Help me stay in the Hobby :-/

Discussion in 'The Eutrophic Zone' started by HiFidelity, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Hi folks,

    I never thought I'd say this but I'm contemplating tearing the tank down, selling all but my rimless (which I've yet to put together) in hopes of better days (in reefing hobby terms) and so not to sound gloomy & depressing I will point out that this is happening because life's great, busy with work, side work, projects and just lots of grown up things that slowly but surely are squeezing my hobbies out.

    I have no time to take care of my tank :( I've been lagging badly on water changes, roughly 20% of my LEDs have burned out in my fixture and I haven't had the time to repair/upgrade, etc. and the result? well my biggest colony of sps is no more than a skeleton blocking light from the rest of the corals, my mandarin died recently (although tank is full of pods and it was still fat looking) so yeah, I don't feel like I'm putting in enough to get any reward anymore.

    There's a part me that is not allowing me to pull the trigger, considering that lack of free time is the main culprit I still enjoy occasionally sitting infront of the tank and staring at it for a while but maintenance is a biatch, I've bought parts to automate water changes and other things but no time to tinker & put these things together.

    If I could put life on pause and just work on building my new system w/ all the automation equipment I could probably get by on 1 weekend a month for upkeep and the rest of the time can be spent enjoying the view but that's obviously far more complicated in reality than theory, also it doesn't help that I plan on moving in 2017 and would hate tearing down a new build only months after putting it together.

    What say you guys, what do I do? I simply can't leave the tank the way it is, specially with winter coming I've always struggled to keep it warm enough being that it's in the garage, as if the lack of maintenance wasn't bad enough as is.

    Sorry about the long post, I have no one else to complain about this particular issue to other than you guys :p
    ashburn2k and Newjack like this.
  2. roostertech

    roostertech Guest

    I think having the tank in the garage make it easier for you to neglect it. Out of sight, out of mind. Often time getting home late at night I don't even have the energy to feed the fish let alone do maintenance. But since my tank is on the kitchen island, it better stay pristine or I'll get hell for it. If you are going to give it another push, I would bring the tank inside where you are forced to look at it every day. We can always convert sleep time into fish time ;p
    HiFidelity and Geneva like this.
  3. ashburn2k

    ashburn2k Webmaster

    it's different for me, i have my tank in the garage so the wife and kids can't find me when im spending time with the tank :)
    Edgar Sandoval, Geneva and Newjack like this.
  4. rygh

    rygh BOD

    My suggestion is to SIMPLIFY.
    Sell/give away all the SPS and difficult corals.
    Sell/give away any high maintenance or large fish.
    Reduce bio-load in general as possible.
    Get rid of funky complex equipment if you have any.
    Do small weekly water changes only.
    Write down a list of exactly what you must do every weekend, and get in the habit of doing it.

    That should bring the maintenance, hassles, and missed items, way down.
    Prince Shah, HiFidelity and Geneva like this.
  5. Newjack

    Newjack Supporting Member

    I feel for you, I've been there before. If you think the tank is so far gone that a weekend of maintenance can't bring it back. Then i would say, (you're not gonna like this) but, maybe you should shut it down. Sell off everything except your favorite pieces of equipment and livestock. Move on with life. Once you're ready... you will know, because you'll really start to miss your tank. Then jump back in.. The hobby will always be here. The only things that change are a few of the players. The "game" is the same. When you decide to rebuild, you will have a knew purpose. The fire will have been reignited within. You'll be able to enjoy the hobby more this way. I have been in and out of the hobby a few times over a 20yr. span. It never gets old. The passion comes right back every time I start a new build. just my .02

    BTW, I agree with Roostertech, If you decide to rebuild. I would definitely move it inside so your viewing and enjoyment can be maximized.
    HiFidelity, Geneva and ashburn2k like this.
  6. MolaMola

    MolaMola Supporting Member

    I am with Newjack if you think it can't really be brought back without a massive overhaul. About 5 years ago I finally tore down my 10-year-old first reef tank. The lights had been dying, detritus had built up, refugium had become a pain so I removed it from the system, SCWD return had stopped working, HOB overflow was constantly having air bubble problems, and eventually I ended up with an algae tank with a clown pair. Hosting in algae. I felt so guilty every time I passed the tank and my poor neglected clowns that I avoided that room. So sad.
    I finally tore it down (put clowns in a separate little tank) and while I felt bad, I also felt a great sense of relief. I knew I could always start over and would love it even more. I remembered how fascinated I was by the sand and liverock when I first set it up and thought it would be cool to go through that process again one day. So last year that day came and I re-started and it has been better than I thought it would be. Newjack is right that the hobby will always be here when you are ready!
    If there is some sort of low-maintenance biotope like sponges or plants or something, maybe that would be cool, but I don't know about that stuff. Just don't let it get to a point where you feel like avoiding the room and feel guilty all the time.
    Newjack and HiFidelity like this.
  7. tankguy

    tankguy Supporting Member

    Been there as well. Sometimes its a good thing to break away from the hobby for a bit and come back when you feel the time is right.
    Newjack and HiFidelity like this.
  8. euod

    euod Supporting Member

    If you need anything lmk.
    I can help you with the tank this weekend if you like.
    If you need lights, I have that too.
    HiFidelity likes this.
  9. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Guest

    Your tank should be automated to the point where all you need to do is
    • feed the fish and enjoy, or run an auto feeder
    • top of your auto top off reservoir
    • water changes every two weeks or once a month
    • scrape the coraline algae off.
    If you get here, and still don't have time to enjoy it, it might be time for a temporary break because that schedule is pretty low maintenance. Once a month water changes cmon.

    Rejoin the hobby when you're ready. I'm either going to take a break from the hobby or downgrade to a small tank. Which is why I'm selling off a bunch of corals. Not currently where I want to be in life. I don't want to spend 50% of my income on my old ass apartment. Gotta save all the money I can get until I have a house. I can honestly do this hobby for the rest of my life but now is not a good time for me to maintain a super nice reef tank. Stole your show fidel! But anywho, you should reevaluate how happy your tank makes you vs the current cost financially and time-wise. Then make a decision and stick to it.

    There's already some people here to help you. I will even come down a weekend to help you maintain/move stuff around, especially if it helps set you up to a point where you can automate your tank, just ask. When I offer my word, I stick to it.
    wpeterson and Newjack like this.
  10. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Hi guys, thanks for the great suggestions and genuine feedback.
    Good news is the tank is not doing that bad just yet, I've seen too many tanks in the past ran into the ground to let mine get to a horrible state. I'm at least proud to say that the tank is not quite doing badly just yet, it is nowhere near the level I usually maintain it though, but everything is generally still doing okay. I've lost corals to an urchin munching on them, I don't have algae issues because I've had a robust fuge for quite some time now which is why zooplankton is plentiful and perhaps why it's so resilient despite my failure to perform enough water changes. The sps I think died due to lighting being a few LEDs dimmer now but LPS and some of the remaining SPS is still doing well and quite a bit of it continues to grow since keeping the doser topped off is a once a few months ordeal. in fact my Tangerine Dreams Chalice is still a good contender in our grow out contest and still growing:


    I can do water changes monthly, I can also finish my automated WC system but that requires time on its own. The tank is quite simple, oldschool aquacontroller so lighting, pumps, powerheads, heater, fans, etc. is all automated, doser takes care of dosing and once in a while i forget to refill my ATO bucket & bubbles get blasted throughout the tank.

    My biggest concern is watching the tank slowly wither and corals dying off, fish are all extremely healthy and happy, big CUC so algae almost never forms on the glass (can't recall the last time I scrubbed it) but again, how long will it go on barely making water changes... so on & so forth these questions just cycle through my head, again letting the tank run into the ground is an absolute non possibility in my mind.

    I know the best answer is "put the tank in the house" so I'm obligated to keep it looking nice & manicured but I can't do anything extravagant or demanding considering that I could very possibly move & go through a break-down of the tank anyway.

    Logic forces me to strongly consider full tear down & sell off of everything or do a small softy tank but those still depend on water changes. I think I need to sleep on that thought a few nights and come to a decision of some sort.
    Enderturtle, Newjack and ashburn2k like this.
  11. Geneva

    Geneva Guest

    Fidel - have you ever considered having someone come in and do water changes and cleaning? Perhaps you could do this for a few months or indefinitely until your life settles down!

