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Old 04-17-2005, 07:09 AM   #1
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Reef Maintenance

I am thinking of starting a maintenance business, since it seems there aren't very many in my area and I could use a little extra $$. I realize that most people needing this service would be businesses and most likely reef tanks or sw fo tanks. The only problem I have is that I have no experience in reef maintenance. I have plenty of fw experience, but I have never had a sw tank of any kind. Are there any resources that could help me out? Like a reef-keepers bible? TIA
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Old 04-17-2005, 02:02 PM   #2
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The Conscientious Marine Aquarist by Robert Fenner is the Bible of Reefers. But... if I were one of your customers, I would feel better knowing that you have experience in reef tanks. Maybe start out doing fw maintenance and build up to reefs after some experience in them. There is a huge difference in maintaining a fw and sw of any type. Read a lot, hang around your lfs, and get your own sw tank. Get the experience first. That way you'll know what to expect. JMHO! 8)
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Old 04-17-2005, 02:39 PM   #3
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I tend to agree. SW and FW have many similarities (nitrogen cycle) and vast differences (compatibility is very difficult, stocking is greatly reduced, lots more equipment, more parameters to test for).

The Fenner book is ideal, pick it up and read it through. I think you'll then realize that you need to care for your own, from start through maturity, to really understand the ecosystem you are maintaining.

I'm one of those people that feels VERY confident about my FW skills. I may only know about fish and plants I've kept, but I'm always learning from others.
With SW, I have a 40g that'll be running for a year this July. I still cannot get my calcium and alkalinity where I want them. I won't allow myself to buy an anemone until I get these parameters in order, because I know I'm doing something wrong, however minor it may be. SW tanks, reefs especially, are quite expensive...a 'luxury item' really. The last thing you want to do is crash a 200 gallon reef tank in some hospital's reception area, and have to explain how it's going to cost $3,000 to restock it.

Wow, I didn't mean for that to be a lecture. Just wanted to get the point across that it's not a simple conversion from FW to reef tanks. I think you'd do a fine job with the skills and some experience.
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Old 04-18-2005, 05:55 AM   #4
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I would love to have my own reef tank, but costs are a prohibiting factor. I have a 90 gallon that would be perfect, but just lighting that thing for a reef would probably cost more than my rent. I'm planning on starting a small fowlr tank and maybe some mushrooms soon so I could get some basic experience.
I'm thinking of just starting doing basic maintenance (water changes, tank cleaning, testing, filter maintenance, etc.) and try to stick to more FO tanks at first. I know this would limit business a bit, but it would give me more time to become comfortable around various sw animals and equipment. I have never seen fw displays in a business before, so I'm pretty sure that would not be a service in much demand, unfortunatley. (I think if businesses realized how much cheaper a fw tank would be and still pretty, they would converge)
As for possibly crashing someones system, I'll have insurance in case that tragedy happens. (God I hope not)
I understand it is different from fw to sw. But if I never try, I'll never know if I could do it! And if I get stuck in a rut, I could always ask you guys for help
There needs to be some competition out here. The guy who does the tank in my doctors office is a mess. I was just itching to get my buckets and hoses and algae scrapers out while waiting! Thanks for your input guys. I'll definitley pick up that book and keep reading around.
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Old 04-19-2005, 01:59 AM   #5
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Where are you located at? I run a maintenance business. I might be able to give advice.

let me know
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