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

jtichenor

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Mar 21, 2021
Messages
70
Reaction score
37
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Portland, OR
No, the gadgets give the appearance the hobby is more expensive than it really needs to be.
This ^^^^

The imho the hobby is getting out of hand expensive. This is in part due to the 'gadgets' being presented as must-haves by online distributers and retailers. Also, many show tanks in forums are chock full of gadgets further enforcing the 'must-have-to-be-successful' mentality.

Costly gadgets are simply for 1) convenience and 2) insurance.
 

ZIGGY63

Well-Known Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
881
Reaction score
202
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
knoxville,tn
this is just like any other hobby, you can have a bare basic system and work up to a more advanced tank. like going from a fish ony tank to sps.
I agree the gadgets are for convience and insurance

example for rc planes and cars they get expensive, but as a beginner you just dont start out with a gas or nitro plane.
 

flashsmith

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jun 27, 2021
Messages
176
Reaction score
245
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Dayton
My opinion is this. It seems like alot of people want a "set and forget" setup. To those people you would be better off paying a service to do it for you if you don't want to put in the work. I restore cars as a hobby. Go to a car show and see all those nice hot rods sitting there and 90% of them the owners never turned a wrench on them. They just threw money at it. This hobby is going the same way. I love a good rat rod that the owner actually put hands on. I'm way more impressed by the person who makes something nice with very little resources. Some things like programmable lights and energy saving DC pumps are great. But filter rollers seriously ? Automatic water changes. I can do without that too. At that point just hire a service..
 
Last edited:

flyfisher2

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jan 30, 2012
Messages
1,178
Reaction score
1,784
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Central Florida
No gadget is a must but why would you have a car without a radio?
All automation is not a must but why would I dose or top up by hand if I can get gadget to do it?
The hobby is up because we love reef and willing to pay for gadgets which fuels thehhicwn isc industry and keeps the LFS in business.
Win win I would say
a radio is a must in a car because the car is a tool to get you from point A to point B. In the case of the Reef aquarium, the beauty lies within. The attraction is the piece of the ocean you're trying to recreate. I'm a gadget person myself but In the case of reefing, I can't nor do I care to out do the beauty of nature. My goal is to TRY and maintain it as wonderfully as it is in the ocean.
Some gadgets are necessary additions. Other gadgets are a business mans opportunity to line his pockets. It's up to us a consumers to know which.

Still trying to decide if I should buy my dog a water purifier. One less thing to worry about while he licks his butt all day long.

I love to read about tank of the month and go behind the scenes of the most admired tanks. The 'engine room's' aren't the attraction. But they are a sight to behold for the techies. I enjoy learning from the techniques used but I wouldn't pull a couch into the basement to stare at the Black 100 gallon water trough.
 

Crustaceon

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Feb 15, 2019
Messages
1,619
Reaction score
2,381
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
I’ve always seen it as people automatically assuming a reef tank is complicated and needing an array of gadgets and doo-dads, many of which don’t really make maintenance easier or improve the system in any meaningful way. I’ve seen many “high end” systems with a really expensive skimmer, rollermat, chaeto reactor/turf scrubber, a calcium reactor and numerous controllers, yet the display looks terrible. What’s the goal here? To keep the tank parameters in line. Ok… So here’s the funny part.. IME, these people always seem to have STN, dinos or other starvation-related issues in their tanks that would be alleviated if they DIDN’T run things like a hyper efficient protein skimmer or a roller mat. But the prevailing mentality is “I installed THIS, which is going to make my tank better”. That’s not a guaranteed thing though and there is such a thing as “too much”. Even a controller can be too much, because they tempt a reefer into using their snazzy wifi access and changing things that corals don’t want rapidly changed back and forth, like light settings.

