


was


actually


a

small


mall


with


a

Montgomery

Wards


at


one

end

and

Sears

&

Roebuck


at


the
other.

The


mall


in


between


was


filled

with


small


shops.



Gateway


shopping

center,

which

is


"U"

shaped


and
now

vacant


of


any

notable


anchor

stores,


was


a

bustling


center


back

then.
Shortly
after


I


started

work

at


my


new


assignment


store


a

young


lady


came


in


with


a

flyer


announcing

a
Tropical
fish

show


in


the


mall


area


between


Wards


and

Sears.



This


perked

me


up

considerably

as

I


had

a
proven
pair


of


Gold

Severum


cichlids


which

were

about


the


size


of


a

softball


and

I


was


curious


to


see

how
they

would

stack


up

against


the


local

talent.
I

set


them

up

in


a

30

gallon

tank


complete

with


a

black


background,


black


gravel


and

lots

of


huge


Amazon
Sword

plants.



Their


bright


gold


coloring


made


them

shine


like


the


sun

in


that


setting.
I

was


astounded

to


find

they


were

the


talk

of


the


show.



No


one

had

ever


seen

Gold

Severums


that


large.



I
(they)
was


awarded


first


place


in


the


Cichlid


judging


and

Best


Overall


at


the


show.
That

was


tremendous


but


after


all


was


said


and

done,


the


best


part


was


I


met


a

gentleman

there


by

the


name
of

Codi

O'Brian.



Strangely


enough


in


addition


to


having


the


same


last

name,


he

had

the


exact


same


birth
date

as

me;


however


we


were

never


able


to


find

any

family

connections.



He


was


also


as

crazy


about


tropical
fish
as

I


was


and

come


to


find

out,


he

usually

took


first


place


in


the


Cichlid


judging.



Knowing


this,


I


was
surprised
when


he

invited


me


to


visit


his


Cichlid


breeding


setup


and

that's

when


I


was


originally


introduced

to
Aquaponics.
Codi
lived

on

about


15

acres


of


land


in


western


Duval

County/Jacksonville,

Fl.


which

in


1967


was


sparsely
populated.


Codi

had

built


a

huge


greenhouse


with


a

concrete


floor


directly

behind


his


house.



He


used