While some members of this hobby are fortunate to have a significant other who is also into reefing, there are many of us our there who endure the daily looks of incredulity as we embark on yet another excursion or bring home yet another toy for our tank. It is for you, you lucky few, you band of scorned reefers, that this post is for. Contained in this post you will find a home survival guide to maintaining both your tank and your relationship. I have already gotten in trouble for it, and you get to learn from my mistakes. So get ready to pick up some buckets, hide some wires, and get the ro unit out of the sink. We are going to relationship-proof your fish tank.

First we should define the three stages of spousal response.

Spousal Response # 1 Bemused Tolerance

This is about the most you can hope for.  While your significant other may not appreciate your little slice of the ocean in the living room, she will at least understand that much like your dirty dishes or the way you fart during your morning pee, it is part and parcel of dating/marrying you.  If this is the reaction you normally receive when reef related chores or expenses arise, consider yourself fortunate.  You are among the lucky few who are merely viewed as either a weirdo or idiot (depending on how much water you spill, or money you spend).  Kudos to you!

I understand that this may be a foreign concept to many reefers with reluctant spouses, so along with each stage of the Spousal Response, you will find a photograph deciphering it for you.
Exhibit A: Bemused Tolerance {INSERT PIC}

Spousal Response # 2 – Much like your underpants on the floor, your tank makes the place look like crap.

This, I would imagine is the middle ground that most of us occupy.   While you may be focused on what is contained inside the four walls of glass you have sitting in the living room, she is obsessed with the fact that there is a giant glass box sitting in the middle of the living room.  The contents of this box are meaningless, all that matters is that it is big, kinda noisy, and smells like Gowanus.


Luckily for you, there is hope in situations like these.  And it is for you that this article is primarily written.    While you may never get her to love the reef, you can at least identify the offending aspects and remedy them.

Lets take this from the top.   I have listed the most common objections below and will try to address them in order.

1.  Your apartment looks like a science project….

Believe me, I know how important your setup is, and I know what is involved in maintaining the tank.   However, you are not

Spousal Response # 3 – Reef Rage

While at first blush this could be interpreted as watching someone become unhinged on the boards, the operational definition here is slightly different.  Reef Rage in this circumstance refers to watching your spouse become unhinged. generally as a result of a leak, a ridiculously expensive purchase, or some other equally idiotic and poorly planned decision.

We strive mightily to avoid Spousal Reef Rage but sometimes you just step in it.  Listed below are some of the common causes of Spousal Reef Rage

1. The area around your tank looks like something out of Dr. Frankensteins lab.
2. Your left your 2lb block of mysis on the counter overnight.  The putrid mess that is left behind should give you a clue as to the extent of the whipping your are about to get.
3. Your DIY retro has just torched the canopy, your curtains, and a chunk of the wall.
4.  The skimmate container you purchased was such a great idea, until you knocked it over onto the carpet.
5.  Maybe you didnt really need all ten fingers, but you really needed that Moray Eel.
6.  When you do a water change it looks like you are gearing up for an expedition to Everest (sherpas are optional)
7.  Your Everest excursion sits in your living room for as long as that dead Christmas tree.
8.  You discover your landlord really isn’t interested in the rent being paid in Acans and Chalices
9.  Cooking rock in a bucket in your closet has made everything smell like Jersey.
10.  Whouda thunk that the 240 you just bought for $50 off craigslist would have a leak than wound up costing 10 grand.

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