Gadgets and Crazy Cool Equipment Hurting the Hobby?

BRS

Does cool gear and gadgets cause the perception of reefing to be harder than it really is?

  • YES

    Votes: 326 49.5%
  • NO

    Votes: 167 25.3%
  • Maybe

    Votes: 150 22.8%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 16 2.4%

  • Total voters
    659

BradB

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 27, 2009
Messages
446
Reaction score
254
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Hudson
People thinking about starting their first reef tank see gadgets and get intimidated by the cost and complexity. You can certainly be successful with a simple tank, and most of what they are intimidated by is stuff they don't need. But there is a lot of knowledge, complexity and cost that they aren't aware of either - so if they get intimidated by fancy gadgets, they probably won't be successful anyway and are better without starting a reef tank.

I've always said this hobby requires 3 things - time, money and knowledge. And you can make for a deficiency in any one by increasing the other two. But it is almost impossible to make up for a deficiency in any two no matter how much you invest in the other one.
 

HeyLookItsCaps

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jun 1, 2017
Messages
474
Reaction score
584
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Fort Worth
Reefing is perceived as a geeky, complicated, high knowledge hobby. Honestly, many of us are here _because_ it's perceived that way. If it weren't, I'd guess that many of us would have chosen another geeky, complicated, high knowledge hobby.

Does that 'hurt' the hobby? No... but it might keep the participation numbers lower than they would be were it perceived as simple. Are lower participation numbers bad for the hobby? Depends on your point of view. If you're selling reefing supplies, ok, sure. As a more typical hobiest? Eh. If everyone had one, I'm not so sure I'd _want_ one!

Look at other things you do for fun. Me? I'm a precision long distance shooter (another geeky, low participation hobby), and I'm into 3D modeling and printing (yeah, that too).

One question others here seem to be more interested in:

IS the hobby complicated?

Not necessarily. My old 240g DSB system was _far_ from complicated. High tech Gadgets? Where would I have gotten stuff like that in the 1990's? Plumbing from the hardware store, drilled myself, sump was a stock watering tank, Southdown play sand from Home Depot... Tank was very successful, though somewhat atypical of the times.

OldTank.jpeg
Building/racing cars/bikes, keeping koi/lotus, firearms in general (from repair to skill shooting), drones, and keeping ducks. Yea…. I felt this post. Thank god my wife likes it too
 

Sleepingtiger

Active Member
Review score
+1 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
353
Reaction score
318
Review score
+1 /0 /-0
Location
Dallas
IMO, these equipment has made it easier for us regular Joe's to keep a sps tank. I remember pets stores who had sps tanks did some serious maintenance on them. Stuff that required a lot of time and attention. Stuff that people like me who have two kids and their extra activities, a full time job, a house, a yard and a demanding wife just can't do. We can now keep these sps tanks with minimal time. I spend my time looking at my tank instead of maintaining them. There is no way I would of considered another mixed reef if I had to go back to manually dosing, testing, water changes.

Of course these gadgets come with a price. But its worth it. I have always loved to keep anthias but was never really available to feed them 6x a day. With the plank from Avast, I am more confident to keep anthias. I hated keeping reef tanks because of the constant buying of t8 and MH. Now with LED, I can just plug in, set the timer and it works. No more buying new bulbs every 6 months. Not only that, these LEDs now look so slick. Man i hated those canopy with the MH and VHO bulbs. Some had canopies bigger than the aquarium itself.

Most importantly, these reefs are no longer an aquarium, but a piece of furniture. The designs of aquariums today fit the house more. The have clean lines, quiet and look like a piece of high tech equipment for us tech junkies. Who here doesn't love a rack full of McIntosh Amps? No longer are these reefs looking like crappy furniture with wire hanging everywhere and salt creep all over them.
 

HeyLookItsCaps

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jun 1, 2017
Messages
474
Reaction score
584
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Fort Worth
The high end controllers, skimmers, lighting etc only help in my opinion. Theyve all benefiting my system greatly over their predecessors.

However i can see how someone whos new to the hobby could see the prices and get scared off from jumping into things without realizing you dont need all the newest tech. Alot of people get into the hobby by seeing that beautiful tank on instagram, youtube, or even a friends house and think to themselves "i want that". But theyre also not seeing over how many years the system was up for or not realizing they could be just as successful with lesser equipment, albeit with more work involved.
I look at it like this too. I saw some post on social media with a mechanic to the effect of “youre not paying for my time, you’re paying for my experience.” I feel like I got into reefing right before the big tech boom in the industry, so I learned all the nuance from manual EVERYTHING. Now that I’m 35 years old I have everything set up to where I don’t even need to think about it but once a month if I don’t want to (I’m still at it every day because, yea reef addict). It’s not about THE tech, it’s about UTILIZING it. Everyone should start with manual everything and grow from there with what they like/dislike about it.
 

