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Old 08-29-2010, 07:30 PM   #1
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Beginner, Intermediate and Expert...

I've had my tank set up since March of this year. I study my tank every day and I'm not without problems (algae, getting better since I'm feeding every other day) but things are going well. I also read forums/google/books everyday.

In my 29g I have:
1 Ocellaris Clownfish
5 Green/Blue Chromis
5 Hermit Crabs
3 Peppermint Shrimp
1 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
Gobs of snails (Turbo, Dwarf Ceriths, Nassarius, Florida Ceriths & Nerites)
2 Dwarf Feather Dusters
1 Pom Pom Xenia (moved on it's own & splitting)
and 1 rock with Zoas patches all over it.

Hitchikers, the ones that I know about are:
1 Tiny Urchin (starting to look like it's a rock boring)
1 Gorgonian Sea Fan (can't find anything like it so don't know what kind)
1 Stomatella Snail (already spawned, don't think it has a mate)
Patches of Orange Sponge and Pink Sponge
Amphipods (lots)
Bristal Worms (ah, lots)
Chaetopterid Worms (several)

Other than the sponges, everything looks great. The sponges look good too but don't seem to get bigger. The Zoas are coming back nice, I didn't know what I was doing when I first got them and I think I killed some of them. Now if the hermit crabs would stay off of them...

The reason for all this blah blah blah, is that I'm looking at corals, fish and inverts that I want to put into my upgrade when I get it done and the livestock are marked with beginner, intermediate and expert.

I consider myself to be a beginner and learning every day, so... when do I move up to intermediate? How do I make it to expert if I don't learn from trial and error as beginner or intermediate? Do I buy what I want, learn about/from it or do I shy away from the livestock that takes extra care?
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Old 08-29-2010, 07:32 PM   #2
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there are people who have had reef tanks for 20 years and they call them selves beginners so.....
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:41 PM   #3
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You can still consider yourself a beginner and keep intermediate and expert livestock, IMHO. Just make sure you research before you buy (which I'm sure you will), especially the expert stuff. Be sure your tank will house them and that you can feed them properly, etc... Just because you consider yourself a beginner doesn't necessarily mean you have to stick to beginner livestock.

I feel like I will consider myself a beginner in saltwater for a very long time.
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:20 AM   #4
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It hasn't been asked yet, but someone is going to want to know what kind of lights you have now. Corals can and mostly require specific lighting in order to make it... That being said I really don't have a clue because I've only done freshwater but I'm still researching the switch to salt!
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:43 AM   #5
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You'll have to file your intermediate 108J-W forms in triplicate to the AA gurus then write your 10 page essay on what being an intermediate would mean to you. :p

Honestly the ratings are there to make you think about it. It's to stop idiots from going "A SHARK, NO WAY!" *clicks buy* These ratings are just a gauge of the amount of individual care that the particular species needs. Seahorses are labeled as experts, but I can tell you that with just a little research and the proper care, they are no harder to keep then damsels. As long as you do your research on the fish/coral ahead of time, and still think its a good purchase, you will be fine.

Like Smitty said though, on the coral side of things the intermediate and expert can mean lots of different things. Usually coral marked expert either needs very special care or the most pristine water conditions imaginable, or both.

My thoughts aren't coming together very well this morning, I'll have to proof read this after my first cup of coffee. Basically, research, research, research.
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:48 AM   #6
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I wouldn't look at it as beginner or expert. Corals and fish are usuallly classified that way by online sites or books not so much because of the skill level you are required to have but because of the requirements of the fish and thier environment. Typicly the more specific the needs of the fish/coral are the more difficult it is considered to keep. It could also be something like anthias that need to be fed often for optimal health or sun coral that are non-photosythetic and need to be fed often. Because these fish/coral require a little bit more care they are often considered more difficult.

The bottom line is, as long as you are carefully researching your fish/coral to make sure you can provide for all their environmental/time/care needs there is rarely a reason you should not give it a try. That being said there are a few examples where the needs are just extreemly difficult to provide for or the needs of the animal are just not well undersood yet. (moorish idol, sea fans, nudibranches for example.)

That's how i look at it anyway.
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:28 PM   #7
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Thanks for the input... I feel better now in getting what I want to get. As long as I do the research, and do the best I can that's all I can do. Funny that you would say "moorish idol", Pat. That's one of the fish I'd like to try when I get my 150g up and running. But it can get as large as 9" so it depends on what else I end up wanting. I'm already rethinking the size of my tank. So when I get ready to build/fill/stock I'll post and get everyones opinions...then do what I want, lol. Just kidding.
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:47 PM   #8
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"when do I move up to intermediate?"

Is that like high school? If so I will never get to college!
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Old 08-31-2010, 11:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raimond View Post
"when do I move up to intermediate?"

Is that like high school? If so I will never get to college!
lol, me neither
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Old 08-31-2010, 11:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Funny that you would say "moorish idol", Pat. That's one of the fish I'd like to try when I get my 150g up and running. But it can get as large as 9" so it depends on what else I end up wanting.
Yeah that is a fish i looked into recently because i would love to have one. Unfortunately, it is not just a matter of tank size that keeps people from getting them. They are notoriously picky eaters. Even when people do get them eating their long term (over a year or two) survival rate is pretty terrible. Their diet in the wild is around 90% spunges and tublicates which is something we can't easily dupicate in a captive environment. For what ever reason even when people switch them over to normal food there seems to be something missing nutrisionally because they end up wasting away or getting sick and dying. I really love that fish though. They are beautiful.
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