~ The 5 Most Common Mistakes You Shouldn't Have To
Ever Make - Mistake #2: Lack of Planning ~

by Eric V. Van Der Hope

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The 5 Most Common Mistakes You Shouldn't Have To Ever Make
Mistake #2:
Lack of Planning
by Eric V. Van Der Hope
Copyright 2006 ReefKeepingBasics.com

Research leads to planning. Once you have all the information you need about what equipment you need, the types of fish, corals and invertebrates from which you have to choose, the conditions you want to achieve in your new tank - you are then ready to make a plan.

There is a definite plan of action that has to be implemented before starting in this hobby.

Deciding how much of a budget will ultimately be your gauge on how you will approach the saltwater fish and reef keeping hobby.

Your saltwater tank adventure will begin with choosing the size of tank you wish to have. You will need to take into account the size of tank you can accommodate in your home. Then you can make a decision as to what types of fish and invertebrates you wish to have in your tank, knowing precisely which ones to choose to live together. You will have all the proper equipment to ensure you will be able to maintain a healthy environment in your tank. You will know the proper lighting levels and temperature and you will know to keep the salinity levels constant (this means replacing evaporated water on a daily basis).

Once you've put enough thought into size of the tank and have chosen what to get, you have to decide where it should go! You may not think this is a big deal - but it is!

The location of the tank is very important as well as making sure it's placed near a water source! It also should not be placed in the middle of a room if on a second floor or above (depending on size of tank, saltwater is more dense than plain water and with all the base rock, live rock, sand, etc that's placed in the tank - it's very, very heavy). Proper support is needed to withstand this.

So make sure that you take advantage of proper support for your tank such as placing it along a wall where you know the proper support is available rather than the center of a room.

Another reason why it's important to decide where to place the tank - is that once your tank is completely full - moving it can be a very big problem. It's highly recommended that you do not try moving your fully 'loaded' tank if you think it's in the wrong place!

Since there will be a need for energy to power the filters, pumps, heaters, lights, etc, a proper power source is needed nearby.

Make sure - you've probably heard it before - and you'll hear it over and over again - do not place your tank in direct sunlight.

Hobbyists do this - and they suffer the consequences!

Obviously, you cannot plan for everything. But you can at least try! One way of doing this is by preparing for the unexpected.

Keep extra saltwater mixture on-hand, preferably around 20-30 gallons - more if you have a larger tank. Make sure you have an extra pump, for your main circulation, if something happens to it. It could easily break down, it gets 'fried' or needs repair since it's constantly 'working' for you day and night.

You should have a quarantine tank on hand, first - to quarantine your new inhabitants before you put them into your display tank, and second, in case you have fish, corals or invertebrates that may need medical attention or need to be separated from other tankmates for some reason.

Remember, having a saltwater tank means you have taken on the responsibility of caring for the creatures that live in it and you do not want to find out the hard way that you need to have a certain piece of equipment after your initial budget has been used up. So make your plan and enjoy the serene addition to your home or office environment.

After you've adequately researched and planned your system, it's now time for you to put all the planning you've accomplished into action!

This leads us to the next mistake hobbyists tend to make often. In my next article we'll discuss how haste vs. patience plays an integral part within this hobby.

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 simply visit his website and learn how you can:

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