With reefkeeping being a relatively new hobby, hobbyists are constantly debating a plethora of different topics. What may work for some reef hobbyists may not work for others, creating diverse opinions. This diversity of views results in a lot of misinformation which can negatively influence our interests, perceptions, and decisions. In the first part of our series on reefkeeping myths, we debunk some commonly held beliefs that can affect a new hobbyist’s interest or experience in keeping a reef aquarium.
Myth #1: A reef tank is expensive.
There is no shortage of expensive equipment; however, that doesn’t mean you cannot create a stunning reef using more affordable gear. One of the easiest ways to start a budget-friendly reef aquarium from scratch is by choosing a nano or small-sized reef tank and keeping corals with lower lighting and lower flow requirements. Alternatively, great deals are usually available on second-hand tanks and equipment. Once you have your aquarium, you can keep additional costs down by selling or trading frags of the corals in your tank for other corals, fish, equipment, food, or anything else you might need to keep your reef going.
Myth #2: A reef aquarium is much more challenging than a freshwater aquarium.
Many aquarists currently keeping a reef aquarium started in freshwater. While starting in freshwater makes transitioning into a reef aquarium easier, by no means is this the only way to do it. Like many hobbies, keeping a reef tank can be as simple or complex as you would like it to be. If you simply want a basic soft coral nano aquarium, doing a 15% water change biweekly and keeping stable parameters is about all you need to do. However, you will have significantly more responsibilities if you want to keep a massive SPS-dominant reef tank. When it comes to freshwater aquariums, there are also different difficulty levels, with some types of freshwater tanks requiring a lot more care than others. If you perform the proper research, select the appropriate aquarium, and conduct consistent maintenance, your reef aquarium will reward you.
Myth #3: Nano reef aquariums are easier to care for than larger reef tanks.
Despite nano reef aquariums being a common choice amongst beginner hobbyists, it isn’t because they are simpler systems to care for. Sure, less water means smaller water changes and less tank to keep clean; however, the smaller amount of water can make keeping critical tank parameters, like temperature, pH, alkalinity, calcium, stable more difficult. As a result, the parameters within nano aquariums can rapidly swing, causing significant problems. The increased water volume of a larger tank (50+ gallons or more) gives you more time to find issues and address them before they begin to wreak havoc on your system. Of course, larger tanks are generally more expensive to set up and stock. However, if you have the budget, we usually recommend beginner reefers go with a larger system instead as opposed to a nano-system.
We hope this article has put to rest some of the most common myths associated with beginner reefkeeping. This piece is just the first part of our common reefkeeping myths series that aims at helping hobbyists decipher fact from fiction when it comes to keeping a reef aquarium. If you encounter any pressing questions or you need a recommendation, please contact our support team.