Glass bloodfin tetra
Whether you are a novice fish keeper or you have
been in the hobby for decades there is always
something new to learn. But where can you find
reliable and accurate information?
Unfortunately the hobby is full of people who having kept fish semi successfully for a few months think that they know everything there is to know about fish keeping and this plainly isn't the case. The rise of the internet forum has given these self appointed advisors an opportunity to speak out and spread halve truths rumour and occasionally just plain old rubbish based on nothing more than their own intuition.
Forums use other forums for research so rumour and myth very quickly become well established. This state of affairs obviously helps no one, so what can be done about it.
Finding reliable and correct information takes time and no little effort. The best source of information are scholarly articles and papers written by an expert in that field.
Such articles and papers are generally not
written with the lay person in mind and they will
require some work to fully understand them and then
to try to explain them in more simple terms.
Obviously this isn't as easy as going to Google and reposting the first couple of results which is probably why so few do this.
When citing information from a scholarly article that article should have a reference which links back to the original work so that it can be checked by others or even challenged by a conflicting article.
Are subjected to stringent editorial control and are generally very accurate when reporting facts. Again any work based on a news item should have a reference stating the source.
Are both subject to editorial control and where a certain standard has to be met. Although not always completely reliable because their information can be superseded over time. In general books and journals written by an established expert in that field are a good source of accurate information.
Anyone can publish anything. Using self published articles without any references and written by someone who isn't an established expert in the field should be treated as questionable and generally not a reliable source of information. If on the other hand the work is created by an expert and the subject is within their field of expertise then the information should be treated as completely reliable.
More myths and simply poor information is passed on in fish and aquarium related forums than almost any other source, mainly due to poor understanding of the subject. Such forums simply use other forums for backing up their position, there is no substitute for real knowledge and expert sources both of which are readily available if people would just take the time to look properly.
Don't try to fool people in to thinking that the work is your own, a few simple checks will reveal the real source. If you make a statement that "Most experts agree" then a source should be provided to back this up or the statement is worthless the same applies to saying "scientific studies show" put the link in or don't state it..