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Environmental Considerations when Setting up Saltwater Aquariums

saltwater hippo tangAlmost every fish and corals seen in a saltwater fish tank displayed in aquarium shops are collected among wild reefs with some species caught in deep sea oceans while many were actually harvested especially from the Great Barrier Reefs in Australia. No matter how careful the reef harvester with every consideration put into account to ensure minimal loss and small impact to the environment, there are bound to be damages caused during the harvesting process. As such when setting up your saltwater fish tanks, careful planning has to be done to ensure that those precious resource collected from the sea is highly treasured and preserved so that all the efforts are not just wasted.

As a marine hobbyist, I realize how important it is to strike a balance between fulfilling your heart’s desire to maintain a perfect working saltwater aquarium and at the same time do as little as possible with regards to causing damage to the environment just for our needs. Therefore, if possible, check and confirm with the aquarium shop owner on where the live rocks and reefs are collected and if possible get your supply only from saltwater farms that actually grow and cultivate the fish meant solely just for sales. Usually if I do not get the satisfactory answers that I’ve hoped for, then I’ll just leave the store in search of another.

The Environmental Impact
There are few notes to remember which I want to highlight here when I say there is an environmental damage. First of all, removal of live rocks and reef structure actually means taking away the hiding place meant for thousands of live microorganisms and fish species. Certain fish types such as the clownfish depend on the anemones living among the corals for survival and removing these means taking away the precious live sustaining mechanism that protects all of them together. Another note which I would like to stress here is that depending on the skill and attitude of the harvester, most of these live rocks will eventually managed to reach aquarium stores but little were known as to how many of those that have actually gone wasted due to carelessness or ignorance.

Use of poison especially to stun and then collect the wild fish for aquarium trades also pose another problem that has a huge impact towards the environment. This is one of the most irresponsible acts because most of these fish although managed to survive to end up in saltwater fish tanks, many were known to later develop complications and succumb to effects of the poison. Apart from the point raised above, use of stunning agent can also cause damages to other microorganisms that inhabit the wild reefs and the long term effect can be devastating. My view is that if you ever come across such people going about doing this unscrupulous act, not only should you avoid buying the fish from them but you should also take the effort to report them to local authorities for further actions.

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