Things that have disappeared from the hobby...

Discussion in 'Unique Corals' started by Unique Corals, Feb 8, 2014.

to remove this notice and enjoy 3reef content with less ads. 3reef membership is free.

  1. Unique Corals

    Unique Corals 3reef Sponsor

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    Messages:
    0
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Like it or not, the hobby just ain’t what it used to be!

    For better or for worse, you can’t deny it- the reef keeping hobby continues to evolve. With any evolution, sometimes it means all kinds of new innovations and ideas. Sometimes, it means that things we once took for granted have faded into history. Many of these things were easy to say goodbye to, others, not so much.

    For instance, the former “convention” of blindly guessing what’s wrong with your water chemistry…Nowadays, thanks to more accurate and diverse test kits and equipment, we can make assessments of our systems that were simply not possible a decade ago. Parameters like Strontium, Potassium, etc. provide the coral enthusiast with a far more detailed picture of what’s actually going on in his/her reef than ever before. We no longer have to guess and blindly say, “Must be low potassium levels- THAT’S why my Acros are fading…” Nope. Hobby advances have taken away some of the guesswork, and that’s a good thing.

    What are some other things once pervasive that are now fading into hobby history? I warn you- this could get ugly…Some are good, some are not so good. Some are my biased opinion (like you’d expect anything else from me?)…Here goes:

    Wild-caught Clownfish - Seriously, the ratio of captive-bred to wild-caught must be hugely skewed to captive-bred. I mean, when was the last time you unintentionally purchased a wild Percula or Ocellaris Clown? In fact, I’ll go one further and rephrase: When was the last time you purchased a truly wild “Wild Type” or “OG” Percula? Think about it- almost every variety available now is a captive-bred variety, like “Snowflakes”, “Picassos”, “Black Ice”, “Naked”, “Wyoming White”, etc. being the norm…It’s amazing. It’s literally like the fancy Guppy. You just don’t see the original Trinidad type, outside of a few hobby specialists’ tanks. And this is not a bad thing. There is, in my opinion, very little compelling reason to import wild Clowns any more. Breeders are doing a bang-up job supplying the hobby with great captive-bred versions of almost every species commonly found in the trade. Kudos.

    [​IMG]

    Floating Hydrometers - Honestly, when was the last time you used one of these things? They are charming, interesting throwbacks to a time wham hobby equipment was adapted from other uses (in this case, home brewing and related uses). A direct link to the 1960's! With the invention of the swing arm plastic hydrometer and its easy-to-read markings, the days of scooping out a container of tank water and gently placing your glass hydrometer in it to take an accurate reading are pretty much over. And these things were/are accurate- just not as cheap and easy to use as the swing-arm types. Granted, the average hobbyist has like 4 swing arm hydrometers in his/her possession, because the darned things aren’t always accurate. But they are “good enough” for many hobbyists, right? Of course, for true accuracy, you use my favorite weapon, the refractometer (ironically also adapted from other uses). Even I can calibrate and read a refractometer and make accurate assessments of my specific gravity. And of course, gear heads have their salinity probes. Progress? Whatever, guys.


    [​IMG]
    Low Tech. But it still works!


    Feeding Romaine Lettuce to Tangs- No one should dispense this advise to anyone they care about. This practice evolved because we hadn’t really thought of a good alternative to algae. Terrestrial greens are awesome- trust me, the bulk of my diet consists of them. But I’m a human, and my nutritional needs differ from my Zebrasoma tangs. Terrestrial greens simply don’t provide the proper nutritional profile for herbivorous marine fishes to comprise a serious component of their diet. We relied on them for a good long time- perhaps too long- to provide a big part of our Tangs’ diets. With live or fresh macroalage, such as Gracilaria and Ulva available from vendors like, ORA, Sustainable Aquatics, and Indo Pacific Sea Farms, you have natural alternatives that have a great nutritional profile for herbivorous marine fishes. And of course, for the busy hobbyist, you’ve got the dried Nori sheets available from Asian markets or hobby manufacturers, which are a huge step up from Romaine in terms of usefulness and nutrition for fishes. And use of Romaine led to the "invention" of the "Lettuce Clip", right? So- the takeaway here: Lettuce sucks as Tang food. However, I am looking forward to my salad at lunch today….


    [​IMG]
    The salad bar is now closed. Oh, darn.


    “All in One” Additives- Remember back in the day (like the early nineties), you had a wide choice of additives that claimed to have “everything that you need” to supplement your aquarium. Never mind the fact that you had no way to test or even know if your reef was suffering a Prasmeodynium or Molybedium shortfall- you didn’t have to- just pour! I guess, besides the obvious marketing gold in a bottle of- well- EVERYTHING- there was the “shot in the dark” accuracy of these products: Put in a lot of fancy-sounding chemicals that are found in natural seawater- in any combination- and you can say that you’ve got a single solution of stuff that can help do it all! Easy! A “magic bullet!”

    Don’t get me wrong here- the idea behind it is good, and many of these products had some scientific thought put into them. The problem was, how do you determine need? Who had/has test kits or equipment to test for “trace elements” or obscure compounds? And besides, doesn’t freshly mixed synthetic seawater have pretty much everything you need in it- in proper ratios long-since ironed out by science? My buddy’s chili has all sorts of stuff in it that probably meets the needs of some reefs, too- but I’m not pouring that stuff in the reef! Besides, clever manufacturers found out that you could break down the “all-in-ones” into some of their constituent parts, sell test kits for some of them, and, voila! - an instant 6-SKU reef supplement product line was created. Mo’ money! However, today’s reefers aren’t sheep. We’re internet-enabled, MACNA-trained, frag-swap-attending free thinkers, who are nobody’s fools…most of the time.


    [​IMG]
    "A little of this- a pinch of that. Perfect."



    Cladiella- Known as “Colt Coral”, for reasons I don’t know why (Does it LOOK like a Colt? No. Thank you. Point made.), this stuff was an amazing addition to your reef back in the day. In fact, it was pretty much one of the only additions to your reef back in the day! With it’s swaying branches and interesting shapes, this soft coral screamed “exotic”, and just having the stuff in your tank separated you from the masses of bleached-skeleton, synthetic-ornament, undergravel-filtered marine aquariums of the time (we’re talking like 1987 here). Who cared that the color was government issue “putty grey”- this was live CORAL, and having it put you way higher up on the cool scale! Entire articles were written in the hobby mags of the day, with detailed care information on how to keep this species healthy and happy.


    These days, Cladiella isn’t even nearly the most popular of the branching soft corals. Sinularia, Nepthia, and even Capnella have long since usurped the beige powerhouse as the corals of choice in this category. It’s almost as if we, as “postmodern” reefers, have decided to collectively thumb our noses up at our past…Are we too cool for Cladiella? Or ar we just so taken with the other myriad of more colorful, interesting corals that are available from every corner of the hobby now? C’mon, let’s try to keep some of this coral just for old times’ sake. I know there are some of you out there that have big stands of the stuff, too. You were probably waiting in the shadows for someone to come along and make you proud to keep it again- and to bring a pound of it to the next club frag swap. Okay, here is your chance…


    [​IMG]
    Someone please explain how this resembles a colt. "Anyone? Buheler...?"


    Wet "Skimming"- Happily, this is yet another one of the great “knee jerk” reactions of the reefing hobby. I guess the thought was that, by running your skimmer to produce copious amounts of pallid-looking liquid (like weak tea color, if that), you’re skimming and removing nasty stuff from your reef in great quantities. I’m no scientist, but I never got my hands around this concept. The idea of skimming is to separate the yucky stuff from the water, right? So why would reefers “tune” their skimmers to basically remove…water? I mean, almost any decent skimmer can take out concentrated, dark, nasty-smelling skim mate from the water. Removing lightly colored water 8 ounces at a time is just a weak excuse for a water change, IMO. My advice was to the staunch (and often kind of mean) advocates of this practice was- and still is: Pick up a siphon hose and perform a real water change on your system, dial down your skimmer and actually remove something from the water in between changes.

