[Announcement]: Ceph Care Ethics

Discussion in 'Ceph Care Ethics' started by tonmo, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. tonmo

    tonmo Titanites Staff Member Webmaster Moderator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2000
    Messages:
    8,737
    Likes Received:
    512
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Hi everyone,

    I want to alert you to a work-in-progress, but first let me address the many newcomers to TONMO.com! The recent Colossal Squid discoveries and news have made TONMO.com a highly trafficked site -- well, moreso than before. So, I'd like to introduce myself to all the new visitors and to people who don't know me:

    I am the Webmaster of TONMO.com, but I am not a cephalopod expert. Everything I know I've learned from all the people who post on TONMO.com, I've read a couple of books, and I've done some amount of Web surfing. I've seen a few at aquariums, much to my delight, but I've never touched one or studied a specimen. I am not a marine biologist by any stretch, and I've never owned a fish tank (saltwater or fresh). I simply think octopuses, squid, cuttlefish and nautilus (and their fossilized ancestors) are extremely interesting (to put it mildly).

    That is why I have a team of volunteer staff to help out! By far, Dr. Steve O'Shea is the most renown member of our staff (with no offense to any of our other staff members!) Dr. O'Shea is on a very short list of world cephalopod experts. When a giant or colossal squid is caught or recovered, he is among the first people contacted, and it would seem that more often than not, he performs the autopsy. You've probably seen him on the Discovery Channel, and have read his quotes whenever the newswires pick up a story on giant or colossal squid.

    Giant cephalopods aside, TONMO.com is very much about cephalopod care. We have experts in the field of ceph care, who have deep knowledge on what it takes to safely and ethically care for an octopus. That is the focus of this post. Based on what I've learned from our staff and other members of our community, it is my belief that ceph care ethics can broken down into a few categories. The work in progress that I mention above is the effort being pulled together by TONMO.com staff to identify the right answers and parameters for keeping cephalopods. These are the areas under consideration:

    1) Species: Which species are appropriate for being kept in the home for qualified tank owners?

    2) Acquisition / wild-caught: how is the ceph retreived from its natural habitat? Is there a supported / preferred wild-caught method? Which methods (e.g., cyanide) are not supported?

    3) Captive-breeding: what are the appropriate parameters for breeding cephalopods?

    4) Handling: how is the ceph transported? What are the best practices?

    5) Retail: how do LFS represent these animals? How can we, as a community, help improve the knowledgebase and care methodologies within the store, and at the point-of-sale (e.g., the TONMO.com flyer concept, a certification program)? If you see an LFS selling x, or promoting y, or advocating z, voice your objection / offer education.

    6) In-home care: Per species, what are the proper tank specifications? A matrix is needed which identifies recommended specs per species or family. Also, what is considered proper / improper interactive behavior? e.g., "never try to make your cephalopod ink. do not tug on their arms. do not mix them with the following species:" etc.)

    There may be other categories to consider -- again, I am no expert, but I recognize this as an important initiative. Because this is a community and we have many experts who visit TONMO.com, I wanted to share with you our ambition to set these parameters in the most appropriate and responsible way we can imagine. As ever, the primary focus is the health and well-being of the cephalopod.

    Any thoughts or input is welcomed as these "statements" are defined. Thank you!
     
  2. sorseress

    sorseress Colossal Squid Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Messages:
    3,026
    Likes Received:
    1
    Great idea!
     
  3. erich orser

    erich orser Architeuthis Supporter Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2004
    Messages:
    1,632
    Likes Received:
    0
    Nice posting, Tony. Especially right now during a Tonmo.com visitors upsurge.
     
  4. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,077
    Likes Received:
    1,123
    Location:
    Gainesville, GA USA
    Tony,
    How about a positive Tank Mates and Fauna subtopic. Posting what not to do is always warranted but posting what TO DO is often more helpful, especially during initial tank setup. This might include recommended hardware as well if any members have found specific hardware that is easier to octo proof.
     
  5. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,642
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ceph Care?
     
  6. tonmo

    tonmo Titanites Staff Member Webmaster Moderator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2000
    Messages:
    8,737
    Likes Received:
    512
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Thanks D -- I appreciate the input.

    Regarding hardware, I'd think the Tank Talk forum would be good for this? To your point, there may be an opportunity for sub-forums under our top-level categories. Tank Mates is a good one, I think.
     
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    Messages:
    5,584
    Likes Received:
    71
    Location:
    Dallas Texas
    We've stayed away from recommending specific bands of equipment (hardware). There is no one ideal set-up and a lot depends on your budget, space, experience, etc. New hardware is coming out all the time, and a would-be ceph keeper should visit an LFS to start with, and then do some reading.

    We tell people what they need in general and they are welcome to ask questions (does anyone have this?) or search for a specific brand. We are always discussing specific protein skimmers, tanks, etc. In Tank Talk, there is a thread (sticky), where people list what they have and how much it cost, which could be used as a model.

    We will be looking at all Ceph Care information this year and seeing what needs updating and improvement. We welcome suggestions.

    Nancy
     
  8. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    19,077
    Likes Received:
    1,123
    Location:
    Gainesville, GA USA
    Nancy,

    I was thinking more in the way of stuff like cleaning tools, lid clamps etc. that could be more octo specific rather than the standard major hardware.
     
  9. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    Messages:
    5,584
    Likes Received:
    71
    Location:
    Dallas Texas
    That's a good idea. I keep meaning to post on my own hand-made tools and I'm sure others have their favorites!

    Nancy
     
  10. tonmo

    tonmo Titanites Staff Member Webmaster Moderator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2000
    Messages:
    8,737
    Likes Received:
    512
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Hi everyone, I wanted to provide you with an update, and want to make sure I point out that none of this is an April Fool's gag. :smile:... watch yourself out there today!

    We have closed in on our text for TONMO.com's Code of Ethics pertaining to cephalopod care. It has been drafted, evaluated, and revised, and so here is what I'd call "version 1.0", the first release:

    In the coming weeks we'll determine the best places to post and promote this new code.

    Please note that the TONMO.com Staff has decided to move the Wunderpus thread to the Supporters' forum so as to avoid "public" promotion of the keeping of Wunderpus. Richard is a friend of TONMO.com's and we certainly respect his abilities and accomplishments in this space, but given the unknown status of Wunderpus, and out of concern of "sensationalism" within the trade, we believe that such material is most appropriate for a restricted audience.

    Thank you!

    EDIT: The thread has been "soft deleted" in the Supporter's area at the request of the author.
     
  11. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2004
    Messages:
    2,996
    Likes Received:
    69
    As some people have been asking, it seems best that I clarify the reasons for the 'soft delete' request.

    I asked that the thread be removed from the supporters area because I think I am uncomfortable with the idea that people would need to pay to read the thread.

    I believe I disagree that the information in the Fontanelle/wunderpus thread is appropriate only for a restricted audience and have at least temporally moved the information to another site. I am not posting the link right now on TONMO because doing so would seem to violate the code of ethics, so feel free to contact me if you are looking for it.

    While I agree with the spirit of the TONMO code of ethics, I am not sure I agree with the code in its current state or how it relates to the TONMO mission, and I am not sure I agree with the practical application it has had.

    My opinions on the matter are currently and clearly in flux :grin: and I want to make it very clear that I fully and completely respect and support TONMOs right to manage content of this site however TONMO sees fit.

    RR
     
  12. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,642
    Likes Received:
    2
    Well, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, Thales, and I do respect your experience in regards to the maintenance of captive cephalopods.

    That being said, why is it o.k. to keep animals that may be on the brink of disappearing? I don't understand the rationale. The excitement brought on by the panderment of these animals has nothing to do with understanding them as wild animals in a specific habitat, and yes, I can agree that they are indeed beautiful and interesting, but what cost are we paying for them to be brought to the wholesaler's? As stated before:

    are we asking ourselves "can I ? " rather than "should I?"
     
  13. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,887
    Likes Received:
    11
    Thanks for the explication. With hindsight, I am a bit dismayed that it could be interpreted as arbitrary, draconian, or "out of the blue." We've actually been involved in discussion for some time... in fact, one of the main motivators for the decision that it would be a good idea to adopt an ethics policy is that we frequently find that since TONMO has become a rather well-known site for various things cephy, we have both opportunity and unsought responsibility to try to figure out how to influence the world in a positive direction, or at least not accidentally cause harm. I think I can safely say that the staff as a whole is clear on the statement of ethics. I think, though, that we're open to suggestions on how to apply this ethical position to running the site...

    I would very much like to involve the community in determining how this code of ethics should be communicated, implemented, and spread. I don't believe it is our intention to say that wunderpuses should be a taboo subject for discussion outside the supporters section, just that we need to make sure that we don't contribute to overcollection of these animals in the wild to the point of endangerment. In general, I see the code as something that should inspire people to be responsible in ceph-keeping, such that they help teach others about how to keep animals in responsible ways, and tell their LFSes when they are selling potentially endangered (or dangerous) animals.

    Frankly, I find your pictures and videos of all your cephs are so well-produced, amazing, charismatic, well-paced, and entertaining that they're among my first choices for showing my friends how cool cephs are, and the Fontanelle pictures and videos are no exception. Obviously, this is largely a good thing for entertainment, and perhaps for raising the issue of a need for wunderpus conservation to the public, but there is a valid and worrisome concern that it will also lead to increased demand for these animals that could drive the collection of them to disastrous levels.

    I think it's still an open question how best to address this concern. I've largely put my wunderp.us site on hold as well, because I'm not sure how to make a web site devoted to how amazing these critters are while also making it glaringly obvious that any demand for these animals as pets puts them at terrible risk for overcollection. I think the concern about the thread in question is that a lot of cocky people will say "that guy kept a wunderpus in his tank at home, and I'm a l33t F1sh Xpert, so I can do it" (or "I'm rich, so I'll pay my tank tender to keep a wunderpus in my bedroom tank to impress chicks").

    I'm not sure how this works, but apparently there is frequently a "perfect storm" in the exotic/ornamental animal trade that leads to people living near the native habitat to suddenly realize that there is a resource that can be exploited for short-term profit, and if the animal doesn't have good natural defenses from over-collection, it can rapidly become endangered or extinct. I don't know how we can influence collectors directly to avoid this danger, but I believe that TONMO has an opportunity to have some influence on people's willingness to pay for these animals. I'd vastly prefer to have your cooperation to leverage this influence rather than to make you feel alienated or obligated to take your stories, pictures, and videos elsewhere.

    Speaking only for myself, not for the whole staff, I think there must be a way that we can include the content in that thread in such a way that it can be enjoyed but that it is tightly bound to a message that it is vital that we remove the incentive of collectors to devastate the wild population, and this is incompatible with having any sort of demand or profit trickle back to them. If your biggest concern is that moving it to the supporters area would require people to pay to see it, perhaps other options could work instead: having a separate area where viewers must see a statement in order to view the images and videos, for example. Or, perhaps, tagging all the images with "wunderpuses should never be bought as pets" or similar. Again, this whole paragraph is my own ideas, not an official staff position, so Tony may well think that is not sufficient, but I'd very much like find out if there is an appropriate compromise that is consistent with the goals without needing to alienate, frustrate, or gag anyone, and that won't drive reasonable, enthusiastic participants away.

    :twocents:
     
  14. Tintenfisch

    Tintenfisch Architeuthis Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,083
    Likes Received:
    171
    Just clarifying on Monty's behalf, I'm sure he means 'rich [$]' not 'Rich.' :roll:
     
  15. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,642
    Likes Received:
    2
    I think that the ethics statement of Tonmo is quite correct.

    Animals such as wonderpus and mimics have absolutely no place in the private sector, any information gleaned from captivity is way offset by the damage caused by collection.
     
  16. sorseress

    sorseress Colossal Squid Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Messages:
    3,026
    Likes Received:
    1
    I've been concerned from the very beginning about posting all the stuff about wunderpus on the open side of the forum because of the very reasons stated above. We all have vivid memories of trying to convince cocky wanabe ceph owners that no, it isn't ok to keep a vulgaris in a 10 gallon tank and feed it goldfish, and having them argue belligerently that everything will be fine, even though they just got the tank, have no live rock and are getting the octo next week. Do we really think that any statement about not buying wunderpus or mimics will have any effect, and do we really believe that the average lfs will refrain from ordering them if they get requests? Thales is an experienced ceph keeper who may have saved his octo from an untimely death by rescuing it before it was picked up by an lfs, but we don't want to encourage casual readers of Tonmo to attempt the same thing.
    Thales, I'm sorry you feel like you have to remove all pictures , etc from Tonmo, but you are really an exceptional ceph keeper, and you should be aware that very few people can match your skills. We really don't need to be encouraging the collection of animals who's viability in their natural habitat is possibly already compromised.
    Sharon :twocents:
     
  17. Michael Blue

    Michael Blue Wonderpus Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    0
    As a longtime enthusiast (though from a distance) but a new member here; let me add my :twocents: ...

    It only takes a new member here a few moments reading any of the information listed on this site to realize the staff here (and most of the members) are intelligent, honorable, dedicated people who care first and formost for the species described here, and secondly for the hobby. It only takes a few days to begin to see who the major contributors are, and what the overall stance in on specific species (flamboyant, blue ring, wunderpus, etc).

    There has to be a way to convey care information and media of these animals while also informing the public of your stance on collecting and husbandry. So far I believe this site has done an admirable job of that, and I have NO doubt you will find a way to continue that.

    One thing to consider since it appears you're considering allocating information on non-advised species to the "paid" area (where I will soon also be a member)...There isn't a single species here that can't be viewed as beautiful, exotic and highly desirable to collectors and hobbyists; whether it be S. bandensis, which is readily available here in captive-bred form, or the wunderpus, which is ill-advised for collecting. If you're going to restric information regarding certain species "to protect them" from over-eager and ill-informed collectors; the entire site may as well be made "paid only".

    I'm not saying I know what the answer is, but I am saying I believe you'll find a way to include all information provided by members here in the non-paid site while also converying that certain species kept by certain responsible, highly experienced members are not recommended for others, and in fact are highly discouraged.

    I hope that says what I mean to say, and that I haven't overstepped any boudaries. Just the thoughts of a relative outsider new to the site.

    KEEP UP THE AMAZING WORK!!!

    :notworth:
     
  18. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,642
    Likes Received:
    2
    Michael, I think you will find that all of us agree with you in point...but the evidence that posting articles glorifying the keeping of some species, even though the wild poplulation numbers are not known, has indeed resulted in a huge upsurge in interest in these species of cephalopods. Last year, the keeping of wonderpus and mimics was unheard of...now, how many new threads do we have?

    As I have stated before, personally, I don't agree with keeping captive cephs, but that is indeed my choice. I used to, and it would be throwing rocks at glass houses to say that I am right, and other's are wrong.
     
  19. Michael Blue

    Michael Blue Wonderpus Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    0
    You don't agree with keeping any Cephs? Didn't know that. Can I ask why?
     
  20. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2004
    Messages:
    2,996
    Likes Received:
    69
    What evidence and what articles?

    A search of 'wunderpus' and 'mimic' turns up very few threads about their husbandry, and most of those are from people new to TONMO who bought the animals at aquarium stores, asking for help in how to keep them alive.
     

Share This Page