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Monday, September 24, 2007

The Obsession Begins

So, I thought I would talk a little bit about my reef tank history.  For Christmas last year (2006), my wife bought me an Oceanic BioCube.  It is a 14g tank that is all-inclusive. 

By December 29, I had visited 3 different lfs (local fish stores), the best one at that time was 45 minutes away.  Salt water went into the tank along with 14lbs of live rock (at 9.00/lb) and some live sand.

In addition, I had started reading and reading and reading (and that is what had my wife frustrated most of the time).  I bought a few books and discovered many forums online including the two I continue to use today (Reef Central and Nano Reef).  I also learned a ton from Melev (Melev's Reef).  I ended up spending 2 hours a night on these forums at least at least for the first few weeks.

And, boy did I learn a lot!  I learned that, although my tank was all-inclusive, the reality is that I should do a bunch of mods (modifications) to make it really shine.  And thus, I spent more money!

What did I mod?

  • Turn Chamber 2 into a refugium (scrape the glass, add a light, remove bioballs, add chaeto and live rock rubble)
  • Remove the pad from Chamber 1 and add bags of Chemipure and Purigen and Algone.
  • Add a more powerful pump and put on a HydorFlo.

Not too bad, all things considered.  But, I had spent about $400 so far and not added any fish or corals.

Now, add fish and corals and I am up to about $1000.  Plus, summer arrived and I needed to add a chiller.  That was another $350.  Bear in mind that the tank was a gift but only cost about $250 for the tank and stand.  Now, you can realize what an expensive little hobby this has become.

Anyway, I expanded my geography for local fish stores and I now frequent about 10 different places between home and my office (which is 100 miles away).  I do visit the forums less and don't spend nearly the amount of time that I used to on my PC reading.  As with anything, I have accumulated a good base of knowledge and go back to the web for specific questions and just to see what's up.

About 3 months in I started looking at bigger tanks.  Why?  Well, my tank is awesome, but it is very small.  Smaller tanks give you no room for error.  They have much less water in them so any small issue becomes catastrophic.  A big volume of water will buffer better.  For example, if a fish dies in my tank, I have to get him out right away or the ammonia will spike to the point of killing something else and a cycle will ensue that will crash the entire tank.  Luckily, no fish have died so far!  In a large tank, a dead fish may have little impact at all because the ammonia gets dissipated quickly.

Another reason is that I want to try my hand at SPS corals which require much higher light output than on my little tank.  And, finally, I am running out of room.  This tank is overloaded with fish and coral and it is busting at the seams.

Oh yeah, my wife wants a fish or two that just won't work in a small tank (like Dorie from "Finding Nemo" and a mandarin goby which needs about 75g at a minimum).

I don't have the big tank yet, but I will soon!

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