Articles from Mike Paletta

  1. Keeping it Simple Building A New Tank

    KISS, the acronym, not the band, has often been touted as a key part of being successful long-term in this hobby. This runs hand in hand with the concept that the easier something is to do, the more likely we are to do it. And with there seemingly being something to do constantly with our tanks, it makes even more sense to keep things simple. As I am preparing to tear down my old tank and set up a new tank, I couldn’t help but notice how many things I did on my old tank that were anything...
  2. My New Tank: By Mike Paletta

    As I wrote in my last article for ReefBuilders last December, I am planning on setting up one last tank for myself. Over the years I have set up a fair number of tanks for myself as well as assisted on over 100 more for others. As a result, I am confident that with this new tank I can achieve the many goals I want, which is more than just growing healthy colorful corals. First, unlike all of my current tanks, this tank will not be an experiment, in that for the most part tried and true...
  3. BANNED! But Is There Still Hope?

    The collection of ornamental fish in Hawaii: BANNED. The collection and sale of live rock and coral from Fiji: BANNED. The permits for shipping coral, anemones and live rock from Indonesia: HALTED and now going on its second month. Two major bleaching events in the Great Barrier Reef leading to an estimated loss of 50% or more of the coral cover during two of the last three years. Needless to say these headlines do not produce a whole lot of optimism about the long-term prospects for the...
  4. Thinking about Reefapalooza and Orlando

    While sitting here in the gray of Pittsburgh, it has rained or snowed almost every day this Spring, I started thinking about my trip to Reefaplaooza in March and went back and looked at my notes. Yes, I take notes when I go to a show to remind me of what I saw that I found interesting as well as what products or corals I wanted to follow up on, i.e, buy, and the people I talked with. Probably a sign I am getting older, but I prefer to think I am getting wiser as at shows like Reefapalooza...
  5. Jamie Craggs’ Game Changing Work at the Horniman Museum

    Over the years I have witnessed a lot of breakthroughs in the hobby. In terms of propagating corals we have gone from barely being able to keep most corals alive to the point where we can now propagate most corals through some form of fragmentation. Some of these advancements we have achieved have allowed for some damaged reefs to be repopulated by corals that have been “grown out” away from the ocean. In this regard, we should take pride in what we have been able to accomplish and how if...
  6. Has the hobby gotten too expensive and how does it compare to the past?

    I have been in this hobby for a long time, but I am not going to act like an old codger and say I remember when Flame Angels were a quarter and corals were a dollar. Nor am I going to get into a discussion of how a frag costing more than a major appliance is good for the hobby or even what it means. I have difficulty comprehending this as well as how so much money and so many new hobbyists have come into the hobby. The latter at east in part driving the former. Also it is not my job to tell...
  7. Things I Miss About the Hobby

    Being with some of my long-time friends a bit ago, we started reminiscing about the early years of the hobby and some of the things that used to be common or major parts of the hobby and how many of them were gone. I am typically not someone who dwells on the past, but I must admit that I do miss some of the things that made the early days “fun”. Maybe I was just young and found simpler things more enjoyable or maybe it was because everything was simply new and exciting. Regardless of the...
  8. Tips and Tricks (No Secrets)

    One of the most frequently asked questions I get are what are the secrets of the people who are really good at doing this. I would love to tell you that there are a bunch of secrets and I am writing a book that you have to buy to get them, but that is not the case. There really are no secrets nor should there be. When I did the articles on the Master’s tanks I tried to show that there were none, by revealing exactly what they were doing. Despite that I have still been asked about what are...
  9. The Pros and Cons of Aquacultured vs Maricultured vs Wild Coral Colonies

    Visiting MACNA or any of the large frag swaps or shows 10 years ago the vendors present for the most part displayed large wild colonies of coral under metal halide lamps. IN the last five years this has changed dramatically as now almost all of the vendors show frags of corals under blue LEDs. So this begs the question: why have things changed so dramatically in such a relatively short time? Have hobbyists become more conscientious in terms of not wanting to take colonies from the ocean and...
  10. Stability and Consistency of a Reef Tank

    One of the most important things I learned from these individuals is that all of them believe that stability is one of the keys to their success. Most of them not only keep the parameters of their tanks very stable, but they also are not constantly adding or changing the fish and corals in their tanks either. Something I really need to do a better job of doing. While it is clear that some of the parameters of their systems vary markedly from one another, there seems to be little variance in...
  11. Following the Masters Part Two

    When I decided to write the first article looking at the tank parameters for people who I consider masters in the hobby I did so thinking that their tanks would be pretty similar and that their success was at least partially due to their following some common recipe. I chose them somewhat randomly with the only criteria being that their tanks were successful and had been so over time, that they were willing to share what they were doing and that I thought most hobbyists would admire their...
  12. Learning and Understanding

    This past fall and winter were a bit trying for my tanks due to the amount of travel I did and the resultant time away from my tanks. I have to admit that they were more neglected than they had been for quite some time and it showed. As a result, I lost a few corals and fish, some equipment failed due to neglect and some things were changed owing to what I learned in my travels. Looking back on why some of these problems occurred, made me think of what I have learned and how I could put that...
  13. Tank Parameters Of Some Masters

    To this day one of the most frequently asked questions I get, and actually that many “old time hobbyists” get is “How do I get rid of the algae in my tank. My first question then is “what are the parameters of your tank’s water? Invariably the answer is my tank’s parameters are “perfect”. I would love to say that this is not the case, but actually a lot of the time their parameters really are close to “perfect”. So this got me to thinking: “What really are perfect water conditions? And more...
  14. Incrementalism in the Hobby

    There is an old Southern axiom of how to cook a bullfrog. You can’t just pop it into boiling water because as soon as it hits the hot water it will sense that the water is too hot so it will hop out. Instead you put it in cool refreshing water and then gradually increase the heat. By doing it that way before it realizes that the water is getting hot it is too late and it is cooked. As far as I know cooking bullfrogs is not a major aspect of reefkeeping, but that example is a good way of...
  15. The Past and Future of the Hobby

    At this time of year, we often look back on what has transpired in the past year both good and bad and think about it. For me, it was for the most part a good year in aquarium terms, as I wrote a fair amount, most of my tanks did well and I traveled more than I had in along time and as a result learned a lot and made more friends all over the world. But in thinking about this article I did not want to just write about where things are or were, but also how things may be in the future. In...
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