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Discussion Starter #1
Where did all these Rules come from". There were no rules when I started my tank.
These "rules" came about because of the internet. Now there are thousands of people with reefs and many of them are having problems. We all have problems in the beginning and it is not our fault or the fault of the fish. New un-established tanks have problems. Eventually "rules" came out of all the advice, both good and bad. Unfortunately many of these rules were originally rumors from people with little experience experiencing problems.
Someone would add a cleaner shrimp and the ich would go away so they figured the shrimp cured the fish, it diden't.
How many times we read someone put a snail or sea hare in a tank and the algae disappears so they think that 1/2" snail ate all the algae, it diden't.
The truth is that ich and algae often (usually) disappear overnight on their own.
Reverse UG filters were lost because of these rules. People don't know how to use them so they invented a rule that they don't work in a reef. Using NSW also became involved in rules because, in part, not many people have access to it and also because of all the negative presss the oceans have been getting from envirnmentalists. The US coastal seas are actually much cleaner now then they were in the seventees because of dumping regulations.
There are "rules" on what size tank you need for a tang". I had a hippo tang in a 40 gallon tank for years.

I add bacteria from the sea, there is a rule for that because it may add paracites. I have been waiting for those paracites since Nixon was President.


There is one that says that if you use copper in a tank, you can never use that tank or rocks again. How long is "never?" I have used copper for years in my tank. Still waiting for the crash.
Unfortunately this is not anexact science so rules have to be very flexable.
We look at our tanks and try to find problems but many of the problems are associated with bacteria. If we could see them, bacteria covers every grain of sand in our tanks. That bacteria is all that is keeping the animals alive.
There are thousands of types of bacteria and we all have different strains of them depending on where we collect our water or where we buy animals and where they were collected and how they were treated.
If we never added bacteria from the sea, our tanks are a desert when it comes to bacterial diversity. Thats where tank crashes, algae blooms and diseases come from. Thats alas why so many people have problems with nitrates which should be taken care of by the correct type and amounts of bacteria.
We need some rules but we have to understand that they are very flexable.
Have a great day,
paul
 

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Paul, 100% correct, I keep fish the way my old man did ( he taught me his fishkeeping methods) since the mid to late 60's.

The internet has caused a mass dumbfusion with the stuff that people think is gospel.

I keep FW and most of what you say relates directly between the two environments. I use an RUGF filter to the groans of many and guess what, my tank is the cleanest it has ever been, I say its the RUGF due to the fact this tank also ran without a plate filter and I was doing cleanings every other day due to the amount of poo and waste on the tank bed.

There are always rules however its how someone interprets them into their own life, kinda like most things in this world, If people payed more attention to their own tanks rather then bashing peoples methods on the net, fish and tanks will be as healthy as they were 20-30 years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I use an RUGF filter to the groans of many and guess what, my tank is the cleanest it has ever been, I say its the RUGF due to the fact this tank also ran without a plate filter and I was doing cleanings every other day due to the amount of poo and waste on the tank bed.
My RUGF has been running my tank since the early seventees. I clean it every 25 years, no problems yet.
Am I breaking any rules by doing this?

 

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A BW can from the 70's nice, Not in m opinion, I mean it happens in nature and since your livestock is 100% collected not bought I dont see an issue with it at all, infact I am the guy who will be sinking a bucks head into my tank , after it soaks of course to get the blood out of the antlers and bone but its natural decoration IMO.
 

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How did we manage to get all the "Outside the Box" Boys in one Thread at the same time ???? LMFAO NOTE: Not laughing at your post or thoughts, i just thought there could never be more than one WhiteDevil in the universe :)


 

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Yes but most of what I collected is in a different tank from my reef. The fish I collect here which are coronet fish, wrasses, boxfish, seahorses, pipefish and lookdowns will not go into my reef for one reason or another. Most of them either will eat my reef fish or corals or they need special food and I can't feed them in my reef.
 

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Paul, you can do it, I can do it, most of the old timers can do it. We've been doing things our way for so long that we know what works and what doesn't. I think that nobody knew any rules till the internet took over. To me they are ways to keep the new folks from making some of the dumb mistakes that you and I used to make. The old ways still work but there have been a lot of changes that I think make the hobby easier than it used to be.
 

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New rule THERE ARE NO RULES none of us have gills so pretty much what we do to have a piece of a reef in our homes is a shot in the dark. What may work in my tank may not work in mine. What may work in your tank may crash mine and so on. You shouldn't use a UV in a reef tank you shouldn't use a canister in a reef tank and on and on and on. We are all guessing at this that's why forums like this is so inportant to new hobbyists and those who have been here for years.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hank yes we made a lot of mistakes but that is the best way to learn. With the internet we have thousands of people with opinions and when you have so many opinions we get into trouble. As I said, someone will add a seahare to their tank, the hair algae disappears and they think the seahare ate all the algae or they feel a cleaner shrimp will cure ich. I rarely reply to those posts anymore because as I and anyone with experience will know, it is nonsence. I am tired of trying to explain it to all of the hordes of people who take this stuff as fact. We (you and I and all the other old timers) had to read books or learn by trial and error and we had no one to tell us right from wrong. Now we know better. We have had to deal with hair algae for years many times and we know how to control it. We also know exactly what cures and prevents ich. I can write pages on it and someone will post something like "get a cleaner wrasse and your problems will go away". That sounds so easy so people follow it. No it does not work.
Ich and hair algae disappear on it's own most of the time but you can say that a thousand times on the internet and I can bet that in ten minutes someone will post, get a cleaner shrimp and seahare to fix everything.
I think I will just go and shoot myself. *n1
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I am the guy who will be sinking a bucks head into my tank , after it soaks of course to get the blood out of the antlers and bone but its natural decoration IMO.
Yes it is as long as you collected it in the sea. *o2
 

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I have always admired Paul's tank and methods. Simply because it is what I agree with.

I have no where near as nice a reef tank but have kept fish and soft corals for a few years. Using these methods:

1) tap water
2) no water changes
3) NO (normal output) lights (4' shop lights)
4) Home depot play sand.
5) landscape rocks
6) in tank refugium (just an egg crate partition)
7) wastebasket wet/dry with crushed oyster shells
8) macro algaes
9) DIY 2 part dosing ($30 lasts for decades)

The reason I think this works echos Paul's and Dr Hank's comments. The idea is the balance out the system with plant life right from the start. Then see where it is running at and determine dosing needed.

What I have seen on other boards from years ago was a constant stream of beginner problems. Low pH, algae, Nitrates, cyano, fish and coral deaths. Not to mention floods from first time sump setups and crashes from stuck heaters and the like.

Most of which would be all avoided by balancing and stabilizing tank operation biologically (macro or other algaes) and "letting" the tank settle down.

As a result of my advice I have been banned on several boards.

Fortunately this forum is more open and people like Dr. Hank and especially Paul are free to ask these questions and spark discussions.

For instance my wet dry does require rinsing the oyster shells every 6 months or so. So Paul's reverse UGF sparked the idea with me that perhaps an up flow through the oyster shells may eliminate that rinsing. Kinda like a fluidized bed filter. ( I can almost hear the experts on that one now. *#3 )


Finally IMHO where did the reef rules come from? People over the years found a "solution" to some problem. When then resulted in another problem. So we wind up with a whole list of things to do. Each solution costing more money, adding complexity especially to maintenance, and adding one more thing that could (will?) fail. Creating another "problem" requiring another "solution" with more complexity

And so on

And so on

And so on.


my observations are worth at most .02
 
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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
1) tap water
2) no water changes
3) NO (normal output) lights (4' shop lights)
4) Home depot play sand.
5) landscape rocks
6) in tank refugium (just an egg crate partition)
7) wastebasket wet/dry with crushed oyster shells
8) macro algaes
9) DIY 2 part dosing ($30 lasts for decades
2 I ran tap water for 15 or 20 years
3 Normal output lights were all there was in the seventees
4 There was no Home Depot but I use driveway gravel
5 Asphalt that I collected underwater
6 RUGF and algae trough
7 See #6
8 I use codium seaweeds which I collect on the beaches of the Atlantic
9 I use the same thing :)

What I have seen on other boards from years ago was a constant stream of beginner problems. Low pH, algae, Nitrates, cyano, fish and coral deaths. Not to mention floods from first time sump setups and crashes from stuck heaters and the like
I think Noobs go nuts over these cheap test kit readings.

and "letting" the tank settle down.
Correct, almost all of these things go away with time.

So Paul's reverse UGF sparked the idea with me that perhaps an up flow through the oyster shells may eliminate that rinsing. Kinda like a fluidized bed filter. ( I can almost hear the experts on that one now. )
There are no experts for this, it is a hobby and they don't give degrees for a hobby of ornamental fish keeping. Marine Biology is not the same thing. I have a cousin who is a marine biology professor, for that title he had to SCUBA dive once and remember the names of a few dozen worms. When he looks in my tank he has no idea what he is looking at. I guess if I had a sea lion in there he could tell me what type of worms were stuck to it's mustache but thats about it.
For a "hobby". especially one that takes life from the sea and tries to keep it alive in an alien seascape that is a different course of study, one with no set of rules. There are way more variables in a home tank set up by humans than in the sea which was set up by (well that depends in who or what you believe in)
The sea changes little over hundreds of years while our tanks can change in minutes. The sea gets it's water from rain, a tank gets it's water from rain also but only after that rain perculates through the ground picking up who knows what then we go and either try to remove that stuff or add stuff which we think it needs to again turn it into rainwater.
The sea gets it's energy from the sun, our tanks get it from electricity. Electricity that we turn into artificial light which may have some of the correct light spectrum and intensity but also has a good amount of potentially harmful rays in there also. The sun is also variable, it sometimes is dimmed by clouds or does not shine at all, out tanks are lit all the time for the same period year round.
The sea gets it's current from the tides and the wind which is also variable and they change every day in direction and intensity. Powerheads are, well, powerheads. Different areas of the sea host certain corals and fish, these animals are there because the conditions are right for them in that particular place. Our tanks contain Atlantic, Pacific, Hawaiian, Caribbean, red Sea, Sea of Japan etc animals. I have been diving for many years and it always amazes me how some fish are only found on one place and a few hundred yards away that fish is never found, some Islands have moorish Idols while the next Island may only have long nosed butterflies. Why is that? I don't know. There are no copperbands in the Caribbean, Why? I also don't know, but I do know that we (including me) jam all sorts of things in the same little tank. Will it hurt? I still don't know, maybe yes, maybe no.*i/d*

I amaze myself with what I don't know *tut tut

Coral eating a Salmon egg

 

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I knew there was a reason I liked your articles.

I like you also amaze myself with what I don't know.

Plus I found out a long time ago I am not smart enough to invent new ways of screwing up.

Thank's and hope you keep posting here.
 

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I think that the internet is a great resource for a new hobbyist, but it has to be used properly.

When I decided to start my saltwater setup I went to the library and read BOOKS. Now, I know that books may not always be 100% accurate, but the level of thought and effort that goes into them is much higher than what you'll find on the typical website or forum so hopefully the book will be significantly better.

By reading a handful of books by different authors you can get a decent understanding of the overall "rules." Sticking to these rules helps a newbie like me start up with minimal headaches. After gaining some experience the no longer newbie can then start breaking and bending the rules, but hopefully with a reasonable understanding of what the outcome will be.

Now that I've got my book learning and a little experience I turn to the internet for specific questions and concerns. However, unlike many people I do consider the source of the information I get in return. I actually read other posts from the person that gave me advice to see what their knowledge level and experience seems to be. I read the responses that other people have to their posts to see what other people think about their advice. Then I use the information accordingly. For example, if I get advice from someone that seems like a young kid with no real knowledge I take their advice very lightly. When someone like DrHank offers advice I pay attention.
 

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There are rules for every fish tank, the biggest one is to "let it cycle" before putting fish in and if that were true i would have many sick or dead fish and they look pretty good to me. The ammonia spike my tank had didn't even get high enough to harm anything, and i never ever even thought people cycled freshwater tanks till coming on here.
 
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