Do you get distracted by new fads and reefkeeping fashions, always wanting to try out the next new thing in pursuit of a better tank? You may have Shiny Object Syndrome!
Shiny object syndrome (SOS) is a situation where people focus undue attention on an idea that is new and trendy, yet drop this as soon as something new takes its place. In reefkeeping, this usually translates into trying out a whole new method or reef care recipe, changing out lighting, or even stripping down and starting again, when there wasn’t anything wrong with your current tank, method, or equipment.
The reason you made the change, the thrill of chasing something new, new goals and ideas, or because you just want that shiny new toy. Often these impulses and urges are more optimistic and more in your head than what you can actually achieve in reality, you quickly lose interest, and move on to the next new thing. It’s a circle and an expensive one at that.
Like a kid with a new toy
These impulses are often not very well thought through and come at the expense of what you were working towards. It can often be rooted back to a child with a toy in its hand that ditches it to touch and experience the next one, and the next one when its first toy was actually the best fit and the most cherished. We’re sure you can relate, and if these words don’t directly resonate with you, we can bet you know one or several reefkeepers who are dedicated followers of fashion, regardless of the long-term effects (or benefits,) on their tank.
Just because we like fish, corals, and water, it doesn’t mean that we don’t still fall for all the latest consumer marketing gadgets. What made you switch to the phosphate remover you currently use? Did an influencer recommend it, you liked the technical-looking “pro” packaging, or was it part of a new range you hadn’t seen before and thought you’d give it a try?
If your old phosphate remover was actually removing phosphate just fine and giving you proven results you too may have been a victim of Shiny Object Syndrome. In beauty treatment, it’s all about buzzwords like pentapeptides and hyaluronic acid, followed by a technical-looking graphic render of hair magically becoming more voluminous and glossy after treatment. In the saltwater aquarium industry, the same tactics may also be used.
Do we classify ourselves as having SOS? 100%, yes. We’re a sucker for a nautical product name, spot lamination packaging, an amazing photo, and a graph. To us, new skimmers, pumps, and lights are our new toys, and pipework is our Lego. But as the Reef Builders Studio is a testament to, running on calcium reactors and Kalkwasser stirrers, we don’t throw out anything that is proven and working just because a new fad seems to surpass it.