Easiest or Most Difficult Pet To Keep, Is Reef Keeping the choice for you?

BRS

flyfisher2

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jan 30, 2012
Messages
1,641
Reaction score
2,579
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Central Florida
After having read through other members posts on how unexpectedly difficult the reefing hobby has become for them to the point of them leaving reefing altogether, I thought I'd start this discussion.
The beauty and tranquility of enjoying an aquarium is hard to put into words. Just the idea of having creatures you would never see any other way short of visiting an aquarium or entering the ocean, in the comfort of your own home is amazing. What happens behind the scenes to make this work for us is another story.

For some, keeping fish is the simplest of hobbies with less maintenance than any other pet. I have kept many animals as pets at some point in my life,Dogs, cats, birds, reptiles.
In my experience I feel reefing requires more attention and upkeep than most if not all other pets. We're talking about the reef aquarium with the lighting issues, water parameters, finicky fish, territorial fish, encroaching corals, pests, diseases, the list goes on.
I've been an aquarium keeper for well over 40 years. I find it relaxing, challenging, frustrating at times, expensive and sometimes even rewarding. It occupies lots of time, be it in research or actual hands on and I love it.


I would love to hear others and their opinions.
 
Last edited:
CLICK TO VIEW
Corals.com
OP
flyfisher2

flyfisher2

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jan 30, 2012
Messages
1,641
Reaction score
2,579
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Central Florida
Reefing is cheaper than taking the dog to the vet. Fish don't throw up on the floor at 2am in the morning, bark incessantly at anything that moves or wake you up by climbing up and sitting on you.
Agreed, but how often does the dog throw up on the floor?
We’re talking about regular maintenance and issues vs. Isolated incidents.
As far as reefing being cheaper…. Not going to agree on that one. I would say, add up the annual expense not the once or twice a year vet bill.
 
OP
flyfisher2

flyfisher2

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jan 30, 2012
Messages
1,641
Reaction score
2,579
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Central Florida
Reefing is cheaper than taking the dog to the vet. Fish don't throw up on the floor at 2am in the morning, bark incessantly at anything that moves or wake you up by climbing up and sitting on you.
That climbing part scares me. Sounds like a BIG dog.
I can relate
 

Lyss

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 22, 2021
Messages
1,260
Reaction score
1,907
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
New York City
Reefing is cheaper than taking the dog to the vet. Fish don't throw up on the floor at 2am in the morning, bark incessantly at anything that moves or wake you up by climbing up and sitting on you.
This. Also unless you have a big yard you have to walk your dog every day (which is actually not a bad thing b/c it gives you exercise, but if you're lazy can be a pain), and I wish my cat only needed his litter box scooped once a week instead of every night before I go to bed.

That said, there are unique challenges to keeping fish, especially marine fish and a reef tank.
 

blaxsun

10K Club member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 15, 2020
Messages
16,733
Reaction score
19,848
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
The Abyss
That climbing part scares me. Sounds like a BIG dog.
I can relate
It's a medium-sized cattle dog. She likes to pull the blankets off me but reserves the honor of scaling the bed to rest upon the human for my wife.

And lately she's (the cattle dog) been throwing up about once a week, because she's developed this stupid tissue fetish.
 
World Wide Corals

Geebs19

Give me all the Euphyllia
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jul 17, 2018
Messages
2,038
Reaction score
5,886
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
De Soto, KS
For me the overall aspect of my aquarium is relaxing. With covid I became a virtual worker so I went from regular interaction with coworkers to none. I have mine setup right in front of my desk so I get to look at it all day long.

I get it tho, when things get out of control in the tank they can get out of control fast and can be frustrating and overwhelming.
 

RichReef

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Messages
663
Reaction score
1,654
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Wilmington, DE
20 minutes a day and 2-3 hours every other weekend. Easier and cheaper than most other pets to maintain.

The problem is getting there. Once you have a routine and a grip on your aquarium it becomes a lot easier. I really don't have to fight anything anymore.

Once we become bored most reefers upgrade and begin a new build or add a new aquarium.
 
Tidal Gardens
OP
flyfisher2

flyfisher2

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jan 30, 2012
Messages
1,641
Reaction score
2,579
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Central Florida
I like the constant learning aspect of the hobby. I think I have a pretty good understanding of dogs and cats so they are not as interesting to me.
I love my dog and we spend time together but the reef is a hobby, not the dog. The dog is a companion. I can't pet my tangs or touch my corals like I do my plants. And neither is as demanding. It's almost a calling. You have to love it or have the means to have someone else 'love' it for you.
 

Potatohead

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 3, 2017
Messages
2,300
Reaction score
3,375
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Vancouver
I find a reef to be less responsibility, and less work than my dog, definitely. That may not have been true the first couple years of having a reef but after things stabilize and you can go on auto pilot, it's pretty simple. I only put about 20 minutes maintenance into my reef a week I would guess. The dog is more than that per day.

The worst part of a reef is vacations, which I love to do. Pretty much need a house-sitter or at least a good neighbour to come by daily.
 
OP
flyfisher2

flyfisher2

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jan 30, 2012
Messages
1,641
Reaction score
2,579
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Central Florida
20 minutes a day and 2-3 hours every other weekend. Easier and cheaper than most other pets to maintain.

The problem is getting there. Once you have a routine and a grip on your aquarium it becomes a lot easier. I really don't have to fight anything anymore.

