5 ways Reef Hobbyists can lessen impact on world’s oceans

Here is a list of ways that all the reef hobbyists could do to lessen their impact on the oceans everywhere. This is an important task as we try to conserve our beautiful oceans around the world.

 RidgeFarmSignsm1-Buy corals as frags from farms

Always buy from someone that farms corals, not from wild collected colonies.
 Coral reefs are among the most bio-diverse and beautiful habitats on earth so it’s no wonder Reef Hobbyists want to have a piece of this beauty at home, but taking from the wild only harms what you claim to love so much. It is estimated that a staggering 2 million people worldwide keep marine aquariums. The unfortunate fact to this is that great majority of marine aquaria are stocked with species caught from the wild. This quick moving trade is seeing the movement of several species of fish across borders. There are threats from this new trend that hurt the species like the use of cyanide in collection, over-harvesting of target organisms and high levels of mortality associated with poor practices and insensitive shipping.
There is, however, a better method to buying a coral reef to have of your very own. Going to a farm that specializes in this, any reef farm that you can find will lessen the impact you have one our oceans. There are hundreds of farmers you can search for and find your desired coral without harming anything. A great site to check is www.reeffarmers.com or www.coralreeffarm.com as they are both easy to find in a search engine.
clownfish breeding

2-When possible, buy fish that have been captively bred

Farmed fish can help to lower the high demand for wild caught specimens, and plays a essential role in easing the pressure on wild populations.  There have been more than a few situations where entire populations of wild fish were decimated by collectors who only cared about the cash they would make off of the species.

A perfect example of this is the celestial pearl danio.  This fish was discovered in 2006 and immediately became a largely popular aquarium fish. By the next year, there were already reports of wild populations being close to extinction, and of habitat was being severely damaged by collectors. This is what we are trying to avoid happening to all fish that are desirable for our collections.

Dry Rock

3-Dry rock, not live rock

When starting a new tank, start with dry rock and simply trade a piece of that rock with someone who has an established tank to seed the bacteria.

The simple answer as to  which you should use is you have a choice– you get to decide what critters you want in your tank and which ones you don’t.

Live rock is great in that it comes covered with nitrifying bacteria which covers up the scent of ammonia and converts it. Unfortunately, it also comes with lots of things you probably do not want to see and you don’t get to decide if you want it or not.

For example, a lot of people who have gotten live rock that has critters that can overrun a reef tank in just a few days if not taken care of quickly. Even if you remove the ones that you can see, there could be many, many more that you can not see hidden in the rock that will eventually give new life that will run your tank. One of the worst is the Kraken worm, that grow up to 4′ in length and eat corals for their meal. You won’t even be aware that these pests are in your tank until you see corals disappear or bleaching, which no one who cares for a reef ever wants to see. These pests are even harder to get out because you can’t always see them as they are very small and some only come out at night. In the case of the Kraken worm, you will have to tear apart your whole entire tank to get to them and remove them.

With dead rock, what you see is what you get no pests. I would suggest to you to buy the rock that’s been out in the sun for long enough that it’s bleach white. It won’t have anything unwanted attached to it, and top of that, you can watch your tank mature as the rock will change color as bacteria and algae grow. It is also a good idea to use live rock as a seed to help the process along, so long as you get the live rock from someone with, as I said before an established tank and there are no chance for any unwanted guests.

image_large

4  No Cleaner wrasses period

 A study was completed in 2011 by PLoS ONE that revealed breath-taking results.
 On two patch reefs, researchers took out all cleaner wrasses and kept them free of these cleaners for 8 and a half years.  Another site, in which cleaner wrasses were left to do as they pleased, was watched for the same amount of time. This was the first time anyone had ever studied the effect that cleaner wrasses have on the fish that live in the reefs.
The results, are heart breaking:
  • Damselfish were smaller sizes than average.
  • Fishes that typically lived in the area were 37% in population
  • There was 23% less species richness per removal reef.
  • The removal reefs showed a incredible 65% reduction in fish likely to move between reefs, or juvenile visitor fishes.
  • There was 33% lower species quantity of visitor fishes.
  • and finally, 66% lower abundance of visitor herbivores such as Tangs.

Quite frankly, cleaner wrasses have an impact on coral reefs, to the extreme, that they impact the ecosystem by being removed.  This study makes it obvious to see that their removal creates less healthy fishes, by means of smaller fish sizes and reduced populations.

“It isn’t just a $10 fish at stake.  It’s an entire reef community you impact with your purchase of  a cleaner wrasse.” Leonard Ho said.

The most important impact these fish have is  the cleaner wrasses ability to attract fishes to join a reef community.  When they are removed it drastically lowers the amount of fishes that decide to visit a reef.   The effect they have on our oceans is amazing, and when we remove them for our pleasure, we are hurting our oceans we claim to love.

 th

5  Take care of the fish you have

 Do your research and try to avoid impulse buys.  knowing the biology and needs of the fish before you purchase can help you avoid conflicts and in the end, fish dying for no reason.
Research before putting species together. Some fish are compatible, others aren’t. One might speculate that fish would enjoy some activity in their lives, so don’t get just one.
Make sure your tank is big enough for your fish. Be sure and look up the minimum tank size for each fish.  Be sure and get all the proper equipment needed to set up a tank, filters, heaters, test kits, and water conditioners are essential. Be sure you cycle your tank before placing any fish inside, and put fish in a few at a time so you do not overload your filtration system. Perform water changes, and test your water regularly.
Most importantly feed your fish 2-3 times daily and monitor them as they eat, swim and watch for any signs of sickness. Be careful of being too loud around fish and try not to touch the glass unnecessarily.

Sources:

http://www.reeffarmers.com

http://www.coralreeffarm.com

Wild caught or captive bred?

Buy it Dead, not alive

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/blog/just-how-important-are-cleaner-wrasses-to-reef-ecosystems

Fish Care Tips