Giving it up.

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N1Husker

RF Staff
Joined
Jul 28, 2011
Messages
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Location
Olalla, WA.
I am strongly thinking of giving up my aquarium. Due to my declining health, it is getting harder and harder for me to take care of it. I’m 69 years old and doing the water changes and other maintenance is becoming increasingly more difficult. I only have 4 fish left in my 120, and I am having trouble thinking about departing with them. It’s been aa very successful tank, no major problems with it. What to do?
 

spieszak

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Oct 8, 2012
Messages
1,801
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Seattle
Automate! I am doing water changes with a DOS, it works really well. I don't know if that will be enough, but, if you automate the water changes so that the tank doesn't get neglected, you may be able to consider some type of maintenance service. I know that probably isn't much budget, BUT, with an established tank and if water changes are out of the way, the other maintenace items might be small enough to not be terribly costly or require too many visits....
 

N1Husker

RF Staff
Joined
Jul 28, 2011
Messages
1,486
Location
Olalla, WA.
Automate! I am doing water changes with a DOS, it works really well. I don't know if that will be enough, but, if you automate the water changes so that the tank doesn't get neglected, you may be able to consider some type of maintenance service. I know that probably isn't much budget, BUT, with an established tank and if water changes are out of the way, the other maintenace items might be small enough to not be terribly costly or require too many visits....
Budget is another consideration, Both my wife and I are on social security and we have a limited budget to work with. I am not tech enough to figure out how to automate.
 

Katchupoy

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Jul 9, 2003
Messages
2,188
Location
Kent 98031
I hope you find a solution. Whatever you decided we are here to support you.

How often do you water change? If it now a fish only tank? Maybe it does not need frequent water change anymore.
 

N1Husker

RF Staff
Joined
Jul 28, 2011
Messages
1,486
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Olalla, WA.
I hope you find a solution. Whatever you decided we are here to support you.

How often do you water change? If it now a fish only tank? Maybe it does not need frequent water change anymore.
No, it’s mixed. It’s a 118 gallon custom made tank, with a 55 gal. sump. I have mostly zoa’s and softies, plus 4 fish that have been in the tank for over 5 years. A one spot foxface, copperband butterfly, melanurus wrasse, and an orange spot goby, plus a skunk cleaner shrimp, he’s been in there for over 3 years. I find I need to change water about every 2 weeks, to keep it healthy.
 

mfinn

Surgeonfish
Joined
May 31, 2004
Messages
6,892
Location
Olympia, WA
I can sympathize with your situation.
I am 67 and have been retired for 5 years myself. The wife retired this year after falling and breaking her ankle at work.
So, I also wonder how long I can maintain what I have, with a limited budget.
In my case I have had a fish tank either fresh or salt for most of my life.
I don't know what I would do without at least one box of water somewhere in the house.

All I can say is hang in there and shop the sales. I'm getting pretty good at finding deals around the internet.
 

spieszak

Administrator
Joined
Oct 8, 2012
Messages
1,801
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Seattle
There will be a time when we all will have to give up on it, it just being to much to do. I hate to see folks having to give it up, but its also really crappy watching tanks slowly fail because the maintenance required is just too much. Its a rough decisision for sure.

There is a mountain of help out there for automating. I mean, forums and groups and FB can answer almost any question.
I think the big thing is whether or not it will remove enough of the burden of maintenance to make it so that you'd be able to continue, with or without external help from there.... The inital automation of course is going to be a budget hit, but, at least a one time hit for that part. Also worth considering how much time all that money and effort will buy you. Sucks to be considering all that stuff no matter what the subject.

I'm not a pro with the tech, but, I do know enough to get folks up and running with most of it. If you decide to go that route, I'd be happy to help you get it set up and such.
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2019
Messages
9
Location
Southern California
There are a lot of options. I would start with doing nothing. See how you feel about it in a couple weeks. See what happens if you just quit doing the hard parts of maintenance for a while. Possibly try simplifying a little? Dr. Dean Jaubert kind of fell off the map back in the 90's but his systems actually worked really well. Check out his speech from the last MACNA. Or if you are at all like me, just try taking a long nap and some Advil.:)

I do think there are several ways to cheaply automate. I automated as well as I could. I am able to walk away from my tanks for two weeks at any time comfortably. I use an auto feeder, a calcium reactor and grow Chaetomorphia and or Mangroves in my sump (depending on the tank). I have done 30% water changes two times over the past three years. My ATO is a float valve with an inline stop that shuts off the line if water gets to it on the floor ($3 and $12 parts online). It is painful for me to bend over so the skimmer claning is a little more than I want to take on as a regular task. I have an auto neck cleaner on it and I added a larger catch reservoir. (Those were not as cheap) I hope to move the tank and set the sump up higher to solve all my sump issues.

