Do You Get Discouraged?

BRS

zoa what

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Been reefing since 2007

Every day of that has been a STRUGGLE

It's a hobby of always wanting more for your tank. Always wanting more coral growth. More color. Always wanting fish to be swimming and dancing in harmony around like perfect lil fish. Always wanting every parameter to be dead on the numbers.

Honestly I'd QUIT if I weren't so monetarily invested and emotionally invested.

The daily HOPING thing were better is a struggle.


.
 
BRS

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Mean this in the nicest possible way, but I am glad I am not alone and look at the tank and want to cry, or maybe I am the only one who wants to cry!? I have only been in the saltwater hobby since August, but I’ve been in freshwater for years mainly with an axolotl, but really gone hardcore this last 18months, five tanks and counting! But this saltwater tank, jeez! Algae is worrying me no end, I feel like I am doing everything wrong, even though I am testing and trying to be careful with what do. It’s only a nano tank to see if I want to go big, but I get moments of scrap it and turn it into a freshwater. But then I remember all the money I have poured in - no pun intended - and I must carry on! Just in the last week I’ve lost a coral and my purple firefish has passed away, he was stressed out, because I gave the tank a deeper clean, so what am I to do? Think I have found a LFS that specialise in marine so will visit them and ask where to go next, after I have finished a course of treatment, as I worry my firefish causing a disease to the others. But thankfully the Community here is great and we try and keep each other sprits up :) we can do it! Or you can, I might not lol.
 

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This might be a different take, but what makes me want to quit is participating online in the hobby. It certainly discourages me a lot. People believe vendors, retailers, their infomercials and other posters with build threads with their stuff barely out of the boxes. I love reefing and have long ago figured out what works for me, but it kinda breaks my heart to try and explain some chemistry and biology and actual strategy to be successful to people only to hear that BRS said this or that in a video and they don't even know that BRS is just trying to sell them stuff (or whomever).

The biggest thing that hurt me was that for years I told people not to invest in dry/dead rock and all dry sand. Not only are the organics in the dead/dry rock really bad along with bound phosphates, the environment was a breeding ground for diatoms, matting bacteria and especially fish diseases. Tanks with real live rock and real live sand not only help with all of the nasty ugly phases, but fish diseases that fall off and into the rock and sand of a mature, well established tank do not stand hardly a chance... so if something gets through your QT (which always seems to happen), then there is a very small chance that any gets through to the next phase. I took massive amount of junk for this publicly and in PM.

Maybe I should have just gone into the abyss like so many others and just ran my tank in peace. I do want to see people succeed and this hobby flourish in the future, but it won't if people believe the loud posters (who won't likely be in the hobby in a year) and videos from people trying to sell you stuff.
 

Lyss

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I just came back to say that when I have bad days, there are always good days yet to come around the corner; and those good days make it all worth it. It feels good to look in there and see a tank bursting with life, w/everything at peace doing its thing. It’s simple things, like I just watched a porcelain crab feeding on the rocks and thought, man that’s so cool.
 
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On an off over years, drastically downsized last time. It takes much more expenses and effort than anticipated, and no "Reefkeeping 101" or what is going on in other people's tanks help, have to figure out how to deal with what happens in own tanks.

Then decision making as for any other project: can you do it or there are constraints (time, space, effort, money) that make it not worth the troubles. When tank is anything but relaxing, this helps with limiting tanks expansion, working out balancing tank, and keeping easier species like lps, sps comparing to NPS and sponges, in low tech tanks.

What helped a lot, from big to pico tanks:
  • The choice of salt mix, they come in two groups: low and high alkalinity. Low alkalinity for ULNS.
  • Testing, making sure that there are detectable nitrates and phosphates and alkalinity wasn't used before next water change or dosing.
  • Dosing, if necessary.
  • Building biodiversity, especially now, when LR is not available in stores as it was before. Helps a lot with unbalanced tanks with their waves of this or that, coming in succession. If beginners corals do not grow for you, try this, together with some nitrates and phosphates it should solve the problem.
  • First aid box with medications for cyano (ChemiClean), bryopsis (ReefFlux), flatworms (FlatwormExit), aiptasia (Aiptasia-X or F-Aiptasia).
  • More complex treatments like bacterial cultures as Vibrant and Dr. Tim's ReNew and WasteAway, and knowing when the situation calls for using them.
  • Some corals have very different requirements, hard to meet in a small tank, but still doable. Contemplating to keep a separate low light low-medium flow tank for low light corals, they don't flourish in acropora tank. Feeding helps with recovery of the rescue corals and faster growth, especially LPS, even adding aminoacids to a fishless tank that produces not enough organics on its own. Snails as an alternative to a fish poop.
 