SC017

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 14, 2021
Messages
83
Reaction score
81
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
England
My current tank I'm starting up right this second contains all of 2 Jebao pumps, a heater, a light and rock/sand.

No sumps or filters or skimmers. Hoping that the liverock with flow will function as my bacterial filter for ammonia etc and over time I'll be able to add things as I can afford them.
 

fachatga

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Messages
978
Reaction score
1,455
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
oak park
My take is that all the automation can really leapfrog new reefers over some learning experiences they need to use it correctly. It’s not like a new piece of technology that’s just foe fun. It helps take care of and ecosystem. And I feel doing things manually and getting really close to your reef in the beginning is important to understanding it. I would expect more errors with bigger consequences from automating a reef for somebody who never did the essentials manually prior.
 

keithw283

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jan 29, 2019
Messages
220
Reaction score
242
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Absolutely. You don't need any of the "cool" gadgets to succeed but when you see a nice system set up with said gadgets it can be really intimidating to someone who doesn't know how they work. Also, most of the systems you see online are like these so many new people tend to think you need all of this stuff to succeed. My first saltwater tank was a 20 high FOWLR with a HoB AquaClear filter and a nano hydor koralia powerhead. I had it for about 18 months before I decided to upgrade to something bigger. Which I also used HoB equipment on. When I eventually went to a build with a sump, I was pretty intimidated myself even though I am very handy and had been in the hobby over 2 years at the time. For some reason, the plumbing was frustrating as hell. I have plumbed so many houses before that too lol. It was just something about it being for a fish tank. I was more worried about my 180G tank leaking all over my house from screwing up the plumbing than any bathroom I had ever worked on.
 

DK450reef

New Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 24, 2021
Messages
24
Reaction score
14
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Prunedale
I don't want to start a fight here but I thought this could be a great question to ask. I recently saw a comment from someone on social media stating how they would not get into the Saltwater Aquarium hobby because all the equipment and gadgets needed. They had seen a photo, that we like to share, of a complex and well put together sump/equipment area that featured lots of fancy tubing, acrylic, electronics, etc. My personal opinion is that the "gadgets" make reefing more fun but also helps us be more successful. But maybe the perception hurts the hobby? Let's talk about it!

Do all the gadgets and crazy equipment choices hurt or help the hobby?

Do you think all the cool gear and gadgets cause the perception of reefing to be harder than it really is?


image via @Elder1945
20171105_112625.jpg
I have been in the hobby for 40 years ( started age 10). No doubt the more money you earn the more you can spend on this hobby but it still that the same for all hobbies. All the gadgets and high tech expensive items can deter new entries. Others see they can start slow small tank, learn the basics and expand as you can. I earn a good living but still run a very conservative system compared to many others You don’t have to spend $$$ to be successful and have fun.
 

Rick's Reviews

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
May 17, 2021
Messages
364
Reaction score
246
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Nottingham
I don't want to start a fight here but I thought this could be a great question to ask. I recently saw a comment from someone on social media stating how they would not get into the Saltwater Aquarium hobby because all the equipment and gadgets needed. They had seen a photo, that we like to share, of a complex and well put together sump/equipment area that featured lots of fancy tubing, acrylic, electronics, etc. My personal opinion is that the "gadgets" make reefing more fun but also helps us be more successful. But maybe the perception hurts the hobby? Let's talk about it!

Do all the gadgets and crazy equipment choices hurt or help the hobby?

Do you think all the cool gear and gadgets cause the perception of reefing to be harder than it really is?


image via @Elder1945
20171105_112625.jpg
I voted other as for me, the purpose of setting up my aquriam was for the sole purpose of enjoying watching the inhabitants of my aquarium just doing their thing, snails come out after dark along with some hermits, my fish hide all the time but they come out once in a while and I watch and enjoy Thier life, I see hermit crabs changing shells and also shedding, for me that's what an aquarium should provide, better than t.v.
As for aquariums equipment, the picture provided is ok... Expensive, to get a really nice looking aquarium and buy all the gear.. no idea,, for me it's about what I want from an aquarium, I could easily spend 10k on a great setup with all the phone features of increase flow, lights,but then I'm bugged by them daily and you really do not need to be notified that your temp has dropped by 0.0..01
You just need a great stable aquarium, so all those features are just useless

Don't get me wrong , I love and appreciate the technology, I had a UV filter/sterilisar delivered today to sort algae bloom, so I'm buying into technology, but that is for my issue.

yes I think the gadgets have made an impact as everyone wants to compete, they all crazy though as for me, I enjoy a stress free life Watching my fish and enjoying.
just my opinion
 

Rob.bucek

2500 Club Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 23, 2020
Messages
2,543
Reaction score
5,269
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Eau Claire

Wasabiroot

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 17, 2021
Messages
452
Reaction score
638
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Metro Detroit
Personally, I think some of the high tech stuff leads people to believe that this hobby can somehow be made simple, or easy. Instead of learning the chemistry, they can program parameters. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with either a low tech or a high tech principle. Regardless of how you run your system, if you don’t learn the basic underlying biology and chemistry, your tank will never look as good as somebody who truly dedicated themselves to the science behind it as well as the presentation in front of you.
I would agree. Before buying a 700 dollar apex, we need a better way of showing how alk, Calc, and mag share an intimate relationship. If one isn't familiar with the concept of avoiding the chasing of numbers, a robot telling you parameters every day isn't going to encourage proper nutrient import and export or uptake of skeletal building substances and their relationships.
 