For reference, I keep a decently stocked sps tank. I don’t use a protein skimmer. That’s one less thing to maintain. I keep a little baggy of carbon in the sump and change it monthly. Does it do anything? Who knows. I change a filter sock out once per week. No big deal. I use a jebao doser for the big three. Do I really need it? Nope. I could dose the full amount of each once per day and honestly, it’s not going to make a difference in growth. My tank is barebottom, so no sand to mess with and my pair of jebao crossflow pumps provide enough flow to send most detritus into said filter sock. Water changes? Pffft. That right there is potential instability and unless my nitrates are creeping up (which they’re not) or something is looking bad (which nothing is), I’m not doing one. As for nitrate and phosphate control, I have a $2 aquaponics basket from the home depot pond section sitting in the skimmer chamber of my sump with a cantelope-sized clump of cheato in it. This is for a 200g system BTW and is more than enough. It’s lit by a “120w” equivalent phillips 5k spotlight and is ran by a non-digital cheapy timer. 12 hours on, 12 off. Every week, I halve the chaeto clump. That’s how much it grows and it keeps my nitrates consistently at 2ppm and phosphates undetectable, which would normally concern me, but I feed my tank like crazy, so I know for a fact that nothing is truly starving. Coloration and growth is great, so no changes needed. This is with acros, a plump niger trigger, tangs (sailfin, hippo), a clown pair, mandarin (I don’t stock pods), diamond goby (no, you don’t need sand for them), a few other fish and a healthy red bta, which according to most people in this hobby should require MUCH more to keep successfully.

PS: I also purposefully added a mantis shrimp to my tank. He’s very well behaved.
 
Last edited:

MiniCoco

New Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
20
Reaction score
13
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
I voted no to this question on the premise that all these gadgets are for our personal consumption. These gadgets are just different forms of answers to challenges and the daily tasks that we as water keeping hobbyists have willingly taken on. No one is forcing anyone to purchase any single gadget and therefore the grand old scheme we call the free market will determine whether or not the item is of value or not.
 

attiland

Valuable Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
1,983
Reaction score
2,591
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
United Kingdom
a radio is a must in a car because the car is a tool to get you from point A to point B. In the case of the Reef aquarium, the beauty lies within. The attraction is the piece of the ocean you're trying to recreate. I'm a gadget person myself but In the case of reefing, I can't nor do I care to out do the beauty of nature. My goal is to TRY and maintain it as wonderfully as it is in the ocean.
Some gadgets are necessary additions. Other gadgets are a business mans opportunity to line his pockets. It's up to us a consumers to know which.

Still trying to decide if I should buy my dog a water purifier. One less thing to worry about while he licks his butt all day long.

I love to read about tank of the month and go behind the scenes of the most admired tanks. The 'engine room's' aren't the attraction. But they are a sight to behold for the techies. I enjoy learning from the techniques used but I wouldn't pull a couch into the basement to stare at the Black 100 gallon water trough.
No car is the tank radio is the gadget. Radio is not necessary.

no for purified water for dog. They just fine to drink from the paddle too so purifier is just a gadget you would feel good about but totally unnecessary. :D
 

ReefStache

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jun 30, 2020
Messages
154
Reaction score
409
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Naples
This is like anything in life. It’s what you make it. You want a cheap car then get a cheap car. You want a fully decked out car then make it happen. Houses, fishing poles, crafting, shelling, breeding dogs, gaming. It’s what you make it… there’s all levels and intensities.

High end gear doesn’t hurt the hobby it creates choices for us and allows those that want to pour everything into it the ability to do so. Is it a must? No way. I’m on board though. Same way I’d love to have some serious custom rides.
 

