This domain - characin.com - was home to Randy's Aquaria (initially called "Randy's Fishroom"). The site was active from 1996-2004.
Originally the site focused on the personal fishroom experiences of Randy Carey. In those early web days, this site was a recognized authority on aquarium-related topics - particularly regarding the tetras, barbs, Apistogramma, and similar groups of small, soft-water fishes.
With a need to provide something visual on this web site, Carey arguably became the first pioneer of digital aquarium photography - exploring how it could be used as early as 1998 (when the first 1 megapixel cameras were becoming available to consumers who could afford them). Randy provided TFH Magazine with the first digital photos that it published. Eventually his digital photography found its way into the magazine as two-page spreads and a cover shot.
Another web first, Randy started and maintained what is known as the first aquarium-related blog, titled Randy's Journal. He began chronicling his thoughts and experiences in 1997 - years before the term and "official" concept of a blog came to be. As if a precursor to the modern-day blog, the journal contained short accounts of personal experiences, illustrated with photos, titled, dated, and organized in chronological order. Carey saw this journal as distinct from the articles he published - articles were timeless and somewhat extensive pieces, while the journal entries were more personal, casual, and tied to an event or personal experience.
Randy quickly gained recognition in the aquaria field. He was offered a column in TFH in 1999, and in that same year began to tour the US and Canada, giving presentations to aquarium societies. His writing expanded into feature articles, including an interview with Stan Weitzman of the Smithsonian and a multipart series that took him on a two-week expedition within the Amazon Rainforest. A book contract followed (Tetras and Barbs, TFH Publications). In 2009 he was invited to serve on the Petco Editorial Review Board, reviewing candidate titles for the selves of this national retailer.
Beginning in 2009 Randy Carey has been the web architect for Careytech Studios - leveraging a skill that began with hand-coding "Randy's Aquaria" here at characin.com. Since the start of 2020, he has been paring down Careytech's client obligations so that he can focus more on his personal interests – endurance cycling, the aquarium hobby, and post-graduate study at Bethel University.
Randy had not abandoned the vision of resurrecting characin.com - with a new approach to providing resources and information on characins, cyprinids, and serious aquaria keeping. This work (and this website) will be resumed in late 2023.