More About the Author
The diversity of life has always fascinated me; but the systematics of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians was blown away by the expansiveness and degree of unknown of the fishes. Few people had "companion animals" overseas, but many friends had bowls and aquariums with goldfish, guppies and other tropicals.
I was born in Rhode Island, the smallest State of the U.S. but grew up in the orient as my father was career military. We had very few jobs "on base" for the "dependents" but I was fortunate to secure employment at a fish store that was associated with a restaurant in downtown Sasebo. Other vainglorious work overseas includes two years working for a Betta culture business, collecting and processing marines in Manila.Back to the U.S. in the late sixties I stuck to the trade as a retail clerk, a livestock wholesale worker (for Pratt's in San Diego), and eventually formed an aquarium service business with a school friend. This business cycled larger and smaller, and supported me all through college and beyond. It eventually became an employee-owned corporation with aquaristic retail outlets, fabrication (principally large acrylic systems), water feature construction, manufacturing and distribution divisions. Subsequent to the tax law changes, water-shortage "scare", and general decline in the California and U.S. economy in the late eighties these businesses were sold and liquidated. I worked for three years as a consultant and buyer for the mass-merchandiser PetCo in their bid to upgrade their stores, incorporating livestock.
Is there a difference between what you do for money and for a living? Not me. Nowadays I write articles and books for the diving/underwater natural history and ornamental aquatics interests, and manage my rentals and securities. I browse the electronic bulletin boards to "chat" with others daily, and often travel, to go "hashing" (sort of running), writing and photographing with friends around the world.
Have been an avid hobbyist since first memories. Active in the local SDTFS from the sixties; helped in development of all three goldfish/koi clubs in San Diego. At times more active in scientific (AVMA, IAAAM, ASIH) and industry professional/business associations.
Have many wonderful friends in the hobby, trade and science of aquatics, and dearly enjoy my involvement; it is my life's work and passion. A/The central thread to everything I have attempted in writing, presentation or action in the interest has been/is "to enhance peoples love of their own lives through an appreciation of the living world". I see the hobby/business evolving, much like and approaching western Europe, with a real interest in biotopes, the underlying science, understanding the technologies employed... This is an era of consumer awareness; there are less aquarists, but more conscientious ones that are becoming more aware and demanding value. I look forward to the availability of many more species of tank-raised marines, real aquatic plants, and ready, inexpensive access to useful information and graphics.
Robert (Bob) Fenner is a content provider to the pet-fish (ornamental) aquatics hobby and trade, dive/travel adventure and underwater natural history genres; writing, photography and videography. Though retired since 1994, he continues to produce in this field as well as consult on aquaculture and public aquarium installations.
Bob has "lived" the science, hobby and business of aquatics in the Philippines, Japan and United States. All phases; collector, wholesale, jobber, retail, design, construction and maintenance. All levels; manager, owner, hatchery worker, retail clerk, technician. Except for a stint teaching high school sciences for four years, he has worked all his life in the field of ornamental aquatics.
Academic experience includes fifteen years of college, a couple of life science degrees and a teaching credential for chemistry, physics and biology. Published works include several studies on aquatic biological and chemical questions, and an extensive book and article publishing (helped author a few books, The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, Fishwatcher's Guide to the Tropical Marine Aquarium Fishes of the World, Natural Marine Aquariums Reef Invertebrates...) and photographic background in aquatic industry and hobby fields. Have taught High School sciences and Marine Sciences and Aquariology courses at the State University, University of California levels.
Bob has been an avid aquatic hobbyist since day one and is active in hobbyist and scientific organizations. He has served on numerous Boards, judged shows and given many programs.
Helped form and run (President) of the employee-owned corporation, Nature Etc., Inc. in San Diego, started in 1973; a turn-key operation in the field of ornamental aquatics, designing and building ponds, lakes, fountains and waterfalls (Aquatic Environments), designing, installing custom aquarium systems and maintenance (Aquatic Life Services), and operating retail outlets (Wet Pets).... currently does consulting, content provision to the trade, sciences and hobby of aquaristics.
Topics for presentation to hobbyist groups include subjects in system design, construction, set-up; livestock selection, collection, acclimation, health, nutrition, travelogues to many countries, photography, videography, making money in the interest.