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Old 01/25/2008, 09:53 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Ohio
Posts: 65
Reef Keeping Business

It is known that most people on this site feel that fish stores do poor jobs

What about those business's that do complete setups and further care for the tank?

I would love feedback about experiences on how well these do at taking care of tanks. Having only wanted to setup my own tank, I never noticed this part. But when I go to the library or restuarants there are always tanks and most look like quickly unthoughtout plans that barly meet the needs for the livestock. These services do not seem like they would be cheap so I just wonder why these systems are not spotless and perfect enviroments.

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Old 01/26/2008, 10:22 PM   #2
Mitch DownUnder
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 18
Hi there,

I have a wonderful tank that I had custom built to order by my LFS owner. I have lots of experience with keeping all sorts of different aquaria and that includes SW but I now have a good job with a great income so I decided that this tank, my 300L was going to be fully maintained by someone else so that I and anyone that was coming over for dinner could just enjoy my slice of nature in my loungeroom!

As far as what is actually done, every 14 days I get all glass cleaned inside and out, including lids, water change (usually 30%), all params tested, new corals added (off my wish list) occasionally as well as checking of all plumbing and servicing of my return pump if needed. I come home on a Tuesday twice a mointh to a tank that has been fully serviced while I am at work. Honestly it's heaven.

As far as the system being well thought out... it was, but mainly because I insisted on getting it right the first time. (My lighting cost me as much as my whole system put together!!)

A lot of businesses that 'just want a reef tank please' will get a very basic system without a sump/ refugium or much live rock. But remember that a commericial installation with ongoing maintenance is a product, and the purchaser decides what they want to pay and whether they want to pay for a 'perfect reef' setup is unfortunately a business decision. My LFS owner often says to me that my tank is the most fun to service cos it was done right and he wishes that his corporates could learn about what the 'extras' actually mean for an improved system.

Another reason that those resturant or library tanks may not be spotless is that they may only have monthly visits. I find that every two weeks is just about perfect, especially for water changes.

So my feedback would be that maintanence is great, but you need to have a good working relationship with the person that's doing it so that you are happy with the outcome.

MH convert. Tankless after a move interstate... watch this space, I feel something bigger coming along!

Any other gay/ not straight reef dudes out there?
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Old 01/27/2008, 10:38 AM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Dallas
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"What about those business's that do complete setups and further care for the tank? "

large service ones are terrible imo (and i work for a large one one and worked for another a while back... I don't know about the smaller service companies)

the owner of the tank doesn't know how to care for the animals and the "maintenance/service" guy doesn't exactly inspect everything - their job is to go in/out asap and move to the next tank. They grab fish/corals from the store every morning (don't look to see if it's healthy, they just walk in and bag up colorful fish) and head on out for the day. Many times, fish are dieing in the owners tank and we're constantly replacing them (more $ for us). I'm not sure how I feel when they remove all the fish and replace them all sometimes for a "different look"

One's standard of living is determined by the size of their reef
Learn and you continue to adapt, stop learning and you become obsolete
We live with each other, not for ourselves, protect our planet

Current Tank Info: 300g Starfire/Starboard A.G.E. mixed reef
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Old 01/29/2008, 10:16 PM   #4
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Location: Jonesboro, AR
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Many times the aquarium was not designed/stocked/thought up by the person doing the servicing. I've run into this many times. A large aquarium is purchased and put in place by a LFS who often has very little input on proper setup other than trying to sell them every item that's been on the shelf for more than two weeks. Purchaser/owner then after a few months decides that there is more to this "Aquarium stuff" than they are able/willing to provide. Purchaser/owner then calls a service company to keep the inhabitants alive. Service company then is expected to keep the aquarium looking incredible despite the poor equipment. Owner is usually unwilling to replace a poorly designed system with new equipment because of cost but then blames the service company for the condition of the aquarium. It's a lose lose situation.

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Old 02/07/2008, 12:30 PM   #5
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Location: Watertown, SD USA
Posts: 111
I install custom tanks for businesses in the SD area. Although I haven't finished too many, I can understand what larger ones do.

A conversation I had with a fellow reef keeper (over X-Box live) touched on the same topic. You may all notice that in store tanks (restaurants, whatever) have very simple stuff, damsels, mushrooms, etc. The reason behind what is stocked in the tanks is their target audience- tourists or customers that are generally non-reefkeepers. The 90 gallon in wall tank I built was in a bank. Sure I could stock it with anthias' and acros, but does any bank patron really notice the difference between that and chromis and mushrooms? No is the answer, and it is validated in that the staff holds a meeting before the bank opens, updating everyone about whats happening in the fish tank.

Many tank installers will take advantage of this, and charge huge amounts for very little work/livestock. That is because the business is generally willing to an exauberant amount of money for very little- they don't know what they are buying is worth. A less moral installer (less morals=higher capitolism) will take advantage of this.

I personally think that I charge fairly for monthly maintenance. The tank is difficult to access because of its height, I come in 2 times weekly for about an hour each time (plenty of quality time with what as basically become my home tank away from home). But you have to include transit expenses and other supplies too, and above all of that, I vowed to replace the tank and livestock if the tank "busted open", which was their biggest concern.
I charge 200 a month for that specific tank, tell me if you think this is too much.

Anyway, the point was, most people won't appreciate nicer livestock (which pulls lower returns in our regions market), and some businessmen take advantage of larger businesses who don't know the true values of what they buy.

Death before dishonor

Just tryin to keep the rats from knawing my toes off...

Current Tank Info: 50 Custom build in progress (click on the red house)
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