As most of you are aware, the new aquarium-based television show “Tanked” premiered on Animal Planet last night. The show walked viewers through a few new setups that were being built, including a mob-themed aquarium build, a shark tank at a hotel, and an aquarium made from an old phone booth. We also got to see inside the massive Acrylic Tank Manufacturing (ATM) workshop and even an aquatics wholesaler, shining a little light into the different parts of the aquarium industry not typically seen be fish keepers. There was also a brief appearance by Justin Grabel, who is well known in the aquarium industry for his articles and public presentations. While it was nice to see someone so closely tied to the hobby on this show, most hobbyists still held a negative opinion of “Tanked”.
Shortly after the first “Tanked” episode came to a close, the aquarium forum sites came alive with the opinions of many aquarium keepers. Most of these opinions were negative, with hobbyists arguing that the fish were introduced to the brand new aquariums too soon or not quarantined properly. Others were appalled at the use of tap water in the fish-only systems or how the fish were being handled at the wholesaler. We all know reality tv isn’t a good representation of reality, but regardless of whether or not the practices used by the ATM crew were just for show or are examples of how they truly operate, we feel that the show needs to have some type of disclaimer or text graphic giving out bits and pieces of information related to proper aquarium husbandry at different parts of the show. The less glamorous aspects of our hobby may not draw in the ratings, but it isn’t wise to outright reject them either. This especially holds true when the hobby gets as much public attention as it has from “Tanked”.
With all that in mind, we’d like to address the crews at Acrylic Tank Manufacturing and Animal Planet. You are in a very good place to genuinely educate the public on saltwater aquariums and proper animal husbandry. We realize this is a reality television show and that in order to draw in viewers you have to have drama, comedy, and plenty of antics, but please do a better job of explaining the hard work and time that is required to setup a successful aquarium. We don’t want this show casting a negative light on this hobby, nor do we want a bunch of people getting into the hobby attempting to mimic what they see on tv. This happened with the dreadful children’s movie “Finding Nemo”, and I would personally hate to have the deaths of countless fish on my conscious.