We all remember the rantings of Robert Wintner (aka Snorkel Bob), describing how terrible he perceives the aquarium industry to be. The crew at Coral Magazine, along with the help of Bob Fenner, have taken the lead on the rebuttal against Snorkel Bob’s diatribe and have shared their response in a number of ways. Their follow-up to the now infamous “Dark Hobby” article, titled Distortions in Snorkle Bob’s “Dark Hobby” Commentary, was well received by the aquarium community. This opinion piece by Mr. Fenner seemed to set something off in aquarium hobbyists around the world. From my vantage point, the Fenner response seemingly empowered many casual hobbyists to take a strong stance and develop their own opinions.
Since their response to the “Dark Hobby”, Coral Magazine has also released a poll to gauge what aquarium hobbyists, professionals, and scientists think about Snorkel Bob’s article. I took the poll, and my responses fell in line with those of other hobbyists for the most part. The one thing that surprised me though, was how many people claimed their new fish typically lived three years or more (see question #2). I disagree that 75% of all of the new livestock purchased by these poll takers lives longer than three years. In case you are wondering how I came to this number, I added up all of the results for 3, 5, 7, and 10 year lifespans.
Continue reading below to hear our opinions on the Coral Magazine poll, as well as our thoughts on the hobbyists taking the poll.
The reason I disagree is from sheer personal experience. I have worked for both public aquariums and aquarium stores, and in both cases over 50% of the new livestock died in a very short time. Keep in mind the emphasis is on the “new” term describing these fish. New livestock is quite prone to stress, starvation, parasites, and diseases because their immune systems are compromised and they have probably been through several days of transporting across the world. Additionally, the simple act of catching a fish can lead to its demise, especially since cyanide is still being used to some extent.
I’m not trying to claim that poll takers lied in their responses, so please don’t make that assumption. However, take a look at the audience following both the poll and magazine. Most casual hobbyists don’t care or aren’t interested enough in the hobby to subscribe to magazines, read internet articles, or join aquarium communities. They have lives, families, and jobs that take precedence over their aquariums and the animals suffer because of this. The readers of Coral Magazine are probably from the more advanced sect of the aquarium hobby, and are therefore better suited at caring for their livestock. They have better livestock selection skills, as well as overall husbandry techniques.