What is FIF (Frag it Forward)? What kind of interaction should I expect with members?

Discussion in 'Answers to the most commonly asked questions asked' started by capman, Mar 28, 2011.

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  1. capman

    capman I contributed!
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    An example of the potential benefits/importance of sharing what you have

    For quite a few years I have been a proponent of sharing coral frags without expecting anything in return (other than that the recipient will exhibit the same behavior toward others with his/her corals if/when they have the chance). I've gotten up on a soapbox about this multiple times on the various forums this club has had over the years. Sharing this way is not only a nice thing to do, but it is the responsible thing to do because it reduces the chances that the original collection from the wild will be a waste in the event that you have a disaster in your tank. And of course it is fun, because everyone ends up with much more interesting diverse tanks.

    It can also be the selfish thing to do, since it makes it more likely that you might be able to get a frag of it back someday in the event that you have a disaster. I had an illustration of this today.

    I gave Chad Vossen some clownfish eggs to try raising up today (a nice thing for him - they are really nice clowns - and potentially a really nice thing for me since I'd like some offspring from these fish and he seems to be having some success raising up clowns from eggs). So, Chad, in his typically nice manner, brought me a little something from his tanks to express his appreciation. It was a bright green flower anemone (actually, I'm not sure what these are called - bright green oral disk, smallish brown tentacles, max size of 2 or 3 inches diameter, divide and multiply readily).

    Chad had gotten these from Stan.

    And the funny thing is that if I'm recalling correctly, Stan got them from me some years ago (I think right around the time that Eric Borneman came and talked at Augsburg, if I recall correctly). And I in turn had gotten them from another club member who gave them to me for free.

    In the intervening years I had had a number of serious problems with my tanks and had lost a bunch of really nice things, including these anemones. Oddly enough, I had been remembering recently how nice these anemones used to be, and I was sad that I had lost them (I lost them years ago now).

    And now I have one back in my tanks in the lab!

    Very cool.

    ______________________________________________________
    Note: I'm not saying that people should just expect free corals from strangers, but that people should volunteer this when they can...maybe not with all of their corals, and maybe not with folks who just seem to be taking advantage of things. If you have a particularly special coral it might make sense to restrict the sharing of that one to people who you really trust, though in truth, the more I like a coral the more I want to spread it around as insurance against total loss.
     
    #1 capman, Mar 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 29, 2011
  2. Merkurfan

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    Round and round they go, where they stop no one knows!

    The beauty of FIF, it's been tampered with in the past, but when the rules are followed it always works out well.
     
  3. Chad Vossen

    Chad Vossen Vossen kinda rhymes with awesome
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    Had no idea you knew about these anemones already, or even that they came from you originally. However I knew you'd really like one of these anyway.


    ALSO, I heard that back in the day, club members would sometimes bring frags to meetings and offer them to the host. I'd love to see this come back in the club. If the host is not interested in the frag, they can pass it on to another member/new member.
     
  4. patent

    patent Ok Moderator
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    Do you have a pic? I think I got one of these recently, but its disappeared on me.
     
  5. Chad Vossen

    Chad Vossen Vossen kinda rhymes with awesome
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    [​IMG]
     
  6. patent

    patent Ok Moderator
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    Thanks Chad, mine was a little different, very similar size and general appearance but I think its tips were colored. It had a pinkish tip and a more greenish body, otherwise very similar.
     
  7. OP
    capman

    capman I contributed!
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    Actually, I have to say that the formalized FIF "rules" as they have developed in recent years sort of bother me. Yes, they make complete sense in that if you are given something (especially something nice that someone else paid a lot of money for) you should not be running off and selling it to make a profit from someone else's generosity (I have had this happen with fish I gave people in the past, back close to 20 years ago when I was a big angelfish breeder). And yes, it makes sense to keep track of these corals that have been obtained this way all the way down through multiple transfers so that the original purchaser is not getting taken advantage of by folks down the line.

    But viewing the whole thing as a set of rules sort of misses the point, and sort of perpetuates the mindset (e.g. where non-FIF corals are involved) of "I'll give you this if and only if you give me that" (even though the "this" you have to give might be so abundant in your tank that you are going to have to start throwing out some of it to make room for your fish to swim!). Sharing freely when you can is so much more fun, and if you are not worrying all the time about "what's in it for me", you often end up getting much more in return than if you had worried a whole lot about getting paid a decent amount or getting a good trade for every last frag.

    Yes, FIF, as it is currently called, makes perfect sense, and laying this out as a set of rules is probably necessary in a larger group where people don't necessarily know and trust each other the way they might in a smaller group (and where the potential for there being some who will abuse the generosity of others is greater). I guess what I am talking about really is a matter of mindset....FIF/trade/purchase policies for the sake of ensuring people don't get screwed vs. sharing for the joy of sharing.

    In practice I guess it all amounts to the same thing (and it all comes down to people having common decency in their dealings with others), but I think how we think about things can really shape how we feel about the group and each other.

    I think this transition in mindset (which has probably become necessary due to the size of the group, and due to the presence of some "cheaters" in the past) is part of what some of us "old-timers" in the club are missing/craving from the early days of the club when it was just a handful of folks who liked to share their obsession with their tanks.


    ______________________________________________________
    And no, I don't begrudge people who want to get a bit of money for coral frags, or especially for larger corals that they have some time and effort invested in, or that they paid a lot of money for. And if you do enough of this sort of selling it might help offset the cost of running your tank (and in some cases maybe this help with the finances would make an otherwise unaffordable tank affordable). But I think there are often cases where the amount that you might get from charging rather than sharing freely is so very small in the big picture, and the benefits that come from a sharing mindset could be so much greater. As with all human endeavors though, idealism like this only works out well in practice if everyone shares the same philosophy (which, alas, is not always the case).
     
  8. OP
    capman

    capman I contributed!
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    These anemones can develop oral disks that are proportionally a good deal larger (relative to the tentacles) than the one in this photo, often with a sort of domed appearance. And when doing well they split readily and form nice colonies.
     
  9. OP
    capman

    capman I contributed!
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    Yes, this is what I find so cool about this.


    It is so nice how you have brought things both times you came for eggs (a few frags last time, the anemone this time). I was not expecting anything other than some of the baby fish if you are successful with the eggs. The coral/anemone gifts are nice. In fact, one of the birdsnest corals you brought me before is going to be one of the stars of the General Bio lab tomorrow - it looks GREAT under a low power microscope and is almost as perfect as Pocillopora damicornis (which is THE perfect coral for lab demos - unfortunately I don't have anymore) for helping students to understand the anatomy and biology of stony corals.

    When I look at all the things in our tanks, many of the nicest and most useful (for teaching) things in our tanks were gifts from club members originally (including nice corals, some of the fish, a nice big limpet, a nice cowrie, urchins, etc, etc....not to mention a wonderful sump built by David, etc, etc.). A LOT of students have benefited from this generosity, and the world has that many more people now who are a bit more enlightened about coral reefs and biology in general. Thanks.
     
  10. LowersMyBP

    LowersMyBP I contributed!
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    Chad is the bomb, he brought me a beautiful mushroom for my meeting on sunday. I received a wonderful frag from Montiporalova as well. I was also offered things from mrbill and damseldebbie that ended up in the raffle. I was blown away by the generosity of many on sunday. (steve whited and myboysmommy as well)
     
  11. wkjames

    wkjames Former President: Now member in absentia
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    Regarding "rules", please see this excerpt from the forum rules and behavior guidelines posted as a sticky in the general reef discussion forum:
     
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