There are some corals like chalice, that don't do well in my systems. I have several corals and fish that do really well. My eyesight is getting worse and it reminds me that the joy I get from my tanks later in life will not always be the same as the joy I have now. Sounds like your hobby might be hitting that equilibrium between joy and hassle. There is no shame in moving on when the scales have tipped. Just like sports, there comes a time when it is more pain than fun. There is still plenty of joy to be found in other places.

Maybe give your tank to an enthusiast that lives near by and get some joy as a mentor. It might be a nice transition out. You might find a great friend, possibly get to watch people grow along with your newly revived tank.

I wish you the best.
 

N1Husker

RF Staff
Joined
Jul 28, 2011
Messages
1,486
Location
Olalla, WA.
There will be a time when we all will have to give up on it, it just being to much to do. I hate to see folks having to give it up, but its also really crappy watching tanks slowly fail because the maintenance required is just too much. Its a rough decisision for sure.

There is a mountain of help out there for automating. I mean, forums and groups and FB can answer almost any question.
I think the big thing is whether or not it will remove enough of the burden of maintenance to make it so that you'd be able to continue, with or without external help from there.... The inital automation of course is going to be a budget hit, but, at least a one time hit for that part. Also worth considering how much time all that money and effort will buy you. Sucks to be considering all that stuff no matter what the subject.

I'm not a pro with the tech, but, I do know enough to get folks up and running with most of it. If you decide to go that route, I'd be happy to help you get it set up and such.
Thank you. Right now I am having second thoughts if I want to throw in the towel. I battle through the water changes. I will never let my inhabitants in my tank suffer, they are all precious to me. If I can figure out how to get my water from the RODI unit, to my refill buckets, that’s really all I need. I have a controller, but it’s obsolete. It’s a Digital Aquatics controller that I won several years back at the Bob Moore swap in Kent. DA is now defunct, so nothing is available anymore. I can’t afford one of those Neptune systems, they are way out of my league. Also I am limited on space. I really do appreciate your help and I hope I can find the strength to keep going.
 

N1Husker

RF Staff
Joined
Jul 28, 2011
Messages
1,486
Location
Olalla, WA.
There are a lot of options. I would start with doing nothing. See how you feel about it in a couple weeks. See what happens if you just quit doing the hard parts of maintenance for a while. Possibly try simplifying a little? Dr. Dean Jaubert kind of fell off the map back in the 90's but his systems actually worked really well. Check out his speech from the last MACNA. Or if you are at all like me, just try taking a long nap and some Advil.:)

I do think there are several ways to cheaply automate. I automated as well as I could. I am able to walk away from my tanks for two weeks at any time comfortably. I use an auto feeder, a calcium reactor and grow Chaetomorphia and or Mangroves in my sump (depending on the tank). I have done 30% water changes two times over the past three years. My ATO is a float valve with an inline stop that shuts off the line if water gets to it on the floor ($3 and $12 parts online). It is painful for me to bend over so the skimmer claning is a little more than I want to take on as a regular task. I have an auto neck cleaner on it and I added a larger catch reservoir. (Those were not as cheap) I hope to move the tank and set the sump up higher to solve all my sump issues.

There are some corals like chalice, that don't do well in my systems. I have several corals and fish that do really well. My eyesight is getting worse and it reminds me that the joy I get from my tanks later in life will not always be the same as the joy I have now. Sounds like your hobby might be hitting that equilibrium between joy and hassle. There is no shame in moving on when the scales have tipped. Just like sports, there comes a time when it is more pain than fun. There is still plenty of joy to be found in other places.

Maybe give your tank to an enthusiast that lives near by and get some joy as a mentor. It might be a nice transition out. You might find a great friend, possibly get to watch people grow along with your newly revived tank.

I wish you the best.
Yeah, it’s a lot to think about. I have had an ATO from Autotopoff.com for quite some time now. It works well. When. I ran chaeto in my sump, it seemed to create a lot more algae. I took it out, after running it for years, now my tank operates much cleaner now. I change 24 gallons and I try for every two weeks, but sometimes it stretches into three. I used to change it once a month, but the tank started to get crappy. I also run filter socks, the light ones, and I change those out every two to three days, usually when I clean out my protein skimmer cup. I told my wife that I am having second thoughts and she said to do whatever I want to do. I’m thinking I may just stick with it a little while longer.
 

