Unconventional Reef Keepers: Are you one of them?

BRS

Would you consider yourself to be an unconventional reefer?

  • Yes in many ways (tell us in the thread)

    Votes: 79 19.7%
  • In some ways (tell us in the thread)

    Votes: 189 47.0%
  • Not at all

    Votes: 124 30.8%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 10 2.5%

  • Total voters
    402

dennis romano

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I have two tanks, a 40 gal breeder where the filtration is a hang on Marineland filter. There are LPS, SPS and rock nems. The other is a 25 year old 50 gallon NPS tank where the filtration is a 1990's wet/dry. I don't test or dose. In fact, the NPS looks horrible after a water change. The owner of the local shop asked about the parameters on the NPS tank. He looked at me like I was insane when I told him that I didn't know.
 

rtparty

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I agree with you. I started in this hobby back in 2008, and it wasn't like it is now with all the super blue tanks. I know that the hobby has to progress in order to grow and to keep people interested, but in some ways I feel it's gone in a weird direction that I don't exactly care for.

So, I will say that I am somewhat unconventional. I'm not a trailblazer, nor do I follow what everyone else does
My first tank was April of 2006. T5s were barely gaining momentum. It was halides, VHO, and/or Power Compacts. MJ1200 pumps for flow. Mag drive for returns. I am beyond happy we have progressed in the flow department.

LEDs have been a major step backwards in my opinion. Dry rock is an atrocity and I hope we, as a hobby, have a reasonable solution soon.

I am with you that I really don't care for the state of the hobby at this point. For a couple years I fell trap to the new style of reefing. I chased that rabbit for far too long. I am going back to what I enjoy and what works for me. I applaud those that can do things their way, whichever way that may be. New or old. It is the Instagram tanks that I really can't stand
 

Arcite

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1. What reefing practices, methods or ideas do you employ that others might consider to be "unconventional reefing?"
I'm pretty new to reefing, but I only keep captive-bred livestock and purchase 0-impact products.
2. What's the craziest thing you have ever done in reefing that was a success?
It's not that crazy, but I feel like lifting our 140-gallon tank with just a few people was stupid.
 

o2manyfish

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1) My System is right about 1500g

2) My Display tank is a 560g tall that was set up in 24hrs on Xmas eve (to save the livestock from a 400g about to blow a seam)

3) My display tank and calcium reactor are the only pieces of equipment inside the house. Everything else is located outside - exposed to all the elements.

4) My (2) 180g frag tanks are outside in direct sunlight - and have been for 17 years now.
a) Anyone that tells you that corals dont do well in sunlight, and turn brown ----> turn around and walk away they don't know what they are talking about
b) Anyone that tells you that their tank is an algae mess because the sun comes thru the window and hits it - That's a person who doesn't have the proper filtration for the tank
c) sunlight grows corals 4-5x faster than the best lights on the market - and doesn't require an app

5) I live in an area where the temp gets over 110 - Today it's going to hit 94. I keep all 1500g cool using evaporative cooling.
a) My topoff on a day like today (over 90 and low humidity) is going to be about 45+ gallons
b) As long as the pH of the system is under 8.3 all the topoff will be Kalkwasser

6) I love ozone - I run it 24/7 - for over 30 years

7) Damsels are not ***** - If you know which ones to pick. I love damsels and have over 40 of them peacefully spread throughout my tanks. Again - know which ones to pick.

8) I believe that with proper fish selection - over crowding produces a more peaceful aquarium.
a) If you have 2 yellow tangs one will chase the other --- If you have 9 yellows, 2 purples, 2 gems, a black, a powder blue, a flame tang, 5 Hippos and an Achilles - there are too many fish to pick on just one and within chaos. there is peace.

9) Watch for the odd fish - We have the Rabbi Tang, a sailfin tang with a bullet sized hole through the middle of it's body and we have 3 hippo tangs without tails - The oddities are what really make people study your tank.

10) Yes, I have more of the sought after fish in the hobby than most people.... But the darn mollies get noticed more than any other fish in the tank.


Any of these points interest you, you can see for yourself on my youtube channel - o2manyfish


Dave B
 

Freenow54

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I'm unconventional in many ways. Started in 2013 with a 40g breeder and then a 57g rimless and now a 32g biocube

I have never acclimated anything and havnt had issues.

