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Thread: Six Steps to Take Before Getting Your Feet Wet!

  1. #1
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    Six Steps to Take Before Getting Your Feet Wet!

    I thought I'd put together a simple guide that every person first jumping into the hobby should take into consideration before just jumping in and getting their feet wet. I have compiled them into 6 basic rules that I came up with on my own. This is not "gospel" now, but rather my own personal opinion on things. I however think that the vast majority of reefers will agree with all of the rules below so I think we should be good.



    Rule #1 - Research and Expand your knowledge of the Hobby

    The last thing you want to do is to do something "just because" you saw "John Doe" do it or because "Jane Doe" says this is the way to go. You need to understand all of the "Why's" and "How's" of reefkeeping to make a good judgement call. You also need to look at all of the pros and cons of each technique or method used etc. to determine if it something that suits you best. You will see people buying equipment because they were told they needed it, but don't understand why. Don't simply take anyones word for anything just because they said so. Find out why. Someone mentions something, then you dig deep into the subject and try to understand what it is all about and draw your own conclusions. If someone tells you for example that chaeto grows best tumbling rather than sitting stationary then dig into the subject to figure out why this is said and if infact it does hold some weight/truth. There are a lot of resources out there for you to gather all of the info you'd need to be successful with your tank so take advantage of it.

    Rule #2 - Don't be shy

    You know that little kid growing up that always asked too many questions?? Well be that person. Ask ask ask...Whatever questions come to your mind! That is the only way you can learn. Don't be afraid to ask either. Some people are afraid that they will be laughed at or told that they asked a stupid question, but in this hobby (and definately on this forum) there are no stupid questions...Only stupid people if they have a problem with you asking a question. Repeat questions are always welcomed too. That is what a forum is for...To ask questions so make sure to take full advantage of it asking all of the questions you have floating around in your head.

    Rule #3 - Understand the diversity of the hobby

    We've all heard the saying, "There is more than one way to skin a cat in this hobby." This is very true. Don't let anyone fool you into thinking that there is only one path you can take to be successful in this hobby. Every tank is different and it has been proven over the years time and time again that people have found success using a number of different techniques and approaches. One person for example, may say the only way to have a successful aquarium is to do water changes every week. That may be true for "Tom", but for "John" that might not be the case. A water change for "John" may screw up things so you have to go with what works best for you and not what someone tells you is the only way to go. People run successful reefs without ever using a skimmer and then you have some that could never make it without one so do what works for you. It can even go so far as two people having the exact same tank, exact same equipment all the way down to the exact same livestock and one person can have success and the other can fail so don't be tied down with the mis-conception that there is only "one way".


    Rule 4 - Know your system

    This one ties in with rule #3. You need to spend time observing your tank. Sometimes having a problem pop up on you which could have been prevented had you known the signs, can be the difference between experiencing your tank crash and basically flushing thousands of dollars down the drain or preventing it. You need to know how each piece of your equipment functions when working properly so that when something odd begins to happen, you can know that there may be an issue somewhere that needs looking into. An example could be that you notice your chiller kicks in 50% of the time more than it ever did when your rooms ambient temperature has not changed nor anything else. Looking into it you may find that your return pump from your sump is on it's way out and is heating up the water dramatically. If left un-noticed, that pump could have exploded or burned up and while you were out to work all day, you could have had a tank running without the sump connected to it which could lead to a ton of different problems. Imagine your chiller or heater being connected to your sump and what that would mean. Either coming home to a tank in the upper 80's or in the lower 60's so know your equipment. Same goes for your livestock. If your tang is no longer swimming all around the tank actively, but rather sits in one small corner, then something may be wrong. He may be getting sick, bullied, or something could have gone haywire with your water parameters so know your tank and the signs.

    Rule #5 – Be prepared for emergencies

    “Piggybacking” off of rule #4, you have to always be prepared in the event you experience an emergency. It’s good to have a few extra things on hand “just in case”. An example would be to not wait until your return pump fails to run to the store to buy a replacement. They may be closed or out of stock and then what? Another example would be to always keep some make up water on hand in case you have to do an emergency water change for whatever reason. If you wait till the last minute to mix a batch that could mean the water will probably not be properly mixed and aerated nor will the temperature match your display tank which might cause more harm than good. In some cases, buying extra equipment to have on hand might not be in your budget which is fine. In a case like this, the most important thing for you to do is to come up with a game plan before hand of the different things that "could happen" with your tank and have a plan of action in place so that if something ever does happen, instead of sitting there biting your fingers or pulling out your hair in a state of panic, you will already know what to do.

    And lastly...

    Rule #6 - Patience

    As Charlie put it, "Rome wasn't built in a day---Neither was a reef tank." A lot people first getting into the saltwater hobby want to stock their tanks the very same day that they added water, which un-fortunatley is usually a big "NO NO" in this hobby. Freshwater tanks are a lot more forgiving, but not so much for salt. You hear people ask sometimes, "How long will it take before my tank cycles?" This question has too many variables to give an exact answer, but the "general" consensus is about 6-8 weeks give or take a few. When they hear that, some get discouraged....Don't! Nothing good comes out of this hobby with being impatient. You rush into buying equipment or add in livestock to find out later that with a bit more patience and research, you could have saved yourself a lot of headache, money and time had you waited so be sure to take things slow. It will pay off in the end.

    So in conclusion, following these simple and basic guidelines before diving into the hobby should limit some of the possible problems you may experience that is associated with the hobby which will make your journey a more enjoyable and succeful one.
    Last edited by Krish; 07-23-2011 at 06:59 PM.
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  2. #2
    Copepod

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    6 is so true

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    Copepod
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    The big thing to be carefully of is pests and evasive species.People and well known people will sell you this stuff .If they are taking down tank and selling everything red flag!! Research .You can ruin a nice tank with one frag always dip new frags.Boil used rock

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    Amphipod
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marrkart View Post
    The big thing to be carefully of is pests and evasive species.People and well known people will sell you this stuff .If they are taking down tank and selling everything red flag!! Research .You can ruin a nice tank with one frag always dip new frags.Boil used rock
    Using vinegar or muratic acid may be a better way than boiling because polytoxins and other poisins can vapor off the rock and make you sick and in extreme cases kill you.

  5. #5
    Copepod
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    I always boil outside, wife would boil me if I did it inside

  6. #6
    New Forum member!

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    Thanks for the info. This is helpful.

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