I will be posting my asked for credentials here shortly, but wanted to address the last post...
Not all fish eat vegetable matter. Some fish are strictly carnivore, some strictly herbivore, and some qualify as omnivore. A betta's natural diet is primarily carnivorous. If left to seek food on their own, plant matter is not something they seek out.
Although I should not have to do this, I will. And before I begin listing my credentials, I have to ask first, what are your credentials?
I also have to say, I was instructed some time ago here on the forum not to be listing my credentials in posts because it was seen as “tooting my own horn.” I need to make sure that everyone is well aware that I am only doing this because the question was put to me directly, and done so by a former mod. If anyone has issues with this, then I will suggest taking it up with the administrator, and not here on the open forum.
With that said, I will start out by saying that I do not have a college degree. However, the people I have trained under DO have college degrees, and that includes my husband. I also have all of my husband’s college text books here, not just any book off of a store shelf. I also have 10+ yrs of personal experience, seminar attendance, experiments, & research since my training began, and about 13 yrs of personal experience & research before the formal training.*Just to be sure everything here is clarified, I am going to list the credentials of the people who trained and schooled me…
Joe Olenik: Besides his B.S. in Aquatic Biology (UWM 1978), Joe has attended Dr. Gratzek's Fish Disease Workshop at the University of Georgia in 1985, has had involvement in Tetra University, has been invited to speak at the Backer Show many times, had lived overseas for 17 years and collected & kept a wide variety of herps (reptiles/amphibians), insects, and fish that were native to local areas. Joe continues to attend seminars and training classes even today. Joe has been an avid fish keeper for over 35 yrs. Joe's former job experience as store manager at Docket Pet Center from 1978 - 1980 and store manager/regional supervisor of Animal Crackers from 1997 - 1999 only add to his expertise.
*Luann Melbey: Bachelor's of Science in Biology (UWM 1993) State board certified vet tech. (July 1994) and experience at Animal Emergency Center as well as private practice vet clinics. Luann is currently the manager at a lfs.
Jeff Michels: A 4 year degree in Biology/Chemistry/Business Ed and was Fish room Manager for 5 years along with Milwaukee Aquarium Society Breeder Award Chairperson for 3 years and President for 2 years. Jeff currently runs his own business and has his own fish room where he breeds, studies, and sells aquatic animals.
Rob Moneyhan: a B.A. in Aquatic Ecology and Spanish, job experience with the DNR Fish Hatchery in the state of Michigan, and courses in Animal Physiology, Ecology Theory & Methods, Limnology, Comparative Anatomy, Invertebrate Zoology, Ichthyology, Algology, Organic Chemistry, Physics, and many other courses over his 6 years in college. To add to his list of knowledge and experience, Rob also specializes in aquarium lighting & design, and is the person responsible for designing the salt water tide pool at Hoffer's Tropic Life Pets. Rob also spent some time living in Australia where he tried his hand with some lizard keeping to add to his many skills. Rob also served for 2 yrs as the chairman of the Milwaukee Aquarium Society's B.A.P. (Breeder Award Program) Rob is currently the lead tech support for AllGlass Aquariums, Oceanic, Kent Marine, Aqueon, Zilla Products, and other companies that have merged to form one giant company, now called Central Aquatics.*
There have been others who participated in my training and learning, helped with my research, etc. over the years. The list would be too long to put them all here, but included are DVM's (licensed vets), breeders, distributors, chemists, zoologists, and various long term hobbyists from around the country. The above listed people were the primary sources of my education, along with 10+ yrs of independent study during my formal training.
My current job is as an independent aquatics specialist & nutritionist, and I continue with my studies, experiments, and research all the time. I also breed, raise, and sell aquatic animals, reptiles, and amphibians. I quit my last job because I couldn't handle the "business decisions" being made in favor of customers instead of the animals best interests.
Before I end, I would like to point out something my husband made mention of when I showed him this post. Rather than trying to explain it in my own words, I am going to quote him directly.*(with his permission, of course)
"If that is his stance, then herefishy has to discredit 95% of all “experts” in the aquarium industry and hobby including authors of books and himself most likely. With what he is saying, he would have to take the stance of “I will not believe one way or another that peas will or will not have any harmful or beneficial effects on Bettas unless it has been thoroughly studied under laboratory conditions”. He in essence contradicts some of his own statements in the past. Very few of the proclaimed “betta experts” have a formal university level education in the subject, in fact, very few of the fish and invert “experts” have formal educations in the immediate subject. They are hobbyists that have received the training to make educated hypothesis. Nothing can be considered a “Scientific Law” unless extensive testing and retesting by multiple scientists who get the same results, is concluded. There is likewise no scientific evidence that peas are good for bettas, either, according to herefishy.You have been educated by people who do have a formal education in the field and the scientific process and are qualified to make such hypothesis. No one can say 100% for sure that peas are the cause of death, but by reviewing evidence and thru personal experience it can be “hypothesized” that it is the most likely cause. Without a necropsy on a freshly deceased betta suspected of dying from eating peas there is no 100% way to know the cause. If you look at things, over 99% of all decisions on health, husbandry, compatibility, diet, and other aquarium related aspects are made by hobbyists that do not have formal university education in the field of Aquatic Biology, but have had lots of experience and have a knack for observation and common sense.This guy and a lot of other people in this nation and the world probably don’t have the luxury of having pet stores that employ people with university degrees (scientific background). There are few stores that do. We know what we have here and being of that caliber also know of a few others around the nation.We can send him credentials until we are blue in the face, but I doubt he will accept anything we tell him. His response will most likely be “that is what you say, but can you prove it” which I am not copying any of my college transcripts to send to anyone. They can be falsified by someone and used or my information can be used for identity theft.We can state qualifications, but the best response would be to state that anyone can go back and look at your posts and the responses to them to see what your expertise is.
If he wants qualifications, Joe has a 4 year degree in General Biology (course work unknown) and Ecology, has been in the industry for almost 30 years, Jeff Michels with a 4 year degree in Biology/Chemistry/Business Ed and Fishroom Manager for 5 years along with Milwaukee Aquairum Society Breeder Award Chairperson for 3 years and President for 2 years, Luann is a Vet Tech (4 year Biology I believe).
I have a 6 year degree in Aquatic Ecology with relevant aquatic course work in the studies of Limnology, Algology, Ichthyology, Fisheries Management, Ecological Methodology, Comparative Anatomy, Invertebrate Zoology, Animal Physiology, Ecological Animal Physiology, Genetics, Chemistry, Physics, etc and even my Senior year of High School I took an Advanced Placement curriculum of Aquatic Biology for my science elective. Then a year with the Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division Salmon/Trout hatchery, 9 years in a high end pet store as a fishroom manager and store Pathologist, 2 years as Milwaukee Aquarium Society Breeder Award Chairperson, and 2 years as Lead Tech Support for a major manufacturer of freshwater/saltwater Aquarium and reptile products.
Then you learning from all of this combined experience. Just because you yourself were not enrolled in college doesn’t mean you have not received an education of a higher level. I wouldn’t give a plug nickel for someone with “book smarts” compared to someone who has had practical experience. A degree is just a mark on a piece of paper and not necessarily worth squat."
I forgot to mention that over the past 6 yrs I have performed and participated in a number of successful fish surgeries, and have experience with anesthesiology in fish. (putting them to sleep for surgery and then waking them back up after the procedure is complete)
Credentials aside, I'd rather take advice from bettababy who is able to give it in a respectful manner, and support her findings with facts. I've not had as positive an experience with others, and whether they are right or not, they do more harm than good by failing to be good ambassadors.
Thanks for being a good ambassador for fishkeepers, bettababy.
What Ashkat says is true, when people are on forums I think they have a tendency to be a bit rude or disrespectful when they disagree with someone, and this creates a less than welcome environment. Even if Herefishy was not trying to be rude, it did appear that way because of the wording he or she chose.
This is why I was careful when asking for Herefishy's credentials to clarify that I was not trying to pick a fight, but was simply asking a question. We should all be very careful what we choose to write because we could end up coming off in a way that we didn't intend.
