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What is the single most important thing you would tell a new reef keeper!

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ldrhawke

John
Joined
Dec 20, 2004
Messages
221
Location
Saint Augustine, Florida
What is the single most important thing you would recommend to a new reef keeper

Keep the answer to a single item and then explain why and how you reached this conclusion.

I'll start: Figure out what is the most expensive skimmer you can afford and then buy the next size up. :)

A skimmer is the only reef filter that truely removes the organic waste from a tank. Live rock and sand biologically treat in the tank but the residue remains in the tank. Bag filters collect it but they filter the water right back through it and can add nitrates if they aren't cleaned daily. They all have a purpose and can work well together, but the skimmer is the most positive approach to organic waste removal.:idea:

Over the last two years of playing the reef keeping game, I've listened to person after person purchase on varous lists, who have often spending thousands of dollars in replacing their existing skimmer looking for a better one, as they begin to realize how effective and important a device they are in maintaining water quality. I know because I am one of them.

You cannot buy too large a skimmer, only too small a skimmer.
Too large a unit just becomes a good way to keep the dissolve oxygen high, and it does a great job of covering up your mistakes in over feeding or a death in the tank. :razz:
 
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wrightme43

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 1, 2004
Messages
4,355
Location
bowling green ky
Frequent water changes with rodi water and quality salt.
The reason I believe this is, the critters in the tank are stuck there, the waste they make and the food we put in are stuck there. We can filter, we can skim, we can pour this that and the other in, but no matter what most of it stays in the water. The best way to insure your animals survival is frequent water changes. I belive they use up trace elements in the salt, and add junk to the water. If you take out the old water and replace it with pure new water. The fish seem to thrive, the corals thrive, and all is happiness. For me when I neglect water changes bad things happen. JMHO. Steve
 

T_reef_kid

Active member
Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Messages
31
LakeEd said:
Well put T reef kid!!!!! We all need to become Doctors, and have MUCH PATIENTS!!!!
LOL. My bad. :lol:

actually, on second thought, being a doctors not so bad after all. then i could have all the money i want to build my dream tank
 

jlehigh

Hermit D Crab
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
1,208
Location
Kirkland/Juanita
Two Words... FINANCIAL PLANNING!!!!

This hobby has managed to resemble a car in my budget... I has maintnance costs, fuel costs (electricity) and there are countless expensive add-ons even if you buy Top of the line..
 

ldrhawke

John
Joined
Dec 20, 2004
Messages
221
Location
Saint Augustine, Florida
jlehigh said:
Two Words... FINANCIAL PLANNING!!!!

This hobby has managed to resemble a car in my budget... I has maintnance costs, fuel costs (electricity) and there are countless expensive add-ons even if you buy Top of the line..
Looking back I cannot but help to laugh at my concern about the cost of the first item you normally buy...the tank. That's the cheapest part of the hobby. :shock:

And not just any car in your budget, more like a Porsche or Mercedes.
 
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WaterDogs

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 5, 2003
Messages
374
Location
Snohomish, WA
(Looking over my shoulder before I confess - I mean type!) You know you are a hooked reefer when you get the credit card bill; I get up to sometimes $1500.00 a month! :badgrin:
 

EvilMel

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Messages
46
Location
Knoxville, TN (for the moment)
Water changes for sure. I believe that it is the single best way to keep your tank healthy.

Ok I can't resist another one: never ever EVER impulse buy a fish or coral at a LFS. Always research it before purchase. Imagine how many animals could be saved if this were done by each new reefer (thinking especially of mandarins and tangs).
 

dgasmd

Fragologist Magnus
Joined
Nov 30, 2003
Messages
473
Location
Florida
T_reef_kid said:
LOL. My bad. :lol:

actually, on second thought, being a doctors not so bad after all. then i could have all the money i want to build my dream tank
If that was only true and so simple
:lol: :lol: :lol:

My advice are 4:

1. If you are married or share finances with someone, tell them that anything you buy is shalf the actual cost and always buy first and discuss it later.

