In this section we try to demystify, to inform or analyze. We will follow, when the opportunity presents itself, the development of our specimens. Always highlighting the Aquarist’s perspective. Aquarists have contributed to the environmental cause long before the word Ecology was invented. They saw to the re-introduction in the wild, of nearly or totally extinct species. In Central America: a species of Gambusia controlling mosquito populations was re-introduced in the 50’s and 60’s. Same in some parts of Africa (60’s) with species limiting the proliferation of tse-tse flies. The famous Thailand Red Arawana (which is actually a Baramundi since Osteoglossum is endemic to South America) was re-introduced through the efforts of four aquarists (including two Australians). And today who will save the situation? A British Museum has just issued an Internet search advice; they have a single male African cichlid (now extinct) and are looking for a female !
More than ever, aquarists face new challenges
Through the years trends and fashions have appeared that delight the media, but do not bring anything concrete or of any value to the issues decried. Aquarium and Marine life in general were failed in the process.... and still are. It becomes even more dramatic when this Myth / Information is conveyed by some scientists.
In the 60’s; the destruction of reefs by a giant predatory Starfish, called Acanthaster (Crown of Thorns), caused much ink to flow. So much that a group of scientists was quick to promote the development of insecticides capable of targeting Acanthaster while sparing the reefs ! Remember that insecticides such as DichloroDyphenilTrichloretane were common at that time. Fortunately the plan was never implemented.
In the 70s; the serious problem of coral bleaching begins to be noticed (it was one of the symptoms associated with Acanthaster, by the way). This time it is a symptom that served as a lure to the media. Some scientific circles spoke clearly: – corals are victim to an unknown illness and the only way to save the reefs is by spreading tons of liquid antibiotics ! Of course a pharmaceutical giant funded the research and brought a lot of weight to the seriousness of the thing... Fortunately the plan was never implemented, but it almost was.
In the 80s; Global Warming appears. How convenient: all political, economical, ecological and environmental isues and debates are now linked to it ... Joy fills the demagogues and the media. Of course, bleaching of corals reappears again and Global Warming now becomes the sole cause affecting the reefs ... Worldwide ! Except that Bleaching of Corals is only a fraction of disorders affecting reefs and ultimately their demise... Worldwide. In fact, there are so many causes that Global Warming is misleading and even irrelevant. It seems that while everyone is focusing on this cause alone: all others are neglected (by the media and especially the demagogues). Other groups in history have contributed to the reign of ignorance.
- In the twentieth century; Japanese shuttle fleets in the Indo-Pacific: facilitated dynamite fishing by using it as a bargaining chip. With the result that the inhabitants of isolated islands were left without food resources ... By destroying those same reefs which provided their livelihood. No Global Warming issue here.
- The Coasts of Monterey were known for their connection to the fur industry; because of the abundance of Marine Otters. Over a century, the California Sea Otter was hunted almost to extinction. Their disappearance saw the Giant Kelp Forests decimated !! Otters control the populations of urchins who are fond of Giant Kelp. With no Sea Otters: the Coast of Monterey saw the emergence of vast amounts of Urchins destroying the reproductive biotope of thousands of marine species. Fortunately the Monterey Bay Aquarium initiated a re-introduction program of Otters. Kelp Cultivation and harvesting emerged for the food industry; ensuring the survival and recovery of an invaluable reproduction environment. No Global Warming issue here.
- To date, it seems that 80% of reefs in the Caribbean are gone because of Global Warming.... With the United Nations 2013 report supporting the theory of Global Warming. However this claim is mainly based on computer models which are widely disputed ... Many environmentalists (real scientifics) identify more and more causes. In the Caribbean, for example, the study of the extinction of sea urchins indicates the cause of the destruction of large areas of reefs. Attributable exclusively to the loss of Urchins. Since these Urchins are not controlling the proliferation of algae, corals are literally covered. You should know that urchins have always been seen as irritants by nearly everyone: fishermen, diving clubs, tourist areas ... Because they bother !!! Not to mention: the collection for arts & crafts and exotic food industries (yes) ... and so on. One might as well speak of all Seahorse species around the globe that are threatened with extinction. To meet Asian demand for all kinds of nostrums. Tens of thousands of tons of Seahorses, a year, are turned into aphrodisiacs or other miracle cures: without any scientific basis !!! No Global Warming issue here.
