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View Full Version : What sort of problem would YOU warn post-novice hobbyists about?


Sk8r
09/19/2015, 05:54 PM
Just sayin'. By the time we're past novice, we settle into routines and sometimes let a thing or two slip.

What 'watch-it's would YOU give novice hobbyists, things that can blindside you with problems?

I can give several, both from things I've done and from problems I've tried to help people out of.

One of the main ones? Lapse in testing the basics. Oh, everything's fine, my parameters never go bad in THAT sort of thing.

Or Just one more fish. You can crowd corals in and they adjust. But fishes---not so much.

And the ever-popular I don't need no stinkin' water changes. When your tank was new, it had a salt and mineral mix as perfect as the packager of your salt mix could devise. Since then, a lot of critters have used up certain minerals, but those minerals haven't been replaced, and the system hasn't been rebalanced. Very often a brand new tank has a love affair with corals and then can't get them to thrive for love nor money...look to the trace elements which have depleted, yes, the very ones the corals are using.

Other words of advice?

skimjim
09/19/2015, 07:57 PM
Get a 2nd job that pays cash under the table to pay for $150 fish and $250 coral...and $90 buckets of premo salt

moondoggy4
09/19/2015, 08:10 PM
Never use the term COOKING Rocks, it is Light Deprivation.

gone fishin
09/19/2015, 08:11 PM
I think getting lulled into that false sense of security. That was not so bad, things are going great then bam.

skimjim
09/19/2015, 08:25 PM
Teach fish to not rudely interrupt conversations

CStrickland
09/19/2015, 09:04 PM
It's not a problem, per se, but there's a slump where you've got things figured out pretty well, you understand the contours of whichever path you've chosen well enough that you haven't gotten clobbered by unforeseen disaster in a few weeks, and you start to feel sort of settled in. That's nice! Enjoy it even though it won't last ;)

If you're re-upping your CUC, buy a weird abalone or chiton and learn what's up with that.
If you are buying a coral frag, pick up a strange macro algae and see if it likes your tank.
Consider branching into nps coral, or add a red-light cryptic district to that extra space in your sump.
An outside your comfort-zone tinker project, or low-risk just for funsies pet can go a long way to remind you of how much there is to wonder at in a reef. It doesn't always have to be an ich outbreak or flood that puts you in your place.

At least that's my plan, but I'm still a novice #noob4life!

Allentown
09/19/2015, 09:07 PM
Never use the term COOKING Rocks, it is Light Deprivation.


I sit mine in the direct sun light in 95 degree Georgia heat and summer Georgia showers before putting them in salt water with a skimmer for a couple weeks.

It's not light deprivation the way I do it.

thegrun
09/19/2015, 11:21 PM
I would recommend establishing a regular maintenance and/or replacement of all equipment. Pumps need regular maintenance and have a notorious way of stopping while you are away on vacation or while your wife is in labor. All heaters eventually fail, figure on an annual replacement. MH and T-5 lights shift color and lose intensity over time, again figure on an annual replacement. The list goes on, but you get the idea.

tc2007
09/19/2015, 11:40 PM
Get a 2nd job that pays cash under the table to pay for $150 fish and $250 coral...and $90 buckets of premo salt

+1 I was seriously thinking about getting a part time side gig WFH to pay for reef stuff

gogo7
09/20/2015, 12:56 AM
water changes water changes water changes.
don't sweat the sg swings, get good water to start with. get a decent salt, don't waste your money on added blah blahblah.
leave the thing alone without light for a few weeks to start with. buy good lights if you're gonna keep corals.
worms are good.
no you cannot keep a seahorse.
feed live foods when possible and as often as possible.
welcome to the wonderful hobby of scraping algae off of glass while you tell your wife about your day.

moondoggy4
09/20/2015, 01:33 AM
I sit mine in the direct sun light in 95 degree Georgia heat and summer Georgia showers before putting them in salt water with a skimmer for a couple weeks.

It's not light deprivation the way I do it.

That is exactly what I am doing with some of my rocks right now.:beer:

dbl
09/20/2015, 08:57 AM
Testing...find kits easiest to use for the person using them, regardless of brand. In my opinion, stability is more important than the actual numbers/results, assuming those results are within the "acceptable" range. What you do to keep parameters in the range is a different topic all together.

Warning...consistency can lead to complacency so keep testing because it can change in a heartbeat.

Keep in mind...this is coming from a post-novice hobbyist!!!

reefgeezer
09/20/2015, 09:15 AM
Don't take salinity for granted. Get a good refractometer or continuity meter and the proper calibration solutions. Use them often. Don't trust a swing arm type hydrometer without checking it regularly with something more reliable.

KAMIKAZE0214
09/20/2015, 09:52 AM
I would recommend establishing a regular maintenance and/or replacement of all equipment. Pumps need regular maintenance and have a notorious way of stopping while you are away on vacation or while your wife is in labor. All heaters eventually fail, figure on an annual replacement. MH and T-5 lights shift color and lose intensity over time, again figure on an annual replacement. The list goes on, but you get the idea.

This x2! Just had a major issue because I wasn't doing my water changes AND my skimmer malfunctioned. Skimmer just needed a cleaning. Also just did a large water change.

Make water changes easy so you can maintain them!

CStrickland
09/20/2015, 12:26 PM
Don't fall victim to LARS (Lazy Butt Reefer Syndrome)
http://youtu.be/519NOllZwvE
lol

Art13
09/20/2015, 01:02 PM
Use the right calibration fluid with a refractometer, don't use ro.... my first issue. always check the salinity weekly... my second issue with salinity, lol.

I also second testing, especially when you change something in the tank. My ph was low, i raised it significantly just by adding a hose to the skimmer to go outside and opening the windows when i can. I also started testing alk daily. On day 5 my alk dropped from 8.4 to 7.4, had i still been doing weekly testing only on it, i wouldn't have caught the drop and the tank would have suffered from low alk.

Sk8r
09/20/2015, 05:02 PM
I'll add one: expirations. So you've been frugal with the test kits. They look new. But particularly the alkalinity test can expire.

Some years ago I had this happen: kept chasing a bad situation with more additive, when the weirdness of it should have rung alarm bells long since. I finally woke up and checked, and sure enough, expired. And I had poured so much buffer into my tank (with a kalk drip in the picture) that I had concretions in my hoses and pumps. Vinegar can clean this out, and it did, but when you have a concreted 2236 gph return pump---this is really worrisome. The cleanout took a dental pick and 8 hours soaking the solid steel impeller in vinegar, but it all lived, and eventually I got everything set to rights.

Now I'm very careful about the expiration dates on things, and if it's not on there, I write in a date 2 years from the date of purchase. Let's also hear it for lfs that do not sell ancient stuff.

Mark75
09/20/2015, 07:45 PM
Think long and hard about ANYTHING you add to your tank, whether it be a fish, a rock, an invert, a coral or even an additive/food.

It is always harder and sometimes even impossible to get out things you put in. Most all our problems are because of something we put in, hardly ever because of something we left out.

rovster
09/20/2015, 07:50 PM
Have a backup to your test kits. They are not always on point. This one got me into trouble recently.