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 Robert Fenner Bio-Material


Hey, smile you nob!

Some pix of RMF that you can click, go to larger file sizes... for pitches, dartboard practice... purposes.

New (er)! Spiffier Bio

The diversity of life has always fascinated me; but the systematics of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians was blown away by the expansiveness and degree of unknown of the fishes. Few people had "companion animals" overseas, but many friends had bowls and aquariums with goldfish, guppies and other tropicals.

I was born in Rhode Island, the smallest State of the U.S. but grew up in the orient as my father was career military. We had very few jobs "on base" for the "dependents" but I was fortunate to secure employment at a fish store that was associated with a restaurant in downtown Sasebo. Other vainglorious work overseas includes two years working for a Betta culture business, collecting and processing marines in Manila.Back to the U.S. in the late sixties I stuck to the trade as a retail clerk, a livestock wholesale worker (for Pratt's in San Diego), and eventually formed an aquarium service business with a school friend. This business cycled larger and smaller, and supported me all through college and beyond. It eventually became an employee-owned corporation with aquaristic retail outlets, fabrication (principally large acrylic systems), water feature construction, manufacturing and distribution divisions. Subsequent to the tax law changes, water-shortage "scare", and general decline in the California and U.S. economy in the late eighties these businesses were sold and liquidated. I worked for three years as a consultant and buyer for the mass-merchandiser PetCo in their bid to upgrade their stores, incorporating livestock.

Is there a difference between what you do for money and for a living? Not me. Nowadays I write articles and books for the diving/underwater natural history and ornamental aquatics interests, and manage my rentals and securities. I browse the electronic bulletin boards to "chat" with others daily, and often travel, to go "hashing" (sort of running), writing and photographing with friends around the world.

Have been an avid hobbyist since first memories. Active in the local SDTFS from the sixties; helped in development of all three goldfish/koi clubs in San Diego. At times more active in scientific (AVMA, IAAAM, ASIH) and industry professional/business associations.

Have many wonderful friends in the hobby, trade and science of aquatics, and dearly enjoy my involvement; it is my life's work and passion. A/The central thread to everything I have attempted in writing, presentation or action in the interest has been/is "to enhance peoples love of their own lives through an appreciation of the living world". I see the hobby/business evolving, much like and approaching western Europe, with a real interest in biotopes, the underlying science, understanding the technologies employed... This is an era of consumer awareness; there are less aquarists, but more conscientious ones that are becoming more aware and demanding value. I look forward to the availability of many more species of tank-raised marines, real aquatic plants, and ready, inexpensive access to useful information and graphics.

Older one:

Robert (Bob) Fenner is a content provider to the pet-fish (ornamental) aquatics hobby and trade, dive/travel adventure and underwater natural history genres; writing, photography and videography. Though retired since 1994, he continues to produce in this field as well as consult on aquaculture and public aquarium installations.

Bob has "lived" the science, hobby and business of aquatics in the Philippines, Japan and United States. All phases; collector, wholesale, jobber, retail, design, construction and maintenance. All levels; manager, owner, hatchery worker, retail clerk, technician. Except for a stint teaching high school sciences for four years, he has worked all his life in the field of ornamental aquatics.

Academic experience includes fifteen years of college, a couple of life science degrees and a teaching credential for chemistry, physics and biology. Published works include several studies on aquatic biological and chemical questions, and an extensive book and article publishing (helped author a few books, The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, Fishwatcher's Guide to the Tropical Marine Aquarium Fishes of the World, Natural Marine Aquariums Reef Invertebrates...) and photographic background in aquatic industry and hobby fields. Have taught High School sciences and Marine Sciences and Aquariology courses at the State University, University of California levels.

Bob has been an avid aquatic hobbyist since day one and is active in hobbyist and scientific organizations. He has served on numerous Boards, judged shows and given many programs.