Jonaschamp1

New Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 1, 2019
Messages
5
Reaction score
1
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
My .02 cents
I remember my first salt water aquarium set up with dolomite for gravel, an under gravel filter with Power heads (high tech). I bought bleached acropora as decor. Then we graduated to sumps and live rock. No more under gravel. Lights went from regular aquarium fluorescents to Metal Halide ( the holy grail).
Then came power compacts, T5’s and (heresy) LED’s
I visited some of the biggest and most known shops in New York and the Tristate area.
Fish Town USA, That Fish Place, amongst others.
Does anyone remember the Duplo system which came from Europe?
Anyway this was back in the 1980’s to early 2000’s
I must point out that fish were the center of attraction back then and the selection was amazing.
Coral was a bungee dive best left for the pros.
In 2012 I bought into echo tech and the MP pumps, live rock ruled and if you had half way decent lights you grew coral.
Here we are 10 years later,
We have a lot of automation. EVERYTHING runs off my phone and if it doesn’t they are working on it.
What are we referring to when we speak of advancement?
Better lights, but we supplement with T5 or revert to Metal Halides.
We still use skimmers, return pumps, wave makers, heaters, and the same salts that I remember back in the 80’s both high end and price friendly.
I’m not seeing the ground breaking improvements in actual husbandry that we saw when we went from bleached corals and dolomite to sumps and live rock.
Perhaps there isn’t any more real ground to break and we’ve just gone nuts over the convenience. I mean back in the day Id be writing this on a Smith Corona and then wite out the errors, send it to TFH where it would get proofed and hopefully put on the letters to the editor section?
Now I sit on the John and tap on my phone screen while auto correct does it’s thing and then with a click the whole world sees it.
How convenient… or should I say ‘ground breaking’?
I love this! My journey has been similar but no nearly as long. 20 years and I started with the live rock and sump.. still have ny 72 gallon bow front tank and have gone through all the nightmares we all go through from time to time. The only really newer item as far as equipment is concerned are the lights.. Al Hydra’s but they are now now old. I need to move on and upgrade.. I’ve been reading a lot about different brands - I have not been happy with Aqua Lumination lol
My .02 cents
I remember my first salt water aquarium set up with dolomite for gravel, an under gravel filter with Power heads (high tech). I bought bleached acropora as decor. Then we graduated to sumps and live rock. No more under gravel. Lights went from regular aquarium fluorescents to Metal Halide ( the holy grail).
Then came power compacts, T5’s and (heresy) LED’s
I visited some of the biggest and most known shops in New York and the Tristate area.
Fish Town USA, That Fish Place, amongst others.
Does anyone remember the Duplo system which came from Europe?
Anyway this was back in the 1980’s to early 2000’s
I must point out that fish were the center of attraction back then and the selection was amazing.
Coral was a bungee dive best left for the pros.
In 2012 I bought into echo tech and the MP pumps, live rock ruled and if you had half way decent lights you grew coral.
Here we are 10 years later,
We have a lot of automation. EVERYTHING runs off my phone and if it doesn’t they are working on it.
What are we referring to when we speak of advancement?
Better lights, but we supplement with T5 or revert to Metal Halides.
We still use skimmers, return pumps, wave makers, heaters, and the same salts that I remember back in the 80’s both high end and price friendly.
I’m not seeing the ground breaking improvements in actual husbandry that we saw when we went from bleached corals and dolomite to sumps and live rock.
Perhaps there isn’t any more real ground to break and we’ve just gone nuts over the convenience. I mean back in the day Id be writing this on a Smith Corona and then wite out the errors, send it to TFH where it would get proofed and hopefully put on the letters to the editor section?
Now I sit on the John and tap on my phone screen while auto correct does it’s thing and then with a click the whole world sees it.
How convenient… or should I say ‘ground breaking’?
I love this! My journey has been similar but no nearly as long. 20 years and I started with the live rock and sump.. still have ny 72 gallon bow front tank and have gone through all the nightmares we all go through from time to time. The only really newer item as far as equipment is concerned are the lights.. Al Hydra’s but they are now now old. I need to move on and upgrade.. I’ve been reading a lot about different brands - Who is the latest greatest with LED’s?
I remember how fat my electric bill was when I ran halides and I love the look and performance of LED lights. Please share thoughts on who’s best these days.

thanks,

Jonas
 

WVNed

The fish are staring at me with hungry eyes.
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 11, 2018
Messages
8,319
Reaction score
35,753
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Hurricane, WV
What do you consider a gadget?
a doser
a skimmer
reactors
ozone
pumps
a controller
What?

When you go to buy a car do you go look at the most expensive one on the lot with all the options and if you cant afford it walk away and say I cant have a car.

I have a car now and it's way fancier then the one I started with that had an AM radio, a heater, roll up windows and a standard transmission.

I had a reef tank that was a box of water, couple of pumps, heater and a light.

Now I have a more expensive system with cruise control and some other nice things that make my life easier.
 

Schraufabagel

Aquarium Addict
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Oct 29, 2020
Messages
1,156
Reaction score
2,538
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Wisconsin
There are two sides to this I think. For example: an aquarium controller can help provide automation for people like me who are away from home on vacations or extended weekends; however, it can add to the misconception that the hobby has to be expensive. I think the hobby can be expensive or as cheap as you want to make it. You don’t always need the coolest gear to be successful.
 
Kessil
Top