Once we become bored most reefers upgrade and begin a new build or add a new aquarium.
Sounds like you have it down pack. So food, salt, test kits, additives, if any,Added livestock, replacing damaged motors, lights, is all still less than a bag of Bird seed for Tweety, huh?
 
World Wide Corals
OP
flyfisher2

flyfisher2

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jan 30, 2012
Messages
1,641
Reaction score
2,579
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Central Florida
I find a reef to be less responsibility, and less work than my dog, definitely. That may not have been true the first couple years of having a reef but after things stabilize and you can go on auto pilot, it's pretty simple. I only put about 20 minutes maintenance into my reef a week I would guess. The dog is more than that per day.

The worst part of a reef is vacations, which I love to do. Pretty much need a house-sitter or at least a good neighbour to come by daily.
I think of the dog as a family member. I think of the aquariums like a hobby and responsibility, Similar to my plants albeit much more involved. If I don't water my plants they die. If I don't feed them they won't grow. Kinda like my dog, or my kids. Hmmmm!
 

HudsonReefer2.0

Algae Happens
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 18, 2021
Messages
3,678
Reaction score
6,923
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Mile Square City
I’ve been keeping saltwater systems aka reef systems for little over 20 years. The rewards of being a reef keeper are tremendous. Relaxation, happiness and a sense of accomplishment to name a few. Watching the tank fill in, sps color and growth, is what I strived for and it’s happening. Wow. Arrival. Also knowing that you are part of an evolving intelligent community that are responsible for the animals we keep and those in nature. Through science and aquaculture fish/ corals we made this hobby sustainable. Yes things still come in wild or mariculture , fish inverts, but this too can b done w sustainability in mind and have no detrimental impact on reef habitat. However there is the flip side. Where things don’t go as planned and the systems we keep suffer despite our best efforts. I have experienced algae outbreaks, coral loss, parasitic outbreaks losing almost all my fish. Lost my system to Sandy. But I just keep coming back knowing it’s a commitment. Each time, I’m a little stronger with the knowledge I gained from past mistakes and failures I learn from others and books and chats and forums . You go slow and research what system suits you, your needs, budget and expectations. You have to expect and accept the setbacks and possible failures as part of becoming successful in this hobby. Over time you can look at your reef and know things are not right. A certain coral my b off. And u know, the alk Mayb low. I’m not a gadget guy and really no automation. I am the Apex and the auto top off. Mayb one day. In the end , my system is a reflection of me I guess. Take it easy and one day at a time.
 
OP
flyfisher2

flyfisher2

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jan 30, 2012
Messages
1,641
Reaction score
2,579
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Central Florida
I find a reef to be less responsibility, and less work than my dog, definitely. That may not have been true the first couple years of having a reef but after things stabilize and you can go on auto pilot, it's pretty simple. I only put about 20 minutes maintenance into my reef a week I would guess. The dog is more than that per day.

The worst part of a reef is vacations, which I love to do. Pretty much need a house-sitter or at least a good neighbour to come by daily.
I cringe at vacations! I limit time away from my tanks. No one knows the ins and outs of your system, as flawed as it may be like you do. That's why its MY hobby. lol
 
World Wide Corals

Danroo

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Feb 22, 2021
Messages
499
Reaction score
358
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
USA
I think every pet is an investment either you can work up front built a habit of taking care of their needs or you can worry about their needs on a daily basis. It always two ways you can deal with any pet.

For example cats, dogs and birds you can train them early on invest time and effort to discipline and while doing so enjoy your time. They recognize the pattern you live and how they’re treated unless you have a husky than you have drama in your house.

same with reef keeping (at least for me) comes with challenges at the start once it gets automated, I’m just enjoying my tank in peace.
 
OP
flyfisher2

flyfisher2

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jan 30, 2012
Messages
1,641
Reaction score
2,579
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Central Florida
I’ve been keeping saltwater systems aka reef systems for little over 20 years. The rewards of being a reef keeper are tremendous. Relaxation, happiness and a sense of accomplishment to name a few. Watching the tank fill in, sps color and growth, is what I strived for and it’s happening. Wow. Arrival. Also knowing that you are part of an evolving intelligent community that are responsible for the animals we keep and those in nature. Through science and aquaculture fish/ corals we made this hobby sustainable. Yes things still come in wild or mariculture , fish inverts, but this too can b done w sustainability in mind and have no detrimental impact on reef habitat. However there is the flip side. Where things don’t go as planned and the systems we keep suffer despite our best efforts. I have experienced algae outbreaks, coral loss, parasitic outbreaks losing almost all my fish. Lost my system to Sandy. But I just keep coming back knowing it’s a commitment. Each time, I’m a little stronger with the knowledge I gained from past mistakes and failures I learn from others and books and chats and forums . You go slow and research what system suits you, your needs, budget and expectations. You have to except the setbacks and possible failures as part of becoming successful in this hobby. Over time you can look at your reef and know things are not right. A certain coral my b off. And u know, the alk Mayb low. I’m not a gadget guy and really no automation. I am the Apex and the auto top off. Mayb one day. In the end , my system is a reflection of me I guess. Take it easy and one day at a time.
.... well said. Thank you for that.
 
BRS

Let’s talk about stuffing: How full is your tank?

  • My tank is overcrowded.

    Votes: 67 14.5%
  • My tank is nearly full/full but not overcrowded.

    Votes: 148 32.0%
  • My tank is just getting started and growing.

    Votes: 222 47.9%
  • I take a minimalist approach with my tank.

    Votes: 26 5.6%
Legendary
Top