Helped form and run (President) of the employee-owned corporation, Nature Etc., Inc. in San Diego, started in 1973; a turn-key operation in the field of ornamental aquatics, designing and building ponds, lakes, fountains and waterfalls (Aquatic Environments), designing, installing custom aquarium systems and maintenance (Aquatic Life Services), and operating retail outlets (Wet Pets).... currently does consulting, content provision to the trade, sciences and hobby of aquaristics.

Topics for presentation to hobbyist groups include subjects in system design, construction, set-up; livestock selection, collection, acclimation, health, nutrition, travelogues to many countries, photography, videography, making money in the interest.

Ah, real good. Will add the link, post to WWM and refer folks to it who are looking for my speaking. Thank you, BobF
Speaker Page for WWM --Draft       2/10/15
As promised here is the draft text to use for future speaking engagements- can we put a button by the donate now, to say book Bob F now, and it links to this page? Dear Clubs, friends, and enthusiasts: First, thanks for being a fan of WWM, I started this site as a way to educate and share the love of fishes, and underwater natural history and love to share my experiences with groups, friends, and the general public.
As you know I've been on all sides of the business and trade and site WWM is a forum for the joy of all of you. We get many request here for speaking at local events and we've developed this FAQ and for to help you booking us for your next special event.

Who is this guy Bob Fenner anyway?

Bio link

I am happy come join you at your event but ask for the following agreement before accepting speaking engagements.
1. Donate $200 to wet web media (via PayPal) and in return You will get a 70x70 ad placed on WWM promoting your in advance (as soon as you send the donation and as soon as you send the ad artwork )
2. Place a hyperlink to WWM on you email invite to the event AND event webpage
3. Fill out the information below in your email

How can I ask him to speak at our frag fest, club meet, Rotary or other special event?
Cut and pasted the questions with your answers into an email and send them to me here: bob@wetwebmedia.com

INFORMATION needed via email:

Event date
Is the event Domestic or International
Date and time of the event, and Exact time of the talk during your event i.e. Saturday at 2:30
Closest airport to event
Tech specs for the room- will you be providing a handheld microphone, is there a projector, laptop, Screen, Laptop, microphone (ok if none) I usually bring my own laptop, but need other AV equipment provided
Room Capacity or anticipated attendance
Other fish stores in the area (name and addresses)
Other stipend information: meals, transportation, loading
Is there a club member assigned to assist/transportation? Their contact info. please
Is there a chance to have dinner with club members before and/or after the event?
Is there is a opportunity drawing with the event, would your club like to use dinner with me as a fundraising opportunity to offset the cost?

We understand that the donation may be difficult for small clubs, but do ask that you support our work at WWM. One idea would be to sell a opportunity drawing to have dinner with me while I am in town.

Hi Bob,
I know this might seem like a strange question but I would be really interested to know what kind of aquarium you have personally? I could just imagine you having a massive state of the art aquarium full of rare and unusual fish!
Lori Myers 

R: Heeeeeee! Oh Lori, I must admit, that with travelling such a great deal, I have but two Eheim units of approximately 80 gallons each'¦ that having aluminium tops are freshwater (!)'¦ I am an old re-hashed keeper of fancy goldfishes. As in: 'folks starting with goldfish and if they live long and well enough (going through cichlids, oddball freshwater, progressively or not about with general saltwater into specialty reefs) coming full-circle back to goldfish'.
            I do so enjoy my goldfish systems though, and they are very easy to care for in our part of S. California'¦ tipping out about 1/3 of their water weekly and replacing with straight mains water'¦ that is suitable hard and alkaline.
            Goldfish are easily fed via my Eheim auto-feeders, with Spectrum pelleted foods, along with the occasional Anacharis/Egeria pondweed plant for their nibbling'¦ And the 'Professionel' canister filters are an absolute dream to maintain'¦ being very dependable and quiet.

            Now'¦ I have had many fine marine systems of modest to quite large size, and our businesses fabricated many such systems and maintained them, and I greatly enjoyed these as well'¦ along with many years of getting to REALLY be involved with commercial and rich folks service accounts our old business maintained'¦ But nowadays, I am very happy to get about and chat with folks, visit other peoples and institutions wonderful set-ups, and making photographs of them

MASC Science Fair 2012 11/19/11
Hello, this is Juan with the Marine Aquarium Society of Colorado again. We were hoping that you were still on board with helping us with the 2012 Science Fair competition?
We have taken into account what you and Matt said about last years competition and figured that the schedule below would be ideal:
1. There would be a 2 to 3 month period for people to submit to the judges what their experiment will be about. This will also include a detailed report about how they plan on researching and doing the experiment.
------------The judges would then give them ideas/comments on what they present to you, at the end of the period. Basically to guide/coach them to do things that will make their projects successful
2. There would then be another 3 or 4 month period for them to actually get the experiment done.
-----------The judges would then judge all of the final projects and pick the winner
Hopefully in between all of this, the entrants would be updating their projects for the judges to comment on if they feel they should. With what Matt and yourself said last year we thought giving you, the judges, more time to evaluate each project would be best. Thus the first few months would be for the judges to help "coach" the entrants towards making their projects geared more towards what we all feel would be a sound scientific project.
Speaking of judges we have added 3 new judges to help you and Matt out in this endeavor. Matt has agreed to continue helping, as well as adding the likes of Marc Levenson, Christine Williams, and Rich Ross.
<Ah, good choices>
We are hoping that this round table of experts (including yourself) will help guide our entrants to put forward the best projects they can! The prize once again is a full fledged trip to MACNA as well as a few other items. Last years winner enjoyed his trip to MACNA BTW and wanted to thank you for your participation in helping with this event. His mother was so impressed that she will also be donating a scholarship to our winner this next year! Hopefully we can continue to have you on our team, and hopefully make this years event bigger than ever!!
Juan Muro
Marine Aquarium Society of Colorado
<Real good. Cheers, BobF>

Question for Bob Fenner   10/12/10
Bob, as you may or may not know I am the Vice President for the Marine Aquarium Society of Colorado. I was asked to contact you regarding something our club wants to do for our members. First off thank you for even considering the idea I am about to ask of you.
The board of MASC is going to be holding an open to all members type of "science fair" where all of the members who decide to participate have the chance for MASC to buy them a round trip airline ticket to MACNA 2011. Now this of course wouldn't be until early next year, probably February'ish, but I wanted to reach out to you and see if you might be a "special judge??"
The board of MASC would judge the projects at the event in which they are presented, and then the participants would post the "paper" they write and pictures of the project up on our website where you, and hopefully a few others chosen by us would be the final judges who would ultimately send this lucky reefer to MACNA.
<I see>
Please if you like the idea let me know, and if you have any suggestions I would also be open to hearing them. Again, thank you for even considering this and I hope to hear back from you soon.
<I will gladly help MASC here. I was a H.S. science teacher (Chem., Physics and Bio.) and judged for several years at the Greater San Diego Science Fair... and have experience in ornamental aquatics sciences. Bob Fenner> 

Bob Fenner Interview 5/28/2009
Hello, my name is Brandon Klaus. I am a 2008 marine biology graduate from Texas A&M University Galveston, a Marine Aquarium and Reef Society of Houston board member, and an avid saltwater hobbyist. I recently started my own blog (http://blog.aquanerd.com) and I try to add new content to the site daily. Most recently I did an email interview with Eric Borneman, with whom I have had the pleasure of meeting on a few occasions and have somewhat befriended. I would love to do a similar interview with Mr. Bob Fenner regarding the saltwater aquarium hobby if he is willing. I would whip up between 10 and 20 questions and have Mr. Fenner answer them at his convenience, then post it to the blog.
Thank you for your time,
Brandon Klaus
<Hello Brandon, and congrats on your blog project. Do send along your questions... am very busy currently, but will try to get to presently. Bob

