Is your Reef Tank "MATURE" and how long does it take?

BRS

Would you consider your tank to be a mature reef?

  • YES (tell us why in the thread)

    Votes: 170 41.4%
  • NO (tell us why in the thread)

    Votes: 170 41.4%
  • Not Sure

    Votes: 68 16.5%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 3 0.7%

  • Total voters
    411

revhtree

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Thanks to @jfoahs04 for the QOTD idea!

We hear the term "mature reef" thrown around a lot within reefing discussion and it seems that the maturity level of your tank is a level in which good or bad things happen. What types of livestock you can keep, whether or not you have to keep fighting algae, etc. But what makes a tank mature and how do you know when you get there? Let's talk about it!

1. What does having a mature reef tank mean and how long does it take?

2. Would you consider your tank to be a mature reef, why and why not?


image via @MJC
MJC.jpg
 

Dbichler

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I feel that a reef tank matures in stages. Unable to sustain life/cycling. Able to sustain life/just cycled 10 days to 6 months. Teenage years 6 months to 2 years. Adult after that. Obviously timeframes differ on each tank wether live rock or dead whatever. My rock is 16 years old so considered mature in my opinion.
 

Dan_P

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Mature is another hobby term that could mean anything, depending on the context in which it is used. The aquarium constantly changes from being almost sterile to dismantled and sterilized again. In between large organisms come and go. Long lived organisms outgrow the aquarium space and are relocated or partially harvested. Microorganism populations change with what is happening at the macro level, increasing as the macro organisms grow, die or are harvested. Change is constant :)

With this perspective, the term “mature“ might be linked to the point where the aquarium inhabitants reach a density that is near to the maximum point of sustainability and will need to be harvested soon. Before this point, the term might be linked to the point where maintenance work has leveled off.

Applying the notion of stages to a system on a continuum of change does not seem to be very useful, the term “mature” being meaningless.
 

Paul B

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I think my tank is mature enough now. :)

After you get through the stage where the corals are growing enough that you don't have any of those "coral plugs" showing and coral is naturally growing on rocks so you can't move them, you have a good supply of "mulm" or dying algae, sponges, etc. in the dark recesses and in the back.

Things are spawning and you have no idea what you are seeing in the caves, fish only die from jumping out or old age. Antenna are sticking out from many of the pores in the rock. When you turn off the lights you can see tiny "plankton" creatures swimming towards the surface or scurrying under the rocks.

Then the tank is mature.
 
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jfoahs04

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1. What does having a mature reef tank mean and how long does it take? It means a lot of things to a lot of people, but in the most general sense, I think a “mature” tank is one that has passed all of the startup phases and can be sustained maintaining stable parameters with minimal intervention (really only top offs and dosing elements as they’re consumed).

How long it takes to get that point depends on a number of factors, but I’d have a hard time calling anything under a year “mature.”

2. Would you consider your tank to be a mature reef, why and why not? Not even a little. My current tank is 3 months old and while it’s maturing (parameters are relatively stable, coralline growth is visible, etc.), I’m still dealing with some new tank challenges (currently, a little hair algae bloom). It’ll be a while before it’s even close to “mature.”
 

Big Smelly fish

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I think a tank is mature when it's like PaulB tank. not the age necessarily but when the tank is stable enough to where it almost takes of itself and handle slight perimeter changes without any ill effects. Its own little ecosystem. Kind of hard to explain

I voted no because I got out for a few years because of illness and the tanks are fairly new.
 

DivingTheWorld

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IMO it’s when the tank reaches an equilibrium of creatures that it becomes stable. Bacteria cultures, pods, sponges, etc. When a tank reaches maturity it’s much easier to keep corals alive and thriving. There are differing opinions on when that occurs but I’d say in general, 1 year for tanks started with live rock and 1.5-2 years for tanks started with dry rock. Yes, I consider mine to be mature.
 

jda

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Over 2 decades. Mature.

For me, mature means that the rock and sand can completely finish the nitrogen cycle by turning no3 into nitrogen gas.

Secondly, there is enough micro fauna in the tank to keep ich and other tomont-type of parasites at bay - not eradicate, but significantly cut down like in nature. When the tomonts drop off the fish, they don't stand much of a chance in a mature tank with micro and macro fauna looking for a meal. In the olden days, this is why people had you wait until your tank was about a year old to add tricky fish since the ecosystem could help them out... but that calculus all changed with BB tanks and dry rock/sand tanks that might never get that microfauna introduced. Now, people have created the perfect breeding ground for ich in their lifeless sand.

Lastly, coralline everywhere to a point where you hate it... absolutely hate it.

I tell people in general that if they think that their tank is mature, then it is not.
 

James_O

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1. What does having a mature reef tank mean and how long does it take?
I would say that it’s so stable that even a little issue like missing a water change or something doesn’t really affect it in any way. Also that you can add new coral at a faster rate, and not worry about them taking up more nutrients.


2. Would you consider your tank to be a mature reef, why and why not?
Definitely not. It’s only been setup for 6 months and still gets parameter swings. I would say it takes years for a tank to truly be mature.
 

Paul B

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I tell people in general that if they think that their tank is mature, then it is not.
Oh Darn. I thought mine was mature. Maybe in a few more years. :cool:
 

kingjames_dc5

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I say no cause my tanks is only about 8 months old I find that I have a good amount of coralline algae but no where near as far along as some of the guys/gals on here. I would say about 2 years would be a good established tank.
 

Jeffcb

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2 to 3 years. My 250 liter is 1 year old this week and getting there but still in its infancy I think. I have done 2 ten gallon water changes since June. One of them I did only because I was replacing the tank and transferring everything due to a seal leak. I think I will do another soon from guilt. Maybe some day none. 1 year is a good milestone but I thing 2 is fully mature.
 

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BRS

Have you ever had a nano reef tank?

  • I have one now (leave a photo in the thread)

    Votes: 168 48.1%
  • Yes, but in the past

    Votes: 76 21.8%
  • No and no plans to have one

    Votes: 54 15.5%
  • No but I want to have one in the future

    Votes: 45 12.9%
  • Other

    Votes: 6 1.7%
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