vetteguy53081

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Never
I always lived by rule. . . This is a hobby at time of trial and error and NEVER LET A FISH OR CORAL KICK YOU IN THE BUTT.
 
OP
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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
Watch your lobo with the Vibrant. When I tried it it seemed to help at first but then the algae just kind of stabilized (no noticeable reduction or increase in the amount of algae). Then I started noticing some of my corals showing difficulty (less vibrant [pun not intended] colors and others signs of struggle). Not every coral seemed to be effected and I don't have a lobo but if you start seeing your lobo get worse you should think about whether or not to continue using Vibrant (definitely do not overdose it, follow the directions). I saw a similar effect with using hydrogen peroxide as a dose to fight algae (eventually just stabilized amounts of algae). I still use the peroxide for cleaning and spot treatment around corals but I'm not currently using it or vibrant as a dose to the whole tank.
 
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This is related to to my reply to ajxackt's post (#12) but I thought it might be better post it separately.

I have used a diluted peroxide dip on some heavily algae encrusted corals as a LAST RESORT and that saved a couple of them. My peroxide dip process (Developed by trial and error and there's still room for improvement >> READ EVERYTHING BEFORE BEGINNING! As with all advice on R2R, USE AT YOUR OWN RISK):

1. Tank water in container (about the same size as the coral)

2. Add coral to that container (see additional container notes below)

3. Add peroxide (I use 3%) slowly until you start to see a few tiny bubbles (you need good lighting so you can see them, it shouldn't be a bubble storm). Keep in mind it takes time for the peroxide to react so add a few drops then watch for 30 seconds or so before adding more. Stir/swirl the water after each set of drops/doses to make sure its mixing enough to contact the algae.

>> If you start to see lots of bubbles on the coral (vs. the algae) then that particular coral might not be a good candidate for peroxide dipping, stop what you're doing and rinse the coral in fresh tank water. You need to evaluate if the treatment is worse than the algae.

>> The amount of peroxide you need will depend on the starting volume of water and the size of the frag. For example, I usually use small yogurt cups for small frags (4-6oz/100-175ml). Colony and/or Small Colony size corals will need a larger volume of water and more peroxide so you might use a small (5-10ml) dosing cup instead of a dropper for adding the peroxide. Go slow the first time and then note the "safe" number of drops and/or ml of peroxide for that container. The "safe" number should be less than your final amount added (subtract 10% - 20% or so as a safety margin). My yogurt containers usually take 40+ drops so if I know that particular coral tolerates peroxide dipping might start at 30 drops then add the remaining drops more slowly, observing for 10 - 20 seconds between each new drop after the initial 30 drops. If you've never dipped this type of coral in peroxide go slow the whole time. Peroxide seems to do nothing then it starts to really do something in a hurry. Patience is your best strategy.

4. Start 6 minute timer. Don't try to extend the dip time to get "better results" instead dip every couple of days, maybe once a day (I learned this the hard way!). Just remember, peroxide affects the coral as well. With each dip it's getting hit too. The each dip weakens the algae, after the first dip, you might be able to pluck some off. Additional treatments will further weaken/break down the algae.

Additional Notes:

>> During your algae battles you may end up with coral bone where the algae once was. In my experience, if that area is in a bad spot (like inside a branching structure) and/or large, the algae will likely come back before the coral regrows to cover that area. In these cases, consider fragging the coral so that there's little/no bone areas for algae to colonize. It's terrible to have to break down a colony into frags but better to have at least one frag than none of that coral left in your tank (some of the frags may still die). I have heard that you can cover the bone areas with super glue to prevent algae but my superglue seems to grow algae (if you have a glue that doesn't do this I loved to know)!!

