Chemical compounds and reefing: Do you need to understand the chemistry stuff to have a successful reef tank?

Do you need to understand the chemistry stuff to have a successful reef tank?

  • Yes, you need to understand the chemistry to be a successful reefer.

    Votes: 65 26.4%
  • It may not be required, but it sure helps.

    Votes: 164 66.7%
  • I don’t understand the chemistry, I just follow the numbers.

    Votes: 12 4.9%
  • Other.

    Votes: 5 2.0%

  • Total voters
    246

Peace River

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Chemical compounds and reefing: Do you need to understand the chemistry stuff to have a successful reef tank?

When reef keeping, you may enjoy the fish, coral, technology, the chemistry, the community, the husbandry of building an ecosystem, and much more. But do you really need to understand the chemistry part, or can you just follow a basic “recipe” and make sure that your numbers on your meters and sensors are within a predetermined range? It is helpful, but is it necessary? To have a successful reef tank over time, do you need to understand the chemistry stuff? Let us know your thoughts and please explain why or why not!

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ReefGeezer

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Nobody will mistake me for a chemist or a biologist. I will never completely understand the details of the interactions of various chemical compounds in my reef tank. I'm grateful we have @Randy Holmes-Farley to explain those interactions when we ask. Over the years I have gained insight into the compounds that are most impactful and learned... mostly the hard way... how to manage them. I think that is the important part. IMO, understanding the details of the whys and hows is valuable but not completely necessary.
 

ACW33

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I am definitely doing my best to understand. For me, the more my brain understands these relationships, the better I will be able to care for the animals in my tank.
 

kevgib67

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My first tank was started in the mid nineties, I had it running for sixteen years by just watching and if things looked off I just increased water changes. I could get away with it as it was mostly softies with a few lps. I learned early that wouldn’t work as well with a pro dominant lps with a couple sps tank. Chemistry has been more important to me.
 

KrisReef

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Certainly don't have to completely understand it..... I think not being afraid to ask questions + a little common sense is the key
Totally agree, especially since Randy @Randy Holmes-Farley
Is on here to provide real answers and advice when our own recollection of chemical reactions is a bit FeO2.

Of course it is better to have a working knowledge of what is happening to help keep the growing reef alive and thriving and maintaining chemical balance rather than having to rely on the experts, but since they are here we can search for the answers that they have already provided and generally figure out what is needed.

Anyone dosing PeptoBismol since Thanksgiving?
pepto bismol 80s GIF
 

MnFish1

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Chemical compounds and reefing: Do you need to understand the chemistry stuff to have a successful reef tank?

When reef keeping, you may enjoy the fish, coral, technology, the chemistry, the community, the husbandry of building an ecosystem, and much more. But do you really need to understand the chemistry part, or can you just follow a basic “recipe” and make sure that your numbers on your meters and sensors are within a predetermined range? It is helpful, but is it necessary? To have a successful reef tank over time, do you need to understand the chemistry stuff? Let us know your thoughts and please explain why or why not!

Butcher333_TridentLevels.jpeg

Photo by @Butcher333


This QOTD is sponsored by: www.worldwidecorals.com
WWCBanner.png

“At WWC our staff takes the worry out of the equation by culturing extremely healthy corals, giving you a hassle-free guarantee, and providing you with a full online customer service team to ensure you are completely satisfied with your purchase.”
it depends on 'what understanding the chemistry means, right? If it's just knowing how alkalinity interacts with pH, thats one thing - if it is understanding how Ca and PO4 and nitrate interact/affect corals, There is a daily debate about this everyday. So I would say understanding chemistry in general helps in reefing - at least to understand the various discussions. But - not necessarily to have a successful reef tank
 

GARRIGA

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I try my best to understand the nuance but no one will ever accuse me of being a mad scientist. Sometimes just easier to understand the numbers but other times one needs to know what to do when the numbers don't act as they should.
 

The_Skrimp

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Most of what goes into reef keeping is just water keeping in my opinion. Aside from cleaning, feeding and fragging, the actual work to be done day to day is entirely about maintaining a stable environment for the coral to grow and making sure they have what they need. All of that is about the water - the temperature, the salinity, the nutrients, the elements etc…. I’m certainly no expert or chemist but I also couldn’t imagine having any level of success outside of maybe a FOWLR or a softy tank if I wasn’t treating the state of my water as my primary priority as a reef keeper. As long as the chemistry is right, I can worry about everything else.
 

Mr. Roboto

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Unless you are just keeping a softy tank and dont care.... You are going to try to understand the chemistry behind this hobby. Will you ever have an advanced degree in marine biology, no, however, you need to read publications, follow youtube vids and keep up with at least a little understanding of how things work to be truly successful beyond the toadstool leather and sinularas....
 

vlangel

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I personally do not think that any chemistry knowledge is necessary. I do feel that some understanding of biology is helpful however, like the nitrification cycle and how anaerobic organisms work in denitrification. Also helpful to me is marine plant biology but I really do not know anything about chemistry and my tank is doing ok.
IMG_20231115_115303749.jpg
 

Raul-7

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The beauty of this hobby is that it combines all the sciences into the living art we see before our eyes.

Chemistry is integral to the success of any aquarium; hence why there is dedicated forum to it along with a multitude of articles/books on the subject.
 

stambo3

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I have had an aquarium with LPS for seven months. I measure various parameters with Salifert, they seem somewhat good, but one month the corals are happy, and the next not so much. Some died, others still struggle. I read the forums, watch videos, but apparently the science of growing corals is not very clear to me. I continue with the trial and error experiment. Well I'll learn someday --- I hope :)
 

Stealthreefer

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I started doing this when you were a poser if you used any kind of automation. I can take care of a mixed reef with my eyes closed and used to taste the water and be able to tell you if something was out of wack.
If ever I am stumped I just do water changes till I am not.

That stupidity has followed me into middle age and I still don't test. I don't taste water anymore, I had a buddy get flesh eating bacteria on a vacation and put me off it.
 

Mixing an (un)intentional concoction: Do you know what you are adding to your reef tank?

  • I am aware of every item that is added to my reef tank.

    Votes: 59 54.1%
  • I know most of the items that are added to my reef tank.

    Votes: 32 29.4%
  • I am somewhat aware of the items that are added to my reef tank.

    Votes: 9 8.3%
  • I follow the directions of others when adding items to my reef tank.

    Votes: 1 0.9%
  • I randomly add items to my reef tank.

    Votes: 7 6.4%
  • Other.

    Votes: 1 0.9%
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