Do “reefers” rely on science or a 6th sense?

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Glenner’sreef

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So like many of you, I’ve been doing this for a long time. And I find the science behind it interesting and helpful but I’m not a numbers chaser. And certainly the consensus is “don’t chase numbers”! And numbers in our hobby often represent science. But as I share with friends about my successes in this beautiful hobby, I can’t help but feel that my success is often driven by chance or gut feeling that has worked for me in times past. And I go for it!

1. Do you have a “Reefing book” that you observed word for word?
2. Or do you have a 6th sense?
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mdb_talon

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This! Any my eyes! I pay close attention to things in my tank, if things look unhappy I test.

I would argue thats using science. Observation and testing are two integral parts of science..... Even if the observational piece is not easily quantified.
 

hart24601

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I would say my 6th sense is really just the science I have taken to heart over the years. Acros pale? No PE? Some might, including myself at 1st thought say it’s 6th sense but yet I know it’s the chemistry or lighting for pale, chemistry or fish nipping for no PE.

I might see a fish flashing or acting odd, that is out of regular behavior. 6th sense something is off? Maybe, but yet I know it is probably a chemistry or disease issue which is science.

I would say most of our reefing 6th sense is based off science unless one knows something has changed, but has no idea why or how to correct.
 
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HudsonReefer2.0

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I think u need the science to help tune ur 6th sense. Like u, I don’t chase numbers but like to live within certain parameters . Being in tune with ur system and specific corals, the canaries can tell u alot about overall health. U can see if the alk is off. Or know nitrates are good. Like my FF Digi loses the green in the tips w higher nitrates. Just example. However 20 years in always learning.
 

MaxTremors

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I don’t think they are mutually exclusive things, and I think you can follow the science without ‘chasing numbers’. I try to take an evidence based approach to the hobby (and to most things in life). I do trust my intuition when it comes to my tank, but my intuition is influenced and formed by evidence (which is science). I don’t think anyone fully goes by their ‘gut’ in this hobby, if that was the case no one would have living, thriving reefs, everything we do in this hobby built off of science. To follow your intuition in this hobby and be successful, you have to already have a foundation or understanding of the science to pull from to make those ‘gut’ decisions. I don’t know, I think this question is presenting a false dichotomy, I don’t think it’s either or, and one (intuition) is built from and can’t exist without the other (science).
 

jabberwock

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Science is a very misunderstood process. Its outcomes are also very misunderstood. If you are not following the scientific method, you are not doing science. You cannot "follow the science". That is not how it works. It is so simple, most of us learned about it in the 6th grade, but we forgot what we were taught and now believe that science provides things it was never prescribed to achieve.

What we do in reefing is much more engineering than science. We measure and adjust to (hopefully) achieve desired outcomes.
 
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Gatorpa

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So like many of you, I’ve been doing this for a long time. And I find the science behind it interesting and helpful but I’m not a numbers chaser. And certainly the consensus is “don’t chase numbers”! And numbers in our hobby often represent science. But as I share with friends about my successes in this beautiful hobby, I can’t help but feel that my success is often driven by chance or gut feeling that has worked for me in times past. And I go for it!

1. Do you have a “Reefing book” that you observed word for word?
2. Or do you have a 6th sense?
19335F75-0594-428E-BD13-E63EF33E1C58.jpeg
6BA8D8CF-1C0B-4D70-B46C-1E232F81DD98.jpeg
Both.

For years I could tell my wife if a fishcoral was sick days before they really went down hill.
 

Reef and Dive

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90% with science. But many times I’ve had a hard time interpreting what science has to say and the real impact on reef tanks.

Let me elaborate a bit: many stressors are very often useful in our tanks: UV, symbiont limitation, fragging…

Example: is UV important for corals? Science says not at all, it is a stress factor. But for us reefers that stress stimulates pigmentation for many corals and making a nice looking tank.

Is coral pigmentation a health status indication for science? Not at all in many cases (sorry for reefers who disagree, you are not truly reading scientific articles). But it is our goal here! Coral pigmentation for many scleratinian corals is a marker of stress. This is complex.

Is iron important for symbionts? Yeah. But today I believe iron limitation is important. Excess produces brownish corals, les good looking, richer in symbionts and my personal belief is that they even grow much slower.

I believe our tanks are incredibly more rich in nutrients than nature and that creates a very different environment. To me that’s pretty much one of the reasons people keep acros successfully with strong lights. They are NOT providing excess energy for photosynthesis, they are providing a limitation factor for zooxantellae! That is also (IMHO) today we can keep very colorful acros with much less PAR, we just use chemical methods for limitation of symbiont growth (many people are not aware of this even doing it).

That said, scientific articles are an amazing source of information, but to the new to average reefer it may look misleading.

Today I do not keep my tank according to what science dictates, but I surely find a LOT of very useful information.
 

jabberwock

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90% with science. But many times I’ve had a hard time interpreting what science has to say and the real impact on reef tanks.

Let me elaborate a bit: many stressors are very often useful in our tanks: UV, symbiont limitation, fragging…

Example: is UV important for corals? Science says not at all, it is a stress factor. But for us reefers that stress stimulates pigmentation for many corals and making a nice looking tank.

Is coral pigmentation a health status indication for science? Not at all in many cases (sorry for reefers who disagree, you are not truly reading scientific articles). But it is our goal here! Coral pigmentation for many scleratinian corals is a marker of stress. This is complex.

Is iron important for symbionts? Yeah. But today I believe iron limitation is important. Excess produces brownish corals, les good looking, richer in symbionts and my personal belief is that they even grow much slower.

I believe our tanks are incredibly more rich in nutrients than nature and that creates a very different environment. To me that’s pretty much one of the reasons people keep acros successfully with strong lights. They are NOT providing excess energy for photosynthesis, they are providing a limitation factor for zooxantellae! That is also (IMHO) today we can keep very colorful acros with much less PAR, we just use chemical methods for limitation of symbiont growth (many people are not aware of this even doing it).

That said, scientific articles are an amazing source of information, but to the new to average reefer it may look misleading.

Today I do not keep my tank according to what science dictates, but I surely find a LOT of very useful information.
To my point, Science does not dictate anything.
 
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