Re: Bob Fenner Interview 5-30-3009
I want to first by saying thank you for taking the time to answer my questionnaire and helping out not only Aquanerd, but so many other
aquarium communities out there. I am a huge fan of yours. I frequently venture onto wet web media to see what all is going on there and it's always full of great information.
but enough of me rambling on...let's begin:
1. first of all, what have you been up to lately? any new projects, presentations, etc?
<Am out presently in Singapore, attending Aquarama... the industry trade show... off to a farm tour on the morrow... Just ahead of this was out in
Sulawesi/Indo. with Rob Bray, friend who owns/runs "House of Fins" in Conn... diving, making pix... am writing more or less continuously... mostly independent submission articles for the pet-fish and dive-adventure genres... Two weeks back was in London, Ontario/Canada at the 50th anniversary gathering of the CAOAC giving pitches... on Candiru Catfishes (basically), FW Algae.... and chatting with many fine folk there including
visitors/fellow presenters Heiko Bleher and Gary Lange... the week before that in Michigan giving some four pitches in three days!>
2. how, why, and when did you get started in this hobby?
<Mmm, always have had a keen interest in the "real world"... including the biota... but being a child in Japan not many chances for much other than
aquatics... so gravitated to their enjoyment, study... then later one of few jobs available was working in the trade... getting "warm fuzzies" (vs. "cold pricklies") for doing well in the field, I continued in it on moving to the U.S., including having a service co. business with a friend in college and beyond>
3. who (or what) has been your biggest inspiration? who has been your biggest supporter?
<Gosh... hard to state... overall... likely "nature" itself has been the biggest... And support? No one single, large influence, but time to time positive reinforcement from others, successes in keeping, culturing various species>
4. what possessed you to pursue a career that is so closely tied to the aquarium industry? (also, what exactly is your "career"?)
<More default likely than outright choice... Again, the sorts of paid work available was limited in my youth, circumstances... But in later teens, I
did more consciously choose ornamental aquatics as a "career" path... as the activity, experiences greatly appealed to me... and I made the active
decision to favour "fun" over likely to potential greater income streams... as the field encompassed many enjoyable side interests... Diving,
photography, writing, chatting with friends, travel...>
5. how many books/articles have you written, and which is your favorite or most helpful?
<Mmm, some nine "books", several hundred articles... likely the Conscientious Marine Aquarist as my fave... but I want to clearly state that there are easily a handful of other people who should get credit for its utility and beauty... for layout, photo-work, editing... This is the only work I have been involved w/ that has had more than "one edition">
6. what topic do you just love to talk about, more than all others?
<... in a word, life... What is important, speculations on the nature of the truth... goodness, beauty, happiness>
7. what is your absolute favorite fish, coral, or invertebrate?
<No one favorite... I have been amazed and entranced with all I've had occasion to experience>
8. what is your favorite aspect of the hobby? (for example, some people love the hobby because it's a route for bonding with their children)
<Sharing it with others>
9. what are your thoughts on aquarium filtration? like which one is your favorite/most effective?
<Likely refugiums... as they offer so much flexibility, stability, possibilities>
10. what is your take on "trend" corals (like Acans or Zoas) that fetch hundreds of dollars per mouth/polyp/inch?
<Nice work if you can get it>
11. what has been your favorite and/or most useful piece of reefkeeping equipment?
<My mind>
12. where all do you or have you traveled, and what effect does this take on your personal aquariums?
<I have been to all countries in the "new world", most of Asia, not much of Europe or Africa. I mainly go "dive traveling" (and hashing) in the tropics... broadly twixt 20 degrees N. and S. latitude>
13. when not living and breathing aquariums, what other hobbies or activities do you partake of?
<Gardening, hashing, cooking, reading... the biz of life>
14. what is a good/best source to learn about aquariums and corals?
<Mmm, a mix of broad reading, visiting/chatting with others of similar mind, interests, goals... visiting natural environments>
15. what advice do you have for aspiring reef keepers?
<Keep an open, curious mind... Do bear in mind the possible good you can do via recording, reporting your experiences, observations... Consider
culture... Share>
thanks a lot for your advice and contribution to the hobby...and the presentation you gave for marsh (www.marshreef.com) was awesome. I hope
to get you back to Houston one day to talk about more stuff with my local club. best of luck with everything and thanks again.
<Thank you Brandon. Bob Fenner>