    You don’t hear about this practice as much any more, thanks to common sense being the norm, but this was a big, big thing not all that long ago, along with “cooking” live rock (oh, please don’t get me started)…It’s not entirely amazing to me that, in our ongoing obsession as hobbyists to avoid water changes, we reached for something- anything- to help make us feel better…Yet, in our enlightened “postmodern era” of reef keeping ( I used that term twice! Trend…Discuss.), we have come to grips with the reality of things and water changes are generally considered the easiest and most effective of the nutrient export techniques that we employ. Kudos, my friends. We HAVE evolved…sort of.

    Okay, I could go on for days, alienating fellow reefers, angering manufacturers, and taking pot shots at fellow coral vendors- it’s just too much fun….But I need to wrap this thing up and take the helm of my coral juggernaut this morning. Perhaps you’d be so kind as to offer your 2 cents (or even 10 cents) to this topic…Anything you’re nostalgic for, or happy to have seen fall by the wayside in the hobby? There must be, and your fellow reefers want to hear about it…As do I!

    So have at it!

    Keep Wet.

    Scott Fellman
    Unique Corals
     
  2. Click Here!

  3. Servillius

    Servillius Montipora Digitata

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,062
    Location:
    Houston, Texas.
    I have a lovely piece of rock in the "pot" right now. Are you telling me to put away the hollandaise and pair the chianti with something else?
     
  4. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2000
    Messages:
    13,466
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Great post.
    Being an 80's, 90's saltwater guy (and about the same as Scott :) ) I'll play.

    Don't miss:
    - Undergravel filters
    - Crushed coral substrate

    Do miss:
    - gravity fed air-skimmers (mine were 24"x6")
    - hardy elegance coral


    Man Scott you have been on a roll. I really appreciate this while I toil away on new site stuff. This is going on the homepage stack with your other great posts.

    matt
     
  5. chris adams

    chris adams Purple Tang

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Messages:
    1,828
    Location:
    Port Charlotte, FL
    ya add me to the
    Don't miss:
    - Undergravel filters
    - Crushed coral substrate

    feel like I should be breaking out my jean jacket
     
  6. Va Reef

    Va Reef Giant Squid

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Messages:
    3,627
    Location:
    Chesapeake, Va
    Well, I haven't been in the hobby long enough to really say I miss things, but I do miss the simplicity of lighting; the pre-LED days. It seems like every 6 months, someone discovers a new color to add to LED's to make them even more "full spectrum." I feel it will get to the point of reading the colors off the Crayola 64 pack of crayons. lol

    I've read about under gravel filters, and I am happy to see them almost extinct from the hobby.

    In a comical way, I loved how when someone started a tank and fish died or something bad happened, the answer was always MANTIS SHRIMP. "you must have a hitch-hiking mantis shrimp in there." Now we know its just ammonia.
     
  7. Mr. Bill

    Mr. Bill Native Floridian

    Joined:
    May 28, 2011
    Messages:
    4,874
    Location:
    USA
    Hehehe...

    Still use:

    Undergravel and HOB filters

    Floating Glass Hydrometer

    Hey, they still work! ;D
     
  8. Click Here!

  9. coylee_17

    coylee_17 Fire Goby

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,337
    Location:
    Peterborough, Ontario, Can
    The very first tank I had I used a floating glass hydrometer, still have it and use it today!
     
  10. Boywithafishtan

    Boywithafishtan Coral Banded Shrimp

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2013
    Messages:
    359
    Location:
    Hjallerup, Denmark
    I use a floating glass hydrometer too! :D Just because they are so easy to use, and they work. So old school, haha :D Oh, and i got cladellia coral, they are awesome!
     
  11. mikejrice

    mikejrice 3reef Affiliate

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Messages:
    5,762
    Location:
    Colorado
    These articles are killer.

    I still use a floating hydrometer to measure temperature. I've been using the same model for so long that it's the only thermometer I trust.
     
  12. Unique Corals

    Unique Corals 3reef Sponsor

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    Messages:
    0
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Yes..how about Fava beans?

    [​IMG]