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Old 10-07-2006, 05:19 PM   #1
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Ten things I have learned..Cross posted from another board.

I wrote this. I hope it is taken correctly.

1.) buy all the hardware and chemicals you need before you ever add a single live item to your tank.

Reason: I ended up putting all my livestock into a sump and spare tank to drain everything because my bulkhead did not fit my drainhole and had to re-drill. Also, I did not get my chemical balance right immediately, so I ended up killing a few things.

Losses due to this: Red sea star, cleaner shrimp

2.) Cycle, cycle, cycle. Know the nitrogen cycle for SALTWATER, as nitrates are ok for freshwater, but not for SALTWATER. Know it, live it, love it.

Losses due to this: Pajama cardinal

3.) NSW is your friend if you have access to it. Saves money, time and heartache. Go low tide and collect. No need for RO/DI. no need for salt mixes that can be iffy, no need to figure anything out. From the ocean, the water is the right SG, the right ph, etc. If you can get NSW and strain it through a coffee filter, you will be very glad you did.

4.) Get to know the SMART people at the local fish shoppe. Everyone has horror stories about the LFS. But I guarentee if you go to the mom and pop down the road with the dirty floors, you are going to find a person who has been through what you are going through and can help you. Just be smart, and look for someone who isn't a moron. It isn't that hard.

5.) SW is NOTHING like FW. NOTHING. I can't stress this enough. You might have discus in a totally planted and fertilizer dosed tank with CO2 injection, but it a TOTALLY different world.

6.) Buy good test kits. GOOD TEST KITS. LIQUID TEST KITS. Strip test kits are for sissies, FW or SW. If you are doing a SW tank with strips, please, call your local reef society members and trade your tank in for a betta and a vase. Did i mention that SW is a completely different world from FW?

7.) Never trust ANYONE who says "trust me, I am not a newb." I don't care if your are 6 days or 60 years into your tank....they just found 80 new SW lifeforms. Anyone who boasts they are not new at this is definately new.

8.) Learn to accept loss. This is something I learned on the freshy side of things. At one point in time, i panicked over the simplest problems... even sleeping tiger barbs. You have to understand that no matter what you do, YOU cannot replace or be better than mother nature.

9.) MORE isn't always better. Adding more snake oil to your tanks will not solve your problems. More cool gadets and techinical gizmos do not have more success than the guy relying on just LR to filter the tank. A 90000 gallon reef can crash as much as a 9 gallon one can. This isn't to say you should not buy all you can afford reef wise, tank wise or mechanical plumbing doo-dad wise, but to say you can indeed afford to enjoy SW life too. Don't buy what everyone says. Buy what you can, and do research. Chances are you can turn that 20 gallon in your garage into a successful reef if you learn enough. The key is knowledge. Not money and gadgets.

10.) LIFE wants to LIVE. I am not saying dump a gallon of windex in your tank to see if your xenia can take it, but don't be scared to death to take action. If i listened 100% to how delicate everyone tells me everything is (from my FW zebra danios to my delicate open brain coral) I would have not set up a single fishtank ever, and if i did, only in a complete NASA rated clean room vacuum. Here is definately where I am going to catch H - E - double toothpicks... I smoke while I clean my fishtanks. I smoke in my house (I have no children or spouses, I live with my sister, who also smokes). I have cats who lick out of the sump and tap on the glass of ALL my tanks, FW and SW. I have accidentally overdosed iodine and caused my shrimp to molt. I sprayed RAID in my garbage can in my kitchen 5 feet from my tank once to kill ants. I even *GASP* put my freshly lotioned and smooth hands in my SW tank to move a coral that was faltering on the LR.

I guess what the whole point of this is, be educated, but don't be scared. You can have a reef too. You can have fish be healthy and happy. Your corals can survive more than you give them credit for, but be at least cautious. Try to do the best you can. Learn and read all you can. But Do It. It is more rewarding than you can ever imagine.

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Old 10-07-2006, 05:35 PM   #2
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Thank God to somebody actually saying to stop being so cautious...lol...I really get tired of everyone saying how careful you have to be with everything in aquariums...Truth is, it's not that hard.

