See the recent post by Nina Shen Rastogi at http://www.slate.com/id/2221024/.
Some other important points that I would also emphasize:
- Learn as much as you can about the particular fish species and their needs in captivity before they are purchased. This research might lead one to decide that a particular fish is not the right species for them to maintain in an aquarium.
- Focus on purchasing healthy fish in the first place. Learn the general signs that indicate a healthy fish as well as a sick fish ( I’ll discuss these in future posts).
- Find a trusted fish supplier that is genuinely concerned about selling healthy fish and educating his or her customers about maintaining healthy fish.
- Seriously consider utilizing a quarantine for all new arrivals before they are added to holding or display tanks (more about this later).
We can all do our part by keeping our fish as healthy as possible. We do this by understanding the needs of the animals in our care, demanding healthy well handled fish from our supplier and by practicing excellent health management while these animals are in our care. These are a few of the small, but important, ways we can work to preserve the wild resources by striving to keep the animals in our care healthy and long-lived.
Can this be a truly green/sustainable industry/hobby? If so, what do you think that would look like in 20 years?
Comments and criticisms?
6 thoughts on “Sustainable Aquarium Keeping: A Recent article about green aquaria from Slate.com”
The reality is that for people who make money by selling marine fish, mortality is quite fine – it inflates demand. So long as the hobby resembles a game of musical chairs among people who enter and leave the hobby, there is no risk of the kind of broad backlash that would strike a distributor of, say, salmonella-laced lettuce.
Every seller should demand that their supplier guarantee that a fish was not cyanide-collected. “I don’t know” must not be an acceptable answer. Every industry with an environmentally or socially adverse source – teak, diamonds, leather, beef, etc. depends on middlemen in a segmented, globalized economy who “wipe clean” the history of the product and effectively launder it. That conduct must not be tolerable in the aquarium trade.
These are standard practices for accomplished aquarists. Restating them is a good idea for this forum where, I suspect, there are quite a number who are not familiar with the good practices of aquariculture. The larger problem is that the aquarists who need this information are not only not subscribers of this forum, but are disinclined to read and learn in the first place. Your efforts could be directed to the retail aquarium shops, but there, again such information will not be well received.
Getting the information to veterinarians might be a good idea, but so very few vets are in the business of overseeing or assisting little Suzy with the health of her 59-cent goldfish. So, I am sure those vets reading this forum will find it interesting, and may file it away for some future reference I doubt that it will find its way into the day-to-day practices of those vets who are not in the aquarium fish industry. Those few that already are, are already well immersed in the requirements of proper aquariculture. Sort of preaching to the choir.
A with many industrialized nations, there is a disconnect between what they can purchase at a store and where it actually comes from.
On a similar front to the topic of the article, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has been distributing Seafood Watch packets for years in hopes of changing the consumer’s purchasing habits therefore changing the industry’s habits.
An aquarium education movement, equal in distribution to the Seafood Watch program not only should happen but needs to happen. Dr. Tim is a great advocate to this movement and everyone should do their own part as well. Not only should at home hobbyist and professional aquarists be looking for healthy fish, but they should be looking for sustainable healthy fish.
So what is holding us back?! Why can’t the industrialized nations produce aquacultured/sustainable ornamental fish? Well there are many reasons, I am sure, I’ve seen some first hand, but the biggest one I can think of at the moment is production costs. Do you place the aquaculture facility near the consumer to reduce shipping costs or do you place it in Indonesia or Eritrea, where labor and materials cost next to nothing.
In the end, everyone needs to be on-board the sustainable aquarium movement. Consumers need to be educated, retailers need to choose stock from the appropriate suppliers, and suppliers need to use methods that are sustainable.
P.S. About 2 years ago I purchased http://www.sustainableaquariums.org but haven’t really done much with it since I do not know how to make a web site. If anyone is interested in helping out, let me know!
After exploring the links in the article I found the “Pocket Reef Fish Guide” http://www.reefprotect.org/fish_guide.htm# .
It is a great resource and I will start implementing them into my facilities current program!
The link you provided when clicked on is invalid. It’s just http:// and that’s it. Copy and pasting it works though.
How about not being greedy and show-offy? Seriously do some people need 200 gallon aquariums? Too much water and too much electricity. Of course most people don’t have a 200 gallon tank.
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