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Problems and hardships of starting a reef aquarium?

Goldfish god

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I am assuming you are doing a tropical tank. I just put together a temperate SW tank and had a different set of challenges, but things you need to consider are:

- size of tank and critters you want to keep and how to source them, including live rock (minus the pests that can come in them)

- sump/refugium and/or skimmer

- being able to mix/store SW for WC

- plus all the little things that are necessary like refractometer, parameter tests, marine salt, dechlorinator, etc.

As @tolstoy21 suggested, the BRF channel has lots of great information.

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It’s simply this.

If you think that growing healthy plants in a freshwater environment is challenging, it’s more challenging growing healthy live corals.

Lighting is important in a planted fresh water tank, but infinitely more crucial in marine.

If maintaining water chemistry is complicated on the freshwater side, it’s more complex with a marine environment.

If fish choices are difficult, the same applies.

There are just so many more variables to stay on top if in the saltwater world, and many “tight” requirements.

And then of course, there are the dollars involved.  More equipments is required, and that dedicated equipment is more expensive.  

Everything is more expensive, the corals, the fish, the chemistry, just everything.

But if you are looking for a challenge, and have the requisite time and desire to devote to it, then it can be very rewarding too.

Edited by tonyjuliano
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@Goldfish god I will be setting up my new reef tank tomorrow so if you would like to see a soft coral reef tank progress, check out my thread for my aquariums. The link is in my signature. 

I last had a reef tank 9 years ago or so and technology has changed, but honestly, not all the technology is necessary. It really all depends on your goals. Same with the challenges involved with starting a reef tank, do you know what fish, inverts, tank size, live rock or dry rock, type of corals (softies, lps, sps?) you would like to keep? 

All of these things and more matter as to what you can expect. For example, a soft coral reef tank is the easiest of them all as the water does not need to be as pristine (low in nitrates and phosphates), lower light requirements, no coral feeding and likely no additional dosing needed. There are also some soft corals that are extremely beginner friendly like xenia, mushrooms and green star polyps to name a few. Think of it similarly to a low tech freshwater planted tank. Matter of fact, I started growing the corals mentioned above before I ever grew a freshwater plant. 

Typically however, an “ugly stage” can be expected as the tank is becoming stable very similarly to freshwater tanks with diatom algae and other algae. 

But I was able to keep a 10 gallon soft coral reef tank going for years successfully when I was 13 or 14 years old and had little money. If I could do it then, surely almost anyone can. This is the only picture I have of it:


I am no expert but please do not be afraid to reach out to me for any questions, I would gladly do my best to help! 

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On 7/3/2021 at 6:36 AM, Goldfish god said:

Thanks a lot for all the advice I have learnt alot and are going to start a nano reef tank next week.😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀


Just be forewarned, small/nano tanks are harder than the big ones for reef keepers. Hobbyists who have kept large reef tanks can even fail with nano tanks. Things change faster in smaller tanks. A change that might take a week in a big tank can occur overnight in a nano tank. 

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