California based photographer Rocco Basile is revered in the photography world for his eye catching photojournalism. Originally from New York, he established his own studio and gallery, Rocco Basile Photography in Southern California as an outlet for himself and other photographers.
How did you become interested in reefs and marine life?
When I was a child, my family once took a vacation to Miami. We often spent a lot of time at Miami Beach. However, I think what mainly ignited my interest in marine life was when we visited the Miami Seaquarium. When I first saw the tropical fish exhibit, I was immediately lured to the vivid colors abound. I believe the attraction to them stems from an innate sense of always being an artist in some capacity.
How long have you had a reef tank?
I have had a reef tank for about 2 years now. It has always been on my mind to get one, but I just could never find the time or space to dedicate toward one. After opening my own studio, it definitely freed up much needed space to acquire a tank.
Do you prefer soft or hard coral? Why?
At the moment due to my limited experience, I prefer soft coral. From the knowledge I acquired after reading and talking to aquarium owners, soft corals are the preferred choice for first time reef tank owners. They do require calcium supplements like hard corals but not nearly as much. I currently own a few types of soft coral such as mushroom and pulse species.
How big would you say is the perfect size of an aquarium?
I would say the perfect size aquarium is relative to the space the owner has. I have seen some impressive reef tanks that have a dedicated room built to enclose them. Others, like myself, may not have the ability to have something as grandiose.
What advice would you give someone inexperienced who wants to try a reef tank for the first time?
My main advice for someone inexperienced with reefs is to do research and even more research. I still consider myself inexperienced after 2 years of being an owner. When time permits outside of work, I make a constant endeavor to keep learning more about reef tank care.
How many tanks do you have? Sizes?
I currently only have two reef tanks. I started out with a small 10 gallon tank. The desire for more space quickly seeped in, and I shelled out for a 55 gallon tank. Until I find more space, I am very pleased with my current set up.
What tools would you say are a must have for success in taking proper care of your aquarium?
I think the obvious tools for successful aquarium maintenance are proper lighting, a good filtration system, nets, thermometers, and test kits. Supplements are also a must for reef care.
What has aquarium upkeep and tending to the life inside taught you about life?
After taking care of an aquarium, I find myself to be more relaxed these days. It is definitely a stress reliever after work. There is a satisfying feeling in putting effort into a hobby and producing successes and failures. I consider myself mostly a loner at heart, so tending to life inside the tank was a learning experience. It is a strange and complex emotion to feel responsible for the life of another. It has definitely contributed to my own personal growth.
Who taught you what you know? How did they help you?
I learned the bulk of my knowledge from reading books and browsing the internet. There are many sites and forums where beginners and experienced enthusiasts share knowledge of reef tanks. I also made efforts to speak to owners at aquarium stores. There is something about conversing in person that lends itself well to accessing important details that can not be gleaned from an internet search engine.
Would your aquarium be considered a hobby or a passion? Why?
I would say my aquarium started out as a hobby and then developed into a passion. I walked into it thinking I was just taking care of some marine life. I did not expect to establish such a deep connection with it.