Unpopular opinion: smaller tanks are better for beginners

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Directly related, look at Maritza the vase reefs ten year running fishbowl.

This is my friends tank, Maritza tvr

Muted blue tones not blast lit. No algae, no rip cleans needed for ten years in one gallon:

And about three grand in top shelf corals taken from the finest stock. That's a sick pico. That's probably among the highest dollar-per-gallon ratios attained in all of reefing.

Micro tanks have unique appeal, unique things they can do that large tankers cannot do- because of lack of access. When a one gallon water change is 100% of your tanks volume: it means you can flush a lot of protein through that system. If you flush clean proteins over corals lit by reef lights they will always grow.

A typical reef tank inaccessible would just clog up and go eutrophic with as much feed/ protein input compared to how we can feed a pico reef

a pico reef can have its water change paired with once a week large feed events. All that extra is removed out during the drain siphon but the polyps are completely full of feed. Then all clean water goes back in and it sits a week then you repeat.

Any reefer would agree: is changing one gallon of water per week too much work to be able to keep 95% of sps in the hobby alive? No.

Is ten minutes a week, once a week, too much work to be able to keep 95% of any sps species you want alive? No


That's why it's easier to grow sps in a fishbowl than it is in a full sized reef.


It's not true you can grow sps in an unstable system for over ten years, therefore pico reefs aren't unstable. The rule the masses use is backwards from reality. It's literally easier to grow sps in a fishbowl vs a full sized reef tank.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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That specific approach, to have muted lighting zones in the reef is rare tuning trick. I can say with certainty its a handy long term control method, these corals don't have to be hit with the highest par

Quality light, but subdued in places with quality feed pass- through and clean water is how those micro reefs get so old. Much much less algae battles. These pico reefs stop having algae battles after a few years because the surfaces quickly become either a coral mouth or coralline/ algae rejecting surfaces

Feed quality and presentation is where longevity is at, it isn't in chasing par with meters

I'm not saying a person can't keep a successful reef at total intensity at all times

Am saying per 100 copies tracked in work threads in forums, this muted lighting technique will get a far better outcome rate. Among the brightly lit tanks are the gha jobs and dinos jobs to work. Muted lighting setups are less likely to be the focus tank in an invasion help thread. That's what stood out in Troy's picture to me.
 
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Troylee

all about the diy!!!!!
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That's the perfect degree of light, to have occasional darker spots + that color temp

That's ideal for invasion prevention across several strains of tank wreckers great bio balance there

It's not ideal to have 110% of the reef scape lit brightly. That's a rare balance in lighting above.
Wait! There’s more! :rolling-on-the-floor-laughing:
image.jpg
 

BeanAnimal

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I agree on temperature stability being more stable as the size goes up.

My point regarding the stability of big vs small is based on biomass stocking.

I'll take your pool comparison and use aquariums for my argument. A 10 gallon tank with one clownfish produces x amount of waste, in the pool sized tank (100 gallon) with the one fish it would be negligible, which I agree with.

I feel comparing one clownfish in a 10 gallon tank should be compared to 10 clownfish in a 100 gallon tank, they will both be producing the same percentage of waste and both need to be addressed in whatever manner the reefer sees fit whether it is equipment/filtration or daily/weekly water changes.
Of course, but (again) all things being similar, the larger volume is harder to destabilize and bioload vs water volume is not a 1:1 ratio.

Nothing is "easier" in the end, because we all define easy differently. The "newbie" advice is generality based on many criteria. It is not a law or immutable.
 

BeanAnimal

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We don’t see dinos wrecked pico reefs, or pico reefs with aiptasia problems/at least not in the thousands of examples on daily trend posts. Accessibility is the key difference imo

Pico reefers don’t have to put up with that stuff, they learned that at the onset

but large tankers do

Teaching people that larger tanks are more stable and easier to run than small reefs keeps invasion assistance work threaders very busy over the years we appreciate the well intentioned misguidance

It’s a true a seven year old with a tiny nerfball can kill my reef but it’s not going to die biologically that’s for sure heh
Picos are not "immune" to aiptasia, cyano, dinos or anything else. You are just making stuff up now.

Just because your method of dumping it all out in the sink and scrubbing it with a brush once a year removes that crap, does not make the tank immune to it or negate having to deal with it.

Likewise - to assert that the "perfect" lighting is lighting that has bright and dark spots in the tank and this somehow prevents nuisance algae or "invaders" as you insist on calling it is also nonsense.

But hey - lets turn this nice thread into another prove it in a "work thread" or it doesn't exist debacle.
 
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BeanAnimal

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That's the perfect degree of light, to have occasional darker spots + that color temp

That's ideal for invasion prevention across several strains of tank wreckers great bio balance there

It's not ideal to have 110% of the reef scape lit brightly. That's a rare balance in lighting above.
Huh?

That just makes absolutely no sense.
 
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PharmrJohn

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My first SW tank in the early 90s was a 29G. True, not as much equipment required but when things went south it happened fast with less time to respond. And as a beginner, it ultimately led to getting out of the hobby after a year or so. Second tank in 2009 was 75G. Perfect size. Easier to deal with. I was still a newb and did fine. Third was an upgrade to 90G a few years later. Easier still. Got out of the hobby after 5 years as my kids were young and needed my time. Now, I'm planning a 110 to 120G build, which will allow even more diversity. But this time I'm not so clueless. And there is SO MUCH more info out there. Very nice.
 

BeanAnimal

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Actually participating in a given subject makes a real difference when giving feedback on it.
Correct me if I am wrong, but your only real-life experience is with nano tanks isn't it?

Also correct me if I am wrong, but most of your "experience" in this hobby is in-effect taking credit for the work of others who stumble into your "work threads" where you then refer to them as part of your collective "we" as if you had a team of reef scientists (I think that is what you have called yourself in the past, but may be wrong) working along side you at your direction.

Lastly, please share your direct expertise with medium to large tanks (not talking about them in threads).

I (and likely a tremendous portion of this community) are weary of your back handed comments disparaging people as untrustworthy for reef information because they don't "participate" in your prescribed "work threads".
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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I asked you months ago to make one of these in our prior debate threads

feel free to state all kinds of ways this doesn’t count as me handling/being responsible for the outcome of large tanks

I don’t expect to be given any links I get to inspect from you. 2023 was just like this. You didn’t take time six months ago to begin a tank anything thread, yet you knew I’d ask to see that material in 2024. We’ve taken on about ten new jobs since then.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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What if pico reef science helps large tankers in ways they may not initially validate


The value of clean running to permanently prevent old tank syndrome, for example.

One way to study old tank syndrome uniquely from a large reef is to study ots from the perspective of a very old pico reef



Time scale shifting: pico reefs become eutrophic faster than a super cool 180 gallon $25,000 reef and all its validity.

If someone truly build a stocked stacked pico reef and keep it alive ten years and document it all on YouTube the whole time, I want to know what they know about reef tank aging and old tank syndrome because they kept a hyper-aging system clean for as long.

At ten years many large tanks are still on the eutrophication up-curve, no plateau yet, no real challenge due yet- you have to wait too long to learn about ots from large reefs.




now that nine years of data is on file what’s the verdict, good or bad for reef tanks? Does instantly rinsing your entire reef tank sandbed out with tap water before you move it, upgrade it, or flip the sandbed for another one work bad or does it work really really well?
 
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BeanAnimal

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Here’s some large tank work. It’s considered work because you don’t have one of these, and when I asked you to make one, the excuses piled up quicker than the work jobs.
So, feel free to state all kinds of ways this doesn’t count as me handling/being responsible for the outcome of large tanks but in the end, you have literally nothing to post I can dissect.


I don’t expect to be given any links I get to inspect from you. 2023 was just like this. You didn’t take time six months ago to begin a tank anything thread, yet you knew I’d ask to see that material in 2024. We’ve taken on about ten new jobs since then.

You avoided the questions and responses in an effort to deflect and exposed yourself. I don’t need to add anything else.

As for your assertion that I am a troll…I participated in this thread starting on post #9 and you showed up at post #29 and attempted to directly insult me and (again) brow beat me into proving myself by creating a work thread or some silliness.

Brando, If I were a troll I would follow you around this forum and into your “work threads” and discredit your rhetoric at every turn. You wouldn't get a breath of air. You don’t deserve the attention, but we are here now because you chose to directly engage me.
 
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BeanAnimal

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He’s stating that the biology of pico reefs is so disconnected from large tanking that the rules governing the two aspects of the hobby are separate
Who is saying that?
What if pico reef science helps large tankers in ways they may not initially validate
You just intimated that the biology of the two is the same… but literally 2 statements later infer that it is different? “pico reef science”? You can’t have it both ways.
threads that show by running example last week how to transfer any reef tank without a recycle aren’t populous, they’re rare. Show me such a thread written by a non pico reefer it would be neat to see the rule they use in each job.

I wouldn’t care what experience someone has in the house if they can post me a series of works they did in other peoples homes that bettered the reef tank.
I feel that you are doing this entire community a disservice by derailing thread after thread with constant attempts to steer everything to the context of your “work threads”, nuisance algae and rip clean tank transfers, let alone further insist that any information not proven in “work threads” is suspect and those that provide it are untrustworthy. That, Brandon, is trolling.
 
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BeanAnimal

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As for the OP and the rest of the contributors, thank you for the pleasant conversation. It shows that we all get something a bit different out of the hobby and “easy” is different to each of us, as is the way that we learn.
 
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Ben's Pico Reefing

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I think there is different approaches and can be as easy or as difficult as you want. Larger tanks have the advantage of more automation to make things easier and can dose or add things more liberrally. Down side to this is the added cost, constant replenishing and ordering of chemicals and having to test to verify everything is working. More equipment to fail.

Smaller tanks have advantage of easier to replenish with single water change and no need to dose. Easier and quicker to maintain and cheaper. Down side is less available gear(now slowly changing). And if you do dose you will need more accurasy and care. Things can swing more quickly if you dont take percautions. You are also limited on what you can keep which is a downside for most and leading to threads such as Can I keep tgis in here? Lol.

