A thread to new reefers, From seasoned reefers.

Jeremy_d

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When you decide that you want to start a reef tank, when you go to do research, it is like drinking water from a fire hose, and that can be scary for some people. There is so much that you have to know if you want to have success. So, if you have been keeping tanks for a long time, Please use this thread to go into detail about particular subject that you feel all new reefers should know. Just some beginner tips that you wish you knew when you started your first tank.

I personally have been doing this since 2011, that’s not a long time compared to some people here, but it is a long time compared to others. I do not know everything, I will not claim that I know everything, but there are some things that have remained true the entire time i have been in this hobby.

There’s a huge difference between knowing and understanding.

I will also say, there are some things that for a long time, we knew you needed, but we didn’t really understand why. This hobby evolves constantly and I feel now with places and people like Ryan at Bulk Reef Supply, Tropic Marin, Than at Tidal Gardens, trusted people in the reefing community, are beginning to take this information that has been around for a long time, and put it in front of us. Finding those scientist finding the data and putting it in front of us to learn. And if the information is not there, they are performing experiments to get that data and to understand the why. These people are providing invaluable resources to the community.

This is going to be a long post, I apologize for that.

I will start with the importance of bacteria and patience when establishing your first or any reef tank and what it truly means to have a cycled tank.

Patience is key when it comes to establishing a thriving reef tank ecosystem. The bacterial presence necessary to adequately support coral life cannot be achieved in a mere three weeks. It's essential to emphasize to everyone the importance of patience during the initial setup phase. While the desire to add coral quickly is understandable, rushing can lead to challenges down the line and decrease the chances of long-term success.When we talk about cycling a reef tank, it's not just about ensuring the water is clean enough to support life; it's about creating a robust and diverse microbiome that takes time to develop. A proper cycle can take months, and during this time, the ecosystem within the tank is gradually stabilizing and establishing itself. One of the strategies to promote biodiversity is to incorporate pieces of rubble from multiple sources, providing a variety of microbial populations that can benefit the tank.For example, in my tank, I have live rock sourced from various regions such as the Gulf of Mexico, Indonesia, the Bahamas, Jamaica, and the Pacific coast of Mexico and California. However, it's important to note that while ocean-sourced live rock can be beneficial, it's not a necessity for success. Many successful reef tanks thrive without it due to its cost and potential introduction of unwanted organisms like hitchhikers, algae, and sponges.Dosing bacterial supplements like Dr. Tim’s, bio Spira, and microbactor 7 can aid in establishing a diverse microbial community, but it's crucial not to rely on just one brand or type. Combining different bacterial products can further enhance the biodiversity of your tank, making it more resilient to issues like cyano, diatoms, or dinoflagellates, which are common challenges in reef aquariums.It's vital to understand that while some may have had success without dosing anything or taking shortcuts, the foundation of all successful reef systems lies in an extremely biodiverse water column. Bacteria serve as the backbone of a healthy ecosystem, and rushing the process by adding coral too soon can lead to disappointment and frustration, potentially driving enthusiasts away from the hobby. Taking the time to allow your system to develop its biodiversity before introducing delicate coral specimens is a key aspect of long-term success in reef keeping.
 

Ron Reefman

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It takes 6 to 12 months for a good reef tank to reach stability that can be called a 'mature tank'. Don't rush it and don't rely on all the 'snake oil' products you see. Most of them are almost useless.
 

X-37B

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Start with a plan! Find someone here that has a tank you like. Look through their threads to see if they know how to maintain a system.
My best advice is see if they are willing to help you through pm.
Worst advice is to listen to 10 different people and then try and piece together a system.
You need the basics first, walk before you run, analogy.
I have helped a few but many wont listen to one and then get confused and give up.
Its not that hard if you understand the basics.
 

Paul B

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Jeremy, great thread. When I started there were no threads (or computers, only dirt) So I did everything by the seat of my pants and trial and mostly error. But in the last almost 70 years I learned a couple of things I wish I knew then.

I feel (as Jeremy said) bacteria run our tanks. We are just there to give the bacteria something to make fun of.

Cycling really means allowing the time for bacteria to flourish and multiply. Initially many different types of bacteria will grow and eventually they will settle down and the bacteria we want will prevail. Of course all that other bacteria will not be happy about that and our tanks will have issues. Those issues are controlled by bacteria, funguses and viruses which are all in conflict with each other.

We will get algae, cyano and maybe diatoms. These are very common, normal and natural things so whatever you do, "Do Not" add any chemical to eliminate these things as they need to cycle through until they get over it. This can take a few weeks to years.

Don't worry about it or get divorced. Chemicals although may temporarily help will short circuit the cycle and it will take much longer to stabilize so if it isn't something that naturally occurs in the sea, "don't put it in your tank".

In the sea manatees, tangs, urchins, chitens, slugs, sea hares and snails eat those things but unless you can get those things to poop outside your tank, they won't work in a tank.

The sea is full of nuisance algae but those critters take care of it. In a tank, you will just have to wait it out and it will abate.

My own tank is running over 50 years and I still get diatoms, cycno and algae. I love it because I realize it is normal and natural. If none of those things grew, then I would worry. I have been diving almost 60 years and that stuff grows in every sea.

Notice the growth on the bottom of my reef.






And this is the bottom of the ocean in an outer Island in Hawaii.





Caribbean



Florida Keys



Notice any similarities?
 
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