I guess it just kind of hit me, I can’t really say exactly when, but my friends - it is true that I have reached a point in my life, be it as a hobbyist or vendor, where in the things I do, and the methods I employ to keep my inhabitants happy and healthy, are often the subject of discussion with friends and customers alike. These very methods are just as often requested by information seeking enthusiasts down to the finest detail, so that they may be imitated or emulated in an effort to reproduce the same kind of results that I have managed to achieve. These questions range from general practices - like parameter basics, to very specific minutia - like bulb layout and hourly lighting increments. I have been asked just about every question out there when it comes to keeping coral happy. Most specifically about finding success with SPS coral.
Now I am forever and always an open book, and very willing to share whatever and however I can with whomever may elicit my help - I truly mean that. If I can help anyone become a more successful reefer that is the highest accolade I can obtain and I relish the opportunity tremendously. However, as willing as I am to assist, I’ll admit I am often conflicted deep down, because, well, simply put, the fact is that what works and has worked for me all these years, may not exactly work for you in the same way, or at least may not provide you with the exact same results that they have provided me.
There! I said it. But…...
This internal conflict over sharing or not sharing is solely out of concern for your tanks well being, because these are my methods, so don't blame me if things don't respond for you the same way they do for me! Harrumph! This is what I call the “Curmudgeon Conundrum” and it is a subject that is hard to broach politely.
I blame this miser!
But hear me out please because the crux of what I am really trying to say is that all marine systems, as similar as they are on a generalized level, are tremendously different. Furthermore, the things I do to keep my coral happy and thriving, I do because I have observed and acted and reacted to what was in front of me over the years. Paying close attention to how my coral responded to whatever I had done, or felt I needed to to do. Trying things, experimenting with new ideas, adopting and evolving as I went. At no point early on in my ventures did I try to or even have the option to emulate what someone else was doing specifically in hopes of achieving the same results. Now this may be partly due to the fact that my resource pool was limited, especially before I discovered reef forums, but nonetheless, at the most crucial point of learning as a clean slate hobbyist, short of the few books I had, I was primarily on my own and I learned a lot of the basics as I went - pretty organically.
But jeez, enough about me already!
Certainly we all can agree that the basic general guidelines for parameters and such is pretty standard stuff, but when it comes to refining the processes to suit your own inhabitants needs, I think it’s far better to do so as a response to what you have in front of you rather than how someone else does it. No matter how “accredited” they may be. I mean you and your reef have a pretty intimate relationship whether you like it or not.
Your hands put it together and your labor maintains it, not mine. The life and longevity of your inhabitants no matter how fragile or hardy depend entirely on your ability to provide them with the environment they need to thrive. Only by nurturing this relationship through keen observation and careful reaction and planning will you become tuned in to your reefs specific needs. Sometimes things go right, sometimes they go “south” so to speak, it is a trial and error hobby and no two tanks are identical even in the same room.
So, please don’t interpret this write up as advice-seekers repellant or anything of that sort because I am always more them happy and willing to share and chat about anything with you at any time, and to help you troubleshoot problems and refine your individual methods as well. Sharing of information is what has gotten this hobby where it is today. If you’d like absolute specifics about my system and methods please don’t be shy to ask - but I’ll still encourage you to really pay attention to what is going on in your own system and how your corals respond to certain changes you make or conditions that are present. Things like slight parameter shifts, lighting changes or bulb replacement, condition of your RO water and filtration system as a whole. Switching salt brands and various forms of nutrient control and the list goes on, really. All these elements will affect any reef differently. Just as I am in control of what happens in my system, you are in the driver’s seat of yours and one of the best ways to enjoy success in this hobby is to learn to be as tuned in to your reef as possible and to keep the system simple.