2. Read until you think there is nothing in print even remotely applicable to a reef tank. When you get to that point you really are well read, but until them, you are just one more ignorant guy (like the rest of us) trying to make your little tank better.

3. Advise is just someone's opinion and not proven data. Ask and ask, but research the answers and seek scientific data backing it up.

4. If the tank size you are contemplating looks like it will be hard to afford to start up, cut the size and related equipment by 2/3. Starting up may sound expensive because you are buying all the equipment at once, but it isd the chapest part of the reef :eek: :eek:
 

Ed Hahn

Life is A Highway...
Joined
Jan 27, 2004
Messages
3,955
Location
Kennewick, Wa
I think basics are overlooked.
Temperature and salinity...Your temperature need to be stable( 78-82 degrees) and your salinity should be in a safe ball park with no sudden or fast swings. Its my oppinion that many people shock their animals by doing water changes with water not close to tank temperature and specific gravity is bumped too fast. I am hoping more people practice mixing their saltwater in bucket before adding it to their tank. Mixing with a powerhead, heater, and testing temperature and salinity before adding it to tank. I hope no one is adding salt and mixing it inside thier tank with animals.
 

jimeluiz

New member
Joined
Jan 4, 2005
Messages
3
Location
San Francisco
Begin at the end and work backward. Decide what you want your tank to look like - what do you want to keep - then put together a plan to make it happen. Identify the most difficult species you want to support and design your system with that in mind. If you can keep that one species alive and thriving, the rest will follow.

Go slow, be thorough, do your homework - and buy a monster skimmer.
 

NaH2O

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2004
Messages
8,568
jimeluiz! Welcome to Reef Frontiers!!!

Great answers, everyone! Reading and planning is what I have found to be the most beneficial....especially when you are talking about equipment - a lot of cost there. Livestock, too - lol - that's everything isn't it (equipment and livestock)??? LOLOL. I'll toss water testing into the important list, along with quality test kits. You can't know why things look the way they do unless you keep track of your parameters. Same thing when asking for help....water parameters sometimes tell a lot about a problem.
 

reedman

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 30, 2003
Messages
3,255
Location
Mukilteo, WA
Believe half of what you read on the web until you can verify it. There are no shortage of opinions that are stated as facts on the web. You can post anything you want and make it look and sound professional with it being complete BS.

Don't chase trends. It gets you nowhere. Read up on what you think is the way you want to go to ensure you beleive it and it has a good track record. There's a new flavor of the day in the hobby all the time.

Check the date of that book you are reading. Many things have changed over the years in the hobby. I don't mean that an older book isn't usefull...just that you need to verify that what you are reading is still true and has not been proven otherwise over the years.

Go slllloooooowwww. Spend more time on planning than on assembling. It's easy to get wrapped up in the fun of putting together a new tank and forget the planning. It really hurts in the wallet later though when you start replacing equipment or in the worst case tearing down to start over.

Plan your maintainence before you setup. This will allow you to incorporate valves to make maintenece easier, thus helping you to keep to your routine. Also, you will think about where you place rocks, whether to have sand or not, how to build the canopy for tank top access, what to put under the tank and what to have out, and even where you place the tank.

Don't overlook the electrical cost of the tank. It does add up. You can mitigate this a bit by wise choices in equipment.

Don't realy on one piece of equipment too much without keeping a spare on hand at all times. That pump will fail. The heater will stick. Crap happens at the worst possible time. Murphy says something about this in his law.

Understanding the biology and environment of the inhabitants you plan to keep can significantly improve your odds of building a successful reef. It sounds dull, but if you are really interested in the hobby your going to learn this anyway...it's just a matter of time.

Have fun. It always sounds like a college degree program when stating what a new person should do, but I think they need to understand that the hobby is both fun and rewarding. If you're not having fun, then you're in the wrong hobby.
 
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