"Must Have" versus "Nice to Have"

Do you have a hard time distinguishing between "what you want" and "what you need" in this hobby?

  • Yes

    Votes: 263 44.0%
  • No

    Votes: 234 39.1%
  • I can't even decide on yes or no

    Votes: 101 16.9%

  • Total voters
    598

revhtree

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With just about anything in life you can live, thrive, survive under the most minimal circumstances. In reefing that can be done as well. But in a day and age where bigger is better and more toys equals more fun where is the line drawn for what you must have and what is nice to have? Let's talk about that today.

New people are coming into this hobby daily and when they see some of these equipment tank rooms, like mine :/ , they may get intimidated and never take the saltwater plunge! But there really is a BIG difference in what you have to have, in order to keep a reef tank, and what is nice to have. So my questions are as follows.


1. What do you think are the "Must Haves" in this hobby?

2. What do you think are the "Nice To Haves" in this hobby?

3. How do you think all the equipment tech in the hobby effects potential new hobbyists when they see all the choices?
want vs need.jpg
 
Mega Meltdown After Sale

PNW Reefer

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In my personal experience, If you want a saltwater tank there is not much else required vs freshwater than and ro/di system, some good salt (I use aquavitro salinity), and a refractometer. I am a total novice to keeping fishtanks in general, let alone a saltwater tank with corals. That being said, my 14g rimless cube has been up and running for about 8 months now and the critical components that have made the tank run without major issue is definitely the equipment needed to do regular water changes.

On larger sumped systems I'm sure there is a more complicated answer that isn't just "water changes" lol.

To answer the questions you posted, from my novice perspective:

1.) Must haves are as stated above. In my limited experience with a nano saltwater reef, quality waer changes have been the key to my tank being stable.

2.) Nice to haves for my little baby tank would be an ATO and a digital testing suite

3.) I was initially very intimidated by what I saw on the "reef tank" subreddit, but as I kept looking I would sometimes notice a much simpler, smaller tank setup. I personally would love to drop 1000+ on a bunch of tech to run my tank for me, but I feel that doing everything manually forces me to really learn about what affects the health of the system. That being said, the abundance of content highlighting systems that have to be $5,000 or more on YouTube is absolutely intimidating. It was about 2 months of looking at reeftank videos on youtube before I learned that I can have a simple 14g clownfish/anemone tank with a basic HOB filter.
 
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ReefGeezer

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1. What do you think are the "Must Haves" in this hobby?
Adequate quality lighting for the type of corals you intend to keep, a pure water source (RODI), refractometer or digital salinity meter and calibration solution, some current creating device, basic automatic top-off, and quality test kits for basic parameters.

2. What do you think are the "Nice To Haves" in this hobby?
Sump, suitable nutrient control equipment (a skimmer is my choice), suitable automated calcium/alkalinity supplementation.

3. How do you think all the equipment tech in the hobby effects potential new hobbyists when they see all the choices?
I found it confusing back in the day and made many, many bad decisions. It's worse now and mistakes are much more expensive.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics
Top Shelf Aquatics

nmqtrhrse

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Must have: Hanna Checkers and a LFS with experts on staff.
Nice to have: Patience
All the equipment and newbies: Go slow. Research. Watch YouTube BRSTV. You don't need it all all at once.
 
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For me the needs are very few. If running a reef vs fish only needs are much different. I think good ro water is a must, salt, and water testers. Now the testers vary on set ups. I also think an ato is in the middle. You dont need it, however for a reef i think you need it to help with stability. As we all know reef tanks need stability. Yeah i did survive several years with doing it manually, but eventually something happens and might forget.
 

reeferfoxx

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1. What do you think are the "Must Haves" in this hobby?
Water, light, some type of rock or surface area for bacteria, and then nutrition of course.

2. What do you think are the "Nice To Haves" in this hobby?
Skimmers, reactors, controllers, refugiums, automation, and scrubbers.

3. How do you think all the equipment tech in the hobby effects potential new hobbyists when they see all the choices?
I'm not sure how it effects them. Even though it was all new to me at point, i think it effects everyone differently. Imagine not having all this tech though, r2r probably wouldn't exist.
 

Greego

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1. Must haves:

- Quarantine tank

2.Nice to have:
-Sump


3. All of the equipment choices are simply overwhelming. Just do your research diligently and make the best choice from your research considering your financial situation. I would avoid the cheaper, lesser reliable options since they almost always cost you more in the long run once you have to replace it down the line.
 

SunshineNinja

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It depends.. technically I don't NEED any of my tanks in general (don't tell my husband that though).

Must have: good lights, saltwater, place for bacteria to grow, buckets
Should have: RODI, water test kits
Want/makes life easier: skimmer, refugium, sump, ATO, etc.
 

Pennywise the Clown

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The must have item for me is an ATO. Can't imagine reefing life without one (I have a Tunze)

Nice things to have such as Vortech pumps are a luxury that can be easily replaced with far cheaper options that will still keep a happy, thriving reef.

I think men love gadgets far more than women do. Therefore, all the fancy stuff would not put off a lot of men but certainly could put women off the hobby.
Not being sexist here, just a life observation.
 

ReefGeezer

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It depends.. technically I don't NEED any of my tanks in general (don't tell my husband that though).

Must have: good lights, saltwater, place for bacteria to grow, buckets
Should have: RODI, water test kits
Want/makes life easier: skimmer, refugium, sump, ATO, etc.
Buckets! Yea, lots of buckets.
 

Han

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As far as must haves go there’s really not too much other than the basics imo, but to me the biggest “nice to have” thing is a controller. I don’t have any controllers on any of my tanks but it sure would be nice, not that it’s difficult without one.
 

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