Martin A. Moe, Jr. (Skip) has been a marine aquarist since 1965 and a freshwater aquarist before that. He was a fishery biologist and ichthyologist with the Florida State Marine Research Laboratory in the 1960s where his primary research was on the age, growth, and reproduction of the red grouper in the Gulf of Mexico.
Moving into the aquaculture of marine fish in the 1969, he developed the basic technology for the culture of pompano and then many marine tropical fish, clownfish, gobies, and Atlantic angelfish, among others. With his wife Barbara, he founded Aqualife Research Corporation in 1973, the first company to produce hatchery cultured marine tropical fish in commercial quantity; clownfish, gobies, porkfish, and angelfish.
Green Turtle Publications followed in 1982. He has authored many scientific papers, popular articles, and books on marine aquarium technology and marine biology. His basic book, The Marine Aquarium Handbook: Beginner to Breeder, has been a primary reference for new marine aquarists since it was first published in April of 1982 and is now in the third edition published by Microcosm. The Marine Aquarium Reference: Systems and Invertebrates was first published in July of 1989 and is now in the process of becoming a new edition in five e-book volumes.
His present research is on developing the techniques for culturing the keystone herbivore of the Atlantic coral reefs, the the long-spined sea urchin, Diadema antillarum, a species essential for ecological restoration of Atlantic coral reefs, and recently, Tripneustes ventricosus, the West Indian sea egg, a commercially valuable sea urchin in the Caribbean.
The Foundation of Marine Aquaristics
My talk is an introduction as to how knowledge of the natural environment drives the development of the physical, chemical, and biological structure and maintenance of aquariums and propagation systems.
The essence of marine aquaristics rests deep in the heart of the natural marine environment. Understanding the chemical, physical, and biological complexities of the marine environment makes it possible to create as complex a marine microcosm as a 200 gallon reef aquarium and a marine aquarium as basic as a 10 gallon clownfish tank.
It isn’t necessary for a beginning aquarist to have a complete knowledge of the complex functions of captive and natural marine systems to be successful; but they do have to follow the instructions of those that have that knowledge, and also strive diligently to learn not only the how but also the why of the constructions and mechanics of the modern marine aquarium.