- For decades Florida's Coasts have been sprayed with insecticides (by plane) to control mosquitoes ... Data relevant to the effects on marine life are still slow coming ... No Global Warming issue here. And we can go on the list is endless.
Horror stories are legion.
You probably think that this mess is due to ignorance of ancient times ? And that fortunately today we are well informed and have become wiser, more brilliant and more responsible?
Come on ! At this moment; a group of students from an Australian University requisitioned (in the name of science) a small coastal area... In order to study (on-site) the effects of detergents on live marine life ! As highlighted by a shoked Australian citizen in a comment on this theme: - (...) They would have done better to ask any of our aquarists, the consequences of such action. (...) In addition, some Australian scientists are responsible for more environmental disasters in Australia; than all causes combined! (...).
I just want to emphasize one last point; fishing (snorkeling or tuba collection) using cyanide.
Most reefs suffering the onslaught of Cyanide Collection never recover. We recognize these fishermen to the red tint of their hair over time. Besides… the health of fishermen themselves are not spared by the long-term effects of cyanide. It may seem fine to develop slogans such as: - Just Say No to Cyanide, but this solves nothing. Government regulations do not solve anything either since all this is done through the black market anyway. The only real culprit here is the cyanide dealer !!!
Take Note that new unhealthy practices have emerged following the devastation of reefs by cyanide collection. Snorkelers now dive deeper to collect marine specimens ... While not performing decompression: essential to the specimens they harvest. Which causes the same consequences as cyanide. And again ... No Global Warming issue here.
Knowledgeable hobbyists can try to select specimens from farms or distribution networks recognized for their integrity. Yes there are valid methods of fishing or collection.
In the Aquarium Hobby & Trade: it’s the same refrain. You'll see...
See: Beware of Panaceas
Système Biologique Marin
© 2013 SBMarin
In the series of photos below, you will get to know Ruby (Centropyge ferrugata): a likely victim of ocular trauma But first, we must clarify the overall view of the problem.
What fate awaits Ruby? It depends on the healer ...
This really isn’t the time to play Doctor Panacea
I have fifty years of aquarist experience in 2014. Pertaining to diseases and treatments, I think I have experienced or read everything that was published ...
- From Insecticide treatment baths (DDT / lindane / etc) recommended for parasitic diseases in the 60’s ...
- To the addition of Tetracycline directly to water or mixed with food... and Ultra-Violet Sterilizers, in the 70’s ...
- To all sorts of sulfamide treatments… and Ozone Sterilizers, in the 80’s ...
- We went to Naturist Cures in the 90’s ...
Without much success for the adepts of Panaceas !
In fact, one can summarize the theme of Diseases and Treatments in one sentence:
- If it does not go away with Peroxide; it's not even worth trying to treat a fish
This quote, I borrowed from an old veterinarian friend animated with exemplary wisdom. This has always been true of fresh water aquariums and it is also of actuality with marine tanks.
The real problem is the diagnosis. If you do not have a microbiology lab or adequate training in biology: any diagnostic is impossible to achieve ... And yet, you still have to autopsy a dead specimen. Know that to positively identify any animal species, you must perform an autopsy: ditto for diagnostic of diseases. So it is quite unrealistic to expect finding panaceas that cure unidentifed diseases ...
Yet thousands of pages and populist Forums await you on the net to help you establish a diagnostic and even a treatment ... I wish you good luck!
(the Fate of Ruby will be posted at a later date)
Système Biologique Marin
© 2013 SBMarin