The Evolution Of The Saltwater Industry!

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Articles and How To's' started by coral reefer, Nov 9, 2008.

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  1. coral reefer

    coral reefer Giant Squid

    Jan 9, 2006
    We have been fascinated, mesmerized, entertained and amazed for years with the advent of the saltwater tank. The idea of creating and replicating a small slice of our delicate and diverse natural reef biotope has enthrauled us to the point of actually achieving this phenomonal obstacle with lasting successful results!

    Having been glued to the TV set back in the day, with the introduction of Jacques Cousteau and his educational series and specials and who could forget Mutual Of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom" which many times would have dedicated spots encompassing our underwater environment and its inhabitants. Then spurred the growth of Sea Aquariums, where we could actually view mammals such as Seals, Sealions, Beluga Whales and Dolphins. Vivid and diverse corals, inverts and fish could now be seen, first hand and up close. To be able to actually see these wonderful animals, as they would have been encountered, in their natural reef, is awe inspiring! An influx of people from future and present day reefers, school children, people who couldn't tell the difference between a Flame Angel and a Fire Shrimp to those that think a Percula Clown fishes' real name is Nemo. More and more people have been bitten by this bug or drug induced age, so to speak. The saltwater hobby has caught on by storm and is here to stay as more and more people are becomming educated, enthrauled and enlightened over the vast array of opportunities and potential with creating their own natural reef and viewing it as close as their own living room!

    I can remember, back in the day, when I had been bitten by the salt bug and boy did it hurt!! I had experimented with tropical fish and African's back in the 80's and seemed to always have a tank or two which seemed to change inhabitants every other month. I basically got tired of the same old Tetra's and cichlids and needed a change! The saltwater industry was basically in its infant stage then as undergravel filters, fluidized sand filters, fluorescent lighting, hang on chemical/mechanical and sometimes biological filtration through wet/dry filtration were the norm.

    Their were a few books available at the time to help you get started in the salt hobby and pet shop staff had a little knowledge of the variables and issues requiring attention and adherence to to get by. After spending some time talking to my pocal pet shop "professionals" at the time, I decided to delve into the realm of Saltwater. Why not?... as Sea Aquariums had been successful for some time and with the vast array saltwater fish especially, why not do it! Remember at that time live rock, live sand, corals, skimmers and other key components had not been introduced to people like me. You had to be rich, a biologist, zoologist or similar to have access at that time to such new equipment and such! Moreover, their wasn't too much info or studies done showcasing these components. So I purchased my 30gallon tank complete with undergravel filter, hang on carbon Supreme filter, 40 watt fluorescent light strip light, crushed coral and air pump. Once I got the tank set up using the pristine tap water(haha) from my sink, I proceeded to go out and get a couple damsels to cycle my tank. Something was missing from my tank however, even with the implementation of a nice coral/macro algae film backdrop that I taped to the back glass. CORAL, that is it why not add some nice "dead, bleached" coral to my tank!!! Yes, so I ran out and spent an outrageous amount of money on coral fossils to add some BEAUTY to my tank and offer hiding places for my Damsels to dart in and out of for protection. Wow my tank looked awesome!!! Complete with an assorted array of microalgae and Cyanobacteria, the cycle was over and it was time to add some nice fish to my tank!! Queen, French, Coral Beauty, Rock Beauty Angels, Miniatus Grouper, a myriad of Butterfly fish and Damsels and even a Snowflake Moray which proceeded to commit Hari-Kari and jump out of my tank that night-which I was delighted to find that next morning on the floor! I should of taken that as a warning and a foresight of things to come. The Eel was a sign-as I watched my fish die within weeks or months at best. Ich, Marine Velvet, improper diet and water parameters, insufficient or lacking equipment were all variable that when compounded together proved disasterous. Plus, my lack of knowledge and preparation at the time, added fuel to the fire that had been smoldering since I decided to start a salt tank!

    I decided that a death trap and graveyard style biotope wasn't, at all feasible or enjoyable and scraped the notion of me being a "conscientous reefer", and went back to my Tetra's in a safe environment.

    Then, out of nowhere, comes a plethera of new articles, books, magazines, studies and experiments. Words and notions of such pertinent things as protein skimmers, live sand and rock, plenums, aqua turf scrubbers, halide and VHO lighting etc., chillers, refugiums and sumps were being associated with a successful tank long term! Names like Borneman, Yoshi, Fenner, Farley, Paletta, Sprung, Delbeek, Veron, Calfo, Tullock, Tyree, Michael, Nilson and a host of others to lengthy to mention, had become household names as pioneers and experts in the saltwater "field of dreams".

    Because of them, we have been blasted into the next generation of reefdom...NOW enabling us to recreate a reef biotope, not achieved successfully before very often. Biotopes such as tidepools, lagoons, atolls, reef slopes and flats, or a deep fore-reefs can now be recreated and implemented to your tanks uniqueness and characteristic. The sky is the limit now, as to how far you want to go and what you would like to do with your tank. From specialized Jellyfish or Seahorse tanks to a full blown reef and places in between, we now have the knowledge, know-how and tools to make this dream a reality and not just for a week or two as evident in the past!

    A tank as close as your living room is no longer just a mute point that had us running out to the local pet shops and public Aquariums to get our fix of these vivid, unique, diverse and entertaining animals we have come to know alot more about and love. Creating this environment, at the same time, taking into consideration invaluable lessons on topics such as reef and ocean conservation and its inhabitants, will prove worthy and help to save and protect our natural wonder...we call CORAL REEFS!

    Hopefully, this Kaleidoscope of color, magnificance, and diversity found in our tanks will instill in all of us a sense of amazement, and embrace us for years to come while never forgetting the true reason for us to be associated with our oceans of the world, to make an impact and stand together for the growth, health and conservation efforts for our kids and their kids to be able to see, enjoy and take part in as we have. This environment teeming with a myriad of life forms each with its own personality, importance and relationship in the cycle of life, enabling the reefs to be successful cannot be ignored where the topics of decimation and extinction are rearing their ugly heads. We cannot allow people to be careless and ignore pertinent goals, preservation and conservation efforts that are being employed by various governments to protect our reefs or we will falter as will our oceans and it will have a domino effect on not just our lives but that of our kids and their kids!!!!!...8)