>From: "Nick Zarlinga" <njz_at_clevelandmetroparks.com>
>Subject: Re: NANFA-- Pet peeve
>Date: Sun, 31 Mar 2002 21:17:36 -0500
> > In a message dated 3/31/02 4:51:54 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> > njz_at_clevelandmetroparks.com writes:
> > << What other public aquariums have you been to? Obviously not many.
> > are many public aquariums that have specactular displays which will
> > any hobbyist's tank. >>
> > You are right Nick, My experience is limited but you would think that
> > the six or so I had been to one would have a live coral display that
> > look like somebody's sump. If the money, time, effort or experience
> > available to keep coral then maybe the display should be kept in the
> > until someone gets the hang of it instead of presenting dying pieces of
> > corruption as live coral.
>Your 40 years of experience should teach you that every display is
>different. You can not tell me that every "hobbyist" tank that you have
>seen or every pet store tank that you are comparing it to are alway
>The same is true for every public display. If a tank is going through a
>slump and not looking good, the last thing that you need to do is take it
>off exhibit as you suggest. Coral die, even in nature. Look at what is
>happening in Fiji at this very moment. Corals are bleaching and algae is
>predominate over much of the northern reefs of the islands. If instances
>like this can happen in nature, don't you think that they can much more
>easily happen in a closed system? It takes time for systems to break in or
>recover. Granted, a graphic might have been the way to go if things are as
>grave as you say, however I think that you are being unfair. Remember that
>you are dealing with a living system, corals and fish are just small parts
>of the system.
>I stand by what I said about the Ph.D. I have
> > encountered many people who thought they were experts just because they
> > title. It doesn't work that way, neither does having an aquarium make
> > expert. I think my 40 years of constant learning and experience gives me
> > right to critique.
>Critique is one thing, I agree. To make such a stereotype such as you did
>will not go without challenge. Just because you visit an exhibit or two
>that does not meet your standards does not mean that public aquariums are
>"50 years behind the times". Many of the best authors are curators and
>aquarists from public aquariums. Have you heard of Stephen Spotte? Paul
>Loiselle? Charles Delbeek? Chris Coats? Chris Andrews? They all have
>great books on various subjects written from the '20s through the late
>I will agree that much of the latest reef craze has broken major ground in
>the hobby and public aquariums acknowledge the wealth of anecdotal
>information that has been learned. Every reef keeper I know of will easily
>admit to this-and learn from our hobbyist colleagues. I will also agree
>with you that having a title does not mean diddly. Just because you had a
>bad experience with a professional aquarist certainly doesn't mean that we
>all feel we are superior.
>I have had to cut back my own aquarium spending to almost
> > nothing in the last few years but instead of trying to do things I
> > with the money I have available I try to do what little I can well.
> > people who cannot keep coral due to budget constraints should do like
> > Nearly all public aquariums I have seen do large predators well but the
> > farther you get from them the worse it gets.
>You definately need to visit other public aquariums. This last statement
>totally untrue. Most every public aquarium these days have fine exhibits
>various invertebrates. The National Zoo has a wonderful aquatic
>invertebrate section. What about seahorses and jellyfish? Public
>have lead the way for success in keeping these animals. Most every
>has these exhibited
> I am sorry I insulted you Nick,
> > if your aquariums are all perfect I applaud you but think for a moment.
> > you display sick and dying animals just to be able to say you have them?
> > you allow sick individuals to populate your displays?
>No, my exhibits are far from perfect. Much of it has to do with the
>configurations of the tanks that were installed. I am limited to the
>dimensions that I have to be able to do a great display. But I am trying
>make them better. You can not tell me that as a general rule, public
>aquariums "display sick and dying animals just to be able to have them."
>you make a statement like this, you need to back it up. I think that you
>inferring this meaning from an exhibit or two. A couple of fish with
>lateral line erosion in a display in one aquarium does not fit into this
>category. You know as well as I that many of these fish are difficult if
>not impossible to remove, especially from some of the larger displays.
>I have no doubt that
> > many public aquariums do have perfect displays. But sadly I have found
> > many do not.
>The only display that is perfect is in nature, I believe. I would agree
>that many have bad displays, and there are several here at my
>institution-under my care!. Once again, it is work in progress. You can
>not open an exhibit or an aquarium looking perfect from the get go. It is
>how an institution deals with them that determines the quality of the
>insititution. In order to make that judgement, you have to frequent the
>place, not take a one time look.
>In several instances I have asked aquarium employees (away from
> > anyone so as not to create a scene) about certain sick or dying and fish
> > invariably I was treated with disdain and told that I didn't know Jack.
> > though I tried to be as nice about it as I could.
>I agree that personalities are different for everyone. I have dealt with
>many public aquarists that I don't like. I have also dealt with many more
>hobbyists who think that they are fish gods. The only reason why I say
>more hobbyists is because there are more hobbyists than public aquarists!
>It is not a profession issue, it is a personality issue.
>As I said many of the
> > obvious mistakes could be avoided just by reading a few modern books on
> > subject and applying the information contained within.
> > Moon
>I would bet that you would find that aside from corals, many public
>aquariums actually lead the way when it comes to inovative displays,
>nutrition of fish, disease treatment, and definitely husbandry and
>of the animals. When it comes to corals, aquariums have definetely learned
>from hobbyists on how to be successful in reef displays. Ten years ago I
>would say that public aquariums were way behind the hobby in keeping reefs,
>however also understand that some public aquariums (such as my institution)
>were keeping corals, and still have corals, from the 70's. The displays
>were not necessarily the best back then, but they certainly have improved.
>I would totally disagree that public aquariums, these days, have a hard
>keeping reef displays. Some do, I grant you that, but if you take the
>percentage of public aquarists keeping reefs and the percentage of
>keeping reefs, I would say that public aquariums have better success these
>"Your modesty will shame those with lesser knowledge.."
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