The gods of coral reef aquariums are wrathful. They do not appreciate any display of confidence, comfort, or excitement for the hobby. You must respect them to succeed in this hobby. Here are some rules I have learned to follow that helps me avoid their wrath:
• Never share your excitement about a new fish or coral until it has been quarantined for two months, introduced successfully to your reef, and coexisting happily for at least a year. If you brag about your new purchase or share photos sooner, it will die. The gods do not want you to feel excitement or joy. Only when you are bored with this acquisition is it acceptable to share it.
• Never name your fish. If your adorable child gives any of your fish a cute name, tell that child he/she has just sentenced that fish to a horrible death. It will emotionally scar them, but those scars will protect the fate of future fish acquisitions.
• Never give coral frags to a friend with the intent of creating a backup resource for tank crashes….Your tank will crash. In fact, the gods will destroy your friend’s tank as well, to make an example. Instead, act like you are giving out frags just for the hell of it. Keep your motives secret.
• Never go on vacation. If you decide to go relax on a beach with your family for the weekend, your tank will crash. That calcium reactor, that has been running flawlessly, will now clog and explode. Then as the water being pumped to it drains onto your new hardwoods, the top-off pump will replenish with gallons of kalkwasser. You will come home to a dead pickled tank.
• Always ignore your tank. When you are too busy to even think about your tank, it will thrive. Your Bangaii cardinalfish will barf beautiful babies into your refugium. That finicky pearlberry Acropora will triple in size. These positive trends will inevitably renew your interest in reef aquaria; and you will suddenly want to tinker. As soon as you do, the reefkeeping angels of death will be at your return pump.
• Never compile a list of “Must-Have” fish or coral. They will turn out to be the very organisms that are impossible for you to keep. You could have a Domino Damsel on your wish list, and it will succumb in a tank where an Orange-Spotted Filefish is thriving on flake food.
• If you are smart enough to use a quarantine tank, it must be ghetto and nasty. If your quarantine tank resembles some people’s display tank, your fish will get sick and die. If it is undersized and covered in algae, it will heal your fish of all things.
If you haven’t figured out by now that I’m trying to be humorous, now you do. I think every reef hobbyist can relate to one or all of these. If you have any tips on other ways to appease the reef lords, please do share them in the comments!This story originally appeared in February 2012 and surely we have come up with more ways to keep the AquaGods happy since then.