It’s important to reach novice marine aquarists with good information early in their hobby experienceA few weeks back, I had the privilege of speaking at the first annual Buckeye Reef Marine Expo down in Bowling Green, Ohio (which, by the way, was a tremendous success, thanks to the tireless efforts of Jesse Lambdin, Joe Perkins, and all the other folks at Buckeye Reef, who clearly went all out to make this a stellar debut event!). In the presentation, I discussed the role of information in promoting success in our hobby, particularly with respect to beginners. Among the various topics touched upon was “Challenges to Effective Information Sharing.” Today, I’d like to share these challenges with you and invite your input on others that might belong on the list as well as what you think we could do to overcome them—not just here at Saltwater Smarts, but throughout the hobby.Anyhow, here are some of the reasons we think we’re collectively “missing the boat” when it comes to reaching novice hobbyists with good information in a timely manner. But we’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject, so if you have anything to add, please don’t hesitate to share it in the comment section afterward. 1. The Echo-Chamber Effect In this all-too-familiar scenario, hobby information—or misinformation—gets picked up and repeated ad nauseam across the internet (e.g., garlic cures Cryptocaryon irritans). It can be very difficult for the novice hobbyist to distinguish between fact and fiction, and the repetitive nature of the information lends it an air of authority that may or may not be justified.
Surprisingly, the “right stuff” that is required to succeed in this hobby can’t be bought at a storeAs marine aquarium hobbyists, we can buy a lot of things to make our experience better and easier, but when it comes to long-term reefkeeping success, the “right stuff” doesn’t come from a store. In addition to a genuine love for marine life, the following 10 traits will serve you well on your journey to a thriving reef system: 1. Attention to detailReefkeeping, like flying an airplane, is basically a never-ending series of small corrections. You must be sufficiently detail-oriented to observe the very subtle changes or parameter shifts that can lead to major problems if left unaddressed, such as that first bubble algae vesicle or Aiptasia polyp, calcium and alkalinity levels just beginning to trend out of balance, or a fish that isn’t behaving quite right.. 2. Willingness to learn There’s a tremendous learning curve to this hobby just to grasp the basics, but the learning mustn’t end with the fundamentals. Successful reefkeepers continually absorb new information—from aquarium literature, trusted online sources, fellow hobbyists, etc.—so they can improve their husbandry techniques and better meet the needs of the animals in their care. Of course, being open to learning also means making an effort to learn from your mistakes so you don’t repeat them over and over again at the expense of your livestock