The author, David Bogert (LaBelle, Florida), has kept many aquariums of all sorts and fish of all sorts for over 56 years. But note he is NOT an “expert” on ANY of the aspects let alone all of the aspects of keeping aquariums. The chemistry and biology of an aquarium are far too complex for anyone to be a true “expert” in ANY of the various aspects.
The author, has a BS in chemistry, something which is useful only in the sections on chemicals like water chemistry, rocks, silicones, conditioners, and fertilizers. He has some 42 patents, largely in the field of medical devices. This ability to invent things only helps with some DIY designs. But he has also worked for much of his life as a research scientist doing literature searches, data analysis, statistics, and a little-understood field called “design of experiments” or “DOE”. This experience is very applicable to ALL of the fish-keeping science.
Thought Processes of the Author
The author generally uses three ways to justify statements on this website:
- Simple logic and common sense
- Experiments with computerized statistical analysis of the data
- Journal Articles and Books
The author has an extensive library of books on fish husbandry, tropical fish, and tropical fish diseases. These references, references from researchgate.net, sematicsscholar.com, and sciencedirect.com, references from papers on such search engines as Google Scholar, and references from a private search service form the basis for many of the more “in-depth” articles on this website.
Opinion and Anecdotal Evidence
This is a blog, not a science journal paper. So in addition to science, the author does occasionally use:
- His own opinion
- Anecdotal evidence
The opinions of the author are given out where opinions are all there are, such as the articles on stocking and data sources. And occasionally I use some anecdotal evidence when that anecdotal evidence simply adds additional weight to the science. I do try to identify opinions and anecdotal evidence whenever I use them. But one should note that my opinions and ONLY my opinions are 100% accurate (that is a JOKE folks!).
A Double Standard
Note that many will criticize the author for not providing a C.V. that proves his abilities are somewhat akin to Albert Einstein. These same people will then say suppliers and YouTube gurus who give no C.V., have no qualifications, and do no testing are accurate in all their claims. This is a classic “double standard”.
As an example, some individuals have said will say that a simple test is done by this author which conclusively shows Seachem Prime does not detoxify ammonia is thus invalid because the author hasn’t “proven” his qualifications. Or the testing wasn’t “peer-reviewed”. And they will ignore the fact that two other professionals duplicated the author’s tests (actually they did much better tests than the author did!), added some tests of their own, and came to the same conclusions.
These same individuals will say Seachem’s claim that Prime does detoxify ammonia is valid with absolutely no testing data and only anecdotal evidence that it does what it says. There is no c.v. or qualifications on the anecdotal evidence authors. Since there is no testing data “peer review” is of course impossible. But the claim is valid per these same individuals. This double standard is repeated over and over again. Talk about bewildering!
But I ignore criticism on the internet. I’ve learned to never get into debates over the internet. Even with folks who call me an idiot.
Experiments by the Author
The author has also done over thirty simple scientific tests on aquarium topics. All these tests used replicate experiments with controls. Almost all had very powerful computerized statistical analysis done on the data. Some took as long as 15 months to complete. These tests were deliberately kept simple so that home hobbyists can duplicate them if they so desire.
Now many take issue with these tests, saying they don’t meet this or that “scientific standard” or the data is “too scattered” to be of use. They ignore the fact that the tests had very powerful computerized JMP statistics performed on them that typically say the data is meaningful with at least a 95% confidence level. They also conveniently ignore the fact that there are typically absolutely NO tests by anyone with any data which proves the author wrong.
For example, a few probably well intentioned individuals who simply are not up to speed on the latest in computerized statistics said the author doesn’t do the tests on “bacteria in a bottle” cycling products properly. Supposedly the author had only two replicates and had more than one variable and that the data he got was too random to be meaningful. Interesting critique.
- First off the tests were done properly. The data was found statistically significant by well-established JMP statistical computer software. This would not happen if the testing was improperly done (i.e. not enough replicates or too many variables). Powerful modern software can analyze data with NO replicates and LARGE numbers of variables. Welcome to the age of computers!
- Secondly the natural process of “cycling” will have huge variations simply because it is a very complex natural process with a huge number of variables that simply cannot be closely controlled. Indeed, any experiment on cycling which does NOT have a lot of variation is probably fake.
- And finally, there is absolutely NO testing that can be found which confirms the opposite, namely that bacteria in a bottle products work. That’s right. NONE! ZERO! Not one journal article anywhere!
The author has acted as the consultant on many projects where he had to use complex computerized statistical software. He is an expert in that field. But many with only a very rudimentary understanding of statistics and modern computer programs seem to be very free with their criticisms of the experiments and computer statistics done by the author. Such is what has happened with the internet, where everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is an expert.
Others take issue with the fact that the author does not provide all the details (journal, Journal number, all the author’s full names, etc.) on referenced journal articles via a “standard” method. The author doesn’t do that because the various bibliography and citation methods used in various research papers in academia (APA, CSE, ACS, “Harvard method” etc., etc. ad infinitum) are very outdated.
With modern computers and modern research search engines, all that detail (complete journal pages, all the authors, etc.) is NOT necessary. Put in the title in the search engine and up will pop the article, or even just the subject and the author’s last name. Easy. So I don’t put in “all the details” or some long bibliography. It just is not needed in the age of computers. And adding the unnecessary information will just make some long boring articles even longer and more boring.
The Author does not Mince Words
Because the author calls out all the many parroted myths of social media, many say he is a “contrarian” (“a person who opposes or rejects popular opinion”). Because the author doesn’t like fake “marketing hype” and calls it out whenever he sees it, many say he “has a chip on his shoulder”. The author pleads guilty to both charges.
We list 150 separate instances where we reject “popular opinion” because the “popular opinion” is not supported by science. We also list 25 separate instances where we reject “marketing hype” as it is not supported by science. Some seem to think this makes the author “opinionated”. If rejecting ideas that cannot be supported by the science is “opinionated”, again, we plead “guilty as charged”.
Unfortunately, I am also a completely tactless, crusty, curmudgeon.
At a reader’s suggestion, I did a word search of this website and eliminated about seven times I called people idiots. I replaced the term “idiot” with hopefully some more diplomatic wording. Hey! I’m trying!
And the author does admit to a strong bias against several companies where snake oil marketers blatantly use huge amounts of egregious “pseudoscientific bedazzlement” to sell worthless aquarium products. I can’t help it. I think it is called “being human”.
Also note the author does admit a certain bias against some organizations (such as PETA) and individuals which equate passionate opinions with a right to criticize newcomers to the hobby. I have found that to keep my blood pressure under control, I have to just block these “fish police” whenever I see them.
Unfortunately, newcomers to the hobby haven’t blocked them and thus get these folks’ wrath pretty much daily. I wish administrators would be more proactive in removing and blocking the fish police.