tank/fish maintenance

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After reading a few new posts, feeding fish, water changes, types of fish, ect. A thought came to me.
We all keep sw tanks bc we love the hobby, yet soooo many of us do it differently.
We have people ask about keeping fish then lambbast people for asking questions and trying to help.
Alot of us do this in different ways, I know I do. I maybe do a water change once a month and thats 3-5 gallons lol.
We wont discuss my feeding lol I have plump fish lol.
My point is even tho we do this differently , we all want the same.
So in short what are your keys to a successful tank?


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No two tanks are exactly the same. And as such, no two maintainence programs are the same. It all boils down to asking questions, doing your research and using what works best for you to provide the best environment possible for your critters.
I have three tanks. My 72g display, my 36g quarantine and my 10g brine shrimp breeder. I do water changes every two to three weeks depending on what my trace element levels are. First I do a 2g change on the breeder using water from my 36g. Then I do a 10g change in my 36g using water from my display. Then I do a 15g change in my display using freshly mixed water. Not much water gets waisted. With winter here, I use the water that I have taken out of my tanks and throw it onto my sidewalks to help keep the snow from sitting.
With my filtration system my parameters are always zeros, but I also don't over feed my display. With my serpents, snails, crabs and bristle worms there's not much left anyway.

But that's just me.
#1 - patience. Any changed are done over time on a schedule thought out in advance.

#2 - observation. Look at your tank for problems or animals showng stress.

#3 - Solve the actual problem. Research and get to the cause of the problem instead of just treating symptoms. For example, if PH is low find out why instead of reaching for the Carbonate.
As far as advice goes -

Giving advice - Please feel free to share informationyou have discovered and/or experienced. This is vital to the continued success of our hobby. But don't feel offended if your advice is not taken. It's not your tank and not your decision.

Taking advice - Listen. Listen. Listen. Nobody knows everything about this hobby, you included. Listen to experience and/or researced topics carefully. Then once you have the information you make the INFORMED action. It's your tank, the success and failure are all entirely on your shoulders.

I will say that usually the best advice is not what you want to hear.

One other suggestion. If you question the advice of someone, which you should ALWAYS do, ask for a picture of theirsystem and ask how long it has been successful. Be wary of anything set up less than a year. That does NOT mean they are wrong or it's bad advice, it just needs a little extra scrutiny. And, why on Earth would you ever consider taking advice from someone that either won't post a picture or has a tank that looks like a disaster area.


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#2 is probably the most important to me anyway. Your live stock will tell you everything about your tank if you pay attention.
Myself, I have 2 mantis shrimp that hitch hiked in. Research showed they need fairly good water chemistry to survive. So i use them in away. They dont bother my live stock besides the occasional snail or hermit, so I let them stay. Them thriving tells me my tanks are in good shape. I say thriving bc they have doubled in size. Now iam aware most people would cringe at the thought of these in there tank. In my case they wrk for now lol.
Research, research and more research is your best friend. But in that can get thrown a curve. My golden sleeper headed goby, eats fauna from the sand research told me. So I waited a yr to get one. Its does sand sift, but also eats anything not nailed down lol even sea weed!


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I do agree on the advice part. The annoying part is when people ask for it then act like ur an ass when u give it


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It's true, every single person has their own way that works for them. However, when a person first starts out, we are obligated to give them advice based on the tried and true methods of setup, and maintenance schedules. Folks figure out the short cuts on their own. The laziest and cheapest way to keep a SW tank, is to keep macro algae, without regular water changes, the tank will not look any where near as beautiful as the coral reef set ups, where constant care to test, and do regular water changes, along with lots of research have prevailed, but the fish will be healthy and the system stable.

Personally, I believe in the long term... get fish that will be able to grow up in the size tank you have, rehoming fish is stressful, not only on the fish, but all it's tank mates as well. Stress is a killer. Patience is the key to success, take your time between adding new critters, do research so you know how to care for it, and make sure it can get along with what is already in the tank. Water quality is everything, so use your test kits...never dose anything without testing first, and always follow instructions to the letter.
It's probably that you already have pristine water.

One thing that can help is heat. If you focus something like halogen light at the algae the extra energy from the lamp can increase grwth rates. Of course, it's going to add heat tothe water as well.
Keep in mind Infrared doesn't travel far into water so the algae needs to be at or near the surface to get any extra heat. And the closerto the water the better but Halogen bulbs explode when they get wet... I've found microwaveable plastic wrap can protect the bulb better than acrylic and it's reallyeasy to clean (just replace).


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Ah not a bad idea. Ok thank you. I'll have to pick some more up and try it out. Its hit or miss finding it in my area.
I have a question regarding water, for the winter, the water is getting less and less because of the heat, and the sanity will get higher, Should I just add the lost water back into tank without adding salt.?


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Lol I laugh bc macros I have a hard time keeping them going. They live but dont really grow for me
That's because your tank is too clean. Macros live on the nasty stuff...ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and phosphates, and as Bang Guy explained...light. It uses them to grow, when you remove the new growth, you remove the nasty stuff out of the system. If you don't have the nasty stuff, the macros can't grow. Since they live...that means you do have traces of what it needs to survive, but not enough to get it to grow. So congratulations, you have excellent water quality, keep doing what you are doing.

I really don't understand 2014fishkiller asking such a beginners question. It isn't a dumb question, it's an important thing to know. I just assumed he already did. Topping off is basic first stuff to learn. As Jay explained, top off with FRESHwater, because the water evaporates but the salt does not. A water change, is removing saltwater and replacing with the same amount of new mixed saltwater...Topping off is keeping the water level at the line it was originally, that way the salinity remains the same.


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I told my daughter when she was 4yrs old that there's no such thing as a stupid question and she hasn't stopped asking questions since. She's 23 now. :confused: