Do You Get Discouraged?

BRS

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So, does anyone else get discouraged in this hobby? Don't get me wrong I still love it but I've been challenged by my current tank since 2008 (I've been reefing since the late 1990's with previous success). This 55 gallon tank had a real tough startup period. For years it has gone from algae city to "Oh look coralline algae, we're making progress now."

The most recent downturn started about 2 months ago. Healthy corals started turning white. Just a couple to start with but now most of the more delicate ones are bone white and turning green and the others don't look like they should. The algae took off about the same time. I think all of this started when we lost our Diamond Watchman Goby. I tried stirring the sand some myself but it's just not the same. Then a few days ago we lost our tang (the only remaining original 2008 tank inhabitant).

I have checked and adjusted parameters, done water changes, cleaned equipment, many of the usual things people suggest. I've been doing that for years now (I've even tried things like Vibrant and Hydrogen Peroxide). It just seems that I can't get this tank in sync. I've got an empty 75 gallon with all the necessary equipment ready to be set up but I'm worried about messing up again and having two troublesome tanks.

My main purpose in posting this is not to elicit advice (although I certainly would appreciate any offered) but rather to provide an opportunity for others to share their own stories of frustration, and hopefully how they faced and overcame the challenges and pushed past the feelings of "why can't I do this right" and "Do I have a black thumb when it comes to reefing" or similar thoughts.

Thanks in Advance!
 
REEFTIDE

Karen00

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My saltwater tank has only been up for 4 months so nothing catastrophic with that tank but I had a horrendous crash with my beloved freshwater tank about 3 yrs ago. I lost almost all of my long time inhabitants. Only two survivors. That was devastating to the point where I had a hard time even looking at the tank. If those two fish had not survived I probably would've packed it in and I doubt I would've gotten into saltwater. I still have the two freshwater survivors. I'm sorry to read about your troubles. We've all had at least one experience that gives brings doubt, sadness, frustration but usually our passion for the hobby prevails and we push through the hard times. :) You're still here, you will prevail. :)
 

Paul B

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I have not been discouraged yet, but the day is young. :)
I learned many years ago to just leave the tank alone. I feel the biggest problem in this hobby by far is chemicals and medications.

I used to use "Red Slime Remover, Chemiclean, hydrogen peroxide, carbon, Phosguard" etc.

Now I use seawater and feed mostly clams. In probably 40 years I have not had any problems with crashing, diseases or anything else except the occasional leak or flood and I don't have to quarantine.

Sea water everything in it your tank needs and there is no reason to add or remove anything. Everything works its way out with no help from us.

Algae, cyano, etc. all disappear on their own.

Good luck
 

WVNed

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Ah, seawater. Hard to find here in West Virginia. Probably not an answer that will work for me.

Doing this is like keeping plants. Find the ones that do well under your care and keep them. I buy the cheapest frags I can find. If they do well I spread them and if not I don't sweat it.
Eventually I have a tank full of stuff doing fine with the level of involvement I want to give it, the equipment I have and the methods I am comfortable with.

Looking at it makes me happy. 100% all that matters to me at this point.
 

Lyss

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The keeping plants analogy sticks with me.

My tank is 9 months old, and a nano b/c I’m spacially challenged here in nyc. I’m not even sure my building would allow me to have more than 30 gallons. So I started w/the max nano as my first sw tank. I go through days where I’m discouraged, and then right around the corner is an encouraging day.

Just recently I lost a bunch of corals that were previously thriving, and couldn’t figure out why. Turned out my sg had dropped to 1.020 b/c I got lax on checking refractometer calibration. It’s a miracle I finally checked and caught it when I did. That was a discouraging time, but since then things have gotten better.

The reason the plant analogy sticks w/me is b/c it has become my philosophy as well. I live with over 100 houseplants, and have moved many in and out over the years that just couldn’t be happy in my space. Why keep beating a dead horse with some expensive tropical aroid if my space isn’t conducive to growing it? Over the years I found out what likes my space and have built a collection around that. I feel the same way about corals now, too.

I get discouraged with my FW planted tank as well. I had a period where algae started to take over and I can’t add a CUC b/c I’ve got puffers in there. Really discouraging. But that got better, too. 10 gallon tank, and yes the nanos can be tough to keep in balance.

I think the challenges do make us better at this. But man, they can really get you down. You’re not alone!
 
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NewReefer2020

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Currently going through a tough phase on my 55. It all started when I didn’t change my GFO when I should have and my algae came back. I literally had just about everything I had fought through during the ugly phase and to top it all off, I learned, too late, that my nutrient deficiency provided the perfect place for the toxic Dinos to grow. I lost nearly my entire cuc, an anemone crab, cleaner shrimp, anemone and anemone crab, and a replacement portion of cuc. After a while the Dinos disappeared and I was left with most everything else. Dosed chemiclean and did lots of scrubbing and things were looking up. Then things weren’t again. I started seeing some more algae and my water started getting cloudy so I attempted a blackout. After the blackout, things seemed ok, but then my water turned lime green and I realized I was missing a fish (possible six lined wrasse issue, any tips for catching it welcome and I may not turn down an offer. Purchased it before I knew he was aggressive). Now you are caught up to the present day. 10 gallon wc’s daily for the next week before Thanksgiving and better than api tests will be run tomorrow. All I can do now is pray everything works out and I don’t have a summertime lake instead of an ocean scape by Thanksgiving. Getting things worked out, but it sure knocks you down a few pegs. Wish me luck and good luck to those in similar situations. I hope your issues end as well as is possible.
 