Also I think it's important to remember that we don't know what's going on in the lives of others, for example the passing of BettaBaby's loved one, and I know that none of us wants to cause extra aggravation at an already difficult time in their lives because they feel that they have been insulted.
I wish that the thread had not taken a confrontational turn, but I believed that BettaBaby's advice was sound before I knew her credentials and now that I know them I am even more convinced. I think that it is important info for betta owners to know so that they can make a decision that they are happy with.
I think that it is important info for betta owners to know so that they can make a decision that they are happy with.
definately. information seems to basically be the purpose of this forum, so it would make sense to post bettababy's knowledge.
i really wish icould ahve gotten ahold of some daphina, but i was unable to find it in stores near my house. i currently cant drive, so i couldnt get to petsmart. i resorted to the pea because my fish hadnt gone in liek a week and i was running out of options.
although, tomorrow, i'm going with a friend to another pet store and im really hoping to find some.
It never made much sense to me when people said to feed betta's something I didn't think they'd be able to digest. I figured maybe the roughage would pass through but I also thought "Maybe this will just clog them up more." I've rescued so many animals over the years- after a while, and after meeting & befriending so many people who work with animals in such a variety of fields, I really believe that a formal college education can mean squat over someone who cares, has some common sense, and ownership experience. I've had great vets tell me that sometimes the college educated vet techs are far worse than the ones who have been led to the position through more worldly means. -Like the ones that were shelter owners that just started assisting the vets, to keep costs down, and eventually got a job out of it. Or sometimes they were just interested people who got a desk job there and moved up because they had such a knack for doing things right.
Then one example would be that I know a guy who worked in a Zoo, taking care of all their reptiles- He keeps trying to convince me that it's okay to feed these gigantic cockroaches to my beaded dragons even though everything I've ever heard from a herp rescuer or breeder says that they've had beardies become parallelized, (or know someone who has had first hand experience with it,) from over sized food trying to pass through their digestive tract and putting pressure on their spine. In my mind, it's a no brainer: He has an education and credentials, but does that mean he knows about, or believes, that specific problem? No, not in the least. So I'm going to stick with the advice from the people who have the experience with it. Even if it's a small risk, why take the risk? There's other stuff out there that's damn good and isn't in question. Besides, I've seen some Zoo's with really crappy conditions and husbandry practices.
There's a product sold in petsores as "safe" substrate for Bearded Dragons; crushed walnut shells. There's a picture of a Bearded Dragon right on the package and it says, right on it, that they can pass it safely through their digestive tract. Most experienced bearded dragon owners will tell you that it will kill them. It killed mine; before there was much info out there on it I read the packaging and believed it over my common sense. Sure enough though, it scraped up her intestinal wall over 2 years and slowly killed her. The scraping damage made it hard for her to absorb anything and she finally got clogged up. It's the last time I believed pet packaging. I don't need more than one necropsy to know it's a risk, I got one done for mine and it was plain as day. At least now there is more evidence- It took a while; because in most cases it takes an owner wanting to pay extra after their pet is already dead, and that doesn't usually happen, but vets are finally starting to publish their findings on the matter. How many have to die for it to become true enough for most caring owners? Not hundreds I would hope. Do they really need to do a full blown scientific study on the digestive tract of Bearded Dragons and Walnut Shells? It makes sense enough that it's a problem, and even if it's only happened to a few, that's honestly more than enough for me if something just isn't necessary.
Ferrets are also known to get clogged up because they're strict carnivores but people think they need to feed them fibrous foods because people need fiber. I'll never get that either.
I truly understand why someone would fully want to understand something, I'm just rambling my thoughts out, if I sounded rude anywhere it wasn't my intent. I really do just end up rambling alot on things that connect in my mind but may end up having no real point.
Melora - I had the same experience with a snake, the pet store said to use crushed walnut shells as a substrate because it was digestable, but it caused a blockage in Merlin and he had to have surgery. I did some research of my own and found out that pine shavings are best because snakes are not tempted to eat it plus they can burrow without getting scraped up.
That's why I love these forums, no telling how many disasters have been averted because experienced animal keepers can share info.