Things I have learned in this hobby...

power boat jim

Active member
I have been keeping a reef tank for 12 years and have learned some things are unavoidable, unfixable and maybe unattainble. So these are a few of my thoughts and experiences on this process of trying to keep animals alive in a box full of chemicals, and other related anecdotes. If this helps someone out all the better.

Here goes...


Dont build anything the size you think it should be, it needs to be twice as big. This refers mainly to elect. outlets and pipe diameters.

If something is working for you, dont listen to those who will tell you it cant.

Anytime a piece of coral or rock is removed from the tank it will never go back in the way it was-ever.

Pumps will stop working, lights will burn out, your power will go out, you will get basement flooding rainfall and tank drains will plug but ONLY when you are on vacation.

Before making a decision to change the environment in the tank, take a good look at it and say if I do this whats the worst that could happen. I found the worst that could happen is usually way worse then things are now.

Meeting others in the hobby and exchanging information and frags with them is one of the best things about the hobby.

I have learned perfection is unattainable, there will always be somthing that isnt right or didnt work out as planned. This goes along with chasing "perfect parameters" dont bother because there arent any. There is only a high end and low end anything in between is just fine.

Time spent looing at the tank is time well spent.

Keeping things simple works. I dont dose anything or add unnatural substances to my tank. Im not smart enough to keep up with kind of stuff.

Bad things happen pretty fast, good things generally not.

People who sell fish and supplies are in business to sell stuff, they are not consultants. Knowing exactly what you want and what could happen if you get it before you leave the house is a huge plus.

Science plays a good part in getting the tank started. Art keeps it going in the long run.

Having good neighbors is a big benefit.

The less I move things around is inversly proportional to the amount of success I will have in keeping those things.

The "best" lighting system or kind of lighting doesnt exist. I have tried them all. They all work to some varying degree. I use what is best for my budget and what makes the most sense for what I want to accomplish.

Algae grows in water and its not always bad.

Dont stand on the edge of a plastic sink to bolt up a filtration system. Its not a ladder.

Dont leave salt buckets open in a damp basement. The contents turn into what has to be one of the hardest substances known to man.

Dont throw any coral in the trash that still has any live tissue on it. You will have to use a skunk to get the smell out of the house.

Im sure I have learned many more lessons then I have put up here but my memory isnt what it used to be. You can agree, disagree or just plain make fun of me as most do, its ok Im used to it.
 

biggles

Premium Member
Good list Jim,

- your wife will find out you've cut up good bath towels for reef duties and she will replace them with the most expensive ones she can find as punishment..........
- trying to retrieve an ugly little frag that his fallen down into your rockwork will result in broken branch tips on your more beautiful colonies no matter how careful you are.........
 

mkbtank

Premium Member
Excellent list Jim.

Unless you d-shirt, you WILL get your sleeve wet, even if it's a short one.

When you get excited describing your tank to a non reefer, they WILL take a step back and give you the subtle "he's a wierdo" vibe.
 

power boat jim

Active member
Good list Jim,

- your wife will find out you've cut up good bath towels for reef duties and she will replace them with the most expensive ones she can find as punishment..........
- trying to retrieve an ugly little frag that his fallen down into your rockwork will result in broken branch tips on your more beautiful colonies no matter how careful you are.........

Excellent list Jim.

Unless you d-shirt, you WILL get your sleeve wet, even if it's a short one.

When you get excited describing your tank to a non reefer, they WILL take a step back and give you the subtle "he's a wierdo" vibe.

Yes, These are excellent additions to the list. All very true. I always have a salt stain on my sleeve. I could have written a thousand words on how each of the items I posted came to be.

Theomi I have had people try to tell me what I was doing for years wont work or told me things could not have happened the way they did. I dont make the stuff up it just happens that way. stick to your guns if you are having long term success with things no matter what the rest of em say. I take it the same has happened to you.
 

Ron Reefman

New member
Very good list Jim! My personal favorites are:

Before making a decision to change the environment in the tank, take a good look at it and say if I do this whats the worst that could happen. I found the worst that could happen is usually way worse then things are now.

Meeting others in the hobby and exchanging information and frags with them is one of the best things about the hobby.
 

Paul B

Premium Member
Jim I agree with almost everything except this one:
I have learned perfection is unattainable,

I got this: But all that other stuff is 100% right on.


2013-03-23153437_zpsbdee4827.jpg
 

Useful_Idiot

Artificially Intelligent
Great list! I'd add that if you change more than one action/factor to your system at a time you will never know what caused the reaction and makes learning more difficult. And automate everything you can usually the time spent is a big factor in people leaving the hobby. The coral will appreciate the stability too.
 

Jezzlambert

New member
Well im just about to start the marine side of fishkeeping within the next week or two. So i shall bear this in mind! Ha!
Arent all hobbies sometimes stressful, sometimes dont go to plan, but on the occasion when everything does to plan it makes it all worth it!
 

power boat jim

Active member
Well im just about to start the marine side of fishkeeping within the next week or two. So i shall bear this in mind! Ha!
Arent all hobbies sometimes stressful, sometimes dont go to plan, but on the occasion when everything does to plan it makes it all worth it!

Best of luck to you and welcome to the hobby.
 

saltyair

New member
- your wife will either love the reef or hate it. ( tg my wife loves it)
- i have learned not to panic
- research takes time.
- non reefers think its beautiful but think we are crazy.
 

_shorty_

New member
*mistakes WILL be made. Just do your best to learn from others on the forums and locally to avoid as many of these mistakes as possible.

*keep (or GET) priorities straight - God (if He's your thing), Family, Job (or school for you young-uns), Fishtank. It's really easy to get unbalanced and jumble those up in any combination of ways.

... My wife doesn't like the time I spend 'with my tank instead of her' - but I am finding that the more corals and color and cool stuff I add, the more it peaks her interest and I see her just a little more interested each time...
 

SushiGirl

Premium Member
All excellent posts. Newbies should post this list by their tank & read it before doing anything each time they think they should "fix" something. These are all words I live by (and my boyfriend doesn't always LOL) & I love my tank & think it can be considered a success.
 
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