What's the dumbest/biggest mistake you made when you first entered the hobby?

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by mpjmeyer, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. mpjmeyer

    mpjmeyer Well-Known Member

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    I'll start...

    When I first got into the aquarium hobby, I started with a simple 10 gallon freshwater tank without doing any research. Went to Walmart, picked up a 10 gallon starter kit and strutted out the store as if I were getting ready to house a new species of fish that would change the world. I figure I'll just fill it and add fish...how much easier could this be. After a few days of adding water, the tank would get nasty!! I told myself, "what the heck did I do wrong?". So naturally, I emptied the contents, including the fish, and threw everything in the dishwasher to get cleaned....then started over.

    A week later...same problem. "what the heck is going on with this darn filter?!" I told myself. So once again, dishwasher it went, I even scrubbed the equipment with the best Dawn soap I had. After the tank got ugly the 3rd time, I decided to finally do some research to see what the heck was happening and guess what the problem was....Nothing! My tank was trying to cycle. So the 4th time, I let it go and a little over a week later...crystal clear water, healthy fish, no problems for years. There were times where I didn't touch the water for weeks except to top it off.

    That was the biggest amateur move I've ever made and still shake my head when I think about it but after tons of reading up on aquariums, I'm understanding it more and more everyday. We won't mention the fact that I didn't think about back siphon and flooded my basement floor 1 day after running my saltwater tank with the ATO pump hosing.

    What's your story?? C'mon...it'll be out secret...;)
     
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  2. Tokash23

    Tokash23 Well-Known Member

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    Topped off with saltwater for the roughly the first month then realized my salinity was through the roof. Ooops lol
     
  3. Jimbo662

    Jimbo662 Well-Known Member Partner Member

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    Not realizing evaporation shows up in the filter section of an all in one and you don't see it...and thinking it's not happening because the tank was still full.
     
  4. Rob Lion

    Rob Lion Well-Known Member

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    ....telling the wife the true start up cost for a new tank :/
     
  5. Johniejumbo

    Johniejumbo Well-Known Member

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  6. Salty1962

    Salty1962 Wrasse and SPS Lover R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member

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    Purchased a Panther Grouper. Out grew the tank in 4mths:eek: Not to mention the pain of keeping feeder fish!
     
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  7. Johniejumbo

    Johniejumbo Well-Known Member

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    i put my new 75 gallon tank on a table not quite big enough for it. the front edge was hanging off. It lasted a good few months but the bottom seal eventually gave one night. Woke up with a very wet floor and an empty tank . Along with a few hundred bucks worth of dead fish and corals. Almost gave up the hobby
     
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  8. Roy 9121

    Roy 9121 Well-Known Member SCMAS Member

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    I was using a butter knife to scrape something off a rock in my tank. I dropped the knife, and it stuck right in the center of my elegance coral. It never recovered.
     
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  9. azbigjohn

    azbigjohn Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    Wasn't when I started, as I ran FOWLR tanks for many years without major problems...

    Once I decided to gt into corals and reef tanks, not being careful with inspecting everything that went into my tank. I let aptasia into my tank on a single coral frag, and within a month, I had hundreds throughout the aquarium. Never could get on top of it, and tried everything (and every creature). Finally ended up crashing the tank, and starting over.

    I am not dedicated to QT-ing and observing EVERYTHING that hits my tank before it hits the water of the DT.
     
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  10. reef-freak

    reef-freak Well-Known Member Partner Member

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    Not getting a bigger tank
     
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  11. gcarroll

    gcarroll Well-Known Member R2R Supporter SCMAS Member

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    Purchased a trigger and a banded cat shark. Trigger ate the fins off the cat shark. After that i went reef with reef safe fish only!
     
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  12. Waters

    Waters "...in perfect isolation, here behind my wall." R2R Supporter

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    Buying cheap equipment to save money.:(
     
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  13. reeftilldie

    reeftilldie Well-Known Member

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    Not calibrate refractometer, dosing incorrect amount of ca,alk, not removing detritus settle on the sump.
     
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  14. Sm51498

    Sm51498 Well-Known Member

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    They are such pretty fish! A shame they don't stay small.

    I made a bunch of small mistakes first time around. I think my biggest mistake was just trying to do this hobby on a college student budget. I made it work but I shake my head when I think back at it. I have learned a ton from that experience though.
     
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  15. Lionfish Lair

    Lionfish Lair Renee R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Photo of the Month Award Reef Squad Showcase Editor Article Contributor

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    Keep in mind there was no internet...

    I decided to have a sump and I selected the external Lifeqard Modules... kindda like this.

    [​IMG]

    The instructions said to glue the modules together. I did. I started it all up for the first time and I remember smiling as the hummed was so beautifully. Next thing I know BOOM! and the modules all blow apart under the pressure. Drained half the tank (3rd floor apartment) before I could stop it. Called Lifegard and discovered "glued" in our hobby means CEMENT, not silicone.
     
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  16. bevo5

    bevo5 Well-Known Member

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    OH man - so many. I've had tanks for close to 30yrs because I'm old. During that time I've done so many idiotic things. Let me think:

    -Thought just dumping straight salt into the tank to raise salinity was a good idea. That went horribly wrong.
    -Didn't tighten the outlet tube of the EHEIM one night and drained a 29g onto my floor
    -Bought a tank from Tenecor which immediately failed the day after they went out of business so nobody to get money back from.
    -Put wild caught Frontosa and too-smallish Tricoti in a tank together. Frontosa worked through $80 meals for a while.
    -Spray painted the back of my new tank without covering the tops - put a ton of spray paint into the tank. That one sucked.
    -Introduced Ich into my biocube like a moron

    I could go on and on.
     
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  17. Lionfish Lair

    Lionfish Lair Renee R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Photo of the Month Award Reef Squad Showcase Editor Article Contributor

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    I've learned if you say/think the words "I should..." DO IT! DO IT NOW! Like "I should put a lid on that tank." "I should put an anti-siphon on that tubing." I should clamp that down". DO IT! Because tomorrow you'll be cleaning up the mess created by not doing it. Or is that just me and I have really bad luck. LOL!
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017
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  18. buckroe07

    buckroe07 Well-Known Member

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    I measured my salinity and found out it was low so I added salt mix directly into the display with fish in it.
     
  19. JFrar

    JFrar Well-Known Member

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    I think years down the line you still make stupid "newbie" mistakes.... im almost 10 years into the hobby and a couple weeks ago i had my heater on and put an alarm on my phone to turn it off.... I fell asleep on the couch, the alarm woke me up, being tired i unplugged my return flow pump instead of the heater and went to bed.... 85 degrees the next morning did not lose anything though(lucky me)
     
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  20. Smo

    Smo Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    I did not quarantine everything wet. Put new coral frags, CUC and fish directly into my first reef tank. Only took a few months for fish to start succumbing to multiple diseases including Ich.
     

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