“Tanked” Has a “Finding Nemo”-like Effect on the Hobby

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Darla from Finding Nemo
When the television show “Tanked” first aired on Animal Planet, many aquarium hobbyists immediately cringed. The pilot episode, and every episode following for that matter, showed bad aquarium husbandry, massive tanks filled to the brim with fish, and the cut-up antics typical of any reality tv show. Now, we do understand that Animal Planet has full creative control over the show and that it takes more than a week’s worth of shooting to get a one hour episode, so we don’t entirely blame the crew of Acrylic Tank Manufacturing (ATM) for the terrible message being put out with the help of extensive editing. However, aquarium stores are starting to feel the “Tanked” effect and it’s an issue that needs to be adressed.

Severel years ago, a popular Disney Pixar movie came out and immediately had an extensive impact on the the environments of local fish stores nationwide. “Finding Nemo” caused countless parents to run out and attempt to recreate what they saw in theaters for their children, and to this day store owners and employees can still hear the screeching children yelling out for the popular clownfish in their nightmares. A few years and a ton if dead clownfish later, the “Finding Nemo” effect wore off for the most part, and fish stores could actually go a few weeks or even months without hearing that dreadful name.

Fast forward to a few months ago, and we are starting to see a new trend in the aquarium hobby, and unfortunately one with similar results. The “Tanked” trend has taken hold, and people are pouring into fish stores looking to recreate what they see the “experts” doing on tv. And having no educational value in that show, these brand new tank owners are making severe mistakes and even attempting to mix fresh and saltwater fish together. Fortunately, some of this behavior will be curtailed by vigilant fish store employees, but sadly not every one of the “sheeple” will be stopped.

I was chatting with an employee at a local fish store, who happened to tell me the phone had been ringing off the hook with people who had been inspired by the “Tanked” tv show and had to have an aquarium. He kept trying to explain the concept of saltwater aquariums to each of them, but the questions and explanations became overwhelming at some point. This alone is just one indicator of the show’s impact on the hobby, and with a second season already being planned, we are positivie it will have a long lasting effect.

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  • so sad

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  • “I was chatting with an employee at a local fish store, who happened to tell me the phone had been ringing off the hook with people who had been inspired by the “Tanked” tv show and had to have an aquarium. He kept trying to explain the concept of saltwater aquariums to each of them, but the questions and explanations became overwhelming at some point.”

    I guess I don’t see why this is so much of a problem.  Instead of complaining about newly interested people, why not think of it in a better light?

    Are these people uninformed? Yes.
    Does the show illustrate proper setup and maintenance? No.
    Does that mean we as hobbiests should snub these newly interested people away from the hobby? Absolutly not.

    Instead of complaining about these people, we should be taking the time to help them out and show them how to properly set up an aquarium or talk to them about hiring a LFS or maintenance company to do it for them.  I think in the long run, encouraging people to talk to experts instead of shooing them away will end up in better tanks, more interested parties, and could actually be a good thing for the hobby.

    This isn’t Finding Nemo.  People aren’t looking to buy something pretty and fun for their young children; they are interested in setting up and learning about the hobby.

    • I agree with pretty much everything you just said. I don’t believe in turning away legitimate hobbyists or potential new hobbyists with serious questions, and I think aquarium store employees should be as engaging as possible and make the effort to educate people on how to properly care for aquatic livestock.

      At the same time though, this is just like the “Finding Nemo” situation because kids beg and plead with their parents to start an aquarium but most don’t care enough for the animals to make it a long term investment. The kid gets bored, mom is overwhelmed and dad is so busy with work that he never really got involved to begin with. This isn’t the same case across the boards, but in general families get busy and the aquarium livestock suffers because of it.

      And the main point behind this particular article is the fact that people are trying to emulate exactly what they see on tv. They see ATM shoving 100 fish into a seemingly brand new tank that just had the salt thrown into and thy thinks it’s ok to do it that way. They get a poor foundation from trying to mimic a ROTC show and not trying to learn on their own.

  • Richard Mayo

    i can’t believe the industry is still going on about this. Its a show, designed for entertainment and revenue.

    The show creates new interest in the hobby, then those people go into the LFS to learn more, its only creating business, why is that a problem, its not ATM’s job, or Animal Planets for that mater to teach you how to cycle a tank properly.

    Move on people