Nanos are in middle. Most are not sump friendly or cant run all the gear like large tank but to large to do large water changes like picos. You get more stability than pico but may nnot need all the equipment of a large. More expensive than pico but less than a large. You can automate more like a larger tank as well but may have equipment sticking out. (Some can be plumbed and setup like larger and would be better this route).

Even this is subject to opinion based on needs and desires as well as cost and time. All have advantages and disadvanteges.

You are better off figuring out what corals and critters you want. Then budget. Next figure out how much time and what your willing to do for maintenance of the tank. Now will those critters fit, get along and do well in size and maintenance. Then you can order everything to setup.

Just my 2 cents. As you can see, some say larger others stay smaller. Its all on how a person perceives.
 

Naekuh

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I always say larger the better, because new people tend to always want to put something in the tank which requires a larger system like a TANG.

And we know what happens when they come online asking for help because they have a tang in a 15g.
 

BeanAnimal

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I think there is different approaches and can be as easy or as difficult as you want. Larger tanks have the advantage of more automation to make things easier and can dose or add things more liberrally. Down side to this is the added cost, constant replenishing and ordering of chemicals and having to test to verify everything is working. More equipment to fail.
FWIW - my ~125 gallon (total volume) system ran for well over 5 years (maybe closer to 7) with no automation other than an ATO and not other dosing, skimming or filtration, water changes, no fish food (well maybe 5-7 times over that period I tossed on some flakes). Zero, none. Fish fat and happy and a tank full of mushrooms, leather, and a brain coral and tons of blueridge (LPS).

Things can be as simple or complex as you wish them to be to reach the desired outcome.


Several people here have conflated general advice for "newbies" to laws set in stone, as well several are speaking as experienced reef keepers, but forgetting the struggles of being new. For many, too big is biting off too much and too small leaves too little room for error. I think the standing advice to start in the 30 to 75 or so gallon tank size is reasonable.

That said, one of the pitfalls of the "nano cube" systems has historically been notoriously bad lighting and filtration and flow and that coupled with the "little room for error" reality is likely the cause of many failures and the subsequent advice to start a bit bigger.
 

Ben's Pico Reefing

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FWIW - my ~125 gallon (total volume) system ran for well over 5 years (maybe closer to 7) with no automation other than an ATO and not other dosing, skimming or filtration, water changes, no fish food (well maybe 5-7 times over that period I tossed on some flakes). Zero, none. Fish fat and happy and a tank full of mushrooms, leather, and a brain coral and tons of blueridge (LPS).

Things can be as simple or complex as you wish them to be to reach the desired outcome.


Several people here have conflated general advice for "newbies" to laws set in stone, as well several are speaking as experienced reef keepers, but forgetting the struggles of being new. For many, too big is biting off too much and too small leaves too little room for error. I think the standing advice to start in the 30 to 75 or so gallon tank size is reasonable.

That said, one of the pitfalls of the "nano cube" systems has historically been notoriously bad lighting and filtration and flow and that coupled with the "little room for error" reality is likely the cause of many failures and the subsequent advice to start a bit bigger.
There is always exceptions and no one size fits all. What works for one doesnt work for another even with same setups and maintenance.

like your saying I think for new hobbyist its hard to find right balance of tank size and capabilities with budget. We need to know what they want and understand they cant put everything they do in a small tank. If they want certain corals or live stock they are better staring off bigger to save money from upgrading and replacing. If they are ok with small tanks and limitations and dont want to go big or take care of large tanks, then smaller side will be better.

We tend to forget its more personal than it is about size and equipment. Big tanks can be just as easy as small tanks and small tanks can be as complex as big. I have to remind myself its more personal choice and tend to forget as we get caught up in a back and forth go big or small rather than their intendid plans and what they want to do.
 

Naekuh

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There is always exceptions and no one size fits all. What works for one doesnt work for another even with same setups and maintenance.

But this is where the experienced reefer and a complete beginner comes into play.

If your experienced, then a micro or pico reef is easy.
They have all the techniques down, and tricks.
They know how to minipulate the system to work for them.

The beginner on the other hand, some can't even do a basic cycle correctly.
They have absolutely no knowledge of husbandary, and are the mercy of both the angels and trolls on forum for knowledge.

Would i ever recommend a small reef to a new person.
Absolutely NOT. Why? because always, and i say always they get the wrong advice and end up putting something in the tank because that guy at the LFS said it was OK, or they saw someone like Vetteguy who has 21 Tangs in his tank do it, so they assume it must be possible.

But again even big tanks aren't fool proof.
The classic example is Joey, the guy from Youtube known as King of DIY. He is a legend with monster fish, and large tanks ,but he's a complete noob when it came to salt, and did the most complete noobish thing a new person can do... drop in 20 Tangs in improper Quarentine and without knowing or doing more research on Tangs.

If it was vetteguy, 100% sure all the tangs would of survived.
But because it was King of DIY... all of them caught velvet disease i think and died.

Here is the video:


I dont think he even has those Tangs that lived on a recient video even.
Last time i saw his reef tank had different fish.

So 1000% skill level is always at play here.
 
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