Saltwater Ethical Questions

Feb 28, 2006
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#1
Is it ethical to keep a saltwater tank? all these rare fishes and coral ect, thats presumably taken from coral reefs? I'd like a saltwater tank but not if it has an adverse effect on the habitat of these creatures. I have viewed many aquarium websites and have never really seen this issue discussed before.

regards
P.B
 

CAPSLOCK

Elite Fish
Jul 19, 2004
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#2
Some of the fish that are very hardy you can get tank bred... most clowns, some gobies, a few pseudochromis, maybe some others. You can also get corals that have been "bred" in tanks, or in aquaculture facilities.

Keeping salt water fish isn't really harmful to the environment if you do your research first, and pick out fish (and corals, and inverts...) that have a very good survival rate in aquariums. The only SW fish I've lost was a neon goby, which was tank bred. Essentially, if you get fish that have a great survival rate in tanks, then you won't be buying fish every few weeks to replace them, and you'll encourage stores to only buy sustainable fish because the rare, difficult fish won't be bought (similar to not buying dyed fish). One of the fish that should definitely be avoided is a cleaner wrasse, because these have poor survival in tanks and they are needed in the environment, there have been studies showing adverse effects on the entire reef when cleaner wrasses were removed.

You should also make sure fish that you purchase were caught without poisons (which you can usually tell by looking at them in the store), by net catching... the poisons that are used to catch fish some places tend to kill of the fish, and also are usually just sprayed around all over a coral reef.
 

S.Reef

Superstar Fish
Dec 1, 2003
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#3
When it comes to collection of marine organisms for aquarium use, the trade is not impacting the environment that significantly. You have to keep in mind that global warming, land development and tourists have a far greater impact on the reefs. That along with collection of tropical fish to be eaten in asian markets, aquariums pose avery small threat.
 

S.Reef

Superstar Fish
Dec 1, 2003
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#4
I forgot to add one thing, when keeping an aquarium the aquarist has to take full responsibility for the inhabitants. Researching is vital for the success of an aquarium. When it comes to ethics I believe it is up to the aquarist to decide what is organisms to take from the wild, what their system can handle, and what they can maintain for many happy years responsibly.
 

Lorna

Elite Fish
Mar 3, 2005
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#5
I also believe that aquarist actually contribute to research and the knowledge of these various life forms. The amount of husbandry that is done within the hobby can only have a positive impact on the future environmental needs. Most in the hobby are interested in propagating and breeding within the bounds of captivity and thereby not depleting the natural source. I believe that most aquarists are environmental advocates and do thier bit to preserve natural stocks.
 

Lotus

Ultimate Fish
Moderator
Aug 26, 2003
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home.earthlink.net
#6
You can go visit the Marine Aquarium Council Web site for some info: http://www.aquariumcouncil.org/ for information. The council is certifying fish stores who practice good procedures and use ethical suppliers and buy from countries that try to preserve the aquatic environment. I couldn't find a list of retailers on the site, unfortunately.

Tank bred fish and aquacultured corals are always an option, although the fish choice may be limited.
 

Feb 6, 2005
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#7
First I just want to say "GOOD FOR YOU" shark attack, for already showing the responsability of a good hobiest.

There is know doubt that "yes" the aquarium hobby does have an impact on the natural reefs systems of the world, the practice of bad collecting and home hobbiests not taking the responsability to do the proper research before attampting to keep an aquarium resulting in many wasted lives...but on the good side; our hobby has put a huge $$$ value on the reef bring more attention to it and research than would have other wise been done without.
 

wayne

Elite Fish
Oct 22, 2002
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#8
Yes the aquarium trade. It is however compared to those described earlier pretty negligible in impact (altho' there are a couple exceptions where overcollecting has been damaging), and provides a serious economic reason for local people to preserve the reef.
Global scale threats to coral reefs are food fishing , and climate change (rise in temperature, drop in marine pH, readjustment of weather patterns)

These factors also apply equally to freshwater enviroments of course. It is easy to single out reef aquaria while ignoring the number of wild caught freshwater fish.

If you want to show personal responsibility make it our onus to have as few living organisms die in your care as is possible, and to hav as little enviromental impact as is possible.