Please visit our Sponsors

Skip over to: Bob's Pet Fish Background, On down to Reviews of Books by RMF: The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, A Fishwatcher's Guide to the Tropical Marine Aquarium Fishes, Related Mat.s: Travel FAQs

  Robert Fenner Resume, eh?


Same kanucklehead, soitanly.

Some more recent pix (I swear) from 2/18/04. Bob (like Alfred P. Newman thinks he looks more like Redford) at home in San Diego. Ah well, you can't make a silky shark out of a toadfish.


Bob Fenner is a friendly neighborhood pet-fish ichthyologist. Other than stints teaching he has lived the aquatic industries the last thirty years in the U.S., Japan and the Philippines.

Robert M. Fenner (fennerrobert(at)hotmail.com) 

8586 Menkar Rd.

San Diego, CA 92126

Formal Education

BSc. degree in Zoology, minor in Classics and Chemistry,

MSc. Fisheries work on Hormonal Manipulation of Mullets; Teaching Credential, K-12, College Classes, University of California San Diego, San Diego State University.

Pertinent Academic Experience

1) Research and thesis writing on Hormonal manipulation of mullet fishes for aquaculture, role of the senorita,

Oxyjulis californica, as a cleaner, acoustic biology of the garibaldi, Hypsypops rubicunda, Taxonomy of Balistid fishes.

2) Writing curricula as a High School Biology, Chemistry and Physics Teacher

Related Practical Experience

1) Development of self-originated California corporate business. President/CEO for eighteen years. Wrote Operations Manuals for all Divisions, Employee Stock Owner ship Plan. Corporate name Nature, Etc. Inc.

2) Self-published manuals "Water Feature Design, Construction & Maintenance", or "The World According To Carp",

"If You Knew Sushi, Like I Knew Sushi, A Guide To Sushi  Bar Etiquette".

3) Environmental assay (impact) data collection, enumeration, writing; making known to lay people through public forum and writing.

Pertinent Work Experience

1) Thirty years in the pet fish and herptile industries in Japan, Philippines and U.S.A.; all levels, positions. Pres./CEO of Nature, Etc. Inc. doing habitat enhancement.

2) Four years physical and biological High School teaching, Community Resources Sand Diego State University, Marine, & Aquariology: The Science, Hobby and Business of Aquatics at University of California, San Diego Extension.

3) Environmental Consulting, identification, analysis, presentation for University of San Diego Environmental Studies Lab, Sea Science Services. Fishes, polychaetes.

4) Several hundred articles in print in hobby, business and science of ornamental aquatics and diving topics. Published in many periodicals, several languages. Extensive travel, discourse in field.

Special Qualifications:

Scuba Diver thirty years, widely traveled. Twenty plus years writing for Pet-fish and Diving hobby and trade publications. Extensive industry and scientific involvement; trade show, seminar, symposia experience. Extensive computer work background; spreadsheet, desk-top publishing.


Born 8/23/52, Northkingston, Rhode Island, U.S.A.

Health Excellent; Run, lift weights, scuba, free diving.

Diversions include reading, writing, guitar, philosophy, sushi bar going. Single and live in S. California principally.

Bio./Life History

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.

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.

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.