Zekireef

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 24, 2021
Messages
25
Reaction score
9
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
down unda
I chose no, with the why below:

For me, all the tech and gadgetry is only something I was interested in once I had a tank running for a few years.

I’d argue that most people come into reef keeping off the back of keeping clownfish, so they are shielded from the tech so to speak!
 

kados

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 6, 2019
Messages
369
Reaction score
416
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
I see so many pictures of tanks with every bell and whistle, yet nothing in the tank, as in the example tank you posted. I guess for some people it's the colored plumbing, full automation, and a new light every six months rather than corals and fish.
In fairness, isn't it when the tank is brand new and clean when most people are going to share their equipment and plumbing setups.
 

Neil Cohen

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 30, 2018
Messages
92
Reaction score
16
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
I think it is quite the opposite. Since it is possible to run a great tank without gadgets, people inclined to do it that way can succeed and enjoy. There is nothing about gadgets that would make them leave the hobby. Then there are the people like me that was attracted to the hobby because of the gadgets that make it possible for someone with ADD to have a reef without killing everything because of crazy life. Corals don’t stand a chance as I am anything but consistent and therefor stability isn’t my strong suit.
 

Adrift

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
502
Reaction score
1,155
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Fort Worth
I voted yes.
I know when I had tanks in the early 00’s that I could get away with spending maybe a little of 1k for a nice tank before adding my pets. So I warned my wife it would be expensive. I had a 45 and 75 gallon. Back then the saying was go big or go home. So the first think I researched was a big tank 242 total volume $6400. So I was at first shocked but bought it anyway. Then I started buying gear and was immediately put back at the cost/inflation of parts. Did some more research and bought more stuff. I’m probably 15k in at the moment and haven’t even finished it yet. When reading through the forums on how others are successful currently you face that sticker shock. I know personally I didn’t have to buy all that stuff, however being the techy/dungeons and dragons guy I am, went all in. When you visit these sites and see everything they have and what stuff does you’ll think you need it. And you know what you actually may. Think of the society we live in it’s a faster pace then it was in 80’s. Everyone has a phone and wants everything at their finger tips. I want a Cortana aquarium controller, enough said/ mic drop!
 

skydirt

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
220
Reaction score
278
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Slidell, LA
I just want to start by saying I haven't read all the responses yet, I'm on a time line for work and didn't have the time. I'm sure most will agree that the gadgets are cool, a well thought out sump and tank are very appealing and also help keep things in order in long run. I love beauty and order in the tank and equipment almost as much as the reef itself but... I was told by a very experienced person at the beginning of my reef expedition that if you can control, understand, and cope with your reef manually then you will have much more enjoyment and appreciation for it in the long run. I lived by those words and feel that, that was the best advice I ever received. 6 years later I have over a 1000 gallons of reef and not one controller. I do have some nice equipment but I test manually every week and depending on what my coral look like everyday. I'm not the best at any of it by any means but I am more in tune with my tank, coral and livestock. I think anybody can do this if their heart is in it
 

ImaFlippinDolphin

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jul 4, 2020
Messages
532
Reaction score
812
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Gainesville
I voted maybe, bells and whistles are what certainly attracts some or to some may seem daunting. My advice for anyone looking to get into the hobby is to figure out what type of system they would like to keep, because the differences between a fowlr, softy/lps and sps or full mixed reef all should dictate how elaborate or basic the setup should be. Once they have that figured out, try and find a trustworthy local person and lfs to get advice from and then do as much research as possible. Me personally, the tech helps me as I work 6 days a week and travel from time to time, so being able to open apps to see if something is amiss is worth its weight in gold
 

Catnip885

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Aug 12, 2021
Messages
47
Reaction score
133
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Mt. Morris
I think what scares people is the gadgets and then trying to figure out what the heck they do and why they are needed. Then the price will get ya too. Everyone always jumps straight to the top of the line equipment which isn't bad but if it your first time looking into getting into the hobby or trying to set up the first tank it is very daunting.
 
BRS

What would you buy RIGHT NOW if you found an AMAZING deal on it?

  • Equipment

    Votes: 378 52.3%
  • Dry Goods

    Votes: 20 2.8%
  • Fish

    Votes: 72 10.0%
  • Coral

    Votes: 185 25.6%
  • Other Livestock

    Votes: 7 1.0%
  • Nothing

    Votes: 52 7.2%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 9 1.2%
Top