FiddlersReef

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(possible six lined wrasse issue, any tips for catching it welcome and I may not turn down an offer. Purchased it before I knew he was aggressive).
I had a six line that was aggressive and I caught him easily in three days with a bubble trap. Basically starved the tank for two days, then fed in the trap. He went right in.
 

jacalhou

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I feel you. I love this hobby and have always had saltwater running through my veins since my first beach trip as a kid. I enjoy having a little piece of the ocean in my house and it makes me happy to have things to learn and animals to take care of. However, I’ve recently just started overcoming a long battle (over a year trying different things) with dinoflagellates. Now, I’ve seen aiptasia growing and spreading here and there. Some of them have stung corals and lead to one of my favorites burning and receding to death. It can be depressing, just as with any fish I’ve lost, corals I’ve lost, etc., but everything is a learning experience, too. Nothing is ever perfected when it comes to replicating Mother Nature. We just do our best in essentially keeping quality seawater and the rest kind of falls into place. Sorry for your recent losses :(
 
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ajxackt

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I feel all of this pain...
Got this nano reef and thought it was going to be great. I work at a pet store and I manage all the fish tanks and I have beautiful fish, corals, and anemones there. Thought, why not bring a bit of it home? Gotten almost everything for that tank, including the tank and fish, from my store.

Went through so much algae, from diatoms to cyano, to dinos, to slime, and now GHA. Each time I defeat an algae another comes.
The source water here is so bad that even RODI can't save it and I'm throwing in so many other things in addition to the salt mixture to keep the pH, ALK, Calcium, and Magnesium even remotely okay. I doubt that is helping.
I've killed I dont know how many sandsifting gobies, anemones, coral, snails, hermits, other inverts, and clownfish.
So far the only two things that have survived everything are a little extreme misbar black clownfish with 2 white eyebrows and my lobo coral (which has lost color and isn't nearly as happy as it could be because of the hair algae). I have a mushroom coral that is hanging on and even survived a dip in undiluted h2o2.
The idea of a rip clean is sounding more and more enticing with how bad all of this algae has gotten (the GHA is taking over everything despite manual removal, water changes, phosguard, skimmer, and other things) and how little I have left in this tank. I'm hoping the vibrant I just got in does something.

Though, even as dissapointing and frustrating as it can be, the little black clownfish that is scared of anemones greets me every morning begging for food. And that makes it a little better.

Have a grainy pic of him begging to make your day (yes his teeth are bared )
20211120_004538.jpg
 

ReefRondo

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A few years ago my 1000L reef tank got velvet and I lost about 50 fish in under an hour. Literally a salt bucket full of dead fish…will never forget it or forgive myself for not quarantining my final fish and causing all of that death. If it were not the passion I have for this hobby I would have given up right then and there. Hang in there buddy. We are all here to help and get you through it! Don’t ever be scared to give up either. If things get too much of a stretch for you (in my case financially for a while) you have nothing to be ashamed about throwing in the towel even if just temporarily. Sobering photos attached!
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Victay

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Glad I'm not alone.
After a battle with dinos and a tank reset, my tank just hasn't been thriving. Hard to stay enthusiastic when there aren't many results for the effort and $$ put in.
I haven't given up just yet though and have recent had a spurt of enthusiasm which I'm hoping to keep going.
 

chayes991

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Yes I’ve had a bad period in recent times. I had a Red Sea max nano which was absolutely stunning, I surprised myself with how good it was doing. Then we moved home and I had to move the tank, from there the tank went hugely downhill which was followed by me taking actions to correct it which probably made it worse, I’d say I lost 50% of coral. Since then I think I’ve learnt to just relax and take it easy, have realistic long term expectations and remember why you’re in the hobby in the first place. Is it because you want to keep a bit of the ocean or you want a perfect looking tank (nearly impossible for most reefers) since I’ve relaxed and left my tank mostly alone apart from usual husbandry it has come back. I really think it’s about having those expectations in check.
 
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Powahfull

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First timer aquarium owner bought a 32 gal biocube when I had been drinking on Cinco De Mayo *sigh* and decided I had to go through with it. I did the live rock from the LFS sump tanks for an almost instant cycle. About 6 months later the 2 clown fish and 1 red scooter blenny are still amazingly alive.

But I'm discouraged everyday I just cannot get the darn thing clean LOL!
 

Nano Chris

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I think most of us get discouraged when things start to go down hill or we see something that isn’t right like pests or issues with our livestock & we try to correct the problem when some can correct itself on its own. Try to find solutions & some of us rush to try and fix the problem & sometimes it makes it worse… Some kind of lack on maintenance as we get busy with our daily lives… I feel some impulse buy & not know how to take care of something & then play catch up to try and fix the issue and make it worse. There are so many things that can happen
 

JustJoan

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I have been discouraged and felt like giving up many times in my two years of keeping saltwater tanks. One thing I have learned is to not throw chemicals at my problems. The aftermath of chemicals bring much larger problems. Recently I battled hair algae. I bought some chemiclean to use on my tank after battling this for about 3 months. Just kept getting worse. I bought a clean up crew instead of using the chemiclean. I was amazed how they cleaned up my tank in less than one month. In this hobby, it seems when it is good, it is great! But when it is bad it is H***!
 

Morten1234

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Right now battling cyano and my Duncan is not thriving and the worrie about the tank can a times make me wanner quit. But I just know that a month later I’m right back at local fish store getting back in. Have started and left a few times but it’s always same story so this time I’ll ride the crap out and keep my tank
 
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