Hello, May I speak with Mr. Fenner please?  9/22/10
Hello Mr. Fenner,
<Hi Jonathan>
I sent you an email regarding some fish at a local library here in Long Beach, CA. It has been like banging my head on a brick wall trying to talk to the staff and city councilman about this.
<Indeed it is a shame that there doesn't often appear to be clear "lines of relationship", access to those the public pays>
In your bio on wet web media I noticed that it says that you do consulting. What you be able to do consulting on a matter like this?
<Mmm, I don't know what you're referring to as "this">
I don't mean to be so crass but if you do how much would it cost? Are your fees in the area of $100 to $200 and hour?
I hope you can help me on this.
Jonathan S. Powell
<Please send along who you have found that you believe to be "in charge" here... Particularly your notes, observations re the system, livestock, and the point/contact people in the aquarium service co.. Bob Fenner>
e: Hello, May I speak with Mr. Fenner please?   9/24/10
Hello Mr. Fenner,
I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this and for helping me to try and convince someone that the fish could be cared for a little better. I have included some information in this letter that was in my first email to you to help refresh your memory. I have tried to get in touch with Councilman Dee Andrews whose 6th district the Mark Twain library is located in, but I missed his call on 09/22/10. When I called back I was told that he is now on vacation until sometime next week. The person on his staff that I have spoken to the most is Tanya. His phone number is (562) 570-6816 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (562) 570-6816      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, his email is dee.andrews@longbeach.gov & his web page is http://www.longbeach.gov/District6/. Hopefully I can get a hold of him early next week. I have also tried getting through to Mayor Foster, but his staff has only been slightly responsive. My apology if this is too long.
The story so far; I had not been to the Mark Twain library for about a month and a half. It was around the end of July 2010 when I stopped by the library again. I made a bee line to the tank as I usually do and I noticed that several fish were missing so I asked the security guard if he knew what happened. He told me that there was something in the tank that ate them and the fish vendor called it 'green death.' I latter showed him a picture of a green brittle star (Ophiarachna incrassata) and he said that it looked like the thing that the fish vendor removed from the tank. There were three green chromis (Chromis viridis) and two clown fish that were missing from the tank that I can remember having been there previously, but I am not sure if any other fish were missing.
There was a Sohal tang (Acanthurus sohal) in the tank that the fish vendor said died for no apparent reason. The last time I saw this fish it had a full body and was actively chasing the Yellow and Purple tangs. Also, I noticed that the yellow tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) looked like it was emaciated. I brought this to the attention of the library staff and told them that the yellow tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) and purple tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum) are not compatible. I provided them with the article about intra & inter specific aggression that also explains what an appropriate diet is for tangs (http://wetwebmedia.com/YellowTang.htm). Even though I offered to buy and donate food for the tang the library staff did not accept my offer and approximately two weeks later the fish was found floating in the tank. The vendor told the staff that yellow tangs only live about 3-4 years. In my email to the mayor I suggested that they read the Q&A's
'yellow tang longevity' and the next one 'Zebrasoma flavescens' located at http://wetwebmedia.com/yeltangfaq4.htm. Just because some ones experience has always resulted in something dying after a certain number of year does not prove that they were properly caring for it. It only proves that under their care the fish can only live that length of time.
The redhead solon fairy wrasse (Cirrhilabrus solorensis) that is in the tank has a brown 'pimple' on its right side that is below the lateral line and above the anal fin. This mark has been on the fish since May but it did not look as bad then as it does now. The fish vendor apparently did not notice the 'pimple' on the fish when he started to take care of the tank on 06/01/10 because no effort was made to capture it until about a week and a half after I sent my email to the Mayor's office (08/13/10). On 08/25/10 one of the library staff members seemed to go out of her way to tell me that it was going to be treated. The vendor tried to collect the fish on 08/30/10 and 09/07/10 so he could take it back to his store to treat it, but he was unsuccessful in his efforts
On 09/04/10 I figured out who may be caring for the tank and on 09/07/10 I left a message for Carmen at the Mayor's office. I stated that I think that I know the store that the vendor is associated with and strongly suggested that the vendor not be allowed to take the fish back to his store since the tanks were very dirty when I looked at them on 09/04/10. I was concerned that the fish may pick up another disease while there. They recently moved to a new location and it came as no surprise to me that the tanks were dirty since the people [family business] that have owned the store have always had tanks that were dirty. I think that someone may have said something to him because his tanks are much cleaner now.
After I left the message for Carmen the vendor has not attempted to collect the fish since 09/07/10 and it is still in the tank. I do not know if he is trying to treat the fish in the tank or not and the 'pimple' does not seem to have changed in appearance. Last week when I was looking at it I thought that I saw something like a worm hanging out, but by the time the fish came closer to the front of the tank I could not see anything like a worm.
I peeked in the cabinet to see what kind of food was being fed to the fish. I saw a bottle of TetraMin Tropical Crisps that I thought was for freshwater fish because the bottle has a cardinal tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi) and a bleeding heart tetra (Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma) on it. To make sure I was not mistaken I sent an email to the manufacturer inquiring if this was a good food for saltwater fish and their reply said that a marine diet would be better. I told a librarian that the TetraMin Tropical Crisps is for freshwater fish and that it was not good for saltwater fish. Unfortunately I was not very diplomatic about it and stated 'If he (the fish vendor) knew what he was doing he would not be feeding freshwater fish food to saltwater fish.' This is probably why she is no longer willing to answer any more of my questions. Fortunately I have not angered any of the other librarians and they are still willing to answer questions for me.
In Martin Moe's book The Marine Aquarium Handbook: Beginner to Breeder I read that when freshwater fish food is fed to saltwater fish it can lead to fatty degeneration of the liver.
<Mmm, unlikely, unless fed to the exclusion of all other foods>
I looked in the cabinet again today 09/23/10 and this same food is still being fed to the fish. As I mentioned in my previous email the fish are also being fed frozen brine shrimp that are pale white. I am guessing that they are not gut loaded or enhanced in any way. I understand that adult brine shrimp lack nutritional value unless they are fortified in some way. I think that they are like candy. They have nothing but empty calories.
On Tuesday 08/23/10 a new fish was put into the tank. The fish has a light colored body, a blue streak under its eyes and a yellow head. One of the librarians told me that the vendor said it was a diamond head sleeper goby, but he gave no scientific name and stated that they 'clean the sand.' I think that it is actually a yellow head sleeper goby (Valenciennea strigata) because the diamond head sleeper goby has orange spots on its body and is Valenciennea puellaris. I tried to explain in my email to the mayor that they feed on the fauna in live sand and not just fish waste and decaying food. I am not sure if the sand is live or not. More than likely no one has even bothered to actually read my email.
When the goby was first introduced into the aquarium it was not out very much but, after a couple of days it came out and was very active in the tank sifting the sand. There was sand all over the rocks that are near the bottom of the tank. When I saw this fish the last time (09/15/10) it did not look good. It had a little indentation on its ventral side just in front of where the anal fin begins and the back half of the body was drooping downward when it was floating in the water column and it looked thinner and I have not seen it since. When I ask one of the librarians today (09/23/10) if it was still in the tank she said it was, but lately it has been hiding.
When the vendor started to care for the tank he decreased the photo period from 12 hours to 10. If I understood the security guard correctly, the vendor reduced the photo period because he said it was too much. The tank contains a bubble coral (Plerogyra sinuosa), two rose anemones (Entacmaea quadricolor) some frogspawn (Euphyllia divisa), some mushrooms that look like they belong to the genus Actinodiscus sp. and they have smooth brown skin. Some have white patches on them like something is growing on them. One of them looks like it has been torn and has white strings hanging from it that are about half an inch or less and it looks like a pair of levis that have been torn. Some of them look like they are not opening up completely. Also, there are some colony polyp Zoanthid looking things in the tank. http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=597+599+675&pcatid=675. There is also something in the tank that I have no idea what it may be. It is about the width of half a pencil, is dark green and it grows in a random manner with about 5-6 branches. The clump is loose and is about 4' x 4' and it has not spread from a couple of locations where it has been growing.
About three weeks ago I noticed that the stem part (between the rock & tentacles) of one of the anemones was twisted. This was possibly due to one of the return tubes being moved that created a stronger current. Recently the anemones have been active in relocating themselves. They are near the center and half way up the tank attached to the rocks. This is the area where they have always been and where they have been moving around. The vendor has moved some of the rocks around a couple of times. The bubble coral in now lower in the tank with just the distance of the rock it is on separating it from the substrate. It does not look like it has suffered any since it was moved to this location.
The frogspawn and the Zoanthid looking things appear healthy to me. I am not sure if the little colonies of the frogspawn and Zoanthid things were placed in the tank or if they are from the parent colony. (Asexual reproduction?) I am not very familiar with corals and anemones. I watched as one of the library staff was feeding squid to the corals. He was using huge tongs and would push the squid down into their mouths and then try to fold them closed since they open up when the pumps are turned off. It looked kind of rough on them.
I measured the tank and it is 60 x 36 x 30 which is 280 gallons if I did the calculation correctly. All of the rock is piled up against the back or the tank with the middle of the pile reaching about half way up in some places and it comes out to the middle of the tank in some places. The rocks are well covered with coralline except where the newly exposed areas are facing up. The coralline use to be spreading on the back and sides of the tank but it has since been scraped off the sides and half of the back and it does not seem to be spreading anymore. I have noticed that there is a lot of debris piling up behind the rocks and there are no power heads in the tank that circulate the water behind the rocks. The substrate looks like it is about 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch in length and is not very thick. There are four return tubes near the top of the tank with two on each side of the overflow that is in the middle.
The surviving fish include a purple tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum), a coral beauty (Centropyge bispinosa), a redhead solon fairy wrasse (Cirrhilabrus solorensis), a blue damsel (Chrysiptera cyanea), a yellow head sleeper goby (Valenciennea strigata), two green chromis (Chromis viridis), and two clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris or A. percula). The larger one (female?) is more aggressive and has adopted one of the rose anemones and will not let the smaller one (male?) close to either one of the anemones. So far all of the fish, with the exception of the goby, are actively swimming around and the water is clear. Are the green chromis better kept in groups of at least five?
I am not sure how much or how often they are fed the foods I mentioned previously. I think the brine shrimp is fed daily and the dry food is in an automated feeder. When I mentioned to the library staff that the tang needs something in the tank at all times to nibble on the fish vendors' response was to put a plaster vacation block in the tank. This has only happened once and nothing else has been put in the tank for it to nibble on even though I suggested that they try Instant Oceans' seaweed grazing block. http://www.instantocean.com/sites/instantocean/products/productdetail.aspx?id=1294&cid=5389.
I have no idea what the water parameters are and probably none of the staff does either so I did not ask. There was a water change done in early to mid August, but I have no idea how much of the water was replaced nor if any more water changes have been made. Below the tank is a sump with a protein skimmer in it. I looked at it once, a month ago, and the foam in the collection cup looked dried out and nothing appeared to be entering the cup. There are three metal halide bulbs illuminating the tank and they are the mogul base kind. I do not know the wattage or the Kelvin rating nor do I know when the last time was that they were replaced. There are no actinic lights supplementing the halide bulbs.
One thing that really concerns me is that I saw a snail in the tank that looked like it belongs to the genus Conus. I only saw it once about a week and a half ago. It looked very much like the picture in Scott Michael's book The 101 Best Marine Invertebrates. It is listed in the back of the book under the species to avoid. Are all of the species in this genus venomous? I did not tell this to any of the people that I have been sending the emails to because if I told them that there is a 'killer snail' in the tank they might try to have me committed. Could this snail have lived in the tank with the brittle star but never attempt to kill it? I guess it too could be responsible for some of the fish disappearing.
I cannot think of anything else to add to this letter.
Jonathan Powell
p.s. Be honest. How many times did you fall asleep while reading this letter?
<None, but Jon... please supply the "vendor" contact info. I'd like to start with them. BobF>
The following is an email from a library staff member that the councilman's staff contacted. I am not sure, but I think that she might be the one that I ticked off.
Re: Hello, May I speak with Mr. Fenner please?   9/26/10

Hello Mr. Fenner,
I forgot that you wanted that information. If I am not mistaken
<... you have not contacted the owner?>
the vendor is from Circle Pet Center. The current owner is the son of the former owners wife and his name is Mike (?). I am not sure if he services the tank or if it is one of his employees.
Jonathan Powell
<Jonathan. Please call and speak with whomever is in charge, actually doing the service. BobF>
Re: Hello, May I speak with Mr. Fenner please?
Hello Mr. Fenner,
I hope I am not annoying you with too many emails.
I just wanted to update you on a couple of things. I saw the goby swimming around today and he still looks thin. Perhaps a slight upward curve might be a better way to describe his ventral side instead of indentation. I got another look at the protein skimmer and there was about 1/4 inch of semi clear liquid in it. Maybe when I saw it the first time it had been emptied earlier that day. One of the library staff was cutting up squid to feed to the fish which is something I had not seen before, but it was eaten long before it got down to the goby.
One of the halide bulbs is burned out. I forgot to mention that even when all three bulbs were working the tank seemed kind of dim to me. It might have something to do with the "reflector." The bulbs are attached to a straight piece of board that has a thin sheet of medal screwed on to it as a reflector and it does not curve down around the bulbs. There is a little stub about three inches long that the bulbs stick out from. So the stub plus the light form an "L" shape.
<Jon... contact the service people. B>

