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Old 06-19-2014, 12:31 PM   #1
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Ethics and the hobby

Hi everyone, for a while now I've really been putting a lot of thought into if our hobby is Ethical. I absolutely hate the fact that we take 75% of saltwater aquarium fish and corals from reefs that are on the decline just helping it accelerate the process. A fish that was meant to swim hundreds of mile of open ocean a day is confined yo a 4ft glass box (tangs, triggers, large angels, etc.) my friend (a passionate reefer) says that the fish look happy in their little glass boxes and I always ask him " and what language did he tell you that?". I also strongly disagree with keeping fish that grow to over 10" if they're naturally active swimmers (arrowana, arapaima, stingrays, XL cichlids, etc., I don't know, it's just me. I get that a fish like that can be healthy in captivity but is it really happy. We can be kept alive in a box long enough to take ten steps and then turn around but is that really how it was meant? This is the only reason all of my fish besides my sclare angels stay under 4 inches and are all captive bred. This is also why I tend to UNDER STOCK my tank. Thanks for listening to my rant! I want to here other aquarists opinions on these subjects.
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Old 06-19-2014, 01:39 PM   #2
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If I can ascertain the source I'd always buy a captive bred fish over a wild fish. There are a lot of ethical questions about the hobby.

Another aspect is unethical and irresponsible aquarists who introduce non-native species into the wild. I just read a story today about non-native former pet turtles that also mentioned a piranha in a pond in San Jose, CA. I think we all could do more to promote environmentally sound and responsible aquarium keeping.

There needs to be a happy medium between a PETA like stance and complete abandon. It would be good to see the hobby develop a code of ethics. If there is one I don't know about it. I do know that certain standards of care are promoted here and that's a good start.
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Old 06-19-2014, 05:00 PM   #3
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The main thing I am against is the use and display of fish bowls. Many people will buy a bowl for their goldfish or betta not realizing that it lacks the important filtration and space that these fish need. The fish would not live more than a year and this leads people to view them as disposable pets.
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Old 06-19-2014, 05:19 PM   #4
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Ethics and the hobby

And that leads to people seeing them as decorations and not living breathing things. Fish bowls the source of all evil. I hate how little information is not common knowledge now. I mean a good pet keeper always. Researches anyway but how many walk out with a fish store with 6 goldfish and a bowl.
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Old 06-19-2014, 07:17 PM   #5
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You are right Cowboys....This hobby is detrimental to wildlife. No matter how you try to get around it, making the keeping of marine creatures attractive, is killing them.
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:04 PM   #6
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You are right Cowboys....This hobby is detrimental to wildlife. No matter how you try to get around it, making the keeping of marine creatures attractive, is killing them.
Exactly, everyday I look at my tank it is almost bitter sweet. Knowing that I may be the cause of the demise of our natural treasures is almost enough to make me quit fish keeping all together. I do all I can to minimize my impact but you can never do enough to be completely eco-safe.
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:20 PM   #7
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I just watched the trailer for earthlings and it just about made me cry. I don't know how after watching that I can have another aquarium and not be guilted to death. Wow. Got those of you who haven't seen it look up earthlings.com and watch the trailer.
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:35 PM   #8
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I believe our hobby can be beneficial as well. In my case i started in the hobby to have a fish tank for my kids, as my father did for me. It instilled a sense of respect and awe for nature and animals that i carry to this day. I hope the same is true for my daughters. I see the point that keeping fish in a tank can seem cruel and pointless, but if it leads to a better understanding and appreciation of nature overall, isnt it worth it? My daughters probably wont become marine biologists, but they will have a working knowledge and solid base to make their own ethical decisions about this hobby and nature as a whole. Two sides to every coin i guess.
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Old 06-19-2014, 08:56 PM   #9
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I believe our hobby can be beneficial as well. In my case i started in the hobby to have a fish tank for my kids, as my father did for me. It instilled a sense of respect and awe for nature and animals that i carry to this day. I hope the same is true for my daughters. I see the point that keeping fish in a tank can seem cruel and pointless, but if it leads to a better understanding and appreciation of nature overall, isnt it worth it? My daughters probably wont become marine biologists, but they will have a working knowledge and solid base to make their own ethical decisions about this hobby and nature as a whole. Two sides to every coin i guess.
That's the same argument got keeping large zoo animals in captivity, "for the education of people about animals" sure you may learn a few things about them and may respect them but how likely is it that someone will actually do anything to protect them from human intervention And harvesting. I get that a well kept appropriately sized fish tank can be a happy home for small fish but once you start getting 10+ inches there is no way we can satisfy their swimming/habitat needs.
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:03 PM   #10
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I also don't want to offend anyone who keeps these types of fish but the large Cichlid and reef keepers seem to be at the greatest fault. In a saltwater tank 75-90% of all of the fauna is collected from reefs (one of natures greatest and most fragile ecosystems) and plopped into a glass box. Going from the ocean into a glass box seems like a much more violent change from going from your fish farm trough into a glass box as long as it's appropriately sized for the fish. Many African cichlids are still taken from the Rift Valley lakes even though their numbers are declining and then put into a 6 ft tank (usually consider plenty large for most species) with countless other fish and often overstocked to prevent aggression. In the lakes each male cichlid defends a TWENTY SQUARE FOOT territory all to himself and his harem of females. Consider that and the usual 4-5 square inches every cichlid gets to itself. Once again thanks for listening and hope I don't rub anyone the wrong way.
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