    Folks have gardeners, housekeepers, etc. I have someone come over every 4 weeks to bring, change water, clean, and do general maintenance on my 120 tank (Mike @Coral reefer). He also gives me great advice! I feed my fish daily and clean out my skimmers weekly and that's about it! My time is spent watching fish eat and corals grow and I think my tank is doing very well. Please feel free to PM me if you want more details!

    Whatever you decide, I hope you stay in the hobby. Yes, it takes effort and expense but I think it is so worth it!! You should come to the fragging event this Saturday in Fremont to discuss live - l always enjoy seeing you!
  12. rygh

    rygh BOD

    Another thought:
    Sometimes the same-old-thing can get boring.
    Revitalize your interest by changing it up.
    Predator tank? Seahorses? Jellyfish? Deep water coral? Kelp forest?
  13. roostertech

    roostertech Guest

    Is kelp forest possible in home environment? Even the smallest one at Monterey bay aquarium was 400g?
  14. rygh

    rygh BOD

    Hmm, a fun question.
    Honestly, I was really just thinking of fun macro-algae forest in general.

    The giant kelp off the pacific coast would not work of course, but that is hardly the only species of kelp.
    Seems there is also some difference of opinion on what kelp means.

    Maybe some expert biologists have an opinion on that.
  15. I'm in any day of the week except Thursdays for a group clean and tank automation if it comes to that.

    And ummm... some of you manage with just one water change a month and don't scrape algae every four of five days from the glass? I want in on that!
    wpeterson and Newjack like this.
  16. Gablami

    Gablami Guest

    I second rooster tech.

    My tank is in the center of the house. Can't hide it, can't ignore it. If I fail, I will probably have to crawl under the deck and hide anytime anyone comes over. But I understand life getting busy. My wife is due to have our first child in 6 weeks or so. Getting freaked out!
    Ashalye and Coral reefer like this.
  17. Yippee

    Yippee Supporting Member

    Since you are moving next year, I would take the tank down and take a break. Set up your new build after you move and you have the passion to take care of it.

    Several years ago a heat wave wiped out almost everything in my tank . Feeling down, I let the tank run for 2 years without doing any water changes, the skimmer died after one year so all that was running was circulation and the light. Since the tank was almost solid algae, I would remove some of it every 6 months. The tank was not at my house so doing water changes was a pain, but I think after reefing for over 20 years I was burnt out. One day I looked into the tank and saw a few remaining mushroom and decided I could not let them perish. I went down to Neptune, got some advice and skimmer. Relocated the tank to the house which made maintenance easier, the addiction and passion returned.....Yippee!
    Newjack and Geneva like this.
  18. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Supporting Member

    Is that one of the surviving mushrooms in your avatar pic?
  19. Yippee

    Yippee Supporting Member

    No, this one I got after the the tank was relocated from Aquarium Collection. I have had it over 3 years and it has shrunk to almost nothing. Since switching to LED, it has been a hard lesson. I finally put this in the shade and it is doing real well. Growth and color has made a drastic change in the last 2 months.
  20. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    You guys are awesome, have I said that yet? :p

    I think I will begin by cleaning up the tank, remove coral skeletons, etc. I've ruled out putting the tank in the house since it entails drilling of new rimless tank, building new stand, etc. way way too time consuming for it to be a realistic option.

    What now? hhmmmm I guess removing dead skeletons isn't a huge step forward and I think what I'm most attached to is my fish & cuc. you guys want SPS? wanna help me DBTC my SPS? I'm not in the business of making money off corals that I never paid for. My entire tank has been stocked through the generosity of BAR so it's time for me to pay back :D

    Gablami - My magic bullet for not doing water changes and not having algae grow all over the glass is my fuge, it has tons of chaeto and caulerpa (yes it's illegal in ca) and a solid cuc. My tank is only 50g + sump (more chaeto in sump), it has an urchin, few big hermits, about a half dozen small ones and lots of snails. Also my skimmer is rated for a 100+ gallon tank.
    Gablami, Coral reefer and Newjack like this.

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