The Aquatic Experience Reels in Robert Fenner – A Man for All Seasons

Whether you’re an experienced aquarist or a novice, you’ll want to hear the renowned Robert Fenner when he speaks at the Aquatic Experience on Acclimation and Quarantine.  If you’re about to buy, and are concerned about your fishes well-being, come, listen and learn.


Bob FennerA real Renaissance man, Bob is not only an expert in the hobby, trade and science of aquatics, he is also a diver, an adventure traveler, a writer, a photographer, a lecturer, as well as a former college professor and high school teacher.  He has several life science degrees and is well versed in chemistry, physics, and biology.  He has written several books including the seminal work for you as a hobbyist – The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, thought by experts in the field to be the best book ever written on the marine hobby.


He also writes articles as well as books for divers and those interested in natural history under the sea, and ornamental aquatics.  “The hobby/business is evolving; much like it has in Western Europe.  I see a real interest in biotopes, in the underlying science and in understanding how technology is used,” he said.


He also feels that we are now in an era where consumers are very aware.  “There are fewer aquarists, but they have become more conscientious, and they aware and want and demand value.  I look forward to many more species of marine animals raised in tanks, as well as real aquatic plants and affordable access to relevant and useful information and graphics,” he explained.


Bob has many interests, but he is most passionate about “enhancing people’s love of their own lives through an appreciation of the living world.”  And one of the ways you can appreciate the living world is by learning from Bob what you can do to “lessen the stress and incidental mortality of new livestock.”


“The past year or so there has been a great boom in the production of new marine and freshwater species for ornamental use,” he said.  As such, Bob stresses the importance of having a plan, because pre-acclimation is being responsible.   “Do some studying and know what you want livestock-wise, know the requirements and write it down,” he stated.  He also urges that you study the size, shape, lighting and filtration of the system as part of pre-acclimation.


“Know what you want in terms how much maintenance you want to do or is required to be done, look at what’s available and then go for the best species according to your plan,” he noted.


He will also cover how to select the best specimens of the species you select as well as the importance of planning your livestock, what kinds of species you want to stock and the best specimens.  “Livestock collection is slowing down,” he said,” because of recent cataclysmic events such as the rapid changes in climate and weather evens like extreme tsunamis as well as giant hurricanes and their ongoing affects on the ornamental interest of marine life.”


Another important factor Bob will be speaking about after planning and before acclimation, is the transportation of your marine life including the size and composition of the container as well as the weather while they are being transported.  “If the weather is hot I recommend using ice packs.  If it’s cold, I recommend using heat packs,” he explained.


Bob will also speak about quarantining new fishes, and why it’s important, as well as the kind of equipment needed, the water temperature and chemical balance and how to introduce new fish to your existing aquarium.   He will also answer your questions.


Bob has a great interest in fostering the trade, in the expansion of collection areas and in culture efforts with others in the trade.  He also notes there as been an increase in interest of fresh water species such as shrimp among others.  He cited ORA, Doctors Foster and Smith and TMC.  “They and many others have brought out new stock, stony corals and some rare and unusual marine fishes that have been marketed by Bali aqua culturists.”


When asked about his favorite, he was quick to point out “the Clarion Angel (Holacanthus clarionensis) and the Pinnatus Batfish (Platax pinnatus) are two such fishes,” he said.  He also explained that new freshwater offerings have surfaced from India, China, Malaysia/Singapore as well as in Germany and Western Europe and even in Florida.


“My favorite examples include Corydoras and Loricariid (Suckmouth, “Pleco”) catfishes, as well as several new shrimps and plant cultivars.”


As for the new plant cultivars, a few that he likes are Crypts and Echinodorus.  “But I would like to wait as there are some “releases” coming out later in the year.”  So, you might ask Bob which of the “releases” are tantalizing him and for which he is willing to wait.


It would be difficult to sum up Bob, but he does so himself by revealing what enchants  him “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.”


The fishes may remain unknown and mysterious however what Bob does know is that many more people are interested in these enigmatic creatures.  “From 2013 onward there has been a resurgence of interesting aquariums and pond keeping and the Aquatic Experience has been a decided force in generating this ripple effect,” he concluded.