N1Husker

RF Staff
Joined
Jul 28, 2011
Messages
1,486
Location
Olalla, WA.
I can sympathize with your situation.
I am 67 and have been retired for 5 years myself. The wife retired this year after falling and breaking her ankle at work.
So, I also wonder how long I can maintain what I have, with a limited budget.
In my case I have had a fish tank either fresh or salt for most of my life.
I don't know what I would do without at least one box of water somewhere in the house.

All I can say is hang in there and shop the sales. I'm getting pretty good at finding deals around the internet.
Thanks Marty, yeah, it sucks getting old. I used to be real active, but since I am having all of these troubles with my left leg and foot, it has been a chore just to handle everyday things, let alone a fish tank. I will probably stick it out a little longer,, but like you, it will all have to end. My aquarium means a lot to me.
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2019
Messages
9
Location
Southern California
I don't use filter socks. I have sediment build up in in my chaeto grow area. I cleaned it out one time. I generally let it build up with no real issues. Occasionally I run GFO. I think it is a good thing but seem to do well without it in my specific system. I run carbon if my water starts to look yellow. My fish get more food than they can eat in 10 minutes 3 times a day.

I recently filled my chaeto grow section with sand and planted mangrove shoots to try and manage the sediment as well as all nutrient export and keep me from harvesting algae at all.

IMG_3605.jpeg

I am not as emotionally connected to my livestock as you may be, but my animals are healthy and well cared for. My cardinals, damsels, and mandarines breed regularly. I have raised out cardinal fry in the sump without knowing it. I did have a 2 year old sea cucumber stick his head in a circulation pump and die this week and am pretty sad about that.
IMG_3513.jpeg


To get water from your RO to your ATO you will need pipe and a quick connect. Both are at Home Depot as well as on Amazon. Here are photos.
IMG_3600.jpeg
IMG_3601.jpeg

You dont need the quick connect coupler with the off switch, but you will never regret having it. They are easy to use. You just push the tube into the pipe and be sure it goes in about a 1/4 inch.

Any all plastic float valve will work. Here is one that I have used with much success. I have used several brands and do not recommend one over another. I do recommend a stop valve.
IMG_3602.jpeg

I use one of these shut off valves (stop valves) from amazon. They are very little cash. They have cotton wadding inside that swells up when they get wet and shuts the entire line down. It is all analog and you will need a knife or scissors to install it. They use the same push fittings as the above coupler. There is peel and stick tape on the bottom of it to keep it in place.
IMG_3603.jpeg

IMG_3604.jpeg
 

Playapixie

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 25, 2011
Messages
86
Location
Seattle
No, it’s mixed. It’s a 118 gallon custom made tank, with a 55 gal. sump. I have mostly zoa’s and softies, plus 4 fish that have been in the tank for over 5 years. A one spot foxface, copperband butterfly, melanurus wrasse, and an orange spot goby, plus a skunk cleaner shrimp, he’s been in there for over 3 years. I find I need to change water about every 2 weeks, to keep it healthy.
I can’t imagine howa 3 year old softie tank that’s lightly stocked could need water changes every two weeks. Do you have a skimmer and some form of mechanical filtration? And maybe some chemical filtration (carbon/chemipure/etc)?
I have a heavily stocked, heavily fed, completely grown out 34 gallon mixed reef with SPS that I only do water changes on about 3 or 4 times a year. I suspect you may be making way more work than you actually need.
As long as you have a method to keep your calcium and alk stable, that frequency of water changes seems unnecessary. I’d be quitting too!
But If it’s overwhelming to keep it up, it’s ok
to break it down. It’s a hobby, not a job. If you no longer enjoy it you’re under no obligation to keep it.
Enjoy whatever you do!
 

vetteguy53081

Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2013
Messages
9
Location
WI
as one other mentioned , reduce maintenance intervals and take some time to enjoy your tank rather than chasing numbers and doing constant follow-ups.
Have your lights under moderate settings (25% WHITE AND AT LEAST 70% BLUE) and moderate water flow and hold off with chaeto for now and do run skimmer and 10-13 hrs per day for lighting is adequate.
 

spieszak

Administrator
Joined
Oct 8, 2012
Messages
1,801
Location
Seattle
Another thought here might be to focus your efforts to what you care more about. Coral tank, or fowler, but not both. Moving to only inverts, or tiny fish would mean less feeding, less maintenance. Cutting out the coral would mean less concern for params and algae, less water changes.
I know we all want both, but, if it came down to it, I'd be OK with a coral only tank. I couldn't do a fowler though...
 

