Posted: October 7, 2013, 12:10 p.m. EDT
By Patrick Donston
We just finished a few new exhibits in the shop. I think it is important to follow an exhibit protocol with display aquariums. I have been in shops where the display tanks are just plain awful, which makes me think about the money and time wasted on poorly marketed items.
I am sure when the display was originally set up it served its purpose well. The problem occurs when aquarium upkeep, overall health and appearance degrade with time. That is, unless a sound protocol of systems/husbandry is implemented.
Protocol for a healthy looking exhibit should include:
o A plan of action
o A theme i.e.: region, live planted, marine reef, FOWLR, etc.
o Checks and balances
o Animal/Organism welfare (as defined below)
Animal welfare is the freedom of hunger, discomfort, disease, behavioral restriction and mental suffering.
It's important to maintain an aquarium's overall health. iStock/Thinkstock
Always delegate an individual to be responsible; preferably the one who puts forth the plan in writing. The responsible aquarist will be required to lobby the display’s wants and needs to a manager/owner. If approved, the requested animal or equipment may be used - more commonly known as a system of checks and balances. An interested employee should submit a "plan of action.” This plan must clearly define the role or theme of the exhibit. A list of equipment and livestock wishes, as well as a husbandry plan in conjunction with record keeping logs, are required as part of the plan. The plan of action is then to be reviewed by management, debated, altered or accepted.
When a display is set up properly and maintained, it should galvanize the desire in your guests to replicate that exact exhibit at home.
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