~ The 5 Most Common Mistakes You Shouldn't Have To
Ever Make - Mistake #1: Lack of Research ~

by Eric V. Van Der Hope

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The 5 Most Common Mistakes You Shouldn't Have To Ever Make
Mistake #1: Lack of Research

by Eric V. Van Der Hope
Copyright 2006 ReefKeepingBasics.com

It's so easy to get excited about this wonderful hobby after seeing all the beautiful fish and corals at your LFS (Local Fish Store). So it's no surprise that many individuals, without any thought of taking a step at-a-time, purchase what they see - almost immediately! Did you know that a large number of fish enthusiasts have found their way into this hobby exactly this way . . . ? However, many of them discovered that they could have spent Less money, Less time and Less effort if they simply did the proper research.

Anyone involved in this hobby must be well informed of what's involved. Multiple opinions should be investigated from a good source. So be careful to not rely on just one source of information! If you find that you are getting the same advice from 2 or 3 different yet reliable sources - this could be a start of a good decision. J

The more you research, the more you'll draw from others’ experiences to help materialize your own version of a saltwater tank or reef aquarium. So do not be afraid to ask questions as the more you learn the more you can put to good use. Continually read from publications you know are reliable. There are many authors who have written a variety of books on our hobby - they are priceless. So read, read and read!

Here are some good books to learn from - but put them to good use, simply just reading them will not do anything for you! Use and act on the information you learn!

  • "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert M. Fenner

  • "The Compete Book of the Marine Aquarium" by Vincent B. Hargreaves

  • "The Responsible Marine Aquarist" by Dr. Elizabeth Wood & Nick Dakin
  • "Corals: A Quick Reference Guide" by Julian Sprung
  • "Simplified Reef Keeping" by Robert M. Metelsky
  • "Coral Propagation" by Anthony Calfo
  • "The New Marine Aquarium" by Mike Paletta
  • "Aquarium Corals" by Eric Borneman
  • "A Pocket-Expert Guide to Marine Invertebrates" by Ronald L. Shimek
  • "Reef Keeping Basics - Successful Reef Management" by Eric V. Van Der Hope

    There are also many other authors who've written hundreds of articles for well-known offline and online magazines such as ReefKeeping, Marine Fish and Reef USA Aquarium Fish Magazine and the Tropical Fish Hobbyist. Their names are but are not limited to:
  • James W. Fatherree
  • Terry D. Bartelme
  • Sanjay Joshi
  • Steven Pro

  • Take advantage of the internet. Search for information and join some saltwater or reef keeping forums. Join a local club - there is nothing better then meeting people in person.

    Before you begin setting up your saltwater tank, you need to know what you are doing. After all, you are going to be providing a home to other forms of life and that is a responsibility that must not be taken lightly. You need to (these are the basics, but not limited to them):
  • Know the different species and the types of conditions in which they live.

  • Know what species can live together safely in the particular environment you have set up.

  • Have the proper lighting.

  • Have the proper salinity and temperature.

  • Have the proper equipment, such as filters, pumps, heaters, and lights.

  • Be prepared for the time commitment – saltwater systems need consistent care and cannot be left for more than two days without that care. You may need to enlist the help of friends and family, in case you plan to leave home for any substantial length of time.

  • Be prepared for the financial commitment – start up costs are between $300 and $500 and this is the low end! Depending on your system (the choice of tank size and it's inhabitants) it could easily take you well over a thousand dollars! Then you will need to continuously replenish supplies which includes the salt, the replacing of lights regularly, feeding the inhabitants, replacing and adding the livestock and most important - simply just maintaining the aquarium which includes paying for the electric bill that results from the power being used by your filters, pumps, heaters, ventilation or cooling systems and lighting fixtures.

    How much money can you afford to put into this hobby? This one decision alone could be the deciding factor to start or not . . .

    The last thing you want to do is put your money and time into your saltwater tank, only to have your investment and the life you are caring for suffer due to lack of preparation.

  • W-o-w! So much to think of - but don't be discouraged! If you feel your probably not 'cut out' for this kind of hobby, think twice! You are. It simply comes down to how you approach it and using the proper skills to organize your time and money. There is no greater pleasure than to sit in front of your aquarium and watch an amazing display of colors and life before your very eyes! It's the most relaxing form of medicine and can be enjoyed by all members of your family and extended family (your friends)!

    We've covered research as being a very important aspect to guaranteeing success within this hobby. But there are other important things to do as well - that many hobbyists tend to forget.

    You cannot haphazardly throw stuff together thinking everything will be o.k with your aquarium setup! Without taking the proper steps after the initial research is completed - this mistake can surely be eliminated - which leads us to review how Mistake #2: the Lack of Planning, can limit the enjoyment you can get from this wonderful hobby.

    Stay tuned for the next article, Mistake #2: Lack of Planning, the 2nd part in the series of 5 articles that'll be published in rapid succession!

    Eric V. Van Der Hope is the Publisher and Author of the book "Reef Keeping Basics - Successful Reef Management" as well as the editor of the popular and informative newsletter "Reef Keeping Basics - the eZine/Blog" - A Newsletter For The Serious Reef Keeping & Saltwater Fish Hobbyist. Would You Like to Discover Exactly How to Build A Perfect Aquatic Life Environment For Your Marine Fish Pets - Without Having to Do It the Hard Way!? Then sign up to his complimentary newsletter valued at $47. You can seek further information if you visit his website at:

    You want a newsletter with personality? Take Advantage of this COMPLIMENTARY
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