I have been keeping reef tanks for 25+ years and during a good chunk of that time I tested calcium, alkalinity, nitrate, pH and salinity on a regular basis and that was about it. I hardly, if ever, tested for magnesium or phosphate and my SPS were healthy and happy.
225 Gallon Reef Tank Maintained With Minimal Testing
Was I lucky? Is the minimalist approach the right way to go today in terms of testing? Not necessarily, but is the other extreme a better way to go? Today many folks, including myself, use lab-grade tests like Triton to measure such things as boron, lithium, potassium and strontium. Triton analyzes the water and gives a hobbyist a complete roadmap on what is lacking, what is on point and what is too high. Supplements can be dosed to hit the recommend targets.
A system like Triton is a great way to get a complete picture on the state of a reef tank but sometimes you have to be careful when you have too much information. For instance, is it really necessary to dose iodine if Triton shows levels to be deficient? What about lithium? Should a hobbyist take action if lithium levels are too high? To many, the answers to these questions are no.
And don’t underestimate the power of observation. Use your eyes to help gauge the health of a tank and avoid chasing numbers by targeting very specific data points. Instead, seek parameters within acceptable ranges. Problems can also arise if too many changes are made too often to a tank. You see, our captive reef ecosystems do not like change, they prefer stability, so course corrections should be done in moderation.
If you would like some help with a new tank build, including help designing a custom aquarium, or help re-configuring your current setup then you can visit this page for more information. And if you are looking to add some equipment, I do sell GHL, Pax Bellum, Reef Octopus Calcium and Kalk Reactors and Royal Exclusiv products, including Dreamboxes, which is the equipment I use and recommend. I also sell Reef Brite metal halide and LED fixtures as well as Maxspect & IceCap Gyres.
As for additional insights and information, please explore my many other reef tank and SPS related articles as well as my YouTube channel. For an even deeper dive into reef tank care you can check out my Reef Keeping Master Class. This online course is an immersive and one of a kind educational tool designed to help reef aquarium hobbyists build and maintain a beautiful SPS reef tank. The course is a series of video presentations with some supplemental video from my YouTube channel. There are also quizzes to help students retain and understand the information presented in the course.
Need some frags…..I can help with that as well 🙂 Please visit my SPS Frag store to see what is available.