View Full Version : Lessons learned the hard way.

04-30-2012, 09:18 PM
Lessons learned the hard way.
Ok I know we all have made some mistakes in this hobby. I have and
will make more than most. Luckily I have got a lot of help and asked a
lot (and I mean a LOT) of questions, that has saved me from even more
huge mistakes. That is what this post is about all the
stupid/funny/airhead things we have done or almost done that might
keep someone from doing the same thing. It is always hard to admit
mistakes but it is even harder to have to pay out the nose for them. I
for one learn by doing, but if I can save some money or a week of work
from learning by others mishaps, all the better.
Have done:

*#1Water Change’s: *Don’t do your water change by lifting a 5g bucket
over your head and try pouring it in to the top of your tank. *(Next
time: if I cannot find a small pump to help I will get the water above
the tank and use a hose.)

#1a Lighting: When dumping your 5g bucket of water in to your tank,

#2 Silicone: Don’t try to make perfect beads with the nose of the
bottle (Next time: I will just put it on my finger then run my finger
down the edges. You are going to get it on you no matter what.)

#3 Buying Rock: Don’t go to some pet store and pay $7-10 a Lb for live
rock. (Next time: just get it from another reef keeper for a lot less.
Oh and its a lot better rock most of the time as well)

Saved from near disaster:
Ok I had to cut this list down; it would be way too long.

#1 Look that puffer fits in their 10g tank just fine. *(Looked at what
a fish need before getting it. i.e. food, tank size, ect.)

#2 Adding salt water to a salt water tank duh. (Bad idea)

#3 If my fish will eat, he can have more food. (Just don’t)

#4 Let’s put my return at the bottom of the tank for better
circulation. (Power outages will not go smooth “there is way to make it
work, but do your homework”)

#5 Bigger is better putting in a bigger heater then my tank needed. (If it got stuck-on my tank would be cooking in no time)

Thanks for reading and I hope everyone can add to this list. I know
that I will make many more big time mess-ups, so my list is not as
long as it will be. I would really like to see everyone's list. Oh and I am not trying to tell anyone how to do it the right way. There
are so many right ways. These are just things I've leaned from.

04-30-2012, 09:26 PM
Take your time and do your research. What fish go with other fish and corals. Read A LOT. There is a ton of info out there to help you. Don't guess or you will pay in the end.

05-01-2012, 12:17 AM
What a great idea for a thread. I'm still new but I'll not only list my biggest mistakes, but also my biggest 'glad I did that.'


I cheaped out on my first return pump only to have it fail after mere weeks.

I bought my first coral frags from a pet store, find a local dealer who will care about you and your tank, prices and quality are far superior

I did not put netting over important areas right away. A clown jumped out while I happened to be near the tank and he lived, but that was luck. Window screen material went up on the open back of canopy immediately after.


I read obsessively for months before doing anything towards getting a tank.

I took people's opinions, but not as the final word. Usually a good answer can be found by aggregating multiple opinions from multiple sources.

I get the fish and coral that make me happy independant of anything else. Avoid thinking you need the expensive, rare thing and consider what you will be happiest looking at every day. If you feel the need to show off, show off to a non-reefer friend, they are amazed by even the most "common" zoas. If you love your tank, odds are other people will too.

05-01-2012, 10:28 AM
My very first 29g I topped off the tank with new salt water. Didn't take into account the evaporation doesn't take out the salt. Ended up loosin some inverts to that mistake. :)

05-01-2012, 04:12 PM
I had some cyno and added some stuff to get rid of it and I had a 50 gallon tank with a 10 gallon sump and dosed it for 60 gallon and didn't account for the live rock and sand so I probably only had about 30-40 gallons of water and crashed my tank and lost a lot of stuff lesson learned try to fix problems with natural solutions.

05-02-2012, 12:22 AM
If you are going to buy something from a pet store make sure to watch it for at least a week for illness of abnormalities. I bought a 6 line wrasse on a impulse buy once, turns out it was at the pet store for less then two days. I got iCh and lit he wrasse and 80 bucks worth of wish.

05-02-2012, 07:58 AM
Dobt go cheap on heaters, ive lost some of my favorite fish to cheapo heaters. This is not just determined by price. A 30 dollar petsmart heater can nuke a tank just as easy as a 5 dollar yatd sale heater.

Only add a damsel to a tank if ur ok with hin living there forever.

Dont guess when ibformatoon is available to research. A ten gallon sump was not nearly large enough to handle the back flow of a 100g tank when the power went out.

Be patient in all aspects of reefing, excluding ich. Handle that immediately and proactively.

Sent from my VM670 using Tapatalk 2

05-02-2012, 08:06 AM
I was using a gatorade bottle to top off kalk. I drilled the cap and put a tube in there to drip like a water bottle, when the water level in the sump drops. The silicon didn't hold the tube to well and fell into the bottom of the sump, allowing the kalk paste to enter the sump and get pumped into the main tank and settle on my corals. Killed most of what I had.:nonod: