~ The 5 Most Common Mistakes You Shouldn't Have To
Ever Make - Mistake #3: Haste vs. Patience ~

by Eric V. Van Der Hope

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The 5 Most Common Mistakes You Shouldn't Have To Ever Make
Mistake #3:
Haste vs. Patience
by Eric V. Van Der Hope
Copyright 2006 ReefKeepingBasics.com

Patience is a virtue! It's also the most important aspect to consider while involved in this hobby - practicing it should be considered a requirement! :o)

There is much to consider in the saltwater fish and reef keeping hobby, all of it has to do with slowing down and looking at the big picture.

The biggest thing is trust. Trust that all this patience and waiting will be worth it in the end. As a result, you will reap the benefits of a beautiful and peaceful saltwater or reef tank - if you have the patience to start it right.

Patience starts with the proper research which was adequately explained in our earlier series of articles.

It follows through with 'getting your feet wet' first rather than simply just 'jumping in'!

Everyone approaches the setting up of tanks differently, however, everyone should at least follow the same principle - take your time. There may be certain aspects of tank management that seem tedious and routine - but they are not. Be careful to not fall into the trap of complacency - you'll end up not spending the needed time with the necessary maintenance tasks and as a result your aquarium will suffer.

It's easy to want to have a beautiful tank right away and see the fish in your tank immediately - who likes the 'look' of a empty looking tank - right? However, moving too quickly could mean stocking the tank too fast and perhaps with too much!

Yikes . . . !

When you first set up the tank, you need to allow time for the salt to mix into the water properly -- this could easily take up to a week! No kidding!

The most important aspect in establishing a stable environment for your future wet pets - is to allow the tank to cycle. This cycle is also known as establishing the proper nitrogen cycle which allows the important bacteria to establish itself, bacteria that helps create a healthy, thriving environment in the tank.

If you introduce to much livestock too quickly, you will upset the balance in the system and it will have difficulty recovering.

Patience . . .

Take your time, and allow the tank to fully cycle. It's very important to wait for the 'cycle' of the tank to complete before anything else is added to your tank in the form of fish or corals. Unnecessary death to your fish pets could be eliminated if you take time to wait for the complete nitrogen cycle. This could take as fast as 3 weeks or up to 8 weeks to get established properly.

Once you have established your tank, slowly stock your tank and never add too much at one time. Every time you introduce a new tank-mate, you've begun another cycle where more ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are produced which have effect on all fish and corals at different levels.

However, this must been done slowly because the bacteria is still young and needs to grow to be able to support a heavier load of life within the tank.

Once the tank is established, then there are steps necessary to take to 'Maintain' a balanced home for your fish pets which includes regular water changes, the adding of nutrients and trace elements, the constant cleaning of skimmer, regular cleaning of algae and so forth.

Much of what you do here, if taken care of regularly, will make the viewing of this beautiful marine environment most enjoyable and also guarantee a high success rate of keeping a high quality tank.

All that has been explained here takes one thing - patience.

I'm sure you've heard of ways to speed things up within your system. However, think before you act! You will soon realize if you have not already done so, that positive aspects of keeping saltwater fish or maintaining reef tanks develop with the speed of a tortoise - bad or negative things will hit hard and fast - an entire system can 'crash' overnight!

Practice patience . . . . and keep yourself from purchasing 'magic potions' that are explained as being helpful at speeding up important cycles within the tank. Do not buy equipment that is unnecessary. Many hobbyists have fallen prey to people whose only purpose is to make money from this hobby - since it's a hobby that tends to be a bit pricey!

Hobbyists do it - and regret it every time . . . be very, very careful of impulse buying! Take the time to step back and think for a moment about what it is that will be purchased. Always be fully educated on the reasons for a purchase, do the proper research and planning before hand, you'll be happy you did and most important, you'll have money left in your pocket!

So be careful and again - practice patience!

The important thing to understand about this hobby is to not expect to get results overnight. If you can wait for it - you'll be rewarded.

Essentially, this hobby is about taking complex life in our hands and nurturing it in a somewhat unnatural way - by keeping it within a closed environment rather than what mother earth provides as the expansive oceans itself.

It really doesn't take much to do it the right way - just take the time to think about it first.

Take the time to do it right - the first time, instead of having to suffer the ill effects of an unprepared ecosystem.

This leads us to the next mistake hobbyists tend to make often - choosing what type of lighting should be used for their system. This will be discussed in an upcoming article due out soon. Stay tuned!

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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