The demise of the army of darkness
Across time stories have been told of the coming of a messiah . The one , who will lead believers , over throw darkness and reinstall the reign of clarity and peace. Is this where we are today ? Have we fallen into such darkness that we need a coming of a metaphysical being to show us the way ? While I certainly don't feel that way and believe I'm currently experiencing the joys of owing a reef tank , this sentiment does not resonate across the broadest spectrum .
If we , as a species are predisposed to loosing our way and in constant need of recalibration how do we know what side of the cycle we currently placed ? Perhaps through our own development and furthering pursuit to understand the natural world of coral reefs , we have unleashed an army of the living dead headed by The Third Right and propelled by the mass exchange of information .
If The Third Right is a reality , who exactly will they be ? I don't picture an organized council who sits , plots and plans the destruction of contemporary reef aquariums , this is absurd . We could be it . The sum total of our collective arrogance and desire for personal , superficial and financial gain , at any cost . I think this was the point at which we went astray . The Founding Members that predate most of us in this hobby , might not have been hobbiest , they were real scientist . Their pursuit was one of understanding . They were focused on nothing other than the ability to maintain reef life in a captive setting . It was a scientific challenge , the reward being the accomplishment .
Generation Two , custodians of The Golden Age . Practices that solved problems , technology that supported function and discussions to further progress . We knew who led us and we followed them , and we were happy . The acceptance of limitations , with no desire to tamper with a working system . But one day a voice came , a young and sweet voice , and spoke . It spoke of excessive heat emission , unsustainable cost , high draw wattage and a lack of computer driven operation . This voice spoke of a new age , an age in which technology would bring the greatest elements of the natural world into our captive systems . This voice and its partners started opening our eyes to the soulless structures we were staring into , it made us an offering , that if we were to leave our ways and follow them we could experience a better joy . The Third Right , they delivered none of that , but usurped control and led us into such a time of darkness that for a while I had even forgotten what light felt like .
The Third Right is a highly intelligent operating platform . It evolves , constantly taking on new form , a shape shifter that passes right through and resides within all of us . As The Third Right came to power , a small group of forward thinkers emerged , The Originals . They paved the way with new insights and practices , formalized and solidified the purpose of controlled methodology , but alas , were slowed down by the unstoppable force The Third Right had unleashed , evolution through natural stupidity . Had we been listening more carefully , had we taken the time to respect the principles of observation and paid respect to the scientific method , we might have learnt something from the Originals , but we were lost . The numbers of the Second Generation were declining , for every one , that left the path of reef - keeping , a hundred Third Right members replaced them . The culture has changed , those that remembered the golden age had disappeared and The Third Right had finally reached at state of present equilibrium . Once again ' joy ' had returned and people loved their reef tanks , well most of them .
For me it's been a strange turn . At the end of the golden age I had committed myself to solitude , I lived in a lab for 4 years , sat on a staircase for a further 3 and for the past 3 years I've been thinking under a tree , the very tree I find myself under today. I'm not sure what my message is , if I even have one , but I sense the time has once more arrived for change . The world over , there are reef keepers that are asking the same questions I am , like where have all the big corals gone , with high fish loads , systems that are robust and able to outgrow the physical limits of the glass structure . Then there are those enjoying there tiny splinter frags , growing 1mm a month , swearing by the methods they employ , praising the power of their ideologies , completely def , dumb and blind to the watered nature of their results .
Brothers and sisters , I'm not a man to invoke dispute or to stir trouble , but I feel we must rally an army ourselves , we must set the destructive forces of STN and RTN alight , burn them and forever rid our aquariums of the destruction they bring . We must unify , stand together under the flag of scientific protocol and dislodge arrogance as this fuels the infested nests of havoc . We should create consciousness of truth and reinstall mechanisms that prevent the permeation of unjustified grandeur . We can establish a new era , built upon the ruins of a system that has failed us and a solid foundation that was laid down by our noble predecessors . Either way , I am fully committed to a colorful aquarium teeming with life , that is diverse , dense .
Journey across the carbon ocean :
Ten years I sailed across a carbon dosed ocean . Below , waters , thick with bacterial plancton , protist and protozoa . Coral rubble the only substrate I could imagine , fields of coral skeletons . It was a journey that stretched so long , that I had forgotten what I was trying to do .
Across this ocean , weathered storms of global rescissions , waves of family members and friends suddenly taken away , including both parents and an uncle , who was first to introduce me to a marine tank and the battling of cancer by my children's mother . I needed direction and to revisit my plan . Stranded on an ocean , alone and isolated .
With digital light piecing my eyes , the truth struck me one morning , with reefs bleached and dying , subsided conditions above , allowed me to remember . I recalled the strength of clarity , the empowering sense of purpose . The final obstacle was to except that I had taken a journey that amounted , to much at all . Self forgiveness can seem insurmountable but this is the quay to progress.
Returning to the shores from where I had once set sail , a coast line sculptured with high output lighting as Metal Halides and T5 , jet stream flow with rapid random switching , average sized protein skimmers , self flushing negative Mv bacterial reactors , ato with kalk and calcium reactors , slow drip activated carbon and GFH , uv and 03 . Sun kissed hills of corse particle aragonite waiting periodic replacement , these are lands of joy and I returned home , where it was ultimately best for me !
While wide angle , high flow , dc pumps traveling short distances per minute continue to dump skeletal remains on my island of hope , growth and colour
, I seem to ask my brothers and sisters out there , why ? But this is not my fight nor my challenge . At best I can only be a non LED light to myself , and then too , only a small light. I find joy once more , in the experience of rapid tissue attachment , needed fragmentation , to prevent over blossoming , not as a final , dispirit attempt , to salvage something once beautiful.
But where to from here ? Everyday since writing these pieces I've been receiving calls from all around the world , literally , they are like flares above the dark ocean , I see the masks of those ships optically bent over the horizon , traveling full steams ahead , to meet me here . I will make provision and prepare for your arrival . We will be happy and progress .
There is still much work to do . Strip away super- hetratrophs , allow for the colonization of standard function bacteria , reinstate a required amount of inorganic nitrates and phosphates , allow enough time for this to happen and brothers and sisters above all else , believe in yourselves . Plug out from tidal effects of unsupported information that drone your mind , the vertigo induced comas of a culture that must fall . I will hold your hand , I'm small , but I care .
A new period must start . Aquariums built with species of fish , that have never felt the pain of leaving their natural environment , imports of corals that we can guarantee will thrive once they are placed into their awaiting captive homes , traded fragments that are not smashed ocean imports , but rather , excessive growth distributed . We must work together to not only populate our aquariums with the diversity of natural reefs but work towards the repopulation of wild reef environments , because only at that stage can we justify our hobby.