UPDATE: re: Hello, May I speak with Mr. Fenner please?   9/27/10
Hello Mr. Fenner,
I hope I am not annoying you with too many emails.
I just wanted to update you on a couple of things. I saw the goby swimming around today and he still looks thin. Perhaps a slight upward curve might be a better way to describe his ventral side instead of indentation. I got another look at the protein skimmer and there was about 1/4 inch of semi clear liquid in it. Maybe when I saw it the first time it had been emptied earlier that day. One of the library staff was cutting up squid to feed to the fish which is something I had not seen before, but it was eaten long before it got down to the goby.
One of the halide bulbs is burned out. I forgot to mention that even when all three bulbs were working the tank seemed kind of dim to me. It might have something to do with the "reflector." The bulbs are attached to a straight piece of board that has a thin sheet of medal screwed on to it as a reflector and it does not curve down around the bulbs. There is a little stub about three inches long that the bulbs stick out from. So the stub plus the light form an "L" shape.
<Jon... contact the service people. B>
<Hello, I knew someone that use to work for the current owns step father and (step) grandfather. I was around the pet store often when it was at its previous location so unfortunately I am too familiar with the business practices and sordid marital and extra-marital detail.
So I prefer not to have contact with them in anyway, And this does not have anything to do with a grudge or vendetta or any other such reason and that is why I have not mentioned this until now because I did not want people to think that it is. I was trying to get the fish better care at least 5-6 weeks before I found out who the vendor was.>
<... Jon... what? Send along whom, their number... BobF>