Re: Bob Fenner Interview 6/1/2009
Hi Mr. Fenner. I have posted the interview we had here:
http://blog.aquanerd.com/2009/05/bob-fenner-interview_30.html . Tell me what you think about it and if you want anything changed. Thanks again for everything.
Brandon Klaus
<Looks mighty fine. Thanks, BobF>

Happy Birthday!   8/23/08 Happy Birthday Bob! Don't ever get old! :-) -Sara M. <Heeee! No way! BobF>

Happy Birthday Bob  8/24/08 Bob, I just wanted to say "Happy Birthday"! Thank you for another excellent and informative year and I'm sure that there will be many more to come. God Bless! Joe W. Wichita, KS <Thank you my friend. BobF>

Give the Puffer a Beer! 8/23/2008 Hello Crew, I would like to thank everyone involved for an excellent job of education administered daily. Just wanted the wish the big cheese a Happy Birthday and was wondering how the crew was going to help him celebrate the big day. All the best Bob, enjoy! Tom <Thanks Tom... am very glad to be "on the right side of the lawn". Cheers! Bob Fenner>

RMF Birthday wishes 8/23 Hello crew, Thank you to everyone involved that makes WWM the finest education to this hobby. As an avid reader of the dailies, I did not want this day to pass without any mention of a Happy Birthday wish to Bob. Happy Birthday Bob! <Danke!> I owe you a beer for all your help. <I'm there!> (If for some reason I have your birthday on the wrong day, then I owe you numerous beers until I use the search engine to find the real date!) Tom C <Thanks Tom... tis today... Man, if 55 is considered middle-age, does that mean I'll live till 110? BobF>

Fenner Speaking Availability  6/20/07 Hey Bob, Do you happen to have any plans for the weekends of July 7th, July 14th or July 21st? I know it is short notice, but I am getting requests for this date and you are at the top of the list. Regards, Kim Lowe MARSH <Hi Kim! Unfortunately bz on these days... the HHH Red Dress Run cooking the first date, out to HI the others! Wish you were on the itinerary! Cheers, BobF> Forward to Bob Please  6/19/07 Could you forward the following to Bob Fenner please, for his email does not work. <Really? Only have the one... Where did you try to send to?> Thanks! Kind sir, <Nathan> My name is Nathan Nehoraoff, I am 17 years of age and just finished high school. I am contacting you today in regards to my brother. He is a UC Berkley graduate and is quite the aquarist. Whenever he has free time he's always browsing WetWebMedia and quoting you, Mr. Fenner. <Heeee!> Anyway, his birthday is coming up (August 16th) and rather than getting him the usual card and giving him money in it I was wondering if I could possibly purchase one of your books off you, and have you sign it? I will pay for the book, as well as your autograph and shipping. <Sure. Will ask the boss (Diana, wife) as she is the "keeper of the kingdom" (owns all the copies here)> He lives in La Jolla, and I in Del Mar. <Oh! And we live in "East La Jolla"... okay, Mira Mesa... quite hot today eh?> Thanks a lot, Nathan N. <Welcome my young friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Forward to Bob Please  6/19/07 Thanks a lot for the quick reply it is greatly appreciated, Mr. Fenner! I got your email off of your biography (BobFenner@wetwebmedia.com<BobFenner@wetwebmedia.com>). The url is http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/bobfbio.htm <Ah, thank you. We've recently switched mailservers (and ISPs period) and haven't gotten around to figuring how to add the old email addresses as yet> Sounds great Mr Fenner. Let me know if that goes well :P Hopefully it does! <Will do> East La Jolla, eah? I don't know about you two, but I love these summer days :P Have you been to the beach lately? It's quite a shock going in the water at first because it's so cold, but once you get used to it it's truly worth it! <Ah, yes... Have lived in SD since the late sixties... Many happy times along and in our 72 miles of beaches> Mr. Fenner, you're my brothers Brad Pitt... <Haaaaa! When do I get to go out with Jenn Aniston... and... with that Tomb Raider gal?!> A great many people believe Brad Pitt is a great actor, and would love to get his autograph. You're just the same Mr. Fenner, just a different line of work. <I see... and thank you> Feel free to forward the latter to your wife :P Maybe she'll slightly forgive you for all the time spent on the computer responding to Wet Web Media articles rather than spending it with her. <A good idea!> Have a great day, Nathan N. <Thank you again Nathan. Bob Fenner>

Re: Please help, Leaf Scorpionfish has gotten worse   9/30/06 Thank you, I will do so now.  Got to love the folks at the LFS who pretend they know what they are talking about. Adam <I was one of those/these for twenty some years... over time, it did dawn on me... I knew/know squat whale oh! Cheers, BobF>

Speaking schedule for 2006???   1/17/06 Bob,    <Scott>   Just curious if you are still speaking at clubs these days and if so what is your schedule for 2006?    <Am about all topped off thus far. Have a few hobby club pitches and some of the "club of club" do's... and regional conferences... that and some industry and scientific gatherings, a few scuba/dive adventure trips... and the year is gone! Thank goodness I don't have a day job>      Yeah, I know you've busy (and will being seeing you at WMC2006 in SAC)   but hey you're a high-energy guy!      We are a new club in Northern California (specifically in the San Joaquin County which is near Stockton/Sacramento) and have had local talent speak at our club but would like to bring bigger names; so, we thought of you.  <grin>    <Heeee!>   The first time I heard you speak was at the 2000 WMC in Sacramento, <Ooooh, what a good time. Is coming about again... in April> then again when SEABay (when I was sort of part of the  board at the time ) when we hosted the WMC 2001 in Monterrey.    <Oh yes>   I've always enjoyed your broad knowledge (photography, fish, filtration, etc) and your enthusiasm (speaking ability and all that).    <Okay, I will co-sign that loan application>   Finally my wife gets the house of her dreams!  Can't wait to tell her!     Let me know if speaking at a tiny, start-up club in Northern California is within the realm of possibilities.      Thanks!    <Please make your dates/times of meeting known... Maybe 07 will work out for all... See you about! Bob Fenner>      We've switched to bi-monthly meetings (last Saturday of the month) so here's what we have for 2007.   Feb 24th Apr 28th Jun 30th Aug 25th Oct 27th Dec 15th      Scott Noack   VP of Northern Valley Reefers    http://www.nvreefers.org <Scotter, have run out of time, inclination for more obligations for 06... Can/could we revisit this all later in the year for 07 possibly? Alternatively, if you, others in your club would like to come out on some dive/adventure travels with myself (most are posted on WWM, others I'll just go do with you/rs if/when you have time/interest), other friends, you're welcome to do so. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Congratulations - 12/11/2005 Just wanted to say congratulations to Mr. Fenner for winning the MASNA Award.  Well deserved in my opinion. Tom <Thank you Tom... recognition from ones friends, peers, industry-types is very gratifying. Glad to find that folks find ones efforts of use. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Happy birthday to you Bob!!! We noticed that it was your birthday today when we went to the question page, and wanted to tell you happy birthday and hope you have a wonderful day.... thanks so much for all of the info that you have to offer. Mark and Marci =) <Thank you my friends... now, about the next fifty years... Bob Fenner>

Re: Speaker Blurb (for upcoming MACNA in Baltimore) <Man is this me? Can you come along next time I'm out begging at the banks? How 'bout St. Pete's gate? Bob "Glows in the dark" Fenner" Bob, Please look over and let me know James ---------- Robert M. Fenner "Sources of Mortality on the World's Reefs: How Important is the Aquarium Hobby?" Are collectors for the aquarium trade the "defilers of nature" and "raiders of the reef" that some critics claim? A former marine livestock collector, underwater photographer, and advocate of responsible aquarium keeping takes an objective--and introspective--look at the how the majority of aquatic life meets its fate in and out of the world's seas. What types and degrees of mortality are due to human activity, including ornamental aquatics?  Bob Fenner is a marine biologist, former science teacher, and a leading proponent for the sustainable collection, sale, and keeping of reef organisms. His professional experience encompasses livestock collection, wholesaling, as well as aquatic retail, design, construction and maintenance as a manager, owner, hatchery worker, retail clerk, technician, and consultant. He is the author of The Conscientious Marine Aquarist (Microcosm). Bob lives in San Diego, California, and is active disseminating aquatic information via wetwebmedia.com.


