Top Reefkeeping Myths: Maintenance

Top Reefkeeping Myths: Maintenance

Maintenance is an essential tool that all aquarists must practice to create and preserve a successful reef tank. While many hobbyists dread performing upkeep on their systems, it can be one of the most rewarding aspects of the hobby if done correctly. In part four of our Top Reefkeeping Myths series, we will discuss the importance of aquarium maintenance and some common myths surrounding it.

Myth #1: More equipment eliminates the need for maintenance

There is no shortage of equipment for keeping reef aquariums; however, splurging on high-end equipment and tools will not allow you to avoid maintaining your tank. While some equipment certainly makes maintenance more manageable, like a dosing pump, the only way to make maintenance obsolete is to hire a professional to take care of your tank. Investing in monitoring or controlling equipment is also a good option if you want to know when to conduct maintenance. While there may be ways to decrease care requirements for your systems, if your goal is to eliminate regular maintenance, reefkeeping may not be for you. Regular maintenance can be tedious; however, it puts you in better touch with your aquarium and system while allowing you to react more quickly when something goes wrong.

Reefkeeping Maintenance: ATI Dosing Pump
ATI Dosing Pump

Myth #2: The more clean-up crew, the better

Clean-up crews are a group of invertebrates whose primary purpose is to help clean and maintain an aquarium. The most common members of a clean-up crew include snails, crabs, and starfish. These clean-up crews play an essential role in keeping excess waste and algae from building up in the tank. And while there is a wide selection of invertebrates that help fight algae, they are not a substitute for consistent tank maintenance. When it comes to invertebrates, more inverts isn’t always best, as they will starve if there is not enough algae for them to consume. If they die, nutrient levels in the tank will rise, making algae problems even worse. We recommend adding a clean-up crew slowly until you find the proper balance between keeping your snails and crabs fed while not having an overwhelming amount of algae in your display tank.

Reefkeeping Maintenance: Trochus Snail
Trochus Snail

Myth #3: Extended vacations are out with a reef tank

While keeping a reef tank does require care and attention, this does not mean that you can’t leave your aquarium to go on a vacation. It is certainly possible to leave your tank if you take the proper steps. Two essential components are installing an auto-feeder to keep your fish fed and an auto-top-off to keep the tank’s water level consistent. And an aquarium controller will let you manage your tank from afar. Another option you can explore when going on vacation is hiring a tank sitter who can handle the feedings, water level, and basic maintenance. If you are away from your aquarium for more than ten days, we recommend recruiting a friend or hiring a maintenance company to perform basic maintenance and a water change. When leaving your system, you will want to prepare solutions for anything that can happen before you go.

Aquarium Vacation
Beach vacation

The next steps for reefkeeping maintenance

We hope this article has put to rest some of the most common myths associated with reefkeeping maintenance. Keep your eyes out for our analysis of more common reefkeeping myths, where we hope to help hobbyists decipher fact from fiction when learning to keep a reef aquarium.

To browse reefkeeping products specifically designed for aquarium maintenance, please visit

If you encounter any pressing questions or you need a recommendation, please contact our support team.

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