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Grr. Rant about animal planet's show 'Tanked'..

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X_Digger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-22-11 05:49 PM
Original message
Grr. Rant about animal planet's show 'Tanked'..
First a little background.

I've been keeping marine aquaria for about 15 years now. Back then, state of the art meant crushed coral substrate, an under gravel filter, VHO lights, and bleached coral skeletons for decoration. Frequent large water changes were required to keep fish alive. You were considered successful if you kept a tank from crashing for a year.

In the intervening years, commercial and home aquarium technology has come a long way. Protein skimmers, the use of live rock and aragonite sand, metal halide and T5 lighting, as well as calcium reactors and dedicated aquarium controllers- all have contributed to the possibility of keeping livestock for their natural lifespan (I have a clownfish that is at least 12 years old). Advances in captive breeding and coral mariculture mean that our impact on the world's oceans has been decreased.

Anyone who has set up a tank of any size knows about the Nitrogen cycle. Fish waste breaks down into ammonia-laden compounds, which are processed by one set of bacteria into nitrite, which is then processed by another set of bacteria into nitrate. Both ammonia and nitrite are toxic to fish at very small levels. A new tank requires time for these beneficial bacteria to multiply before you start adding livestock.

Disney's 'Finding Nemo' was the best and worst thing to happen to our hobby in 20 years. Every kid who could con their parents into it got a tiny tank, a clown fish, and a regal tang (a 'Nemo' and a 'Dory'.) Witless parents, preyed upon by greedy pet stores walked out with tank, substrate, water, and fish on the same visit. Those of us who hang out on various forums devoted to helping folks new to the hobby were swamped for a year at least. Thankfully, we were able to convert many of these 'nemo-ists' into true enthusiasts.

So what's got my blood pressure up? Animal Planet has a new show, "Tanked". /

Here's the description from the press release:

These aren't your father's fish tanks or bright goldfish from your youth... And these are definitely not your typical fish tank builders. Welcome to the wet and wonderful world of TANKED, where owners Wayde King and Brett Raymer build tanks and aquariums for top celebrities, luxury hotels, Fortune 500 businesses, private homes and millionaire homeowners. These massive and creatively designed tanks are filled with some of the most extraordinary aquatic wildlife from around the globe! And as Brett always says, "If you can dream it, we can build it!" TANKED is a six-part reality series set at the Las Vegas-based Acrylic Tank Manufacturing (ATM), founded by Wayde and Brett. It's not only the most successful, but the most monstrous, tank manufacturer in America. The larger-than-life duo are business partners, brothers-in-law, best friends, pranksters and constant rivals who are determined to create, build, and unveil some of the most over-the-top aquariums the world has ever seen. But it's not just about the boys - it's a family affair, because they're joined by Heather, Wayde's wife and Brett's sister; Brett and Heather's father, "The General;" and a motley crew of designers, engineers, installers, cleaners and builders - making them one big dysfunctional, brash and super-sized family.

Sounds nice, right? More exposure for the hobby is great- especially if it leads to more folks understanding how precious our oceans and reefs really are.

Except.. err.. watch this video, see if you can figure out the problem I have with them..

They're filling a tank with tap water, mixing in the salt, and expect to put 21 boxes of fish in immediately? Oh, and when they do put in the fish? Horrible mixture of species, waaaay too many fish, and some of them are diseased, which will spread to the other fish in short order, especially due to the stress of overcrowding.

:mad: :grr:

And another..

This tank was also set up, filled with water, and immediately had fish dumped in. Way too many, horrible mix of species.

:grr: :grr: :grr:

And yet another thing that drives me bonkers..

Notice that at 0:23, one of these guys agitates a puffer fish until he puffs up, then picks him up out of the water. Puffer fish only puff up when stressed, as a last resort against predation. This can cause death. Then to pick it up, out of the water, adding *more* stress?!? Shameful.

:mad: :grr: :mad: :grr:

And here's one that really should be criminal:

They have a black tipped reef shark- which is a hair's breadth away from being added to the endangered species list. They also have cold-water and temperate sharks in with tropical ones. And waaaaaay too many of them in a tank that size.

:mad: :grr: :mad: :grr: :mad: :grr:

There are more problems with these guys' handling of livestock and tank set-up, I won't bore everyone by nit-picking every thing that I would do differently.

Now for a company who will likely make as much in maintenance contracts replacing dead fish as they did on the initial install? Great business plan. They can shovel fish destined to die every month into those tanks, and bill, baby, bill.

Even if you assume that through the magic of television, there's a lot of the process left on the editing room floor (which is doubtful), the least they could do is a mythbusters-style disclaimer- something like, "The steps shown here are not representative of typical set-up for a marine aquarium. Please visit animal planet's guide to marine aquarium set-up @"

The marine tank blogosphere / forums / etc are lit up because of the stupidity of this show..

I sent off a stern letter to animal planet via's contact form. Feel free to join me. /

Climbing down from my soapbox now.

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roody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-22-11 07:10 PM
Response to Original message
1. Seeing animals in captivity breaks my heart.
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Kota Donating Member (658 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-11 10:16 AM
Response to Original message
2. I watched this show last weekend for the first time and had the
same thoughts. The time and patience to start salt water tanks is the key to success.
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X_Digger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-11 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. We have an axiom in this hobby..
"Nothing good ever happens fast."

I've had marine tanks with live rock and live sand take six weeks to completely cycle.. then you add livestock slowly to allow the bacteria populations to catch up.
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Kota Donating Member (658 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-27-11 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. A friend who got me started has had so many crashes.
She gets frustrated that I have success doing nothing. Which isn't true, I add or change and wait. I just lost my yellow tang, he was eight years old. Got caught between rocks.
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X_Digger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-27-11 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. So sorry to hear that.
If you ever want to take a peek inside my tank, click the link in my signature :)
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Kota Donating Member (658 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-29-11 07:02 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. You have an awesome tank!
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get the red out Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-30-11 02:23 PM
Response to Original message
7. Animal Planet has been going to hell for a few years now
Their programming just gets worse and worse. I may be old fashioned but I like my animal programming to actually be about animals, and not just have them as extras (or villains). I'm the boring type that loved "Good Dog U" and shows like that. I'm sure Dogs 101 and Cats 101 can't stay on simply because I like those shows. Blood, guts, and misinformation must be what sells these days.

If they actually had a show about various nice aquariums and what it took to set them up, I would find that very interesting since I don't know a thing about it. I watched an episode of "Tanked" and even from my having a small, fresh water aquarium as a kid I wondered how they were putting those new fish in the new tank so fast without killing them.
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