Fish Species at

April 2009 FAMA Editor's Note

Aquarium Economics.

By Clay Jackson

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I did more brownbagging in 2008 than during all the previous four years combined. I cut down on my CD buying, book purchasing, and I can’t remember the last time I paid $4 for a vente mocha. And I’m not the only one who’s had to tighten my belt. What belt-tightening measures have you instituted, specifically as it relates to your aquariumkeeping?

It is no secret that the aquariumkeeping hobby is expensive to get into (beyond the typical goldfish or betta bowl) and expensive to maintain. Just a couple of months back, while listening to reef aquarists talk about the hobby at the monthly meeting of a marine aquarium society, one hobbyist explained how his summer electric bill once topped $500 in a single month, a combination of having a large system with every conceivable whirling electric gadget attached to it and the bloated pricing structure of his local utility.

In fact, one of the suggestions writer Brian Plankis lays out, in his timely article “Be a Reef Saver,” is that aquarists can reduce the impact their systems have on the environment by utilizing energy-efficient lighting and equipment. Try and look for your own ways to run and maintain your systems more efficiently, thereby reducing the carbon footprint of your setup while also realizing a cost savings.

Retraction through subtraction may be the mantra for the new year. So if you are considering mothballing some of your tanks in ‘09, I suggest donating at least one of your setups to some young budding aquarist who has the desire but not the means to get into the hobby, especially now. Such philanthropic acts will help to ensure both short-term growth in 2009 and long-term growth for the hobby in the years to come.

The new year isn’t just about reducing and going without, as there are some new things on tap as well. Both myself and FAMA Senior Associate Editor Ethan Mizer have weekly blogs you can read and respond to at Hopefully, you’ll find our blogs to be engaging, informative and something you can relate to.

As a companion piece to the aforementioned “Be a Reef Saver” article, we are offering a free downloadable PDF of more things hobbyists can do to help ease the pressure on coral reefs and marine fishes. You can take our “FAMA Green Tips” and scotch tape it to your computer, or use a refrigerator magnet to affix it to your icebox (a term I probably acquired from my grandparents).

Your very own “Green Tips” PDF is available at You can also e-mail us your own aquarium green tips, if you like, and we might just print yours in an upcoming issue of Freshwater And Marine Aquarium magazine.

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