MACNA   8/26/10
Hi Bob,
<Hey James>
I love your statement in the MACNA who's who pages.
"Humans are visually oriented organisms (if we were dogs we'd have Playdog Magazine with blank pages with smells on them)"
Still laughing.
<Ah good. BobF> 

Interview at SplashingTime.com 5/18/09
Dear Sir
I would be honored if I could interview your good self for a website I am doing called SplashingTime.com
Some years back I had interviewed Dr Jamie Oliver and Vicki Hendrix. The interview can be seen at http://splashingtime.com/articles
About the website:
The website is dedicated to educating students, teachers, the public on marine life and conservation. Our Team comprises of 8 marine life photographers, and myself (team leader and web designer).
Team SplashingTime.com is also one of the collaborators at FishBase.com and SeaLifeBase.com contributing images such as Pomacanthus paru:
http://fishbase.com/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.php?ID=1118 etc.
Testimonials: http://splashingtime.com/testimonials.html
As per the interview, it will be via email at a later date. You can email me the interview instead of having to meet with me in person.
I hope you will be willing to do this interview with me.
Looking forward to hearing from you real soon.
Have a Splashing Time!
Marine Life / Underwater Photography
<What would this entail Jeremy? Am out for the next few weeks diving in Sulawesi and the Spratly's... not easily w/in Net access. Bob Fenner.>

Re: Interview at SplashingTime.com 05/19/09
Greetings Bob
All it will take is for you to go through the few questions that I will send to you at a later date and you can reply to them via email. It's pretty simple really. Check out these interviews
Hope to hear from you with good news.
<Am out diving, visiting in Sing., Indo. and Malaysia till 6/21. BobF>

French Angel -- Question, & Petco reminiscences, current issues  8/18/08 Hey, crew! <Jon> I've emailed you guys quite often over the last few years. Just to set the record straight, again, I work at Petco (run the fish department). A lady brought in her French Angel (Pomacanthus paru) for adoption to us today. Her son caught it in Florida sometime last year and he's about 2 inches long. While I originally thought this was quite small, I hadn't checked the Caribbean Angels section on the site until a bit ago when I read that they were extremely slow growers. <Yes> Right now, he's in quarantine. He'll then be going into a 50G tank for the time being until I can find a good home for him and transfer him. Question of the hour: How long can he stay in the 40G as a 1.5/2 inch juvenile? <Months> It's a tank filled with live rock for him to graze on and a refugium filled to the brim with Chaeto just breeding small mysids and others constantly. I would PREFER to keep it for a while until I set up my 180 next fall, but want your input as I'd rather give the fish away or trade it for some frags if this plan does not seem feasible. <This fish should be fine where it is till then> I've read previously on WWM that small juveniles can be kept in a smaller tank for a while before adulthood when they need to be transferred, but I'd rather get more input on this. Cheers, Jonathan <And you, Bob Fenner, who was a consultant/buyer for this mass-merchandiser... for all the aquatics depts. back in 91-94.> -- Jonathan Philpot

Re: French Angel -- Question 8/18/08 Thanks for the fast reply, Bob. I figured that was going to be the answer but just wanted to double check. <Real good> We could go on about Petco forever, I'm sure. <Ah, yes. I enjoyed my time there... trying to "make real" the pet trade to excellent business people... Brian Devine(formerly of Toys R Us), who is still there as Chairman... Larry Asellin (my boss, head of merchandising and distribution, formerly of Oshman's), Mike Woodard (head of operations, formerly of Safeway)... exhausting, but rewarding work...> Take care, Jon PS Petco's fish departments need to be run by more reefers like me. <We do agree... I tried to convince corporate to allow "my" depts. (reptile and aquatics) to be run as separate areas w/in stores, having their manager take ownership... hire/fire, set schedules, do ordering... No dice unfortunately> Not to toot my own horn here, but there is a stark contrast between our store and the multitude of others I'd visit. Petco could be a viable place to purchase fish, equipment, etc. if they only were a bit more scrutinizing with their hiring. <Too centralized...> Granted, I put hours into keeping the tanks immaculate and try my best to dip everything upon arrival. I don't HATE the reputation that the chain has, just that the chain has created the reputation it owns by crappy hiring and business decisions. <Is an issue with any/all large bureaucracies my friend. Best to always do your best... and try to be satisfied that this is so. Cheers, BobF>

Re: French Angel -- Question 8/18/08 I had a bit of control of the ordering for a while, Bob. The power was pretty much stripped away from me by corporate, unfortunately. For a few weeks we avoided having expert level fish in the store that we end up selling to novices. I can only work a few days of the week, and while I try to refer people to WWM, your book, and my local reef club, it's hard to see someone come in and complain afterward about an unknowing employee selling them a fish that they can't keep and blaming me in the process. <Understood> It has the customer lose faith in not only me (for some reason), but the company as well (which I have my gripes with and I do end up sending people out quite often). Frankly, it's a bit depressing since I work tremendously hard when I'm there to actually help people stay in the hobby rather than recommending them taking 45 Tiger barbs for their 20 gallon tank because they are half an inch long right now and we can make a profit. Possibly why I have such a big gripe with corporate retail. <So... what will you do?> Frankly, I've been thinking if introducing Petco to possibly sponsoring my local reef club would be a good route. The company has such a horrible reputation (really for good reason) that, especially since some of the newer people are really trying to push salt water with an actual genuine interest, it could only help. What's your bet on whether or not a corporate bureaucracy such as Petco could possibly be interested in something like that? ;) <I do "believe" the folks there are interested... in good husbandry practices... for all animals... They DO such a fine job with companion animals... It's more like "they" don't "get" aquatics... nor have any large chains IMO as yet... but, having done my best for three years at the beginning... I don't know any better how to "make known what needs to be" to bring such a watershed change over the co., its practices... To me it's obvious that livestock depts. must need be run locally... for each stores personnel to take possession, in actuality, soul/heart and fiscally, to make them work... Delegating, running them from "top down" by folks who don't know enough... will never (has never) work/ed> But, then again, a company who had it's CEO and other top guns eat Natural Balance Dog Food might be up for anything... - Jon <Again, I was VERY impressed with the caliber of folks throughout the organization... The operations staff (the stores and the regional et al. mgr.s above) were excellent... But it defies human nature (which I'm very careful not to do) to expect the local fish store staff to excel given no control over the set, livestock purchase, management of their time, dept... This is simply the way things are. Bob Fenner>

