I had a home reef from 2008 to 2014. It was a great journey of discovery and amazement. I learned caring for alien organisms and invisible ones. I really loved the barely visible and mouth-fed many corals, not because they needed it, but because I loved them.
Recently I reentered the hobby. In March of 2021, in the middle of the pandemic, I decided that beauty will re-enter my life in its most colorful form. This blog is my travels in my second home reef. During the last 7 months I realised that things have changed immensely! The most important thing that changed is availability of easy to consume “reliable” information. But I am getting ahead of my self.
Things that are the same!
Local Fish Stores IMO. Well in reality I am talking about LFSs in Athens Greece, but I can only talk about of what I know. These stores did not change. The largest one closed down, and a few of the smaller ones also, but several new ones opened up. Most from employees of the largest one.
All these stores have the same understanding of professionalism that the old big one did. Sell to anyone anything regardless of cost or need. Price things at the highest point you can get away with a rationale, and badmouth the competitiveness of the competition. Bribe “influencers” only under the table, and guard their ever more costly advice.
The only store that I found would not bully me into an ever more expensive solution is the store I chose to buy all my beginning stuff. The owner respected my budget, provided alternatives that he has been using at home (often cheaper alternatives) and tried to accommodate my needs. I say “tried” because he in a couple of cases did not rize to the challenge… basically because I can be quite a challenging customer.
The variety of available reef safe fish is the same, but this is really of no interest to me. Enough are there, and nothing is missing really.
Things that have changed! (WOW!!!)
The available knowledge! Youtube has become a never ending book of knowhow. Americans lead the pack with honest reefers that share their downturns and their successes. Conference lectures, long distance interviews with actual marine scientists that are using their education and labs to help…. me!
Variety of coral coloration. This is a huge leap. I have never seen mushrooms and polyps like this! Leather corals in several variations … and the toadstools! There are more than 7 distinctly different toadstool variations.
Pumps. The efficiency has at least doubled, and in some cases you can do the same thing with 1/5 the wattage. And they are silent! Really silent!
The quality of fake reef rock in a few cases has increased. By saying few, I mean in 1,the french company Aquaroche. The rest are just nicely shaped but heavy as actual cement blocks.
The quality of bio-media. Especially the blocks and plates from brightwell and maxspect.
The apps that govern our tanks. Much better, with huuuuuuge margins of improvement.
The automated processes, like testing and logging results. ATOs, managers like apex.
The only negative thing is the availability of actual live rock. It is near zero. I could not find any. The only thing I found was rock that was seeded with bacteria, and if I was willing to wait and battle pests, rock from an old tank.
this is an open article, more will be added as I learn more of the new realities