A Step-By-Step Guide To Keeping An Aquarium
About This Site
I started this site for one simple reason: to share the knowledge I have gained through trial and error through years of keeping aquariums. I had my first aquarium at 10 years old. It was a 20 gallon fresh water tank that started with the guppies I got in 4th grade science class (thanks Ms. Davis!). My fascination with aquatics has never waned.
After high school, I had no time for aquarium keeping. The rigors of college, law school and life on Wall Street left no time for testing ph, nitrates and ammonia. A few years ago, I made a conscious decision to make time for the things I enjoy and decided to get back into the hobby. I knew a fresh water tank wasn't enough to provide an escape from daily life and I decided to jump into a salt water reef. I convinced my wife that a 14 gallon BioCube wouldn't be a big deal. Three years later, we have the (modified) BioCube, a coral frag tank, a picco reef in a cookie jar, a fresh water tank in our boys' bedroom and are currently building a 40 gallon predator reef tank.
Along the way, I made lots of mistakes but learned a lot of lessons. I devoured hours of youtube videos, spent days hunting the forums and talking to everyone I could. As much info as there is out there, there is not a lot to help a beginner with absolutely no handy skills (something you quickly develop in this hobby). This site is intended to fill that gap. We'll talk about real issues like how hard it is to get a perfect silicone seal on a sump (and why it doesn't really matter), what happens when you crack your first tank trying to drill an overflow and how to handle the inevitable floods that will occur because of a simple failure in your plumbing that you failed to predict.
This site will not shy away from highlighting common mistakes and how to learn from them. I found the hobby could be very intimidating because a certain level of knowledge was assumed. But discovering just how much I don't know and how much I can learn is what I love about this hobby. Three years ago, I would have to call a handy man to plunge my toilet. Today, I plumb my own salt water station and my own 100+ gallon system! This hobby not only teaches you about incredible marine life but also how to build confidence in your skills and develop your DIY abilities.
As a lawyer by trade, I love organization. In that vein, I have organized my articles into four general categories:
BioCube hacks are just that. The BioCube is a great all-in-one system that is perfect for the beginner. But pretty soon you will want to make adjustments, upgrades and add equipment. Articles in this category provide insight into my experience into what upgrades worked and was worth the investment, such as upgrading the stock lighting, adding a sump for more water stability and turning my BioCube into a smart home appliance compatible with Amazon Alexa!
In the Product Reviews articles, I try to save you money by providing a no-nonsense review of products I have wasted money on as well as products that I continually buy. To be sure, there are affiliate links that will provide me some commission at no cost to you, but unless otherwise stated, none of these products have paid me to provide these reviews. These are all products I spent my money on and and recommend wholeheartedly, even if I don't have any affiliate relationship!
The DIY Projects articles provide a step-by-step guide on simple projects that will upgrade your aquarium experience. Trust me, before this hobby I didn't even know how to drill a screw into the wall. Now, I feel accomplished when building my own upgrades that are a whole lot easier than they seem. These include building a slat water mixing station to ensure I I always have enough supply of saltwater and RODI water and never have to spend my weekend chasing the perfect bucket of water. I also built my own sump and my own hang-on-back refugium for a small 10 gallon tank. These were easy projects. And while I made mistakes, you won't because I'll tell you what to avoid.
The Aquarium Build articles chronicle my attempt at building a 40 gallon reef tank and a picco reef tank. I'll talk about my mistakes as well as my successes. The goal here is to create a community where we can share ideas and ask questions that we want answered as we all try to achieve our dream reef so we can alway be on vacation, one reef at a time.
So what are you waiting for? The latest articles are below and be sure to sign up for our email list so you never miss out on a tip that can you save hundreds of dollars. Have a specific question you want answered? Don't hesitate to reach out through the contact me page.
So start reading! Here are are the latest articles: