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Fish Nerd Vacations: How a Marine Biologist Spends Time Off

Hey Fish Bloggers!

Desiree here.

It’s the dead of winter….so invariably my thoughts go to planning my summer vacation.  Some fortunate colleagues of mine have already taken winter retreats to Florida or elsewhere.  But as I pour over maps and travel catalogs, and look at pictures from those friends in Florida, I have realized that you can’t take a fish nerd on vacation. 

It doesn’t matter where you go, the power of “fish nerd-dom” is impossible to overcome in any environment.  I think those of you who fall into this category know what I mean and are laughing hysterically right now.

If you are somehow not in this particular category of nerd – Imagine the last time you went somewhere, anywhere with a real “fish geek”.  In any city we nerds visit there’s ONE question… “Where’s the aquarium?”  We’ll go, not shut up once about anything we see, critique it according to where we’ve worked or visited in prior trips, and then move on to the next one.  Think camping is safe?  NOPE.  Wherever we are, we’re looking for a stream or pond where there are fun rocks to turn over or aquatic plants to identify and more likely than not – all sorts of mundane things (like riffles) to photograph.  OOOH LOOK – A cichlid in a ditch!!! 

And don’t even think of taking a beach trip!  Hobbyists are bad enough, but your trip is hopeless with a “Marine Biologist.”  We’ll instantly revert to stories of field studies, trawling trips, dive sites, and the obligatory drunken college boat trip.  We’ll wax philosophic for what seems like hours on the ramifications of eco-tourism, native fish collection, global warming and garbage vortices, much to the annoyance of those who aren’t quite so passionate about the subjects.

Non fish nerds can’t relate to any of this seemingly insane behavior and are instantly bored out of their minds and think “Here we go again!”  Well, like I’ve told my own non-nerd husband – you’ll have to grin and bear it.  Fish nerds are a passionate bunch and there’s just no way to take a “normal” vacation with any of us.  It’s best just to sit back and enjoy the ride, besides you might just learn something.

 I think New England looks good this year – so many rocky shorelines and tidal pools to fall into!!  Maybe I’ll turn over Plymouth Rock to see what’s under it.  It’ll be great!!

Until Next Time,



  1. avatar

    Hey Frank,
    I have a problem that perhaps u can help with. My catfish 8″ in my 65 gallon tank has not eaten for 6 days, ever since I cleaned out my filter which seemed to backwash, “junk” into tank when I plugged it back in, He seems to be struggling a bit for air, but is not staying on the surface of the tank, no cuts or discoloration in body, goldfish (1) seems fine. This is the first time this jresilient crature has refused food. HELP. Thanks, Susan

  2. avatar

    Susan-The first thing to do is check the water chemistry to make sure you aren’t having any ammonia, nitrite, nitrate or PH issues and your equipment to make sure everything is working ok. If everything checks out and the chemistry is in good shape, look at his diet. Large fish can go for quite some time without eating, even weeks, or they can get bored if they’re eating the same food all of the time and just take a break from it. It is nothing to worry about immediately. If you aren’t seeing any physical signs of trauma, and his environment is stable, it may just be a matter of being patient or trying new foods to entice him.

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