"It's Martinized"!   9/11/07  Hey guys, and girls, just thought I would drop a line to tell you all thanks for providing a great service to the fishkeeping world. But on to my other reason for writing, I am a craigslist addict, and recently came across this post (http://raleigh.craigslist.org/for/419178670.html) , just figured I would bring it to Mr Fenner's attention. Once again, thanks for all that you do for our kind. Lewis Bridges <Heeee! Interesting... Guess it's better to be referred to in some positive note... Could have been named Bob Murphy... Bob Fenner> Consultation   3/8/07 Bob, <Scott> I was wondering if I could fly you down <Up I guess... am in S. Cal.> to do a consultation of sorts for me.  I have a 1200 gallon reef tank in an orthodontists office that I maintain.  Over the past year since planning started countless issues have arisen, and countless are continuing to arise.  My client and myself are reaching the end of our ropes and would appreciate a critiquing eye from the best in the biz.  Is this something that you have the time to do? Scott Johnson Owner Critter Cabana www.crittercabana.com <Mmm, let's see... I do have this title on a biz card somewhere... but it might be just as expedient to e-chat here (and of use to others)... or (groan) on the phone. Don't have much going on for another couple weeks (retired in 94...) but... BobF>

Koi World interview request Hi Bob!  My name is Eve Adamson and I've interviewed you in the past.  I am working on two articles for Koi World magazine--one on common mistakes of beginning Koi keepers, and one on color and patterns in Koi--how Koi got to look the way they do, why some are so expensive, how the process of breeding for color/patterns works, etc. <I see> Would you be interested in doing a phone interview on either or both of these subjects?  I'd love to include your vast expertise yet again.  I'm on a tight deadline but if you any time in the next few days, just let me know when and at what number I can reach you. Thanks Bob, in advance, for any help.  I hope to hear from you. <Am out of town Saturday, but will be around on Friday (PST, California), 858-549-XXXX Bob Fenner> -- Eve Adamson Pardon Moi Francais... or syntax, word usage...? I like what you have to say and there is a lot of info to reed on your site if we look ,but your word usage seems odd. <It is indeed a bit "strange" as in unfamiliar or not-so conventional. I grew up overseas (Japan and the Philippines) and read and travel a great deal... and I guess hang out with, converse a great deal with non-English speakers. Do you find my efforts at trying to communicate via the written word difficult to follow? Have you suggestions for improvement? Thank you for your input. Bob Fenner>

That Hormonal Manipulation of Fishes paper dear sir I found your paper about hormonal manipulation of fishes when I was searching in internet. it has some good information. as I want to use some of them in my studies, I need some information about you as author. <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/bobfbio.htm> please sent to me your complete name ,year of publishing, your colleague's name(s) and some other information. <No colleagues at that time. Self publication date 1976) I also have a question: can we say that the first attempts of study on sex hormones in fish start along with the first time that man use the pituitary extract to induce maturation in fish? I searched to find it ,but nearly all the references are from 1960and latter .would you please guide me in this case. I am looking forward hearing from you. <Actual applications date back to the forties... but not really popularized till the 1960's. Bob Fenner> sincerely yours Reza

Dear Dr. Fenner (Doc!?), To my horror I realized I addressed you with the wrong title ("Mr." instead of "Dr.") in my previous message.  <No need for horror or honorifics... no doctor/ate, pls, "just Bob" will do> Please accept my sincerest apologies. The knowledge you've expressed in TCMA and on the WWM have truly spark my interest in transitioning from a freshwater aquarist to a marine aquarist. <Ah, good>  I apologize for my careless error, and my occasional longwinded-ness. I just find the prospects of starting a new project like this to be quite invigorating and rewarding, and I find myself getting swept up in the excitement! :) -Russ <No worries my friend. Bob Fenner>

