While Youtube and Facebook along with more traditional online forums have made getting help and information much easier, and arguably more “fun”; it has also allowed for the resurrection of long discredited information/methods to suddenly become popular again.
I think part of this phenomenon is that hobby seems to want to run in ever tightening spirals of repeating poor or downright incorrect information when it comes to social media since it is so driven by popularity.
Additionally, many in these tight circles no longer respect mentors or those who existed even a few years before they got into hobby with their Facebook pages and Youtube channels.
So it seems many are more interested in just being the teacher, while they refuse to learn from others or simply take the time read good research.
I guess it is easier to watch a 10 minute video, and then produce your own and presto, you too are an expert. Actual research that takes the time to read the many good articles such as found on web sites such as Aquarium Answers or Aquarium Article Digest is simply asking too much these days.
Often correct information is interwoven with incorrect information in our social media version of the “telephone game”.
Telephone Game/Chinese Whisper; Definition
Often the term TL;DR is used [too long, didn’t read], which is a poor excuse for lack of education. This often then leads to personal attacks or bans when someone comes along with some experience they do not have with good information to back them up. In the end all these people want is to become the biggest fish keeping YouTube channel or Facebook page, so if anything other than ‘love’ is forthcoming, bans or personal attack are typical.
An example as per the sudden Youtube revival of feeding beef heart. Experience from respected fish keeping author Martin A. Moe & others seems to be, but a foreign language to these people who should know better as the use of beef heart was LONG AGO discredited as a fish food source.
Here is a Quotation from Martin A. Moe:
“Fish are cold blooded and all digestion reactions take place at 70 to 80F, the temp of aquarium water. Thus they may not be able to efficiently digest or use the types of fats present in the flesh of warm blooded animals. They are much better off with the flesh of animals that are similar to their normal prey.”
So BEWARE please do not make this mistake.
Another recent phenomenon is the reemergence of persons, especially in aquascaping circles confusing Planaria with Detritus Worms.
Often these get it half right such as correctly attributing the identification of Planaria, but then applying causes, treatments, and what they feed on to Detritus Worms. Keep in mind that these worms are not even from the same phylum with Detritus worms in the phylum “Annelida” while Planaria are from the phylum “Platyhelminthes”. The only thing in common is they are both from the kingdom “Animalia”, but hey, so are we, so beware if a human suddenly shows up growing in your aquarium pretending to be a worm!!
Ref: Aquarium Planaria; Wiggly Detritus Worms, in Tank Water, on Glass
There’s circle of people who seem to feed on each other without much outside information or any mentoring whatsoever.
These people seem to not be willing to acknowledge there is information beyond what they know and will actually personally attack people in the industry that have more experience in one year than they have had in their combined lifetimes.
The regrettable part of a few of these people is in their lack of practical aquarium keeping experience and failure to truly look beyond their circles. They instead lash out in personal attacks of those with more experience that just try & bring aquarium keeping into the 21st century with subjects, such as aquarium Redox Balance and the importance of lowering oxidative stress in fish.
Instead we suddenly see persons incorrectly being told they need a RO/DI system when all they need is a well designed RO system instead of the lower quality RO/DI systems that will cost more long term. Even then, often all that is needed is just enough RO water to “cut” the tap or well water when used for freshwater applications.
Ref: Use of RO, DI, Softwater in Aquariums
There seems to be a sort of solar system where there’s a tight inner circle of Youtubers and FB groups/forums, which operate while refusing to learn little from outside their circle.
On the outer perimeters, we have vastly more who do attempt to provide quality information and are genuinely trying to help others, while they expand their channels, but still let pride get in their way and will still unfortunately defend the more hateful Youtubers.
This is not to say these channels do not provide correct information, but it is often mixed with incorrect information along with failure to follow simple scientific information and go even a little beyond their small circles and seek input from long term experts in the field of aquarium keeping.
The hook is often many are friends with each other, posting back & forth compliments in each others Youtube videos or FB pages.
There’s examples of people with entertaining channels with excellent presentation, especially when there’s couples as in one entertaining Youtube channel out of Canada. This is an example of this “outer circle” of honest, helpful persons, but also seems to have some real issues in who he wants to associate with and procedure. As well it is obvious this Youtuber has little mechanical aptitude and he reminds me of another aquarium maintenance person that sold herself to my then employer as an experienced aquarium professional, but in reality could not solve most issues that would arise.
There’s further examples of popular Youtube channels, which provide interesting generally very thoughtful information and certainly has a lot of potential for educating others, but yet again still fails to follow scientific method.
Another example of genuine person who clearly wants to help others, but also clearly has little in depth experience, resulting in him mostly just reading off the box.
In a video forwarded to me one time, it was obvious that a stand built was not at all safe, especially here in Southern California.
There’s talk about the AquaClear filter and compares it to others such as the Whisper, not at all knowing how these work and clearly demonstrating any practical long term experience in stating the Whisper/Tetra does not provide bio filtration, which is incorrect.
