When the word ‘ocean ‘ is mentioned, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Deep blue water, a singing lobster and talking blue and yellow fish or a shining city with technology that operates on hydro tech and a man dressed in a golden suit wielding a trident. In fact, you might even think of those cheesy posters titled “ Save the Ocean’ or ‘ Stop Pollution’ both posters having turtles eating plastic bags in them or blue backgrounds filled with floating trash in them. Well today’s article has the same exact motive as those posters, to stop pollution and save ocean life, but I’ll be bringing a slight twist to the typical, today I’ll be adding a dash of ocean life appreciation to the mix.
We’ve all heard of an angelfish right (Figure 1)?! Well today ….. we’re not talking about that pretty fish, we’re talking about another not so pretty, but all the more amazing fish called the parrotfish (Figure 2). Now this fish, in my opinion, is very pretty until it opens its mouth, once it does… well, it becomes a comic relief. Many of you guys must be thinking “what in the world does a fish need to do with appreciating ocean life?” I mean yeah, fishes are forms of ocean life but still, don’t the more interesting subjects revolve around oysters and clams i.e. the ocean’s vacuum machines or endangered sea life like blue whales, turtles, manatees, sea otters, killer whales and Belugas?
So what’s up with this author bringing up a fish… a FISH!!!
Well my dear readers, here’s an eye-opener, this not so pretty fish is both pet worthy and edible. At a pet store, the price of an 8-10 inch blue parrotfish can cost up to $199.99, and a 3-5 inch blue parrotfish cost up to $29.99. In the fish market, a parrotfish costs about RM45 – RM60 per Kilograms.
Well now that we know how much they cost, let’s talk about them in specific, the Parrotfish is actually ……*drumroll* ………a herbivore, surprising isn’t it? A deep-sea herbivores fish, you don’t see much of those in movies, now this not so pretty fish feeds of algae that grows on coral reefs, you may be thinking “duh, what else are they supposed to feed on, there’s are tree or cabbages floating around the ocean for them to feed on now are they” well my dear readers, that the whole point of appreciating these fish they eat algae from coral reefs, if you’ve ever had an aquarium (with corals) you’d know how hard it is to clean algae from coral, you can’t remove algae without removing parts of the coral with it. And these fish can’t either so…what happens?…well….those bits of coral are eaten as well (haha you didn’t see that coming now did you).
Now you may be thinking, what’s so awesome about this fish that we should appreciate? Well, my lovely readers… *sinister laughing in the background* What goes in must come out, especially items that simply cannot be digested, like corals! (By the way did you know corals are actually animals, they’re actually animals called polyp cover with a layer of calcium carbonate, CaCo3) so these not so pretty fish, literally poop fine white sand … well to us it is ‘fine’ white sand….to them …perhaps not so fine sand…if you get what I mean. Fun Fact each of these not so pretty fish poop out 320 Kilograms of ‘fine’ white sand per year. Now an adult human being with a food intake of 0.4kg a day would only produce about 145kg of poop a year, so….think about it.
Back to our not so pretty fish, it’s actually reported that these fish actually help these coral reefs grow, their daily munching and nibbling away at reefs cleans the reef and helps these reefs grow healthily. And this is a marvellous thing, because …. Tons of fishes rely on coral reefs to survive in the scary underwater world. In fact, coral reefs are home to over 25% of marine life and….these coral reefs cover less than 1% of the ocean floor. So them helping coral reefs grow is a really really good thing.
With that, I conclude today’s article. I’m Samanthal Yap Hui Nee, wishing you all the best and stay safe in these trying times with everyone you love!