How Can I Help The Marine Aquarium Hobby?

Quite a few new aquarists who have owned an aquarium for a while are quite satisfied with the situation and have no interest in becoming more advanced or knowledgeable. There’s nothing wrong with that.

The problem can start when the aquarist begins to take the aquarium for granted. Everything was set up with care and after research and advice, and to date all is well. The aquarium is there day in and day out, and becomes part of the fixtures and fittings. There isn’t any reason to give it any particular attention. It’s a bit like a new really up to date large screen television, buying it is understandably exciting and when it arrives home the excitement remains. After a while, the large screen that was so amazing at the start becomes normal and no longer new and unusual. Hopefully the television will continue to function without attention. The marine aquarium will not.

Without attention the aquarium will deteriorate slowly. Yes, the livestock are being fed and look fine, but the deterioration often begins with seawater quality reduction, which leads to algae problems, which leads to frustration. As deterioration continues, the livestock show the effect. If nothing is done, disaster is not too far away. If losses occur the aquarium may well be given up.

So what has all this got to do with helping the hobby? It’s obvious that culturing corals or breeding fish is helping the hobby, but allowing an aquarium to deteriorate certainly isn’t. Helping the hobby in this context is considering if a marine aquarium is really desired, or would painting or golf be more appropriate?

Setting up an aquarium is exciting and so is the prospect of it. Perhaps a reef aquarium has been seen, and an enthusiastic retailer has shown how all the equipment is available to maintain it. A little expensive maybe, but not a problem nowadays with all the technology available. So, with enthusiasm bubbling, the would-be aquarist dives in, so to speak.

There needs to be more consideration than ‘will a tank fit?’ and ‘can I afford it?’ Those are important considerations of course, but there are more that are not so tangible.

How about ‘what work and time will this entail week to week?’ Or how about ‘am I a patient person?’ Patience is the indisputable ally of the marine aquarist.

So the question it boils down to, disregarding the fact that an aquarium will fit in and can be afforded, is ‘do I really want an aquarium?’ It’s a bit like Toad of Toad Hall and the car that caused desire to turn his eyes glassy. There’s more to keeping an aquarium than putting one in and obtaining the equipment. There’s an ongoing commitment with maintenance to ensure the aquarium environment continues at a high standard. The basic commitment is a contract between the aquarist and the livestock.

So if the potential aquarist is not quite so keen on the ongoing commitment having given proper consideration to all its aspects, then it is better to spend the money on golf clubs or photographic equipment. They’ll give pleasure too and require less maintenance.

It is the assessment of the future demands of becoming an aquarist and the honest outcome of that assessment that will help this hobby. The potential aquarist who is willing to give up some time and spend some ongoing money to keep the aquarium in good condition is helping by expanding the hobby and providing high quality homes to fish and corals which should have a long healthy life. Maybe he/she will continue to develop and reproduce corals or even breed fish, though this is not particularly important.

It is of help too that those who cannot give this commitment, or are unsure, decide to try their hand at something else, probably avoiding the unnecessary suffering and loss of livestock. If the decision not to proceed is reached, it is not a failing but should be applauded.

  1. I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes we take our aquariums for granted. One of the things that inspire me to keep my saltwater fish tank is seeing others tank . Like in youtube or discovery. So I try to improve mine fish tank.
    .-= Aquarium help´s last blog ..Get healthier by watching your fish tank =-.

  2. That’s one of the ways that newcomers arrive in the hobby, seeing mature beautiful aquariums. With patience they then get there own to enjoy

  3. I want to buy fish aquarium in my home. I want to know that from which types of fishes i should start. Basically i want to gain knowledge about fishes types. Please help me to tells the name of fishes which should suitable for beginner like me……

    and also give me guide for take care for these fishes…

  4. Hello Sharma.
    The requirements of all marine fish are basically straight forward, they need seawater with the correct parameters and stability. They also need security. Security is provided by the provision of suitable rocks which form caves and crevices. If the system is top be a reef then these caves etc will be automatically provided. This area is not the place to fully discuss seawater parameters, however there is an article on this site giving all of this information (Go to the Blog page, go to Catagories, click on Water Quality, then scroll to the text called ‘Seawater Parameter Guidelines’).
    One type of fish I would strongly advise against could cause surprise as it seems ideal – it’s hardy and eats well. Unfortunately, they are, to varying degress, very territorial and could cause great distress or even death to fish that are to live with them. These are damsel species.
    What you’ll want is something that is colourful and interesting and shouts ‘marine’. A fish that is hardy and will forgive some new aquarist mistakes (within reason!) is the so-called common clownfish (properly known as Amphiprion ocellaris). They are sociable and eat well. If you decide on one or two of these then try and get some home bred types, they are quite readily available and are reported to be even hardier in an aquarium than those from the wild. Wild clownfish live with anemones but you should not attempt this until you have some experience. Anemones are not that easy to keep and require lighting in the same way that corals do. The clownfish, especially home bred ones, will be quite happy without an anemone.
    Another very beautiful fish with a different colour is the royal gramma (properly known as Gramma loreto). This fish is a great addition to a system giving variation in colour and habit. Its sociable and should not cause any problem (remember all fish could argue from time to time but this is not nasty aggression).
    Another fish could cause some doubt when a picture of it is seen as it appears delicate. However, it is a good addition with the correct tank mates such as the ones listed above and below. The fish is the firefish (Nemateleotris species). There is more than one fish name in this family. They are slim with a long dorsal fin and again should not cause any problems.
    A final suggestion is the bicolour blenny (properly called Ecsenius bicolor). It has a longish body and again is different and shouldn’t cause any problems.
    I suggest you go into an internet search engine and type in the suggested names – use the proper names for accuracy. From the list you will be able to find all the information you need and also see the fish in photographs.
    Fish need security, a correct and stable environment and a commitment to ongoing maintenance for success. The two watchwords of the marine aquarist are research and patience.

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