The Many Talented Robert M. Fenner


Richard F. Stratton

 You would think that after nearly six decades in the fish hobby that I would be tough to stump, but that is hardly the case.  The fortunate thing is that I have an ace in the hole.  Living in the same town with me, even if he is half an hour away, is Robert M. Fenner.  I can always call him in regard to aquaristic problems that have me stymied, and I have yet to stump him.  That is partly understandable because Bob is a smart guy, and he has spent almost as much time in the aquarium hobby as I have.

 Since Bob is twenty years younger than me, he can't match me on time of experience, but his variety and full-time devotion to the aquarium trade has given him a most decided edge.  Besides that, he has taught biology and even aquarium science at the college level.  Perhaps it is not so surprising that he is a veritable cornucopia of information.  The reader will understand better once I give the full range of his experience.

 Most hobbyists know of Bob from his book The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, a book that I consider a candidate for the best book on the marine hobby ever written.  I am not alone in my praise for this book.  It is typical Fenner, bristling with information in easy-to-understand terminology.  While you may have read his fish books, one of them is of the type that you might not think would originate with him.  That would be his book on sushi bar etiquette called, If you Knew Sushi like I Know Sushi.  As it turns out, in addition to his other talents, Bob is an accomplished chef.

 I have noticed that whenever I visit the Fenner domicile, I not only learn about new developments in the aquarium field, I also get information about real estate or low-flush toilets.  Burning with energy and enthusiasm, Bob has about fifty rental houses in the area, and he takes care of most of the maintenance himself.  Although he has been married for ten years to the beautiful Diana Fenner, he takes care of the cooking and housework himself, enjoying his own vacuuming and yard work.  When Bob does hire on help, though, he apparently goes first class, as the last time I was over there, the gardener had a law degree!

 A skilled fish and underwater photographer, Bob is almost as well known for his photographs as for his writing.  And the man actually understands computers and all the peripherals that go with them!  This is the type of thing that only teenagers and very young nerds are supposed to know!  I stand in awe of his skill in this area alone--and I know where to go if my computer crashes!

 The source of some of Bob's skills will become apparent in the telling of his life story.  Born in Rhode Island, Bob was the son of a career navy plumber.  When he was eleven years old, his family moved to Japan for three years.  While there, Bob got a job in a strange type of establishment that was sort of a combination restaurant and aquarium shop.  Bob had already taken an interest in fish as practically a toddler when he acquired some guppies.  He learned to accommodate his growing collection by use of the old time large-mouth pickle jars.  Obviously, Bob gained some knowledge about cooking and fish keeping from the aforementioned establishment, but his first job at a bona fide fish shop assigned him to the duties of changing betta bowls.  The crew mixed their own malachite green solutions for cleaning the bowls.  One time they miscalculated and produced too strong a solution, whose residue killed all the bettas.  But Bob learned from his mistakes and went on to jobs in fish shops and aquarium maintenance.

 During a stint in the Philippines, Bob worked for the famed fish exporter Earl Kennedy.  Although primarily assigned to packaging and shipping, Bob also collected marine tropicals from the coral reefs.  Having survived learning scuba diving, on his own, by trial and error, Bob later attained advanced certification at the YMCA scuba program.

