Editorial: March 2002

Before retiring three years ago,
I was a Professor of the Humanities for 33 years at Pratt
Institute. Finding that out has often led aquarists to ask me how
I got so heavily involved in our hobby. Usually, I replied that
it started with several freshwater tanks when I was about 10
years old, but this was not really an answer. In any case, the
largest was a Metaframe 20 gallon long tank. To my young eyes
that tank was enormous. Strange as it may seem, I still remember
the scientific names – memorized from Innes’ famous book,
The Complete Aquarium Book– William T. Innes; 1936
Halcyon House — of all the freshwater fish I had during those
years. Learning that the black tetra was called Gymnocorymbus
ternetzi
gave me a sense of power. Much later I came across
James Baldwin’s famous words, The root function of
language is to control the universe by describing it.

Neither my parents, nor my friends, nor my relatives kept
tropical fish. It was not from them that I acquired my passion
for our hobby. Until recently, I really didn’t have an answer
to the question of the origin of my passion for our hobby.

Grandson

The author’s grandson, staring in
fascination at a captivating reef aquarium.

My oldest grandson, now almost two years old, in his innocent
delight with my aquarium, supplied me with the sought-after
answer. Check my recent photograph of him mesmerized by my reef
tank. One of the first things my grandson does when he comes to
visit is to go to the reef tank, climb up on a step stool, and
gaze at the incredible shapes and colors. Youngsters like him are
not only the future of our hobby, but perhaps of our planet’s
natural wonders as well. It is here that the passionate love of
natural beauty begins. It will lead some of us to fight for the
environment, and even lead many of us, who are not scientists,
electricians, plumbers, etc to learn more chemistry, biology,
physics, and even electrical and plumbing skills. The more we
know, the more we learn, the more the wonders of the natural
world fascinate. There’s an old Buddhist proverb that states
that if you want to be happy for a day fall in love, for a week
get married, but for a life time, plant a garden.

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With this issue we have made a few changes to help aquarists
get accurate, honest answers to their questions. We are opening
up our magazine forums and renaming them “The Advanced
Aquarist’s Forums.” Not only will our users be able to
ask questions about the magazine articles – now the forums will
be open for you all to ask our “Advanced
Aquarist’s” questions in their areas of considerable
expertise. Because we have such a broad range of contributors, if
one of these aquarists is unavailable, another should be able to
step in to answer your question. To access these forums, click on
Advanced
Aquarist’s Forums

With this issue, we are adding additional content. Randy
Donowitz will pick up where he left off from his beginner’s
column called “Reef Keeping 101” for Aquarium
Frontiers
, to his new column “Reef Keeping 102.”
Rob Toonen, Ph.D. in the first of many columns for the
Advanced Aquarist, using the question and answer format,
tackles feeding nonphotosynthetic gorgonians. In this month’s
Photo Gallery, Greg Schiemer, offers a picture of an anemone that
divided into three animals over night. Best of all, Greg, whose
husbandry and photography skills are unsurpassed, has agreed to
do a regular column on marine fish. Look for it soon in a future
addition of Advanced Aquarist. Another innovation with
this issue of the Advanced Aquarist is the introduction
of short, informative articles, which we call “Short
Takes.”

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  Advanced Aquarist
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 Terry Siegel

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