I dont test any parameters but do water changes every few weeks. More often if things look unhappy

I dont mind some hair algae and the fish love it

I have a 4 inch hippp tang in a 32g biocube and she is loving life

I have 3 clowns in the same tank and they get along. I had a pair and the female died after 4 yrs so i took my brothers pair because he was getting out of the hobby

Currently i have over 20 corals and 6 fish with 2 shrimp and several turbo snails and a conch in the biocube

I have an upgraded return pump/innovative marine protein skinner and just started chaeto
Not a salt water tank, but close. I have Malawi Yellows. I measured the ammonia. It was around 2ppm. I have to admit I have only started to pay close attention to it recently. I did a 15 gallon water change using my RO water 0 TDS. Measured it again no change. Now I just bought a fluval 307 cannister filter, and am going to use Matrix cubes in it. Stay tuned. Using the same type of setup in my 45 gallon salt. Only have one large Clown in it multiple coral. Ammonia is zero. I have 14 self bred cichlids in a 65. Too many for my liking, but have another salt 90 gallon just started. dang spousal approval. Maybe I will build on an addition. Guess who for
 

FBAA

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I'm unconventional. I rely heavily on an anaerobic digester and dosing to keep nitrates and phosphates down. I have algae in the tank. I haven't used a skimmer or water changes in 9 years. I have my own engineering shop ME, EE, & Machine so I make my own filters and lights. I also use UV to illuminate my corals starting at 365nm.
 
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Dreamkiller

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1.a. I actually want algae. As much as we want bacterial diversity, I find any diversity is good. So long as the algae is not smothering my corals, then they can live in the tank. Ugly or not, reality is all these algae exists on wild coral reefs, and they probably have their own roles to play.
1.b. Survival of the fittest - I don't necessarily fit my water parameters to my live stock, but vice versa. Reality is different salts and everything can generate different sets of parameters. Even something like where one lives - that can matter. For example, Chicago is super dry and I lose 3% of my water from evaporation every day, and if I go for 3 days without topping up that's 10% less water in the tank, and obviously concentrations of a lot of things would increase, including salinity. I do have an auto-top off system but it is ugly, so instead whatever lives in the tank have to be able to live with the conditions or die. Simple.
1.c. Stir up the sand, a lot. I believe in 'balance' from chaos, which kinda is like @Paul B's thing in a sense. I let the aquarium actually go through 'hardships' that strengthen the system. The other day I changed the entire scape and while I do stir sand, it is only some of it. That other day when I was redoing the scape, I actually stirred up all the sand that was untouched for four months. Nothing happened. No spikes in any parameters, no angry fish or corals. Well, one angry clownfish, but that's more because I was changing up her home and I got about twenty bites from her that day. Yes I released a lot of detritus that day.
1.d. I starve my fish until they accept the food I want to feed them. I thought this was more common, but anyways yeah, kind of the same point as (1.b.)-ish, but also different. Once the fish gets hungry enough, they'll eat whatever they can.

2. Mixed two species of clownfish. I have done that multiple times, though always one individual of each species. Longest period has been a year, though none of it is because of deaths or injuries, just because I had to tear down aquariums.
I am definitely the same. In every way
 

Razorp

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All HOB everything! 36 gallon office tank.

Dry rock and dry sand. I have added 4 different types of bacteria during starting and after. Tank made it through the Texas blizzard amazingly with 3 days no power. (i lost most inhabitants but not bacteria)

Added first Anemone at 2 months and first acros at 4 months.

alk staying around 11
nitrates were staying at 0 until dosing Neonitro (now at 5) (didn't want dinos, been there too many times already)
phos tester comes in this weekend
temp holding at 78 when i have electricity lol
ph 8.2 consistently

weekly water changes when i remember (5 gallons) coral pro salt
rodi water

i try to stay by the book, but i do stray from time to time. 3 clowns, 3 lemon damsels, 1 firefish, 1 porcelain crab, 1 csb anemone, 1 rainbow nem, and 1 green nem, 1 torch, 1 acan, 1 button scoly, 1 hammer, 6 sps frags and 1 mini colony. No coral deaths other than during the 3 day power outage. (yet:cool: )

I find it amazing that I have had very little algae and almost 0 nitrates with the stocking I have. Perhaps the skimmer and my hob filter acting as an algae scrubber are to thank?
 

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400BA

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I voted "other" because I have been out of the hobby for a long time and am just now getting ready to do a new build (build thread coming soon). I can tell you that I tend to listen to researched science rather than anecdotal experiences. I do get value from listening to EVERY viewpoint but I am definitely more swayed by well-researched views.
 

ZAN KHAN

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Very old school and unconventional. Hob filters, no water changes, don't test water and l use tap water from a well.
My pinnatus batfish has done amazing and growing like a weed.
I have a toadstool that's growing, so is the gha lol.
Getting ready to go even more old school with reverse under gravel filtration system and back to live rock from the ocean. Mandrins are fat and healthy, hippo tang fat, clowns are being clowns.

My theory is the ocean isn't pristine why should my tank be, and I shouldn't have to change water and add chemicals or sterilize everything. It either thrives or it goes.
Ditto!
 

vlangel

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1. What reefing practices, methods or ideas do you employ that others might consider to be "unconventional reefing?"

I am old school so although I may have been considered conventional 20 years ago, the hobby has changed and so has what is conventional.
1. I use tap water. I have never had an issue with it.
2. My bio-filter is my only filter. I have live rock and a deep sandbed along with some macro algae to take up nutrients. I do not use socks, filter material, protein skimmer, UV sterilizer or any reactors.
3. I intentionally run my nitrates in the 30+ ppm and phosphates in the .5 ppm range, which is higher than most reef keepers are comfortable with.
4. Fish are my first love, coral are adornments so the fish can have a natural habitat.

2. What's the craziest thing you have ever done in reefing that was a success?

I aquascaped my tank in tiers. 3 different sandbed levels. I think it adds more dimension and takes up some height in my tall tank.

 

LardLad

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Back before the internet, in a Time called the 1990s, I had no one to teach me how to do saltwater reefing. So my college roommate and I figured it out together. We never even bought a book because that would tap into our Jim Beam budget. So we had amazing success as a result of our ignorance. We simply didn't know any better.
We had a 29 bow front acrylic tank with 2 fluorescent lights and a hang on the back whisper filter and I heater. We had a bucket a piece of tubing and a hydrometer that came with our sack of Instant Ocean salt.
We didn't even know what dosing was. We kept a figure 8 Puffer a leopard Puffer and a Royal Gramma very happily in the same tank with heavy gravel substrate and one big live rock. We didn't even know what R ODI was and we used chlorinated water from the city of Philadelphia. We did partial water changes once in awhile out of the bathtub.
I guess we thought all you ever had to do was change the cartridge in the whisper filter once a month and that worked out pretty great. Our biggest chore was to scrape the purple algae off the back without scratching the acrylic and clean up after the salt creep. Anyway those fish live for about 7 years. And the unbelievable but painful truth is the in that time we never once even considered algae. We never saw algae once in the whole time and I suppose that may be a result of that Philadelphia water. No dinos no diatoms no algae not once ever.

Now many years later I have picked up reefing again. Educated myself to the level that my idiocy will permit got some cool equipment and various stuff.

Ironically, in the last 1.5 years I have come to know GHA, DIATOMS, and DINOS.

So, now I've got that Goin for me.
 

CourtNjoeZreef

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I find myself to be Unconventional from the meticulous cleaners, the over do it'ers, I believe in Bio-filtration. I believe in bio diversity so I dose 1 of 3 different bacteria products each week.

I am a firm believer in more water is better, so I went with a sump. For my first salt tank I DIY the crap out of some used stuff and so far so good. 55g tall tank with a 20glong sump x2 filter sox and a 800gph sicce sexy pump AC cause well the more something turns on and off and varies the faster the motor burns up. not sold on DC yet (still young n dumb). This also applies to heaters. IDK WHY but so many people have them in stagnant areas then cry they break. I have 3+ yr old heaters in my fresh water tank... flow = life!

stocking. I am taking this one slow. I am not super familiar with all the diversity of the ocean. but I do understand bio loads ect. so rather then add 1 per gallon of snails i added 5. 1 emerald crab. if they stop being effective ill get another 1... maybe 2.

