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Management And Education In The Marine Aquarium Industry

Mar 11, 2008
As an aquarium professional I would like to discuss the pressure our hobby as put on the worlds reefs and what we can do to minimize damage. First and foremost we must promote responsible reef keeping by learning and researching these wild animals we wish to care for out of their natural environment. Management through collector and consumer education as well as captive farming and aquaculture we can make this hobby sustainable.

The aquarium hobby is a complex hobby to say the least, this makes research the most important component in this hobby. The net is full of resources that will help you in your decision of your newest animal you want to add to your aquarium. There are many things you need to ask yourself when you are adding a new animal to your reef.

1. Are my current animals compatible with this new addition.

2. How difficult or sensitive is the new animal to water conditions.

3. What is the success rate of this animal in captivity. Does keeping them in an aquarium cut their life span in half.(In the wild Mandarins live to be 15 years old, in captivity most don't live over 2 years.)

4. What are this animals food requirements, water temperature, or salinity etc.

5. Are you purchasing this animal from a responsible store or supplier (Stay away from stores that will just sell you a fish to make a sale, or sell corals that they know don't survive in captivity for long periods of time.)

These are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself before making the purchase of a new animal.

Next I want to get into the subject of Captive bred fish and Aquacultured corals. This to me is a very important role in the aquarium industry. Not only do some of the most beautiful prized and most expensive pieces of coral come from aquaculture, they also are adjusted to the life in an aquarium through generations of captive fragging.

There are more reasons to aquaculture than I can think of but here are a few reasons.

1. You can do this at home! Many people pay their hobby expenses or make a living from selling their aquacultured corals.

2. Wild corals generally come with parasites or foreign animals you don't want in your aquarium.;

3. Wild colonies will be shipped in unhealthy and for the most part will not adjust well to your aquarium causing lack of color and health as well as death.

4. Aquaculture put less stress on the worlds reefs. Although some countries like the Filipino government has failed to protect its coral reefs and ornamental fish this doesn't mean we can't prevent further destruction by sustaining our own captive inhabitants.

5. Less costly. Most aquaculture corals are less costly than a wild caught animal as they don't have to travel as far and aren't imported.

Finally the last thing we can do to promote the health of world reefs and maintain a sustainable marine aquarium trade is to educate the consumer and collector. Organizations like Reef Check and MAC challenge hobbiest and collectors to maintain standards and care of ornamental marine life. Education to consumers and collectors will help the effort worldwide for a sustainable aquarium industry.

In essence there are many ways we can all help to maintain and keep this hobby sustainable. First by educating yourself about your new animals or upcoming purchases. Second by promoting aquaculture and purchase of aquaculture animals rather than their wild counterpart. Third consumer and collector education will help the worldwide effort in promoting a successful marine aquarium industry.
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