Reef Builders is proud to welcome Scott Fellman as our newest contributor. While Ryan and Jake will continue to be our meatheads of products and industry news, Scott will more often be taking a step back to bring attention to the finer points of marine aquarium keeping.
I had a friend call me the other day regarding some issues that she was having with her fabulously-equipped, obscenely expensive 300 gallon mixed reef system. She’s got the usual littany of tech toys- high end German protein skimmer, kalkmixer, calcium reactor, turbo-charged external powerheads, and a European Â electronic controller that would make NASA jealous. Â Seemed like all was good and that she should be at the top of her game with her 10k plus investment. Yet, for some reason, her system just didn’t look right. Corals seemed off-color, Â fish were listless, and the system just didn’t look “right”. We went through the usual questions: “Any new fishes added recently?” , “Dose any additives?”, Â “When was the last time you did a water change?”….As it turned out, she felt that her super high-tech system made her exempt from basic husbandry practices…Not only had it been literally months since she did a water change, it had been an equal number of months since she checked the probes on her controller! Â One of the Â controller’s probes cracked, and the redox probe was not even submersed in the water! For all of her techno-props, my friend overlooked some basic tenants of reef-keeping: 1) You can’t blindly rely on gadgets to control your system without glancing at them occasionally to ascertain if they are working or not, and 2) You need to adhere to some very basic husbandry practices- such as water changes, to dilute metabolic waste products. Basic stuff, yes- but vital if we are to enjoy long-term success with captive animals. I’m frequently blown away how seemingly advanced hobbyists tend to overlook the most basic aspects of aquariology- observation Â of their systems and attention to regular husbandry. Spend less time shopping for that “limited edition” coral and more time looking at your aquarium! Â Return to the basic “core” experience of keeping an aquarium, and get involved with your system on a more intimate level. Get your hands wet!