For its first 20+ years, RAS was a mixed fresh+salt club, before reef-keeping became big business. We had fairly frequent saltwater talks at our monthly meetings, and 1 or 2 big-name saltwater speakers each year at our annual Carolina Aquarium Workshop: Moe, Sprung, Delbeek, Thiel, and lots of others. Back then hardly anybody kept saltwater until they'd had a few years of freshwater experience first, and most saltwater keepers still kept fresh tanks too, or at least appreciated learning and listening to talks about fresh. Then reef-keeping gradually became its own hobby, and a huge business. About this same time, big-box pet chains were putting locally-owned freshwater fish shops out of business, and catering to saltwater became a way for a mom & pop stores to survive.
The saltwater knowledge base and technology had improved vastly, and new aquarists could now go directly to saltwater and have a reasonable chance of success without ever "getting their feet wet" in freshwater. Many of these "primary salt" people had no interest in freshwater keeping, and no patience with club events that weren't salt-only. They created their own clubs, frag-swaps, and other events, and gradually abandoned RAS. We continued having a couple salt speakers at the annual workshop for a few more years, but attendance at the salt talks was embarrassingly low. By the mid 2000's it was apparent that the majority of marine keepers had moved on to their own little world and were unlikely to attend RAS events designed for both fresh and salt keepers. That's why RAS is primarily a freshwater club today, and why we quit inviting saltwater speakers for the annual workshop, which costs a lot to put on. (We do still have occasional marine talks at the monthly meetings). Personally, I love marine talks just as well as fresh. I find the biology, ecology, physics, chemistry, technology, etc fascinating -- even though I've never kept corals.
Marine keepers are certainly welcome to come back to RAS, which was never intended to be "freshwater club" by design. It's just that those are the people who currently attend and are willing to work on recruiting speakers and planning events. Our programs reflect the interests of our members. If marine keepers want to organize some salt-focused talks and events through RAS, we'd be glad to have them back again. The only "condition" is that you have some patience and be willing to help out with and attend the freshwater talks and activities too.
Our next RAS monthly meeting will be Thurs, Oct 1, with Dave Griffin speaking on the NC Public Aquariums Operations -- that one oughta be pretty salt-focused. Come check us out and introduce yourself ... 730 to 930 pm at the NCSU Vet School. If you cant make it Thurs nights, the Nov meeting will be on Sat afternoon Nov 14, and our fall auction is the following day (Sun Nov 15).
Last edited by gerald; 09-20-2015 at 04:47 PM.