New Reefer
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The biggest obstacle that stands between me and achieving my reef keeping dreams is ... me.

I am my own worst enemy.

The MOST difficult part about owning a reef tank is remaining devoted to it and being as zealous about it in 5 years, 10 years, etc. as you are when you begin. I've never lost a fish to disease. Extreme weather is not a problem where I live, so the only time my power goes out is when it's a scheduled outage. Even then, I have battery backups to keep the water moving for a day or two. I only take vacations that last longer than a week about every 4 years and my systems are automated enough that the person feeding my cats only has to check on the tanks when they're there, but not actually do anything.

It's not like reef tanks are my only interest. My days are packed with activities. I want to succeed in everything I do. Yet, in doing so... other things that I once devoted all my attention to only get some of my attention. No time to feed frozen? Feed pellets. No time to do a water change? Swap out mechanical filtration and add more chemical media. You start dosing supplements to lower nutrient levels or raise them. You get lazy with testing. You're too tired to trim back that monti that's shading other corals. You're too busy to move the coral with sweeper tentacles to a more isolated spot so it doesn't harm its neighbors. Eventually, if you take too many shortcuts or aren't looking at the tank every day, you're going to have issues. Algae, bacteria, loss of coral color, slower growth, aggressive corals outcompeting slower-growing (and perhaps more desirable) corals.

I feel after 10+ years in the hobby that I am now very conscious of my personal shortcomings. I know the parts of caring for reef tank that I enjoy or don't mind and ones I'll always have to grit my teeth and bear it to get them done. I am in the process of setting up some new systems and building them so that the maintenance parts I don't like are easier or automated so that when things get busy, things don't veer off course due to the lack of consistency. Consistency is the key, in my experience, to a successful reef tank. You don't have to do everything right, but if you do most things right and are consistent, you are going to have a beautiful reef tank.

Alfredo De La Fe

Senior Member
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Upper West Side
Hobbyists who complain about the cost of coral. Don't get me wrong. Some of the vendors out there are unscrupulous, selling teeny tiny frags, giving them fancy names and charging laughable amounts of money. But, in many cases the laws of supply and demand, the rarity or beauty of individual corals, the time and energy that went into cultivating them, justifies the price. I am tired of hearing hobbyists complain about expensive coral, instead of just choosing from the thousands of affordable coral available. You can practically start a tank for free with leathers, GSP, shrooms, SPS, Montis if you make the right friends and when you are ready, move up to more challenging / expensive / rare corals, if that is what you want to do.

When I was heavily involved in the hobby people gave mushrooms away. Now the same mushrooms I gave away hundreds of sell for $10-100 a shroom. A lot of places buy a grown out frag, chop it up and sell it for a insane amount starting that very day. This is BAD for our hobby because these frags tend to not do well due to the bad handling, etc

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