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Old 10-07-2006, 05:51 PM   #3
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I think it is better to collect NSW at high tide, when it is cleaner......low tide flushes everything back out from the shore.....the shore=natures protein skimmer!
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Old 10-07-2006, 06:00 PM   #4
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I`m having a problem with some of your assesments. Yes some are right on the money but some are off the wall. Some of the things that you brought up you need to add three little letters behind them like IMO. Because some of the things you wrote are exactly that, IN Your Opinion. I mean why should some one go get everything when they might not need it for a few months or why should people go get NSW when it is filled with plenty of pollutants. And dont you think that saying test strips are for sissies is not warranted. I dont use them but I dont call people names that do. As stated I agree probably with the majority of what you said but just because I dont agree with a few things does not make me a sissy or anything else from your vocabulary. And I hope all this is taken correctly.


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Old 10-07-2006, 06:03 PM   #5
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It is taken correctly, and you are right. All the above is MY OPINION and based on what I have experienced in this hobby. I am sorry if I have offended anyone with my post.
As mentioned, I have made mistakes, and had losses due to them. It was not to say that I am by any means, an expert. I am just a newb still too.
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Old 10-07-2006, 06:13 PM   #6
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All I can say is we should revisit this post in about 6 months. You will be singing a totally different tune. I feel that your attitude is more than cavalier about the life forms you have become responsible for with this little undertaking. As far as the education comments, you bet, become better educated about this hobby. You can never know enough. All this is in fact MY OPINION as well. IMO you can never be too cautious...wait until your well seasoned tank crashes and you lose it all due to not being cautious enough.
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Old 10-07-2006, 06:29 PM   #7
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wait until your well seasoned tank crashes and you lose it all due to not being cautious enough.
It's happened to me.
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Old 10-07-2006, 07:10 PM   #8
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1.Chemical balance? What do you mean?

3.If you feel like taking a boat atleast 5 miles off shore, that would be the only way I would do this. You may be lucky for now, but I wouldn't take the chance on something you spend so much time and money into perfecting, only to get a bad batch of water with some nastiness in it to wipe it all out. It is not perfect at all! It varies just our tanks do, and fish are not always acclimated to these conditions.

5. It's different, but with alot of the same aspects.

6. Bettas shouldn't live in vases.

7. Never been truer.

8. Don't accept loss, just don't freak out about it.

9. Indeed, and this is what we try and preach here. But, gadgets are needed for certain things, certain different situations.

10. None of the things you listed will kill your reef. So I dunno where you got them all from. If you feel like adding lotion, pesticides, and iodine in your tank though, feel free.

Don't mean to sound negative, but everything seems easy at first. Sure, sometimes people overreact and thing way too much into things, but sometimes you have to be open and listen.

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Old 10-07-2006, 08:53 PM   #9
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How can you post this so close to this topic..LOL http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=87878

Just want to say that I am very cautious with my tank...Why

1. I have spent alot of money
2. I respect life and I don't have enough experience yet to not be cautious.
3. I learn a ton from being cautious and asking questions from the boards to my LFS's and I have a really great one local.

I would like to see someone take "NSW' from where I live by the way so sorry, I disagree.
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Old 10-07-2006, 09:55 PM   #10
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I can post it because I learned some of these things from that experience. I learned many things from that experience. In addition to having some losses, and scares, i had some successes and learned immensely.

Again, I apologise for posting my opinions and what I have learned. My goal is to tell people to educate themselves, save some money that way. And not to be afraid. Many of the lifeforms we have in our glass cages have been through storms, heat waves, predators, capture, boat rides, shipping, manhandling, heat, cold, you name it, well before they ever reached our tanks. Even captive raised has been fragged, netted, shipped, packaged, suffocated, and handled.
If I listened to 100% of what everyone tells me, I would not only never have gotten into the hobby, but put myself in a plastic bubble.
I am cautious. Moreso than you all might think, from this post. I am hardly cavalier. But I do make mistakes, I do make stupids occasionally. And sometimes, I lose. But IME, to use an acronym, more often than not, the desire to survive wins.
I try very hard to make everything perfect actually. But I realise that, even with every gizmo on the planet, I personnally cannot better Mom Natch, and I can still foul up.
Please, do not wish a tank crash on me simply because I don't feel like I have to take all this with kid gloves. And do not assume that I am just doing things willy-nilly. I do the best I can, and if I did not care, if I was truly cavalier, would I really even be here, looking for wisdom and information?

Please, do not misinterpret. Do not be so harsh. I never once said, do not be cautious.

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