When you rush in this hobby, things go wrong — really wrong. This is evident in the news that one shark is dead and another wounded in a fiasco for the Animal Planet‘s Tanked team at a Coney Island, New York, Applebee’s. The ATM team was hired the team to do a themed installation for the restaurant and in typical fashion, they unveiled a fully stocked tank and shortly after, mayhem ensued.
A blacktip shark was removed from the 20-foot, 5,000-gallon aquarium installed by the Tanked team that contained replicas of iconic Coney Island boardwalk rides for devouring three Lookdown fish in front of employees and the Tanked film crew. Later that day a Whitetip died after colliding with a three-foot replica of the Wonder Wheel.
The restaurant owner was even quoted in the article in the New York Daily News saying the sharks “were in shock. We moved them in too quickly. They went from being in an ocean to being in a tank. They were all disoriented.”
This quote speaks volumes. The quick stocking of the tank to be able to meet a deadline for a restaurant opening or an on-screen reveal is a recipe for disaster. Even with an expert on hand 24/7, there are bound to be issues and struggles that come up that could easily be circumvented with a slow and steady stocking approach.
This disturbing story has so many lessons on what not to do, reiterating the need for more responsibility from experts in the hobby. The main lesson is the speed factor in installing and stocking tanks like this goes against everything we tell new hobbyists. In order to get the biggest impact to make compelling TV, the tank was most likely filled and fully stocked in a short period of time.
This is the trouble when you have a client without the background and training with demands and a copious amount of money dictating the what and when of the system instead of the experts. Going for a tank full of sharks for the “Ahhhhh!” factor over responsible tank stocking is deplorable — especially when doing a tank to attract customers.
There are many other awesome fish that will capture customers’ attention without bringing in fish that grow up to 1.5 meters in the wild. We need to do our best to educate clients on responsible and practical fish to keep in systems, regardless of the size of the tank.
We appreciate more exposure for the hobby from shows like this along with some pretty interesting tanks. However, shows like this need to do their part to show some responsibility. You want drama for your show? How about standing up to your client and telling them what they are NOT going to get and why. Then with a big grin and telling them “trust me, we’ll blow you away” surprise them with a tank that is responsible and stunning.
You, Mr. Aquarium Expert, know more about the beauty in the ocean than these people. Bring your knowledge to the table to deliver beyond expectations. A slower and responsible stocking strategy will help establish long-term success for the installation and allow your client to become more involved with the process.
Honestly, we are surprised this hasn’t been publicised before and hope this serves as a wake-up call for these types of shows to be more responsible.
[via New York Daily News]