“My Kingdom for a Pair of Boots!” The refrain is the same from people throughout the aquatics industry; our saltwater work environment is hell on footwear. Over the years, I have destroyed countless pairs of boots, and, while there are a few tricks to reducing the damage, it only serves to delay the inevitable. After seeing how saltwater and salt spray have dissolved concrete down to powder, it’s no wonder that my boots don’t fair much better.
I usually buy two pairs of boots, so I can rotate them every other day to let each pair dry out before wearing them again. I have tried out boots of every quality level, but it doesn’t matter – if they are $30 or $200, they all meet the same fate. Over time, the corrosive, high saline solution eats away the leather, metal and rubber. The salt is an equal opportunity destroyer. Oftentimes, my laces fuse with the metal they feed through, leaving most of the lower laces locked in position, a shoelace rigor mortis if you will. I am currently in the danger zone. I waited too long to buy new boots because I hate the breaking-in process,and I am making do with these rather comfortable, but quickly disintegrating, foot covers. They mostly do the job that they were intended for, but I fear that their end is near.
Being in a somewhat contemplative mood as I enjoy my third cup of coffee this Friday morning, I’ve posed to myself the philosophical question, what does it mean to be an “expert” marine aquarist? In other words, when I write something like, “That challenging species should be kept only by expert hobbyists,” who exactly am I referring to? As I mull it over, I’m coming to the realization that the answer to this question isn’t as obvious as it might seem.Years in the hobby? Is expertise a simple a matter of years in the hobby? If that were the case, someone who has been a hobbyist for 20 years but has never kept anything other than a single ocellaris clownfish would be considered an expert—when in reality, that individual is experienced only in keeping one specimen of a relatively bulletproof species. Further, there are plenty of long-time hobbyists out there who repeatedly exercise poor judgment, never learn from their mistakes, and make irresponsible stocking/husbandry decisions no matter how many years they keep at it. So time in the hobby can’t be the sole answer MORE
The Vertex Omega 180i is the latest skimmer from Vertex, and was first presented at Nuremberg Interzoo. I tested this skimmer in a 400 liter SPS and LPS tank, with nutrient levels kept as low as possible. The tank formerly was in bad shape, due to its well known dinoflagellate problems. MORE
Eight Months after their stay at the New England Aquarium, four sea turtles have been released back into the ocean. The three Kemp’s Ridley and one Loggerhead turtle were found stranded on Cape Cod last Fall due to water temperature problems. The turtles were successfully transferred to the aquarium for rehabilitation at the New England Aquarium Animal Care Center. The Center was established in 1968, with its goal to rescue and rehabilitate injured and diseased marine animals in the New England Area. MORE
Takashi Amano, photographer, designer, aquarist, and founder of ADA, Aqua Design Amano, died on August 4th at the age of 61. The news is bouncing around every social network, twitter feed, facebook page, and forum dedicated to the hobby. Unfortunately, we can confirm the sad news of his death. It seems that the pneumonia was a complication stemming from his cancer. MORE
Aquatic Experience – Chicago combines everything aquatic under one roof at the Schaumburg Convention Center. From saltwater to freshwater, to ponds and aquatic animals, they will have it all. Come out and enjoy educational seminars by George Blasiola, Heiko Bleher, Charles Delbeek, Patrick Donston, Hans-Georg Evers, Sanjay Joshi, Oliver Knott, Paul Loiselle, Oliver Lucanus,Steve Lundblad, Joe Olenik, Julian Sprung, Tony Vargas and Greg Wittstock, as well as keynote speaker Frank Reece of Blue Zoo. There will be a huge show floor filled with hobbyists from entry-level to the most sophisticated aquarium keepers, as well as livestock and equipment experts and the industry’s best and trend-setting manufacturers.The show will also be holding its second annual Aquatic Experience Aquascaping Competition. Contestants are invited to compete in one of two categories (Small and Large Tank) for $3,900 dollars in prize money. MORE