Fish Species at FishChannel.com

June 2009 FAMA Editor's Note

Adding a New Dimension

By Clay Jackson

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There are many ways to get young children interested in aquariumkeeping. If they are old enough and responsible enough, you can buy them a small nano setup of their own — complete with cool plastic pirates, sunken treasure ships and mermaids. You can involve them with your own tanks by letting them participate in fish feeding and maintenance activities.

Sign them up on FishChannel, which has fish-related coloring pages and games, such as eQuarium and Create-a-Fish. The eQuarium is apropos in that a kid sets up a virtual aquarium and must continually check up and maintain it, or it goes “green” and the fish die — just like in a real tank.

You can take young impressible types to coral swaps and fish shows. Or you can take them to a movie. Remember Finding Nemo? It made clownfish an industry and a fixture in aquariums across the country. On a recent visit to the Aquarium of the Pacific, in Long Beach, California, I heard my 6-year-old daughter, Hailey, exclaim, “Hey, that’s Dory!”

I recently attended a press screening of a new IMAX movie Under the Sea 3D. Several FAMA and Aquarium Fish International editors attended, and I was fortunate enough to have my 11-year-old daughter, Cheyanne, in tow as well.

This amazing movie was filmed with a 1,300-pound IMAX camera in five pristine undersea locales in areas of Indonesia, New Guinea and Australia. Shots were woven together seamlessly into one 40-minute production. “Our main goal in making these films is to bring animals that are little known, or not known at all, to the screen, to let people (kids) see how strange and wonderful they are,” said the filmmaker Howard Hall.

Under the Sea 3D is now playing at IMAX theaters throughout the country. It was filmed over 110 days at sea and 350 hours underwater.

So what did my eldest daughter think? “I thought it would be scary, but it wasn’t. I liked the dragons [leafy and weedy sea dragons]; they were cute. I thought the narrator [Jim Carrey] was expressive, and it was fun trying to pop the bubbles at the end.”

You forget you are sitting in theater seating and feel like you’re down there with the sea turtles, cuttlefishes, sea dragons and stonefishes. You can even see tiny bits of plankton float across your eyeballs. It is fun for the whole family — and possibly even the germ to one day becoming an expert aquarist or a marine biologist or both.

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