Please visit our Sponsors

Related FAQs: About Going Fishwatching/Adventure Traveling

Related Articles: The Traveling Aquarist: How Snorkeling Culebra, Puerto Rico, Reminded Me to be a Responsible Hobbyist...  By Leah Frances Wade, Diving, The Cook Islands (Short Version), The Cook Islands (Long Version), Fiji, Australia, The Tropical West Atlantic, Red Sea, the Tropical East Pacific, Hawai'i, Red Sea

/Fishwatcher's Guide to the Aquarium Fishes of the World, v.1

Introduction to the Tropical Marine Fishes of the World

Bob Fenner

Let's Go!!!

A Fishwatcher's Guide is designed as a multi-purpose tool: to be used principally to help you identify and pick out the best aquarium livestock from the world's best collection localities... but it is much more.

This Guide is also a "call to arms" to urge your consideration in leaning toward biotopic presentations, matching the non-living and biological components in a captive aquatic microcosm versus the typical hodge podge mixes that hobbyists throw together. Many benefits accrue from biotope set-ups. The chance to mimic a slice/micro-environment of the living world is far more rewarding, interesting and dare I say it? Educational.

To be perfectly honest these set of essays is also an attempt to free up my time at answering many (daily) queries regarding the suitability of aquarium species hailing from here and there, and much of the important minutiae of how to pick out the best of it. What can be found where, how to select it, how big does such and such get...? Here are my answers.

Not to go unmentioned, A Fishwatcher's Guide is intended to inspire you to actually go to these places. Yes, even to try your hand at snorkeling and/or scuba diving. It is easy, easier than swimming, and safe, by far safer than driving on the freeway... and a whole lot more fun. You can use this Guide as a checklist when you visit these areas.

Overall, this book is a resource for all levels of the aquarium trade and hobby. Collectors, livestock wholesalers and their intermediaries will benefit from knowing what is available that is suitable for use from their locale. And they and the consumers purchasing such life will understand better what their choices are and what their chance of keeping that livestock alive is. Most everyone is shocked to find out that few collectors are aquarists, and that a "Catch 22" exists in providing organisms that would/will be of very great interest (think of the Banggai Cardinal, Pterapogon kauderni) that don't get collected, though they're hardy, beautiful, even easy to catch, simply because no demand exists... and no one will ever ask for because they've never seen them! Here I offer several suggested species, indeed whole families that have gone unconsidered for aquarium use.

Ecotype Statements

I've offered some broad strokes here in describing very generally where the various fish groups and species are typically found. Other authors have been much more specific in defining reef geographies and particular niches, but I'll assure you that duplicating biotopes is not essential. Indeed, almost all hobbyist arrangements are a mish-mash of mixed species that would never meet in the wild, and most get along just fine.

On the other hand, I cannot encourage you enough to go beyond the simple statements offered here in investigating and doing your best to mimic a physical and biological slice of the near shore shallows (or any part of the "real" world you'd like to recreate in miniature). The printed works listed here, Internet, and actual travel to the area are the best means of gaining knowledge of what makes up a given biotope.

Captive Suitability Scoring:

After long thought, investigation of others declared opinions, and handling tens of thousands of these species I've come to a set of "scores" for each on its likelihood of surviving the rigors of aquarium care. Yes, to some degree this information is necessarily historical (what has happened, may not be the general trend to come), and is subject to "improvement" on the keepers side as a consequence of providing larger, more stable quarters (like public aquariums), and more diligent husbandry. But, by and large a relative score of one (1) indicates the "highest and best" survivability under captive conditions; let's say most of the specimens of this species collected surviving more than three months. A score of two (2) is indicative of a mortality of more than fifty percent between one and three months. Lastly, and sufficient for our purposes, a three (3) is the worst score, with more than 50% of the species perishing before a months time of capture. I entreat you to leave the latter group to the sea, or at least to study and provide the best possible circumstances for these animals.

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: