When you first started in the aquarium hobby, do you remember being told stuff like how you have to quarantine fishes? Or did you learn of the practice through necessity and heartache?
I have had a few discussion with both vendors and hobbyists of late where the topic of quarantine, responsibility, and "best practices" in the hobby came up. I've had a few hobbyists really attempt to make the case that it's solely the vendor's responsibility to only offer up healthy fishes that have been pre-quarantined, thus "relieving" the hobbyist of any responsibility- or, as many would say, the 'burden" of having to quarantine their new fishes themselves.
I think that, in all honesty, the practice of quarantine goes against some of our "modern" thought processes and philosophies about how a "hobby" should work..I've literally had hobbyists, when I implored them to quarantine, tell me stuff like, "Well, if that's what you have to do every time you get a fish, than I don't want an aquarium.." Or, "This is supposed to be FUN!"
Stuff like that and the "instant gratification" mindset is hard to overcome, particularly in the new generation of "serious" hobbyists, who often have no previous fish experience of any kind before jumping in with a sophisticated tank (not a problem- just a fact in some cases)...And with tons of pics of amazing tankss on social media all day long, and all of the high tech gadgetry and products promising that awesome systems are within anyone's grasp, it's no wonder why these kinds of attitudes arise. "We want what we want and we want it now!"...And a quarantine process slows that "mission" down, which, for all I know, might be enough for some "NewGen" hobbyists to lose interest in the hobby, silly as that may sound.
And we think that every vendor is somehow quarantining each fish or looking out for our best interests...it's a fallicy- even with the best vendors, in most facilities/instances, it's simply not feasible to quarantine every animal before shipping it to the consumer. Nor is it fair to place that responsibility on the vendor or LFS.
I cringe every time someone shows me a "business plan" that states that quarantining new fishes, plants and corals is part of the process...That's a great idea, but it's the wrong approach, IMHO. It just never works in an efficient and economical way. Sure, a vendor should make an effort to obtain quality, healthy fishes,plants, and corals, and maybe do some prophylactic care or a brief initial observation before putting a fish up for sale. However, IMHO, it's far better for a vendor to sell quarantine setups to each customer and show 'em how it's done. "Give a man a fish...."
In fact, personal responsibility for animal well-being is what is needed-part of the game...With an awareness of the potential problems caused by introducing fishes, plants and inverts that have not been quarantined, the need to embrace this process should be obvious to even the most "twitterized" Millenial "NewGen" hobbyist!
If this is a "barrier to entry"- a roadblock that weeds out the "unworthy" or the impatient, who would rather recklessly endanger the lives of healthy animals before following a proper and beneficial practice- then so be it!
It sounds harsh, but we simply need to make personal responsibility for the animals that we keep a huge, important part of the hobby. Most successful hobbyists do, but there is a small percentage that simply don't- and WON'T- accept this as part of the game. It's tragic, too, because it's not too hard to embrace such practice- and the benefits are SO significant that it would be glaringly obvious to even the most attention-deficit-afflicted hobbyist.
So, next time someone asks you that fateful question, "What's involved in keeping an aquarium?" don't forget to use that concise, one word answer within your explanation.
It goes with the territory.
Something to think about.
Stay firm. Stay dedicated.