They also miss that especially in a planted aquarium where bio filtration is less needed, that the Whisper/Tetra actually provides vastly superior mechanical filtration. I should note in my aquarium service, which I use many HOB filters and generally do not promote the Whisper/Tetra [I prefer the newer AAP Tidal HOB filter], I am just pointing out the flaws in these circular reasoning and obvious lack of experience.
Another yet example that many of my colleagues find unfortunate is Aquarium Co-op.
This person has become quite popular for reasons that are beyond me and others in the industry. Although he is very likable and maybe this is why.
His knowledge of fish disease is often very poor with persons being recommended products such as Erythromycin & General Cure for gram negative bacterial infections, and what he sells shows this.
Worse he often copies others work without permission and bashes companies such as ATI Hydro Sponge [now AAP/ATI Hydro Sponge] while promoting Chinese made sponge filters that violated ATI patent rights. He clearly has little hands on experience with their use or he would know that often a coarse sponge is not the best choice, in fact most often the best choice is one of each or a combination of the two such as sold by AAP/ATI Hydro Sponge.
Finally a popular Youtuber who I will name just because she has made rude comments and blocks persons that might know something she does not and that is Rachel O’leary. What is unfortunate is she has a nice educational Youtube channel in so many ways, but it is also obvious she runs in small circles, is “bought and paid for” in these circles, and has little in depth experience as to the “mechanics” of aquarium keeping and CLEARLY has no respect for those who might know something she does not by her actions.
An example is a video she made about the use of Sponge Filters where she claimed the Swiss Tropical was her favorite, but never explained it. Many aquarium professionals already know that these square sponges simply do not have the capacity and are simply not as versatile as the AAP Sponge Filter. I know a mentor told me he made a polite comment as to his vast experience with thousands of these filters over the years and she never allowed this comment among the many ankle licking comments that showed little knowledge of this subject.
Outside of Youtube and Facebook, there are still some forums and websites also putting out bad information
There’s an example of the aquascaping crowd at “The Planted Tank” that will actually recommend a cheap discount/economy Fluval LED over an AAP Aquaray Grobeam. While they seems to be a highly intelligent people that many can learn from, they struggle with some of the of most basic of information by making statements that Aquaray claims to have “magic patented emitters” when in fact TMC makes no such claims. As a user of the AAP Aquaray products, which FAR exceed any Fluval LED, I know what they claim is that the Osram Oslon NP emitters are indeed patented and that they have licensed emitters from specific Cree bins. These emitters simply produce better more usefil spectrums and are more efficient.
Then they make another simple mistake that easily proves the point of efficiency in that if you do the simple math, the AAP Aquaray Grobeam requires much less energy to produce an equal PAR.
Fluval Fresh & Plant 2.0 A3990 which uses 32 watts of input energy with a PAR output about 70 µMol•m²•sec at 400mm which comes out to .46 watt of input energy per point of PAR.
While the 30 Watt AquaRay GroBeam 1500 produces a PAR of about 150 µMol•m²•sec at 400mm using 30 watts input energy which comes out to .20 watt of input energy per point of PAR.
Ref: Aquarium LED Reviews; Fluval LED
There are so many other factors that set these two lights “light years” apart.
In the end they might claim they has no ax to grind, but since in reading many of their posts, I have to rule out that they are this stupid, rather they clearly DO HAVE AN AX TO GRIND, which is unfortunately typical in a small circle within the aquascaping crowd that actually think planaria are detritus worms and vice versa, believe the hype/lies put forth by a popular retailer that a DI unit is needed for their water quality over just a good RO system, and many, many other myths.
Recommended Reading; Common Aquarium Keeping Myths
There are more negative examples, which out of respect of these people and my sources will not mention… with the exception of Dennis Wong [Xiaozhuang Wong] who although clearly is intelligent, instead trolls experts with very personal attacks and failure to learn from the most basic of aquarium keeping history, in particular when it comes to aquarium lighting. Besides Youtube, found in these FB groups: “High Tech Planted Tanks”, “Low Tech Planted Tanks” & “Aquascapers Collective”.
Refs: PUR or RQE, YouTube Video Fail- Guide to lighting a planted tank
PUR, PAS, PAR in Aquarium Reef/Planted Lighting; LED Wavelengths
As with all my posts, I have really little gain other than knowing that people have the best aquarium with the least hassles, with as little expense as possible.
I’m certainly in no place to judge the intentions of the majority of these Youtube, Facebook, forums, etc., but at the same time when I spot information or persons not respecting others in the hobby and industry as I have, I feel it is important that I make such posts.
I also know how extremely invaluable the mentoring I have received and continue to receive, and when I see the more hateful Youtubers attack those who have given so much to this industry and hobby, I will also “cry foul”.
My goal is that some of these persons will learn to reach out and READ, not just watch others Youtube channels or Facebook forum snips.
I think the majority of those who maintain Youtube channels and FB forums have a lot to offer and can offer much more if they simply move away from the haters, read more, respect mentoring, and realize that just maybe, many have come before them that have taken the time to apply scientific method and more to ideas/concepts that were proven to not be the best.