Back to the Basics: Do what works for you!

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Michael White

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I have been reefing for 10 years this year and my biggest lesson, with my newest and largest tank is to stick with what has worked in the past. If you’re not interested in a long story you can stop reading here.
I started like most, a fish only becoming a FOWLR. My lighting was a simple T5 fixture, and my first filter was a small sump with standard overflow with socks and protein skimmer, using Instant Ocean and testing with api kits. No problems, no crashes = great experience. Stayed with tried and trued 10% weekly water changes, cleaning some of the sand with a gravel vac each time. That tank became a reef when I added some mushrooms and candy canes, and eventually added more live rock and transitioned to more lps and a few stick. SPS triggered the switch to Reef Crystals, led strips fixtures with simple on off timers, and ato with kalk - making regular doses of two part to keep parameters in line Respectable growth and good color achieved= great experience, never lost a coral.
I upgraded to a 150gal with 40gal sump with same basic setup= great move. When I saw the radion xr15s I had to have them, the coloration in the tank was unbelievable. Started reading about “higher end” salts like red sea coral pro, tropic-marin, etc. started Red sea salts and test kits. Removed sand and switched to bare bottom over several weeks about the same time. Still good growth and coloration but was taking a lot more of my time to keep things tested and stable parameters, the salt didn’t seem to consistently mix to the same parameters when mixed, the testing became tedious and annoying. At the same time I was making a lot more “adjustments” to correct my paramaters try to get things in line. Seemed like I was doing everything right. But for all of my extra money and time I ended up with no significant increase in growth, occasional spikes and fluctuations unlike I had ever see. Before I knew it the point source xr15s resulted in weird shadows on the under and backsides of my sps, my growth almost stopped, and the occasional alk spikes from the inconsistent Red Sea Salt was causing tip burns on my more sensitive colonies = not enjoying the hobby. Got frustrated and even tried no water changes: no more swings, but things got weird for my tank clarity and I got Dynos- which I had never had in 8yra of reefing. Sold my tank when I moved cross country and then took me a year to regain interest to start up a new one.
Got the new tank, started up where I left off, had same experience, plus mix in new tank start up woes. Built up over $3000 in a frag tank to be ready to move into the display. Shortly after moving into my diplay I got a bad batch of Fritz salt, my newest recommended “best salt”. Resulted in the loss of $1800 worth of sps. No matter what I tried, the mixed saltwater would test fine after 24 hrs for Alk, Cal, Mag, Sal, and then precipitate out and drop way out of line. Even adding two part to manually adjust just resulted in minimal increases and crazy snow of precipitate. I wanted to give up.

I went back to reef crystals: so easy to mix and comes out consistent every time. No issues with precipitate outside of the initial mixing vat. Got Salivert test kits. Went back to a blanket of light, but instead of led strips I stuck with viparspectras with the simple off on timer I had success with in my frag tank, but got 6 of them for my 6’ tank (they’re turned down- not trying to cook things). Remaining corals are looking good, but still recovering. I went back to live sand and weekly water changes. I did get a rollermat filter, which is the best device ever! I’m enjoying the hobby again and excited about getting back on my established methods of success.

My lesson: If you have good experience with tried and true methods and your still enjoying the hobby just stick with it. I know everyone’s experience is different with different products and husbandry methods, but this has been mine. I’m not bad mouthing anyone’s products, purchases, or husbandry. Pretty standard advice, but hopefully someone learns from this experience.

Thanks, and keep Reefing!
 
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Jedi1199

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I think that despite what seems to be the "norm" here on this forum, the majority of the longest term successful reefers here have stayed with the KISS method. Yes, there are undoubtedly a LOT of fantastic high tech reef tanks here and their success can not and should not be diminished in any way.

There was a poll here a couple weeks ago about going hi-tech or KISS, and I believe it was pretty much 2 to 1 for KISS.
 

Hypnotoad

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Over the last year I added a fuge, switched salts, and switched from seachem reef fusion to BRS pharma stuff

had a ton of losses starting this past winter/spring.

I think the fuge was what really screwed stuff up but have also been slowly reverting everything else back to how it was before.

So yeah, if it ain’t broke….
 
BRS

Do you house a "Reef Safe" Angelfish in your reef tank?

  • YES and it's going good

    Votes: 123 41.7%
  • YES but it's not working out

    Votes: 8 2.7%
  • NO I have tried it in the past and it didn't work out

    Votes: 29 9.8%
  • NO I haven't tried yet

    Votes: 126 42.7%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 9 3.1%
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