Top Ten Marine and Reef Aquarium Mistakes

Let's face it, we all make mistakes, and when it comes to salt water and reef aquariums, there are plenty to be made. To help you avoid these common errors and have a better chance at successful reef keeping, we've compiled a list of the Top Ten Most Common Mistakes Made in Marine & Reef Aquariums.

1. Lacking Patience:
PatienceBeginners and experienced aquarists face this problem. It is difficult to resist the urge to set up your aquarium fast and stock it quickly. The only thing that you want quickly is your delivery time for your online orders. Everything else should be allowed to take the required time, and not be rushed.

2. Over Feeding:
Feeding Clown FishDo not over feed your fish and invertebrates. This will contribute to excess waste and will result in poor water quality over time. Determine your live stock's feeding requirements, set a feeding schedule, and stick to it.

3. Exceeding the Bio Capacity:
too many fishOver stocking you tank will result in the "Bio Capacity" of your system being overloaded, thus reducing the effectiveness of your filtration. Add livestock gradually and make sure your filtration can keep up with the bio load.

4. Poor Water Circulation / Filtration:
Dirty Protein SkimmerMake sure you have adequate water flow to meet the needs of your corals. Also, be sure that you have sufficient filtration to meet the bio capacity of your system. Don't cheap out on your protein skimmer. If you can afford a bigger and better skimmer or filter that exceeds your tank's needs, then do it. It's better to have more filtration that what you actually need, than to have insufficient filtration.

5. Over Dosing Supplements / Water Treatments:
Dosing PumpRead and follow the directions thoroughly when dosing supplements and additives, and be sure you have tested your water so you know where your water parameters are at, and where they need to be. Better yet, once you know what your aquarium's needs are, set up a dosing pump to keep things steady and consistent. Also, when using water conditioners such as Red Slime Algae treatments, be sure you follow the directions explicitly.

6. Buying the Incompatible Live Stock:
Tank Gang TerrorMake sure your tank mates will get along and not try to eat each other. This goes for fish, invertebrates and corals! Read about the livestock you are considering purchasing and make sure they will be compatible with the rest of your tank's inhabitants.

7. Buying Sick Animals:
Sick FishThis is a tricky one, because you can actually purchase an animal that appears healthy, but that is already terminally ill. Get to know the tell tale signs of sickness in fish, corals and inverts. Get to know your livestock dealer. This will help you avoid buying sick animals.

8. Using Bad Water:
Hungry AlgaeMake sure you are using RO/DI filtered water if you make your own salt water mix at home. If you buy your salt water from your LFS, get it tested to make sure there are no excess phosphates present. This will help avoid unwanted algae breakouts in your aquarium.

9. Poor Tank Maintenance Habits:
Tank Cleaning GuyKeeping your tank clean and maintained is critical. Contrary to the old adage that salt water and reef aquariums are time consuming and difficult to maintain, if you set up a Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Bi-Annual maintenance schedule and stick to it, the upkeep of your tank and the time involved will be far outweighed by the enjoyment you will receive from having a pristine tank!

10. Not Doing Your Due Diligence:
What me worry?This is the catch-all (or all of the above) answer and then some. Really what being a successful marine and reef aquarium keeper involves is doing your due diligence. Read as much as you can and ask questions. Join a local reef club and meet other reefers. Talk to your LFS employees and store owners. Get involved with your hobby. If you don't have the time or dedication to get involved in the hobby, that's OK. You can still enjoy an amazing reef or salt water tank, just be sure you budget properly and hire a reputable maintenance service that will be able to provide their expertise in tank management.