What are 3 things you wish someone had told you when you started....

Jupiter

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Am a typical peri-Covid tank start-up - had tanks in the 80's (wonder how many of those are out there), so I was all ears to find out how to get up and running as fast as I could.
My DT is a mixed 180 Cade which started Sept 2020 and overall has done well, though like all of us have had learning pains/stumbles. And am lucky to have in a. town of 100K, 2 nice LFS's with great management and support.

But here are 3 things that I wish I knew as getting started and committed to the forever tank, and things I would like other beginners to consider/be reinforced, when starting

1. Adding Kalkwasser to your ATO reservoir is never a good idea - led to the closest thing I have had to a melt down and surprised that I didn't lose more with an All spike that of course happened while away for the weekend. Solution: Kamoers are cheap and easy
2. Pocillopora is NOT a good beginner SPS coral - it was indeed a pride and joy for my first SPS and first 6 months of growth. I now have 12 (+) colonies, some in the most undesirable places including the back glass, but are also pinging a nice Monti or two, and scraping them out seems only to spread them more. Solution: Just say no.
3. Zoas are great for a garden, but keep them off your lawn - Similar to above, but in this case, I planted them on a nice secluded rock, and looks great there, but the ones I placed on the hard scape to fill in the bare spots are a mistake
4 As a bonus Some tangs grow faster than others - that darling little Vlamingi that we added at the 2 month mark and who we fell in love with, and who has more personality than her cat, has grown so fast that we need to re-home him now (2 months ago really) before he hurts himself. Will miss him dearly Solution do your research apart from what the LFS staff tell you, and create a well thought out stocking plan

Wonder what yours are or what you would tell your 18 month younger self...

1642619489347.png
Man! I want to know exactly what you're doing! No way are my zoas growing like that, and a couple of them have been in the tank for three years!!!
 
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Grumblez

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1. Adding Kalkwasser to your ATO reservoir is never a good idea - led to the closest thing I have had to a melt down and surprised that I didn't lose more with an All spike that of course happened while away for the weekend. Solution: Kamoers are cheap and easy

Did it overdose? I'm still not really needing to dose more than a tiny bit manually once a week but thinking of small amount of kalk in the ATO. I have a kaomer sitting in the box for when I start needing serious amounts of dosing but going to do 3 part because I don't have anywhere to put a large resevoir for kalk.
 

mjh712

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I'm going to go with not so basic ones I've learned in my 10 months:
  • Alk swings are something no one talks about in coral care videos, but you find conistently in "why is my X coral not doing well". You need to make sure you have a stable tank for corals & that goes beyond temp, PH, Cal/Mag levels, etc. There's a balance between PH, Calc, Alk that needs to be maintained for a stable environment for the coral & even if it has the right light & flow, some coral that are labeled "beginner" aren't going to do well.
  • You're creating an environment for your fish/coral. Your aquascape looks great, but how functional is it for the fish/coral you want?
    • Do you have caves/crevices that fit the size of the fish you're planning on putting into the tank? (This will stop aggressiveness. My example is my WTB Tang goes nuts when the lights go off because he's got to fight for his sleeping spot. Even though the wrasse sleeps in the sand & the coral beauty's spot is too small)
    • Do you have holes/depressions that anemone's can stick their foot in and set up shop?
    • Is your sand bed deep enough for Wrasses, Gobies, Starfish, Inverts, etc.
    • Do you have areas under the aquascape a pistol shrimp can burrow?
    • Do you have an anemone guard on your pumps & gyres?
  • Make water changes as easy as you can. It makes it quicker on yourself & on the fish. Brute trash cans, brute dolly, hoses, pumps, etc.
Now 3 more specific to what I've had happen
  • Get a better lid (I've lost 4 fish, 2 clowns & 2 wrasses to jumping, 3 happened with the lid on, two in gaps, & one wrasse that jumped twice with enough force to dislodge the lid & end up on the ground)
  • Your Melanurus Wrasse will eat small shrimp & some types of snails
  • Be more patient. Don't buy more coral until the ones you have are thriving.
  • Bonus: Don't bring your friend to a coral swap. You may go home with two more clownfish from the raffle & have to setup another tank.
 

Sean Clark

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I'm going to go with not so basic ones I've learned in my 10 months:
  • Alk swings are something no one talks about in coral care videos, but you find conistently in "why is my X coral not doing well". You need to make sure you have a stable tank for corals & that goes beyond temp, PH, Cal/Mag levels, etc. There's a balance between PH, Calc, Alk that needs to be maintained for a stable environment for the coral & even if it has the right light & flow, some coral that are labeled "beginner" aren't going to do well.
  • You're creating an environment for your fish/coral. Your aquascape looks great, but how functional is it for the fish/coral you want?
    • Do you have caves/crevices that fit the size of the fish you're planning on putting into the tank? (This will stop aggressiveness. My example is my WTB Tang goes nuts when the lights go off because he's got to fight for his sleeping spot. Even though the wrasse sleeps in the sand & the coral beauty's spot is too small)
    • Do you have holes/depressions that anemone's can stick their foot in and set up shop?
    • Is your sand bed deep enough for Wrasses, Gobies, Starfish, Inverts, etc.
    • Do you have areas under the aquascape a pistol shrimp can burrow?
    • Do you have an anemone guard on your pumps & gyres?
  • Make water changes as easy as you can. It makes it quicker on yourself & on the fish. Brute trash cans, brute dolly, hoses, pumps, etc.
Now 3 more specific to what I've had happen
  • Get a better lid (I've lost 4 fish, 2 clowns & 2 wrasses to jumping, 3 happened with the lid on, two in gaps, & one wrasse that jumped twice with enough force to dislodge the lid & end up on the ground)
  • Your Melanurus Wrasse will eat small shrimp & some types of snails
  • Be more patient. Don't buy more coral until the ones you have are thriving.
  • Bonus: Don't bring your friend to a coral swap. You may go home with two more clownfish from the raffle & have to setup another tank.
This comes across as the voice of experience:

"Bonus: Don't bring your friend to a coral swap. You may go home with two more clownfish from the raffle & have to setup another tank"

Solid advice.
 
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bnord

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Man! I want to know exactly what you're doing! No way are my zoas growing like that, and a couple of them have been in the tank for three years!!!
Don't know what to say, I have highish nitrates (20-25) keep iodine up (checked now and then with ICP). will send more pics tomorrow of another island, and an example of the runaway lawn.. lights are out for the night
 
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bnord

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t
Did it overdose? I'm still not really needing to dose more than a tiny bit manually once a week but thinking of small amount of kalk in the ATO. I have a kaomer sitting in the box for when I start needing serious amounts of dosing but going to do 3 part because I don't have anywhere to put a large resevoir for kalk.
The Cade has a built in ATO with a float in the return, and yes, it stuck open, and yes it spiked to 15. (geesh)
 
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bnord

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I'm going to go with not so basic ones I've learned in my 10 months:
  • Alk swings are something no one talks about in coral care videos, but you find conistently in "why is my X coral not doing well". You need to make sure you have a stable tank for corals & that goes beyond temp, PH, Cal/Mag levels, etc. There's a balance between PH, Calc, Alk that needs to be maintained for a stable environment for the coral & even if it has the right light & flow, some coral that are labeled "beginner" aren't going to do well.
  • You're creating an environment for your fish/coral. Your aquascape looks great, but how functional is it for the fish/coral you want?
    • Do you have caves/crevices that fit the size of the fish you're planning on putting into the tank? (This will stop aggressiveness. My example is my WTB Tang goes nuts when the lights go off because he's got to fight for his sleeping spot. Even though the wrasse sleeps in the sand & the coral beauty's spot is too small)
    • Do you have holes/depressions that anemone's can stick their foot in and set up shop?
    • Is your sand bed deep enough for Wrasses, Gobies, Starfish, Inverts, etc.
    • Do you have areas under the aquascape a pistol shrimp can burrow?
    • Do you have an anemone guard on your pumps & gyres?
  • Make water changes as easy as you can. It makes it quicker on yourself & on the fish. Brute trash cans, brute dolly, hoses, pumps, etc.
Now 3 more specific to what I've had happen
  • Get a better lid (I've lost 4 fish, 2 clowns & 2 wrasses to jumping, 3 happened with the lid on, two in gaps, & one wrasse that jumped twice with enough force to dislodge the lid & end up on the ground)
  • Your Melanurus Wrasse will eat small shrimp & some types of snails
  • Be more patient. Don't buy more coral until the ones you have are thriving.
  • Bonus: Don't bring your friend to a coral swap. You may go home with two more clownfish from the raffle & have to setup another tank.
absolutely echo/support the need to monitor/control alk swings. I guess this is driver to a calcium reactor, maybe later this year...
 
