Just what is it about us reefers these days? Here we are, a quarter century after the “mini-reef” craze struck the hobby- and we’re still as amped as ever. We throw everything at our tanks to create this biggest, baddest, most powerful reef system ever! Not only are we hyper-equipping our systems with lots of ultra-high-tech, water-scrubbing, flow inducing, high-intensity light-emitting technology- we’re pushing the limits in stocking our systems: It seems like it’s all about ultra-rare, uber-pricy, “name-drop quality” livestock these days! There is so much intensity that it’s palpable. Ok, I’ll be the one to say it: It’s time to take the testosterone out of reefing!
Sure, technological advances have been good to the hobby, with new stuff coming out all the time on these very pages. But seriously- why all the angst? Why do we make things bigger and badder than they need to be? Three foot high, multi-pump protein skimmers on tanks that require 10% or less of the capability of these behemoths? Tanks with mass water movement provided by banks of powerheads and large closed loops are still common everywhere. Over-driven, hyperpowered lighting systems (I’m not just bashing the halides here, folks- so get over yourselves) are a constant.
Why do we have to build systems with obscene amounts of water-polishing equipment, power consuming lighting systems, and seriously complicated plumbing schemes? Maybe it’s fun to build overly complex, chest thumping quality aquariums? Is it for some future tank? Do we just like to impress our friends with crazy build threads on the message boards? I dunno, enlighten me, please.
If you need mega flow through your reef system, why not do it intelligently? A few well placed high tech pumps, like VorTecs or Tunzes, set up to produce gyre flow, can have the same- or better- effect than numerous, electrical hungry powerheads or high velocity pumps. Sure, the initial investment is high, but it will pay for itself many times over the years with the electrical savings, aesthetics, and easier utilization.
Lighting is important. We know that. And yes, halides have their place, and will for some time. But seriously- do you need two 400 watt halides on a 6 x 2 x 2 feet mixed coral –dominated aquarium? I see this configuration almost everywhere I go these days. Electrical costs being what they are, couldn’t you get by with, say, three evenly spaced 150-watt DE pendants? I mean, you can always feed your corals, too, if you think that a mere 450 watts of light over your reef tank is not enough. Notice I didn’t even mention LEDs? I’m just sayin’. . . Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor would be oh so proud. Is this progress?
Are we becoming slaves to our tanks and their exotic equipment? Let’s face it, there’s a lot of work involved in keeping any reef tank, but making things more complex under the guise that the gadgetry makes our lives more simple is kind of humorous to me! I’m NOT saying that you shouldn’t outfit your tank with cool equipment. What I am saying is that we need to reign ourselves in and think about what we really need to get the job done. Usually, it’s good equipment and excellent husbandry fundamentals. Use technology to assist! I don’t know about you, but I’m far more impressed by someone’s healthy colony of stony coral than I am by their titanium needle-wheel pump! Yup, time to take the testosterone out of reefing!
Till next time,