About FishWise Professional

FishWisePro is a comprehensive, fully relational fish database of more than 104,000 scientific species name combinations and over 36,000 fish pictures.
It has been specifically developed for Academics, Students, Marine Biologists, Authors, Ichthyologists and all other serious users interested in Fish and Fish Taxonomy.

FishWisePro is the only fish database that can be interrogated.
It has powerful filters that allow users to extract information and answers to almost any query imaginable.
You can easily find out how many species was Jack Randall involved in describing, how many of the original names are still recognised as the currently accepted name and how many of these species have pictures in FishWisePro. All these answers are easily obtained by entering the authors name and clicking on 3 icons.
The user might also want to know how many species belonging to the family Epinephelidae were described by Randall and Heemstra.
These are just a few simple examples of what can be done by interrogating FishWisePro.

Design Criteria:

  • Ease of use for all levels of user.
  • Consistent design approach to Forms and Functions.
  • All Name Combinations to be Original Names or Linked to an Original Name.
  • Any Name Combination must reveal the Original Name and the Current Name.
  • Filter features to quickly Find and Group Data.
  • Structures to Enforce and Improve Data Integrity.
  • Relational Database with Relational Integrity.
We hope you will find this site meets these design goals.

FishWisePro, has been created as a reference for Ichthyologists and all levels of people seriously interested in fish and taxonomy.
The site is intended to be user friendly and intuitive and every attempt has been made to immediately give as much information as
possible using mouseovers, icons and highlighting.

Source Database

Last major database update: 1st April 2020.

FishWisePro is based on the valuable work done by William N. Eschmeyer and his colleagues at the California Academy of Sciences.

A summary paper, "Marine fish diversity: history of knowledge and discovery (Pisces)" by William N. Eschmeyer, Ronald Fricke, Jon D. Fong & Dennis A. Polack, was published in Zootaxa, no. 2525:19-50 (2 July 2010).

A History of FishWise

Dennis Polack, the creator of FishWise, has always had a strong fascination and love for the sea. He first used a mask and fins (goggles and frog feet in those days) in the sea at the age of 14 and has been diving ever since. Today he is retired but continued to actively engage in his four main interests: scuba diving, underwater photography, fish watching and databases until he reached the age of 75. He is exceedingly fortunate to have a wife, Sally, who passionately shares his interests and dived and took underwater photographs all over the world with him. After each trip she became actively engaged in sorting, identifying and registering pictures into FishWise.

The couple's interest in fish identification was initially sparked by friend and co-diver, John Dench. Having relied on his extensive knowledge to help them in identifying species for many years, In 1990 John gave them a fish book with pictures and descriptions of about 110 common species of the East coast of South Africa, imploring them to learn the names. Although grateful for the gift, Dennis and Sally maintain that it was an act of desperation on his part to stop them pestering him. On the long drive home from Sodwana to Johannesburg, they memorized the names and although Dennis had no idea at the time, this was the beginning of FishWise. When they had learnt the 110 names, Dennis and Sally purchased more books and learnt more names. At about 400 names they could no longer remember the scientific names without a list.

This list was created in dBase 2 and later upgraded to dBase 3. More names were added and when they got to the stage where they knew the names but could not remember what the fish looked like, it became obvious that they needed to link images to the names. To achieve this, Dennis moved on to another programming language called Clipper. Despite initial success with this program, the 22 seconds needed to display each image was completely unacceptable. Finally when Microsoft Access was released everything became possible. Pictures could load quickly and a fully relational database could be built. At this point FishWise became a reality.

Technologies used

This site is hosted by Interserver. It uses Microsoft ASP.NET technologies, and is developed in Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 Professional. The database engine is Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and the excellent data controls (and tech support) are provided by DevExpress.

The Master database is maintained in Microsoft Access 2013

Thumbnails are generated using Easy Thumbnails after the pictures have been edited using Adobe Photoshop CS2.

The website is designed, developed and maintained by Rebin Infotech.


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