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bnord

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Man! I want to know exactly what you're doing! No way are my zoas growing like that, and a couple of them have been in the tank for three years!!!
So here is an example of what I meant by a well tended garden _ like to use the little dead coral golf balls that you find washed up beach as a anchor - after a couple of months I can pull it apart and share with friends and add a new golf ball

9E3BC4AA-81C2-40BF-949C-8021F0FB04BB.jpeg


And what I meant in the OP of them spreading out and messing up the lawn - I placed the first frags there to cover up bare scape in the early days and am regretting it. Hav to trim them on the far left of the colony to keep them from further

F1F80213-2076-4810-8FC6-F33FC05A8483.jpeg
 
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bnord

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And a running summary of the MOL 45 posts, it appears these are the most common observations

Do your research/maintain patience - 11
Quarantine (
which also reflects patience) - 11
Be aware of the upcoming costs/don't go cheap - 10
Live Rock (can't tell if it is tank culture of from the sea) - 8

So if patience is a virtue - we must all try to get e little more virtuous
 

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1. Do not go cheap on the equipment just because you are a noobie trying this out. It will cost more on upgrades later on. Do your research and buy good equipment.
2. Pick ranges for your parameters instead of specific numbers and if your measure is within that range, then do absolutely nothing about it (cant believe how many times I freaked out because my alk was 8.1 instead of 8.5 :))
3. And TBH, I wish someone would have told me I would have to ignore a lot of the advice in here. There are many ways to do this right and someone's right way, might be not appropriate for you. Pick someone (or several) successful people in here, with similar maintenance and habits to how you see yourself and follow them and try to incorporate what they do.

Bonus: +1 in the do not put Pocci into your tank. While beautiful and fast grower, it is an absolute weed, all over the place now! Also packs a really bad sting to everything else IME
 
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I see I've upgraded to a aftermarket ATO seems much more likely to fail off but not on
I added a Tunze as the lead ATO - and the Cade back-tank float valve as a back up (with RODI) for belts and braces
 

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1.) Bigger tanks are generally more forgiving, but exponentially more expensive to build and run.

2.) Start stony coral from frags. It's cheaper, easier and more fulfilling watching them grow into little colonies.

3.) don't listen to anyone's advice, until they show you their reef tank.
 
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jaihutcherson

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1. There are 22, give or take, ways to do each and every thing in a reef tank….. Find someone or someones and do it the way they are successful until you find your own style based on knowledge.

2. there are, again, 22 different opinions on how things will turn out if I do it this or that way…. Learn to listen to those who know.

3. For God’s sake, don’t use flatworm x without first siphoning as many of those dang things out as you can and even then don’t use flatworm x…… believe the box, any box, when it tell you it will cause results that are toxic to your tank. There has got to be a better solution; see number one and number two above.
 

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If you tend to rage quit when something bad happens just dont even start the hobby.

Impulse buys are never good. If you cant identify the coral /fish you want then you have no idea their care needs or potential problems .

Money money money, need rodi water

Take advice from people with proven success , lots of people like to give advice but then you look at their tank and wonder where they got theirs from.. create your own gameplan based on lots of research !!
 

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1.) Start with live rock or live bottled bacteria.
2.) Slow down, don’t add so much at once. Just a frag or two at a time.
3.) If you’re gonna buy something, buy the best version, go all the way because later you’ll regret just trying to get by.
 
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