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Adventures of an aquarium maintenance tech


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I am almost a year into my role as a maintenance tech for a large store in the Chicago suburbs, I figured it would be fun to share some interesting clients tanks, cool new aquarium installs, current favorite fish in the store, and fun perks of professional fishtankery.

Here is one of my favorite saltwater tanks. This one is interesting because the client had this cabinet face custom made by a carpenter. All of the doors are functional for quick feedings but the whole front and sides are on sliders so it can be easily pulled away from the tank for easy maintenance.  

 

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I've always wondered why y'all never do live corals or plants? Is it that you don't trust the client with the responsibility or just the sheer cost of maintenance or time involved? Or the time it takes for the tank to grow into itself when a client just wants perfection now?

 

In the greater Seattle area there are about 5 big companies that do this for dentist/doctor offices and private homes, but out of the 50 some odd tanks I have seen done by them they have never had a live plant or live coral, always the acrylic forms. I suppose you could also look at the show "Tanked" but they kinda give your business a bad name with the sheer lack of research they do. 

 

That is one of the coolest features I have seen though!

Edited by Biotope Biologist
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We do have a few clients with reef tanks but there are some practical reasons to why its not popular.  The biggest factor being cost, cost of the corals themselves, additional equipment, and the time and effort it takes to keep them happy. For most saltwater clients we bring pre mixed saltwater in buckets to do the water change. Well on a reef tank its preferred that the client have a mixing station in their home/ business so we can mix to the exact ideal salinity for their tank. This also means the added cost of a RODI unit and upgraded lighting has to be factored in to the clients costs. then when you break the news that the pretty trigger, puffer or in some cases angels are not reef safe it simplifies the decision. Add on the fact that most clients are not hobbyists and cant tell the difference between live coral and the fake stuff it just makes sense. 

Planted tanks are much more common on our client list (probably because I push them so often) but regionally our water is hard with a high PH (7.8- 8.3) meaning the African cichlid is king, so no aquascapes here.  For the most part clients want big colorful fish and a tank that looks full, with as little input from them as possible. 

The most difficult part about my job is constantly reminding myself that 99% of my clients are not big hobbyists and just want their customers to have something pretty to look at. Unfortunately  most cant tell an mbuna from a peacock or a tang from a wrasse. 

 

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I wanted to share one of the most rewarding tanks I service. This clients husband was a hobbyist that built a bar in his basement / man cave and put an old 55 gallon tank in the wall behind the bar. His kids grew up enjoying this tank full of tiger barbs, albino corydoras and a red tailed shark. Unfortunately the husband died unexpectedly. Instead of packing the tank up his wife decided to have us come out and service the tank with the  goal of preserving it in her husbands memory. We kept everything the way he had it replacing fish as needed for the past 7 years. 

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