Johanan Viljoen: Editor-In-Chief

Johanan Viljoen; writer; editor

What is it that drives someone to become finatical about fish, and write articles for other fish-lovers? Is there some grand event that tips the scales? In this bio article, we’ll hear from Give Me a Fin writer and editor Johanan Viljoen.

I have loved fish for an awfully long time. When I was a little boy, my mother used to take me to the pet store when I was upset. Something about all the fish cheered me right up,

Around the age of eight, they bought me an aquarium, and someone gave me a bunch of goldfish. I was so excited, but the excitement didn’t last long. The aquarium was much too small, the filter was basic, and the fish were soon no more.

Eventually, when they had all passed away, the aquarium became a guppy tank. That’s two of the common species down! Time passed, and soon we gave the guppies away as well.

When I was around 14, the fishkeeping bug bit me badly. I started buying every book that I could afford (that’s code for convincing my family to buy them for me), and had soon built up a wealth of knowledge (like where fishkeeping started). 

I have always had a great capacity for remembering information, to the point of almost encyclopaedic knowledge. A small pet store in our town moved location, and I just had to go have a look!

I was walking up and down the rows of aquariums, and knew most of the fish by name. The pet store owner needed some help sorting out the aquariums and tending to the fish, and hired me! 

After that, I would work there once or twice a week: helping to unpack new shipments of fish, planting new plants, and just getting hands-on experience. 

That Christmas, my mom gave me a 50 gallon aquarium, which would only be the first. Within three months, one tank became two. After a year, one tank had become five.

For the ten years since, I have never been without fish for longer than a few months. So, here I am, a writer and editor. My aspiration is to one day have a 2000 gallon predator tank filled with Arowanas and large knifefish.