This isn’t going to be a list of what is considered to be essential in the way of equipment, or a list of compatible fish, or anything down those lines.
This is going back to absolute basics, the very beginning, before the dawn of individual experience.
This is what was considered when the idea of this website first arose. How can the complete beginner best be assisted? Or those who, though started, still have problems?
To obtain an answer to the question, consideration was given to what the basic problem is that a beginner faces. For example, picking an aquarium is easy, and if it is from a reputable manufacturer then it will be properly constructed. It isn’t necessarily individual pieces of equipment that present a problem, though explanations are needed.
It is the explanations themselves that are often the problem. The beginner without any marine experience needs straightforward answers. So there lies the answer to the question: the beginner needs simplicity.
I recall opening a book many years ago and seeing something that made me close it again! I haven’t the book any more, but it could have been like this:
W = H – S = 8000 – 0.5
A – B – C A – B – C
The above is in fact a part of a simple lighting calculation, useless on its own. There are others that are far more complicated. A beginner, however, looking at the above would be likely to ‘turn off’ and go elsewhere.
What the beginner requires is simple down-to-earth advice.
Go on the internet and ask a question and there are likely to be well intentioned answers and opinions, but ones that differ, and so the struggling beginner is still left with problems on which way to go.
So it seems best to offer ‘guidelines’, sure footholds to trust along the way. Also to give straightforward explanations where these are needed. This is the premise that the website is based on.
It seems to be working – the feedback mainly by Email and also by on-site comment has been very good. We did have a complaint, and that was that a ‘Guide’ had not downloaded. This was because there was a computer hitch. When downloaded the aquarist was delighted.
This could sound a little like self-congratulation, but it isn’t. We’re delighted of course, but are always aware that anything can be improved somehow.
On the basis that the website is intended to be a ‘simple help’, it has been expanded and now includes the facility to look at the top marine equipment suppliers so that a choice can be made. There is also a ’Social’ section. We have not lost the original concept however.
When I started keeping marines there wasn’t an internet – home computers were also unheard of, though they were not that far away. How wonderful if there had been an internet, what a resource it is!
As always, we are open to suggestions (not too rude!) about how we can develop bearing in mind the concept of simplicity.