REEFING NIGHTMARES--THEY HAPPEN TO ALL OF US




This was a bad week for my tanks.


First, my refugium light (Kessil H380) died. That thing grew my macroalgae like a champ. Ok, no big deal, I had a spare, Cree Grow Light I had picked on up Amazon a while back. I had used this when I built a sump for my BioCube (a great starter reef set, by the way!). It was easy enough to swap out. A little inconvenient but I was back on track, right?


Wrong.


As good as the Cree is, it just doesn’t grow macroalgae as good as my Kessil (no surprise, at three times the price). Normally, this wouldn’t be too big an issue. But I run a Triton system. That means growing macroalgae is a key source for my nutrient export. Queue the entry of Nitrates.


They were high, like really high. API test was showing 40ppm. Yikes.


At least I didn’t see an algae bloom in the tank, so my phosphates had to be in check, right?


Wrong again. Hanna showed they were .46 ppm!


Again, easy solution. Start doing some water changes. Since I have a saltwater mixing station, I always have water on hand for this exact situation. I swapped out some water, picked up some NoPox and thought my troubles were over.


Today, I thought I could finally sit and enjoy my tank reading a good book with a nice drink in my hand. But then I notice the room is a little darker than usual . . .


One of my AI 32 HDs had stopped working.


Once again, I had the tools on hand to supply a solution. I had an ABI Tuna Blue light on hand that I quickly swapped out. That will hold me over until the AI gets replaced (hopefully through warranty!).


So what’s the point of me recounting all my sorrows? Sure, I do want you to feel that you are not alone. We all will have setbacks in this hobby. We are keeping hundreds of gallons of saltwater in close proximity to hundreds of dollars worth of electrical equipment. That alone tells you what you are getting in for.


But there is also a lesson learned here. The bad times are so much more manageable when you have the redundancies you need on hand. If I didn’t have an extra grow light, an easy RODI unit to constantly make water, or an extra coral light, each of these problems could have been magnified. I’d be running around town paying whatever price necessary to get my hands on something to just hold me over.


And these redundancies didn’t even cost me that much to begin with. The ABI light was under $40, and the grow light was under $50. In the grand scheme of things, having an extra $90 worth of equipment brought me peace of mind and allowed me to continue without (fingers crossed) any mishaps.


Be prepared. That way when the inevitable bad reef week comes, you can take a step back, breath, and go to your arsenal of cheap but effective redundancies. Then get back to your book and drink and enjoy that tank!


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