Finding Dory is off to a blockbuster weekend start. I saw the film with my son on opening night. It truly is another great Pixar film. As an aquarist, and small business owner I question what impact will this movie have on the Hobby?
Rewind back to the days of Finding Nemo masses wanted clownfish after the film came out. The demand for clowns put pressure on suppliers and captive bred clowns (fish bred and raised in captivity) became the norm. There were also many people that just went to pet stores bought a tank without realizing the time and financial commitment as a result the tanks and livestock suffered.
Will Dory be different? I really hope pet stores, retailers will be ethical and honest in the sales of tanks and fish. Educating potential customers is essential to ensure they fully understand the responsibilities and requirements of running a saltwater aquarium. Efforts to educate consumers are already being seen at Petco, live aquaria, and through Son and Sand Reef Aquariums.
The movie opens with an adorably baby Dory on the screen. In real life the smaller fish may seem easier to keep; and appear to need a smaller tank. The rumor that a fish will only grow to its tank is untrue, it will grow to its full adult size. Putting a Blue Hippo tang in a small tank will stress the fish immensely as it grows to its adult size of 1 foot!
Blue hippo tangs simply cannot live in a coffeepot like in the movie it is recommend that the Blue hippo tang that needs plenty of room to swim be placed in a minimum of 6 foot long tank usually a 180 gallons. This size setup is not something to be considered an impulse buy and neither should buying hippo tang. The cost for appropriately setting a tank up this size will be between $2000 and $3500!!!
This particular fish is also susceptible to disease and often takes sick in anything less than perfect water quality. They develop a disease called hole in the head in which their skin recedes around there head. This has questionably been caused by poor diet, stress and the running of carbon filtration.
If searching for a clownfish they are nearly all captive bred, this is good for the ocean and for the animals as captive bred fish are adjusted to aquarium life and are less susceptible to disease. This is not the case for the Blue Hippo tank. The hobby has come a long way but is not to the point where these fish can be bred in captivity; which means every blue tang is coming from the ocean. This is something to consider as well. I do not condone buying fish that are wild caught there are collection rules and regulations much like the fisheries that supply our food, however increasing demand on impulse and providing less than adequate care for any animal is not something I can ethically support.
Son and Sand Reef maintains a conservative approach to aquariums, whenever possible captive-bred fish are offered as opposed to wild caught, we strive to supply aquacultured corals grown in house, or supplied by a network of hobbyist whenever possible. We often buy out existing tanks if someone has lost interest, disassembling it and breaking down all systems while maintaining the livestock and live rock for future customers, we happily call this process reef-cycling as it also minimizes the impact we have on coral reefs.
The Blue Hippo tang isn’t for everyone, neither is saltwater. I have been in this hobby for over 9 years, and most people stick around 3. Those that keep systems longer like myself are truly fascinated, and in love with every aspect of fish keeping. They have tanks built into their walls, or in a living space. They share their home with the beauty of a coral reef, the tanks are simply stunning with swaying coral, healthy colorful fish. This hobby can be extremely enjoyable and worth-while for those that are committed. There are others that want a tank but just simply don’t have time for the maintenance they maintain all these rewards by hiring a competent maintenance business. Whether your tank is setup and you don’t have time, you have a issue you need assistance with or you don’t have a tank or know where to begin Son and Sand is here to help you setup and maintain an amazing aquarium.