With all the new technology and fancy filtration in the industry, hobbyists often forget the KISS rule. Keep it simple stupid!
Reef hobbyists often get caught up in the technology of the tanks to an extent that may be detrimental to the very reasons they got into it in the first place. Complex filtration, feeding and lighting may very well be the downfall of what could have been a very successful reef’ in some cases, so we should all learn to take a step back and ask ourselves, “Do I really need this?”
Filtration is of course a must for a successful reef aquarium, but what happens when it gets so complex that it begins causing problems? Filtration is designed to remove undesireable things from the water, but in many cases it only holds them in water where it’s convenient for the hobbyist to remove them. This is true of mechanical filters such as filter socks, sponges and media reactors. The problem arises when things are so complex that playing our part and removing these things from the water is missed. Detritus build up in filters breaks down and transforms into coral killing nitrates in this case.
Complex diets for fish can also play a negative role by adding to the nutrient load of the system. The more variety added, typically, the more food ends up in the system. This leads to a build up of nutrients and overgrowth of algae and other pests.
Complicated lighting can also play an indirect role just as all other complexities can in foiling a reef tank. More attention draining devices added to a reef means less attention may be paid to what’s truly important.
Complex reefs may also become dangerous to the hobbyist’s safety in some circumstances. Most equipment requires power, which leads to an overload of circuts and nests of dangerous wire. Fire and electrical safety should always be number one in mind when setting up a tank.
So what can we do to de-tangle our reefs? We can surely start by organizing our wiring and being sure that we are not drawing more amps than plugs will allow. We can also remove all superfulous equipment to make maintenance more straightforward and likely to happen regularly. Always remember, a reef tank is going to be as much work as you allow it to be. We can all go a lot further by starting with good live rock stacked in good flow, simple clog free filtration and lighting that doesn’t require a nest of wire.
Happy reefing, and don’t forget to give your reef a little KISS today.