I’d like to start by admitting I’m no pro at fish keeping or reef tanks in general (or writing blogs!). The point of this blog is to be a running journal for myself, and possibly serve those that are interested in getting into reef keeping.
When I started my first reef tank I read a ton of books, some of which I will name for you here, as I believe they are still very informative, but none of those books really told me where to start- exactly.
Firstly, I would tell someone new at reef keeping that patience is big in reef keeping! If you’re rushing something, you’re doing it wrong! Planning your tank is of the upmost importance. Knowing what size tank you’d like to have, what type of animals you’d like to keep, and understanding the costs and needs of the animals should be thought out well in advance of water hitting the tank.
Secondly, admit right now that you are not a know-it-all when it comes to reef keeping! Most problems and catastrophes can be avoided by stoping them before they start… and people in the hobby are generally very open to helping you. They too are passionate about reef keeping and I believe most enjoy your successes as much as you do. Whether it be another amateur hobbyist or your local professional- talk to people!
Finally, get to know your local professionals. Visit their stores, talk to their employees, check out their capabilities as far as sales, maintenance, set-up/ teardown abilities, etc. Not only can the locals support you in your hobby, but I highly recommend having a local professional help you get started. They can listen to your needs, help you design your system, give you a list of supplies and costs, and get get you up-and-running with professional installation. Obviously, if you are starting with an all-in-one nano or mini tank you may not need this level of service, but a good conversation with your local professional might just redirect your thinking as far as what kind/size of tank you might really want to have…
Here are some of the books I mentioned above that are worth buying/reading to get you started:
- Marine Fishes by Scott W. Michael (A pocket expert guide)
- Marine Invertebrates by Ronald L. Shimek, Ph.D. (A pocket expert guide)
- The New Marine Aquarium by Michael S. Paletta
- The Marine Aquarium Problem Solver by Nick Dakin
- Reef Secrets by Alf Jacob Nilsen & Svein A. Fossa
- Ultimate Marine Aquariums by Michael S. Paletta
Most of these are readily available from Amazon or your favorite book seller. Obviously, there are many more, and this is by no means an end-all be-all list- just some of the books I read when I was first getting started. If anything, purchase the pocket expert guides! These will come in really handy when you see a fish or invert at a store or online, and you don’t realize that beautiful fish you want will eat nip at your corals, kill all your inverts… or will hide in your rocks, refuse to eat, and then die a week after purchase!
That is all for this post. Grab a couple of those books, get reading, and I’ll be back shortly!