I was referred to this forum by one of your members and am glad I found it. I've been keeping freshwater off and on since 1967. I spent four years working part time at an LFS
and kept some snakes, salamanders and saltwater tanks in the 1980's. Saltwater wasn't much back then, crushed coral substrate, undergravel filters (never tried the reverse flow), and coral skeletons for decoration. Kept a few small fish, some shrimp and crabs. No corals or fancy lighting and I never spent the big bucks for wet dry filters when they first came out. I did use powerheads on the UG filters as well as an HOB
so I had good flow even though I didn't know it was important back then.
My first and current reef tank was started in August 2006 and I try to keep it as natural as possible. I built the ecosystem slowly (nothing but the live rock from an established tank that came with a couple of kenya trees for the first 8 months) and have tried my best to develop as much diversity as possible among the small lifeforms that live in saltwater. It is not a beautiful addition to the decor of my home but more of a science project to study all the interesting things I find in there. I believe that it is very stable because it developed slowly and naturally. My water conditions and filtration are far from pristine but if I lose a fish I never find a body since something in the diversity cleans up the mess before it causes a chain reaction of more deaths and an eventual crash.