Happy b-day! happy birthday Bob! I hope you have as much fun on your birthday as I usually do on mine (I inflict my taste for bad movies on friends and family, I call it good fun, they call it getting even). Hope the move goes well <Zo, Mike and I are moving as we key! Am sore all over... and am ready to move more frequently henceforth to avoid this nonsense... and Pinkster, we're off to my fave sushi bar (Meiki's) tonight... thinking of you> and your new digs turn out to be better than expected. <Oh, yes... larger lot, more space for the dogs... a bit quieter (further from the death business military base...) and less dusty... further from the sand and gravel plant...> Hopefully in a month or so I'll be able to write and actually have a question relating to a real live saltwater set up. : ) <Ah, good> tell Zo Pinky says hi! <Done!> be chatting with you my friend, (your speech patterns are a viral meme : ) ) Mike <And you. Bob Fenner>

Happy Birthday!! Dear Mr. Fenner: You obviously don't know me, but I've followed up on your articles in the numerous fish hobby magazines you have written for throughout the years. I'm most impressed with your knowledge and work, and commend you for what you have done for the hobby through your scientific strides. <Thank you my friend... One often wonders if folks are reading...> I found your website today by chance (I've been out of the reef-keeping hobby for several years, but enjoy browsing the web to see the latest developments in anything related to fish-keeping), and lo and behold, I discovered it's your birthday today! So let me wish you a grand birthday as you so deserve for simply being the outstanding person you are. <Ah, great that we have found each other! Again, thank you for your kind, encouraging words. Be chatting. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Sadat PS: You really should smile in your pictures, you are a very handsome man! <Ah! Just saw this in moving the message... People say they never see me not smiling in person... Bob Fenner>

Re: Your Offer of work Hi Bob, Yes. Sue gave me your number. <Ah, good, and yours to me> Hope you had a nice trip. I was going to invite you out for a beer when you were here in Kona.. but I guess I tired to contact you too late. <There's always some time later... btw do you know of the folks down in Tasmania who raise H. abdominalis for the hobby? They had some interesting anecdotes re Amanda Vincent and her organization...> I am looking to add a more detailed section to my getting ready page where it explains how to cycle your salt water tank...or how to get started. Something not to complicated but with enough information so the fresh water and first time hobbyist can set up a tank. It seems so simple to us. but as you know the biggest mistake people seem to make is stocking animals in their tank before it is ready. or they overload the tank. Do you think you would be interested?  <Sure> I know there is a lot of free links out there to this info. but I wanted something classy for the OR site.  <Okay> Let me know what you think and what the costs would be. <About how many words? Graphics?> Perhaps later we could use the section to do a spin off for a few columns on the Horse Forum column in FAMA. <Very nice articles thus far... you could easily knock this/these further pieces out.> Let me know what you think... Mahalo, Carol Cozzi-Schmarr <Bob Fenner>

Marine Aquarist Roundtable of Sacramento My name is Brian Prestwood. I took over for Dave Sheehy as speaker coordinator for the Marine Aquarist Roundtable of Sacramento. <Congrats!> I spoke to you about speaking at our club again at WMC 2001. We could cover all your travel and lodging expenses plus pay a $100 honorarium. Are you available on 7/20 or 11/16? <Yes to both dates. And no to the honorarium... Though stipendium peccati mors est, I forego such input. Sign me up and I'll be there... and make it known if I may be of assistance otherwise. Bob Fenner>

RE: Marine Aquarist Roundtable of Sacramento Off by one error, sorry. Our meeting in July is on the 21st, not the 20th. And, it's a special one. The three northern CA clubs (MARS, Seabay and BARE) are hosting a picnic at Steinhart aquarium with a behind the scenes tour. It is an all day event. Several of the members pointed out that you are the obvious choice for this casual event. Would you be interested in attending and doing a short talk too? <Oh, absolutely... Just finished reading David Powell's account of his life in the public aquarium biz, including his time spent with Earl S. Herald... and was up there for a day during/between the recent WMC... taking pix, reliving the many times I've visited... For sure. Bob Fenner>

Fenner Family Hi, My maiden name was Susan Fenner. Do you know anything about your ancestry? <Mmm, only a bit. A sister is interested in genealogical matters... Ours isn't particularly glorious... but am glad to be here, a human, what have you> The Fenner family has a very interesting ancestral tree and if you have an interest I'd be happy to share with you. It's interesting that my father was a science teacher and a real scholar on all aspects of science. I'll be on vacation for a week, but I'll await your reply and get back with you. Thanks, Susan <Okay, chat with you then. Bob Fenner>


Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: