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Casting off the bowlines - Scott Fellman (Unique Corals)

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  • Casting off the bowlines - Scott Fellman (Unique Corals)

    Casting off the bowlines...

    I had a conversation the other day with a customer of mine who is doing some experimenting with a non-photosynthetic gorgonian (a maricultured "Blueberry" Gorgonian)that he obtained from another vendor, and it was one of those typical "reef bro" conversations. We talked about the challenges involved, and various ideas to feed the animal without polluting the system, etc. What was really cool about the conversation was that we were talking about doing something that, until really recently, would get you a lot of criticism from fellow reefers. And what was even cooler was the "qualifier" that my customer slipped in at the outset acknowledging that this was a challenging and different avenue, and that he was fully aware of the ethical considerations about trying to keep an animal that has a reputation for touchiness. Further, he was very careful to only purchase an animal that was maricultured, which was a pretty cool thing.



    Stay away, or go for it? There's never been a better time, huh?

    Think about it.

    This is an example of the kind of "self policing" that we do as hobbyists. It's a bit different than in years past, when you'd simply be pounded from all sides for even considering trying something a bit out of the norm. In this more "enlightened" era of reef keeping, we're encouraging responsible experimentation, and we as reefers seem to be going into these types of new adventures with full consideration of the ethical and ecological impact of our work.

    Granted, there are still many "taboo" things in the hobby that we dutifully avoid (like keeping deadly venomous animals in open top aquariums, or buying extra large breeder-size Angelfishes, Sharks, etc.), but the fact is, we are trying different approaches and different ideas all the time now in a much more open minded environment. I had the pleasure of dining with Leng Sy of Eco System Aquarium (the "Miracle Mud" people) a couple of nights ago, and it was fun to hear of Leng's philosophies and reflection on his product and the interesting new applications they are going to be featuring in their upcoming marketing efforts. Here is an example of a product that's been around for a while, almost taken for granted, but now being looked at differently in a different hobby era. Experimentation is encouraged.



    "Something old" that can be used for something...new?


    We've seen this with the Triton tests coming into the U.S. It's been interesting to see much healthy (and some unhealthy) discussion about just what the water analysis can do for reefers. Despite a very few scientist-types bickering about the difference between the test's accuracy at detecting 4ppb (parts per BILLION) or 5ppb of Vanadium or some other previously obscure trace element, what we've seen is reefers using real information to make real inferences and hypothesis about what's going on in their tanks. Applied science in a new age of reef aquarium thinking. Amazing.

    Skepticism is vital. However, it's one thing to discuss potentially important issues about hobby topics, but it's quite another to discourage people from exploring the real benefits for themselves. Those attempting to split hairs on every issue of every new product, idea, or technique that comes along are missing the point of the hobby, IMHO.


    We have amazing companies like ORA offering captive bred fishes that have never been in the hobby before, such as the White Spotted Pygmy Filefish or the Komahara Blenny. Reefers are asking me for pairs of fishes like certain wrasses and Pseudochromis because they want to see if they can breed them...I mean, this is a quantum shift in the thinking of ten or fifteen years ago when just KEEPING a specimen of some of these fishes was cool.



    One of my favorite new fishes- the ORA Komahara Blenny!


    I know more than one reefer who has a basement coral propagation system that rivals those of some smaller coral vendors. Reefers are doing real propagation work with the intent of not just making a few bucks off of their hobby, but to FURTHER it by trying new techniques, different species, and new equipment to do the job.

    For the first time, we have super high-tech controllable DC water pumps that provide precise control for all sorts of applications. And we have insanely efficient pumps like the Abyzz pumps and Hydro Wizard that we are going to be offering. Efficient, reliable alternatives exist for hobbyists to make almost any of their dream tank ideas work. Sure, not all of them are inexpensive, but the technology is there. More important, the thought process is there.



    The future is..now.


    In other words, hobbyists no longer speak in hushed whispers about creating some cool display system like they might have in the past. Sure, there will always be a few people that love to be "buzz kills" out there, but the majority of hobbyists, skeptical though they might be, seem to be rational, forward-thinking people who love the idea of pushing the hobby forward. As a group, we don't like unsubstantiated claims and vaguely-defined products with seemingly larger-than-life "benefits", but we DO like the ability to experiment and differentiate between what's real and what's hype. The truth seems to sort itself out more quickly these days. Products that make bold claims and assertions without the proof don't last long. Hobbyists are too smart, too resourceful, and thanks to the Internet- too communicative- to allow garbage products and ideas to linger long. It's an exciting era of "new responsibility' for manufacturers, vendors, and reefers alike.



    In the end, isn't this what reef keeping is all about?

    We've come a long way in just a few decades, and the best is yet to come.

    So if you have a dream, chances are there's an idea, product or person out there to help you achieve it! Don't keep the dream to yourself...share it with the world, discuss it...experiment. Don't be afraid to experiment responsibly. That's how we move forward. Forever forward.

    Go for it.

    I can't help but close with the motivating words of some unknown author (often erroneously attributed to Mark Twain) that sum it up best:

    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

    And, until next time...


    Stay Wet

    Scott Fellman
    Unique Corals


    • firstlight10
      #1
      firstlight10 commented
      Editing a comment
      Great post Scott! I've gained a lot of insight about the hobby from reading your posts and the discussions that follow.
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  • Casting off the bowlines - Scott Fellman (Unique Corals)
    osrascom
    Casting off the bowlines...

    I had a conversation the other day with a customer of mine who is doing some experimenting with a non-photosynthetic gorgonian (a maricultured "Blueberry" Gorgonian)that he obtained from another vendor, and it was one of those typical "reef bro" conversations. We talked about the challenges involved, and various ideas to feed the animal without polluting the system, etc. What was really cool about the conversation was that we were talking about doing
    ...
    03-13-2015, 05:39 PM
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