Fish and Fashion

Marine aquariums are very attractive and so find their way into locations other than the home.

I’ve seen one in a local restaurant. It is well set up and maintained by a local company. There aren’t any corals as it is fish only, but there are abundant rocks and the fish seem healthy and happy. The proprietor has a basic knowledge of the livestock’s needs and has developed a general interest in the aquarium, an interest that didn’t exist before. The restaurant have clearly had the aquarium installed because it is attractive and fits in as a focal point, something for the customers to enjoy and perhaps discuss over their meal. Fair enough then. Maybe a customer could even become interested and look into the hobby in more depth.

There are aquariums in other business premises, usually in the office. Again, with the proviso that the livestock are well cared for, I don’t see any problem. It is known that an aquarium can have a calming effect, maybe it works in an office too. Usually there is someone who has the knowledge to care for the aquarium, and sometimes an outside company does it. Again, maybe one of the employees could be moved to consider having an aquarium of their own.

Home aquariums whether reef or fish only are usually well cared for, as the aquarist has spent time in research ensuring that equipment is as required and that the inhabitants will be compatible with the maximum chance of health and a long life. Quite apart from the interest and knowledge that have been generated in the aquarist, they are an attractive part of the home.

There is one location and circumstance that I have a problem with, and this is also with aquariums in the home. However, on this occasion the home owner has little interest in the livestock or the technology that supports them. The aquarium is usually rented from a company, or bought and a company does all the maintenance for a fee. It is possible that the home owner could develop an interest but in these circumstances I would think it unlikely. True, maintenance companies no doubt know their job. So why do I have any problem?

I have a problem with it because sometimes the aquarium is nothing more than a sofa, or table, or anything else that could be purchased for the home. There isn’t any thought about the livestock itself, except that the colours are nice and ‘doesn’t it fit in well’. I find it difficult to reconcile the use of a marine display aquarium purely for effect without any interest in the livestock and system. It may fit into the general décor well, and in this circumstance it makes the aquarium nothing more than a piece of furniture – something to be had that is fashionable.

I saw an aquarium in a magazine which was kept in what was clearly a home owned by a well-off individual. The home was furnished very fashionably. What could be seen was clearly expensive. There was a fairly large square fish only aquarium built into one side of the kitchen, the interior could be viewed from three sides. There was hardly any decoration within the aquarium, only a couple of what appeared to be rocks on the bottom, and these seemed small. Maybe the decoration had been done in the ‘minimalist’ style! The fish, or the ones that could be seen, were yellow and blue surgeons, and they no doubt spent the day swimming aimlessly up and down, with nothing that could be considered anything like ‘natural’ around them. In other words it was just a box enclosing seawater and some fish. It was discussed like a piece of furniture: none of the technical discussion or arguments or appreciation that would occur with aquarists. No doubt the aquarium was maintained by a rental company, and unlike the aquarium in the restaurant that was well set up, this one just generated money.

I cannot accept that treating reef life in such a way is acceptable. Reef life, for the most part, is taken into captivity and then well cared for by aquarists who are considerate and interested. What a difference.

Maybe it’s just me, but I doubt that.