hammer coral


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Mar 20, 2021
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Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind helping identify hitchhikers, and frequently chime in when people post pictures asking what something is, but I can’t help but feel like people are less knowledgeable than they used to be. I don’t mean that (whatsoever) in a ‘people are more stupid these days’ kind of way. What I mean is that with the move towards dry rock, using silly names for corals, and even the use of bottled bacteria, there is a lot of knowledge that newer hobbyists just don’t learn anymore.

When I first started the hobby (and I don’t mean this to come across as a ‘back in my day’ kind of post), you had to look up hitch hikers in books and observe behavior. We all started with good, dirty live rock and would watch all the microfauna for a month until we could add fish. Having that month (and sometimes longer) to really focus on the microfauna (because it was all there was to look at) and to learn about and observe the behavior of hitchhikers was, IMO incredibly important in building your knowledge base as a new hobbyist. And theres kind of the same thing with corals, a lot of hobbyists these days can’t rattle off Latin or species names, or identify species or genera of corals.

Obviously there are still new hobbyists out there who are interested in learning all this stuff, but it just seems like less. Part of the difference too, I think, is that when I first started in the hobby, inexperienced hobbyists or people who didn’t like to nerd out on reef stuff kept fish only tanks (often not even FOWLR), whereas now most people new to the hobby are keeping full on reefs. Modern reef tanks have become much, much more convenient and are marketed to less experienced hobbyists. It used to be that keeping corals was expert only. And while I’m happy that the hobby is in many ways more accessible and is more open to people who years ago might’ve gone with a FW or fish only tank, I think a lot of the conveniences of modern reefkeeping (pest free dry rock, bottled bac, automated everything) are in some ways a detriment to the hobby. Maybe not a detriment, but they’ve allowed hobbyists to fast track a lot of the parts of starting a tank, and so they skip past some of the opportunities to learn some of the fundamentals.

Again, I want to stress #notallreefers, and I’m not aiming this at anyone in this thread, it’s just something I’ve thought about while reading the forums lately. I also want to stress that I’m in no way saying I know everything, or that one kind of reefer is better or more valid than another, I’m just wondering what the hobby will look like if it continues to move in this direction and worry that could lose a lot of this collective knowledge base. I don’t know, this ended up being way longer than I intended, maybe I’m just over thinking it.

Do you care whether or not you have wave action in your reef tank?

  • YES

    Votes: 243 40.6%

    Votes: 164 27.4%
  • NO

    Votes: 185 30.9%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 7 1.2%
Pacific East