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Expert?

    Who is an expert?  Do they have a degree?  Do they have years of experience?  What is so special about them?  Do they know more than others?  What does it take to become an expert aquarist?
    My answer is that most fish keepers think of themselves as experts, no matter how long they have had fish.  But who is really an expert?  Well, lets put it this way.  If all experts have studied for years and know as much about fish keeping as is possible, why is it they all disagree on many of the important parts of keeping those fish?  Water changes, salt, pH levels, what kind of water, filtration, purification, etc. to uese. 
    First I will talk about the internet.  What is a good website to learn about fish keeping?  Not this one, that's for sure.  Why?  The only way to learn how to keep fish is to try it.  It takes a few dead fish, but you learn.  Don't tell the animal rights people. :)  Websites do something important.  They give you the ability to find out how people keep their tanks so you might prevent some of those dead fish.  But no one website is going to teach you everything.  That comes with experience.
    So who do I think is an expert?  I don't think age, years of fish keeping, how many fish stores you work in, or even biology degrees make an expert.  I think the true expert should be able to admit that they don't know why a fish tank works.  They should admit that every fish keeper is different, and there are many different methods of keeping a fish tank healthy.  That doesn't mean they should change their method.  It just means that a true expert will not complain too much when they find out somebody does 50% water changes every week, or never changes their water.  The true expert doesn't ignore such things, they learn from them.  And learning is what makes an expert.
    My opinion is, anybody claiming to be an expert should be distrusted.  When you read the great works of the "experts", you should not assume that they are right.  Too many people hear things from doctors, lawyers, and scientists, and they think they should believe what they say.

Copyright 2005