reefs magazine

Winter 2013

Editor's Note - Winter 2013

This past week I took an unexpected trip to the early 1990’s when I accompanied a friend on a visit to a local African cichlid breeder. It has been a long time since I moved on from this part of the aquarium hobby and it brought back a flood of memories. Seeing the numerous species of ever so subtly different Tanganyikan fishes didn’t exactly make me long for those days, but I did experience a fair bit of nostalgia and an odd feeling of comfort.

Looking back on the afternoon, I reflected on my current aquatic passions inextricably colored by the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the trauma it caused our far-flung, loosely tight-knit community. The outpouring of assistance and support was remarkable. But why amid all the real world disaster and tragedy did so many people fight so hard to save their aquariums? By any objective standard this really is a pretty trivial part of life, but then again, for those who commit so much time and effort to the hobby it really isn’t.

Hobbies are about many things, but at their core they are about positive distractions from the daily grind. They are, in short, a source of great comfort and pride. It is why during tough economic times people tend to find ways to hold onto their hobbies even when it seems that it might be saner to do otherwise. This I think is what drove so many to fight so hard to save their aquariums in the face of days upon days without power and plummeting temperatures— their tanks were something that they could at least try to control, try to manipulate into a positive outcome against the odds. It was a matter of comfort and pride.

Many fought the good fight. Some succeeded and some did not, but it was the effort and the community support that stands out most. I’d like to dedicate this winter issue of Reefs Magazine to all of you affected in one way or another by Hurricane Sandy and hope that the collective efforts of our writers and staff enhance your success and enjoyment of the many things marine aquariums have to offer.

To this end we offer up a wide range of aquatic exploration. Rich Ross and Paul Whitby continue their respective series on Skeptical Reefkeeping and Reef Pest Control. Richard Aspinall explores with us The Lagoons, Rock pools and Sandy Bottoms of the Indian Ocean Coasts. James Fatherree takes a look at Hawkfishes and their alluring yet problematic behavior. We also welcome two new writers to the Reefs Magazine family—Tim Wijgerde who examines for us the growing scientific literature surrounding the critical importance of water flow for coral health and growth and Kenneth Wingerter who begins a series detailing everything you ever wanted to know about everyone’s favorite larval fish food– Rotifers. Oh, and nothing on African cichlids—for now……