I do 10g water changes weekly. havent had to dose magnesium in some time. 1 time i added havent had to since maybe it was my water test who knows. it seems stable now. i test parameters on saturday afternoon and to my WC/additives alk/calcium

I feed everything. dry frozen amino phyto zoo plankton.... vibrabites... <-- to be seen

All this being said when I watch Youtube im like OMG IM SO BAD but idk i am in love with my tank and thats really all that matters.

In the future i will have a Refugium. there is no space on my current setup. the future for me is probably a redsea prebuild that ill add onto through the wall to my garage with more dilution. cant filter enough while also not cleaning!



I HATE PICKING ALGAE OFF STUFF....
sorry for my outburst..

IMG_20210429_173256.jpg
 
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LardLad

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Back before the internet, in a Time called the 1990s, I had no one to teach me how to do saltwater reefing. So my college roommate and I figured it out together. We never even bought a book because that would tap into our Jim Beam budget. So we had amazing success as a result of our ignorance. We simply didn't know any better.
We had a 29 bow front acrylic tank with 2 fluorescent lights and a hang on the back whisper filter and I heater. We had a bucket a piece of tubing and a hydrometer that came with our sack of Instant Ocean salt.
We didn't even know what dosing was. We kept a figure 8 Puffer a leopard Puffer and a Royal Gramma very happily in the same tank with heavy gravel substrate and one big live rock. We didn't even know what R ODI was and we used chlorinated water from the city of Philadelphia. We did partial water changes once in awhile out of the bathtub.
I guess we thought all you ever had to do was change the cartridge in the whisper filter once a month and that worked out pretty great. Our biggest chore was to scrape the purple algae off the back without scratching the acrylic and clean up after the salt creep. Anyway those fish live for about 7 years. And the unbelievable but painful truth is the in that time we never once even considered algae. We never saw algae once in the whole time and I suppose that may be a result of that Philadelphia water. No dinos no diatoms no algae not once ever.

Now many years later I have picked up reefing again. Educated myself to the level that my idiocy will permit got some cool equipment and various stuff.

Ironically, in the last 1.5 years I have come to know GHA, DIATOMS, and DINOS.

So, now I've got that Goin for me.
I forgot to add the all we ever fed back then was freeze dried mysis shrimp and freeze-dried tube worms. I'm not even sure if that's a thing anymore
 

Bob LI

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I'm not unconventional by choice. About 15 years ago, I purchased a 150 gal tank because my Koran Angel, a Niger trigger and a couple of tangs, out grew the 90 gal they were in. The new tank was installed about 5" from the wall to save living space. At the time, I had no intension to try corals.

As time went on, I eventually added some GSP because I liked the way they looked in a current, some pulsing xenia, mushrooms and a leather because they were cheap and hardy. I wound up adding a few new fish, and had an ick outbreak losing the largest fish. I restocked with some reef safe fish, and, as the lights needed replacement, I added a MH and some compact fluorescent lights.

I eventually added some hammer and trumpet coral, some blastos, acans and a bubble tip anemone.

That said, I have no sump, or easy way to install one, an undersized HOB protein skimmer that can fit the 5" opening behind the tank, an Aquaclear HOB filter that I am growing Chaeto in (refugium?) and 2 cannister filters. No automation, and black box LED lights. Most of the coral I've tried are doing well.

Here's the old Koran and friends, and a few shots from the tank now.

corner tank.jpg Corals.flame.jpg IMG_4110.JPG Tank1.jpg
 
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blasterman

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My main tank is a 20l after years of having big tanks. Big conceptual shift and I've had to give up fussier SPS like acros, but I've adjusted.

I grow SPS like a boss. I actually throw montipora in the garbage. No water changes, no trace element dosing, no skimmer, sump usually offline, top covered with glass, I have mostly damsels , a single MP10, and I dose phosphate.

And I run my LED black box on a lamp timer. On the same short bus with those anti sun guys are the droolers using fancy lighting schedules. My old halide bulbs are laughing.
 

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BRS

If Reefing was a school what letter grade do you think you would be making?

  • A

    Votes: 63 11.5%
  • B

    Votes: 245 44.6%
  • C

    Votes: 177 32.2%
  • D

    Votes: 40 7.3%
  • F

    Votes: 22 4.0%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 2 0.4%
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