N1Husker

RF Staff
Joined
Jul 28, 2011
Messages
1,486
Location
Olalla, WA.
I can’t imagine howa 3 year old softie tank that’s lightly stocked could need water changes every two weeks. Do you have a skimmer and some form of mechanical filtration? And maybe some chemical filtration (carbon/chemipure/etc)?
I have a heavily stocked, heavily fed, completely grown out 34 gallon mixed reef with SPS that I only do water changes on about 3 or 4 times a year. I suspect you may be making way more work than you actually need.
As long as you have a method to keep your calcium and alk stable, that frequency of water changes seems unnecessary. I’d be quitting too!
But If it’s overwhelming to keep it up, it’s ok
to break it down. It’s a hobby, not a job. If you no longer enjoy it you’re under no obligation to keep it.
Enjoy whatever you do!
The tank is in excellent shape. I wasn’t going to quit because of frustration, I was going to quit due to my health. I have a left foot that has charkots. In simple terms, the bones have become brittle and they are breaking and collapsing. I have to wear a cam boot all of the rime, except when I sleep. I’ve also got a dry socket on my left knee, so I am a bit hobbled. I am also getting up there in age, I am 69 years old and every year simple things are getting harder and harder. I’ve had this aquarium for 5 years now, it’s well established. I have been in the hobby for over 15 years. Yes, I have a skimmer, it’s a Bubble Magus NAC 6 and does a great job. The tank is a custom made 118 gallon tank with a 55 gallon sump. I don’t run reactors at all, never have. I have Phosgard and Primegen as filter ageants. I have decided to hold on a little longer.. Thank you for all of your suggestions and help,
 

N1Husker

RF Staff
Joined
Jul 28, 2011
Messages
1,486
Location
Olalla, WA.
Another thought here might be to focus your efforts to what you care more about. Coral tank, or fowler, but not both. Moving to only inverts, or tiny fish would mean less feeding, less maintenance. Cutting out the coral would mean less concern for params and algae, less water changes.
I know we all want both, but, if it came down to it, I'd be OK with a coral only tank. I couldn't do a fowler though...
Yeah, I do like the corals, but I like the fish more. They have much more personality than the corals do. I’ve a had my Foxface for at least 8 years and my Copperband for 4 years. I just can’t part with them.
 

N1Husker

RF Staff
Joined
Jul 28, 2011
Messages
1,486
Location
Olalla, WA.
as one other mentioned , reduce maintenance intervals and take some time to enjoy your tank rather than chasing numbers and doing constant follow-ups.
Have your lights under moderate settings (25% WHITE AND AT LEAST 70% BLUE) and moderate water flow and hold off with chaeto for now and do run skimmer and 10-13 hrs per day for lighting is adequate.
The skimmer is on 24/7 and the lights run 11 hours a day. I do need more blue, but I will have to wait until after Christmas, money wise.
 

N1Husker

RF Staff
Joined
Jul 28, 2011
Messages
1,486
Location
Olalla, WA.
I can’t imagine howa 3 year old softie tank that’s lightly stocked could need water changes every two weeks. Do you have a skimmer and some form of mechanical filtration? And maybe some chemical filtration (carbon/chemipure/etc)?
I have a heavily stocked, heavily fed, completely grown out 34 gallon mixed reef with SPS that I only do water changes on about 3 or 4 times a year. I suspect you may be making way more work than you actually need.
As long as you have a method to keep your calcium and alk stable, that frequency of water changes seems unnecessary. I’d be quitting too!
But If it’s overwhelming to keep it up, it’s ok
to break it down. It’s a hobby, not a job. If you no longer enjoy it you’re under no obligation to keep it.
Enjoy whatever you do!
The cleaner shrimp has been in the tank for 3 years, this particular tank has been running for about 7 years. I, like most others, started with small tanks and slowly grew to larger tanks, over a period of over 15 years.
 

Katchupoy

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 9, 2003
Messages
2,188
Location
Kent 98031
I am not saying you do what I do, but I have this tank for 18 years now and there are so many times I want to quit to the point to just give it away.... But for some reason, even if I intentionally neglect the tank, it still hanging there for me.

Define neglect?

Well what about water change twice a year? Or feed the tank with one brand of flakes for the last 15 years? I think that is the worst one can do to a tank, but the tank is still there for me...

Maybe you can stretch your regimen schedule to make it work for you? Instead of you working for it?
 
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