>> If you just have algae around the base of a coral, like on a frag plug, you can spot treat with the undiluted peroxide (reminder, I use 3%). I use the dropper to strategically target the algae while avoiding the coral tissue (quality spray bottle for larger areas). Just remember, any coral tissue hit by the undiluted peroxide will most likely die. (See above notes about coral bone)

>> Some people on R2R are very polarized about peroxide. In particular some have concerns about additives getting into your tank (this is certainly possible). If that's a concern for you (like it is for me) consider having a second container of tank water as a rinse dip. You could also use a spray bottle of tank water to rinse the coral after treatment.

Any questions? I don't know if I'll have the answer but please don't hesitate to ask!

Hope all that helps someone with their saving corals from algae battles!
 
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This might be a different take, but what makes me want to quit is participating online in the hobby. It certainly discourages me a lot. People believe vendors, retailers, their infomercials and other posters with build threads with their stuff barely out of the boxes. I love reefing and have long ago figured out what works for me, but it kinda breaks my heart to try and explain some chemistry and biology and actual strategy to be successful to people only to hear that BRS said this or that in a video and they don't even know that BRS is just trying to sell them stuff (or whomever).

The biggest thing that hurt me was that for years I told people not to invest in dry/dead rock and all dry sand. Not only are the organics in the dead/dry rock really bad along with bound phosphates, the environment was a breeding ground for diatoms, matting bacteria and especially fish diseases. Tanks with real live rock and real live sand not only help with all of the nasty ugly phases, but fish diseases that fall off and into the rock and sand of a mature, well established tank do not stand hardly a chance... so if something gets through your QT (which always seems to happen), then there is a very small chance that any gets through to the next phase. I took massive amount of junk for this publicly and in PM.

Maybe I should have just gone into the abyss like so many others and just ran my tank in peace. I do want to see people succeed and this hobby flourish in the future, but it won't if people believe the loud posters (who won't likely be in the hobby in a year) and videos from people trying to sell you stuff.
I love this post. Don't get me wrong I love R2R, BRS, Melev's Reef, and Reef Builders to name some of my favorites. There is a lot of experience there. I don't know that any of these people are just out to sell. But... and this is a big BUT. What they share is their experience with their skills, tank, water conditions, equipment, lights, food, supplements, fish, corals, cleanup crew, rock and etc. (their environment). You have to take information from those sources with all that in mind. If you try to do their tank their way without any consideration of yourself and the environment you have to work with you will likely fail.

Probably the clearest lesson I've learned recently. What do I want do, how do I want to maintain my tank, how much do I have to spend on it? You got to answer those questions (and more) for you personally.

In my case when we were buying equipment for the 75 gallon (still in dry dock) my wife and I discussed a sump. We kept hearing from all the sources (including those above) that things are better with a sump and we had seriously considered it. However, when working up the budget for the 75g we realized that we would spend at least 1/4 of the budget on just the sump and then have to compromise on other components. Then I started thinking about how it was basically a tank for my tank that I would have to maintain. Then I started to think about increased flood risk (I know if setup correctly a lot less unlikely). In the end we decided that over the years (again I've been doing this since the late 1990's) we've had several successful saltwater tanks with fish and corals and they all had hang on back filtration. I'm still probably going to do a sump at some point but for me right now it doesn't make sense.

Of particular note, I believe that this problem tank is the first I have started with nothing but dry rock. I believe all the others had at least gained a rock from the original tank that had some live rock in it. Dry rock is much harder than live. I did dry because I had gained some "undesirable critters" in the other tanks that likely came from the live rock. This particular critter was prolific and loved to eat star polyps. I love star polyps but could never keep them because of this critter. Thus the decision to only do dry rock. I still haven't gotten star polyps to survive in my dry rock 55 gallon, ugly tank (something isn't right in MY environment) and now I have all the algae issues. Now was it a good decision to forego live rock (hard to find now but wasn't then)? I don't know, but I find my self wondering sometimes while I spend hours plucking algae.

Remember, it's your tank and it should fit you or you will quit.
 
Reef Chasers Aquaculture
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Took these photos today after plucking and cleaning for over 6 hours last Saturday. Should have taken a photo before (believe it or not this looks much better) but I just couldn't stand to look at it any longer!
 

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