 Winding up eventually in San Diego, Bob worked at various aquarium shops and pond maintenance facilities while attending school.  Mullet physiology, of all things, was Bob's thesis on his way to attaining an advanced degree in marine biology.  He later taught high school chemistry, biology, and physics.  And, as a matter of fact, his countenance has a certain resemblance to famed physicist Richard Feynman, to my perception, at least.  I told Bob about that, and he took it as a compliment--as he should, of course!  Although I count Bob as a much-valued friend, I haven't known him long, as we seem to accidentally have evaded one another, even though we belonged to the same clubs and even spoke at some of the same groups.  A 'sliding doors' type of coincidence kept us from meeting one another, although I would occasionally hear about him, and I read his writings, of course.  I do recall that we met casually at a local marine group and chatted for a bit a couple of decades ago. But it was not until famed explorer and fish collector Ross Socolof sent me an inquiry about him that Bob and I really made close connection

 Because most of Bob's writings have been about marine life, few people are aware that he has equal enthusiasm for freshwater fish.  He is quite familiar with all of them, of course, from his work, as well as his hobbyist interest in them.  As a matter of fact, Bob was friends with cichlid maven Guy Jordan, one of my dearest friends.  The 'sliding doors' phenomenon was still in effect, obviously.  In any case, I am often astounded by his knowledge of relatively obscure freshwater fish.  Fluent in Japanese, Bob seems to be quite at home with the scientific names, too.  In fact, I am always about half a sentence behind with Bob because I spend half my time figuring out what organisms he is talking about.  In my own defense, I would point out that most of us pronounce the scientific names differently.  Hence, if the subjects are switching around, it is easy to get left behind a few steps.  But I don't think that Bob ever gets behind when I am talking!

 While I have been all over the world snorkeling and scuba diving, I am a real piker by Bob's standards, as he still spends several months a year on scuba trips.  I can't think of many people who have Bob's experience in the area of exploring the ocean.  Most of us with worldwide experience in scuba diving are asked to name the best place in the world to dive.  Most of us equivocate and give amorphous responses.  After all, the diving in the southern California area can be good if you travel out to the islands away from all the runoff from rivers and sewers.  As a point of fact, the undersea life near Monterey is world famous, so it is difficult to pinpoint the very best diving, as it depends on the interests of the diver.  If pinned down by tropical fish enthusiasts, I usually recommend the Indo-Pacific.  I think Bob would agree with me, but his favorite is the Red Sea.  He has me trumped there, as I have not been to that area, but other divers who have been have been equally full of praise for the area

 Despite many offers and contemplated trips, we have not been diving yet together.  That is my fault, as I am harder to get off the dime in regard to trips these days, but it is foolishness on my part, especially since our wives both enjoy diving, too.  The next time a trip to the Red Sea is planned, I am going.  After all, why shouldn't I make the most of the multi-talented Bob Fenner?  Having him as our guide to the Red Sea would be almost as ostentatious as Bob's lawyer-gardener!

fyy@aol.com> Date : Sun, 9 Nov 2003 21:09:49 -0500 Subject : Re: Fenner Family Bob I am helping compile all the descendants of Captain Arthur Fenner.  I saw in an e-mail in which you mentioned you have a sister who is into the family genealogy.  Could you put me in touch with her? <Sure. Her name is Brenda (Ellen) Fenner, number 760-731-3116> I suspect we are "cousins".  Any chance you are the son of Milton Alexander Fenner? <That is our fathers name> We have some interesting parallels.  Both Fenners from the East Coast living in Southern CA, about the same age (I was born in 1948).  I have my degree in Biology because of my interest in Marine Biology, but never worked in the field.  I was certified to dive in 1969 and became an Instructor in 1971. Have a trip planned to Nicaragua in February and Papa New Guinea in August. Salt water aquaria has been a hobby of mine on and off for 30 years.  Would love to hear from you. Richard Arthur Fenner <Neat... indeed some amazing parallels. Bon voyage on your upcoming trips! Bob (Robert Milton) Fenner>

Praise and Celebration! 8/22/10
Hey Crew!
Just a quick note for the guys & gals of WWM for my daily dose of education, Look forward to it everyday!
<Good to hear.>
If anyone is near the boss, please buy him a cold one for me.
<You're going to have to send WWM money to cover this. It is highly unlikely that just one beer will be consumed on this special day. :)
James (Salty Dog)>
Happy Birthday Bob!
<<Oh yeah... what's that famous "bring out your dead" retort

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