Things I wish I knew when I started...


Active member
I was in the hobby in the early late 80's and early 90's. I stopped for about 15 years. 2 and a half years ago I was given the green light to do another tank. I had a $2500 budget and I hit the internet. I did planing and research for about a year. Reefcentral was a great tool. But unless you know what to search for, you may not always stumble on some useful information.

Today I felt like starting a thread for the things we wish someone told us before we started... This is not a thread to debate things but things we learned after we made mistakes or just plain wish someone told us...

My next post will start my list....


New member
I wish someone told me it was expensive lol! I knew it would be expensive, but addicting and expensive make it REALLY expensive, but of course its worth it


Active member
*ULSN requires more dosing of all sorts of suppliments because you are starving your corals...

*At the first sign of bubbles on brownish algae, you have Dino. Attack it before it attacks you.

*Dont make the hole too snig in your dosing jugs. The dosing pumps will create a slow vacuum and will eventually crush the jug and leak alk or calc all over your floor...

*Unless you are duplicating the lighting on someone elses talk that is the same size as yours, get a PAR meter or you will kill things. Not knowing your light is like not knowing the tanks temp....

*It ionly takes a week to make a SPS frag look bad. It can take a year to get it to look good again...

*Practice with sps frags and your acclimation process with cheap frags from a swap... You would rather kill a $10 frag than a $65 dollar frag...

*If you done have a DSB, Vacuum it weekly. It will trap and leach PO4...

*Skimmers can be idle and not foam from time to time. Stop adjusting it up. Because when it starts to foam big (when you are not home) it will make a mess...

*Dust from those little stone like frag plugs will get on your magnetic frag racks magnets and scratch your Starphire glass. Dont slide them around...

*Soak the dry rock you get for weeks.... it will leach PO4...

*gen an lawnmower blenny or some sort of algae eating fish. Snals alone do not cut it... Get one a few months into it...

*Dont follow the instructions on Zeo suppliments. Ask for dising recomendations based on how much coral you have...

* if you dose 2 part and run out of Amino Acids.... Get more or turn down your dosing... As the growth slows down your alk and calc will jump way up...

*check for shadows that are caused by your rock work... You may end up with dark spots right in front. Small fixture can cause big shadows when directly over the rocks...

More to come as I think of them..


New member
I wish I knew how much patience was needed. I'm not a patient person, and that's my biggest obstacle in caring for a reef tank.


New member
I wish I would have never put coral "weeds" in my star polyps, kenya trees, mushroms etc... Sure they were cool when I first started out but now it is a constant battle to rid them from my tank.


New member
The less you do the better your results.

I have a 7 year old 29 gallon, I haven't done a water test in over a year, same for a water change and my T5's are over 18 months old. I do daily top offs and dose calcium/alkalinity and that's it. Damn things are growing like weeds and I have no clue to what my water parameters are and really don't care.


New member
I wish I would have never put coral "weeds" in my star polyps, kenya trees, mushroms etc... Sure they were cool when I first started out but now it is a constant battle to rid them from my tank.

Oh man... I have all of those on my tank, plus Xenia too. :uhoh2:


Obligate Feeder Obsessed
i wish i had a better idea of comparison shopping, instead of trusting the larger, flashy LFS in my area.

i also wish i had better sense about spending the money on good stuff. had i known what a compromise some of my "compromise" purchases would have been, i just would have ponied up the money first instead of buying things multiple times.

also, i wish i hadn't waited so long to switch from plain RO to a full RODI unit.


New member
Making sure you rock work is more then secure, drilling holes in rocks for frag plugs, i hate the epoxy and it hates me.


New member
I wish I would have never put coral "weeds" in my star polyps, kenya trees, mushroms etc... Sure they were cool when I first started out but now it is a constant battle to rid them from my tank.

+1 add Blue Clove Polyps to the list.


New member
I wish I had a better understanding of fish disease, parasites and a good QT program when I first started out. It's funny how we tend to listen to what we want to hear when we are doing research.


Premium Member
Fiberglass driveway markers can be hacksawed into pieces and make perfect tools for rockscaping. Drill holes in rocks, thread them onto the posts, and voila! Attractive, SECURE rockwork that's fairly easy to get apart if/when you have to move things.

Never, ever keep a reef tank without a sump. Sumps are the greatest invention since the wheel; extra water volume, hiding equipment, adding a refugium, filter sock, aeration and oxygenation of the water, pod breeding piles... there are 1001 uses and no drawbacks to keeping a sump.


Hopelesly Addicted Member
wish i'd known:
•don't buy the lower quality product to save a'll eventually end up upgrading and spend 2x the money because you got both!
•this hobby is expensive!
• (my tank is a 2.5g) buy a lot of small rocks to form your scape, not one or two big rocks!time to break out the hammer;)
•it may not be a drug, but reef keeping is ADDICTIVE!


New member
Sugar fine sand WILL get create a sandstorm with 20x+ turnover, even after a month of settling.

Don't use cheap, thin HD sourced acrylic to make sump baffles, it will bow too much.

Don't use crappy aquarium store silicone to secure those baffles, it will not hold them in place when they start to bow. Instead, get some Dow Corning 795, some cell cast acrylic, and just wait a few weeks before filling the sump so that it can cure properly.


New member
Heres my 2 cents .

Dont over feed . Fish always look hungry and give u the itch to feed them. Over feeding causes many problems.


New member
Never plumb a freshwater source directly into your system, use a reservoir
Cover your tank with netting if you have fish that carpet surf ( Goby's, Wrasse and a few others )
failsafes on critical components
Keep replacement parts on hand for critical components ( return pump impeller assembly )
Keep a battery operated air pump w/ stones for extending power failures