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What is the most dangerous creature on Earth?

Posted By: Danio Man <kennethb@cisunix.unh.edu>
Date: Tuesday, 18 July 2000, at 3:34 p.m.


A reading for new fishkeepers from the annals of a "well-meaning moron"

We have all encountered the human variety designated as "moron." In fact, we are exposed to one of these creatures in nearly every facet of life. For example, these meetings can occur while being waited on at a service counter, while waiting in a queue, during a telephone inquiry, in the workplace, or even at home (believe it or not!). However, one guaranteed place to encounter the "moron" is while driving. It seems as though one cannot make it through a single automobile-bound journey without encountering one. Usually, the traits of this particular variety are entirely self-serving. That is, they will cut you off, tailgate, slow down in front of you, or swerve wildly while engaging in some other activity (e.g. talking on cellular phone or applying cosmetics). However, there is a type of moron (that results from a genetic mutation) that can be found that is not as self-serving. This is the "well-meaning moron." This is the type that will engage in absolutely mind-blowing behavior under the pretense of doing some good. That is, they seem to lose all sense of logic, and concern for safety, in order to engage in some activity that they believe will benefit humanity. For instance, the person who gets out of their car on the freeway and walks in the path of traffic to remove a piece of debris. Granted, this action has some benefits, but the potential costs far outweigh them.

At this point, you may be asking yourself "So what does this have to do with fishkeeping?" However, if you are, you are probably new to the art of caring for and keeping our aquatic friends. Other, more seasoned, fishkeepers are likely displaying a slight grin, coupled with a vertical head bob, while saying to themselves "Boy, can I relate to that." Still not with me? Well, have a go at the following questions:

1. Have you ever purchased fish that did not look too well at the fish store because you were convinced that you could make them better?

2. Have you ever overstocked your tank because you felt sorry for some fish at the store that looked bored?

3. Have you ever jacked your ammonia levels up by overfeeding because the little guys really looked hungry and you felt sorry for them?

If you answered in the affirmative to any of these questions, then you may just be a "well-meaning moron" like me. Granted, you may not be one of these types in all aspects of life. That is, we "well-meaning morons" do have the capacity to learn from mistakes. Thus, we make fairly rational decisions in those areas of life that we have previously shown "well-meaning moron" behaviors and have suffered consequences. However, this capacity to learn seems situation specific. That is, the learning does not generalize to other situations and most definitely not to novel ones.

Still wondering what this has to do with fishkeeping? If so, you are too far gone to benefit from this. If you are still with me, then you, most certainly, have the "well-meaning moron" mutation. If you are concerned that you are a "well-meaning moron," then remember that there is hope. That hope is your innate capacity to learn from the mistakes of other "well-meaning morons." Thus, when someone offers any of the following advice:

1. Don't put sensitive fish into a cycling tank. LISTEN! 2. Don't overstock your tank. LISTEN! 3. Don't overfeed your fish. LISTEN! 4. Don't purchase fish that have little white spots all over them, even if you feel sorry for them. LISTEN!

I think you get the message. If not, then YOU WILL, the hard way. When you find yourself out of bed in the middle of the night doing the fourth water change of the day, testing water and adding medication you will understand entirely. The moral of the story: LISTEN!

So, who is the most dangerous creature on the planet? Well, when it comes to the health and happiness of your little finned friends, it is the "well-meaning moron."

Danio Man "You can have my Danio when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers."

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