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November 11, 2002

I have been taking care of aquariums for fifteen years.  The last twelve years I have taken care of salt water reef systems. 

These show tanks always invoked two utterances by the uninitiated viewer: One –Wow! That is a beautiful fish tank.  Two -How much work does it take to keep it running?

My response to the first was easy, “Thank you” but my response to the second was difficult.  I always felt torn between explaining how important, difficult and regimented your time has to be to maintain good coral growth and fish health, and sounding like a person with an obsessive compulsive personality disorder.

As a result, I gave the answer many of us reef keepers use – an accurate but incomplete answer.  “Well, it depends.  I can either spend twenty minutes everyday and a couple of hours on the weekend or if I don’t spend those twenty minutes everyday, then I have to spend a lot of time on the weekends.”

I now have an 800 gallon system.  A 600 gallon show tank and approximately 200 gallons of sump and plumbing – an endeavor I would never have undertaken without SeaVisions, Gerry Calabrese, and the DialySeas.  The response by guests is the same, but one of my answers is much different.  To the first, “Thank you,” but to the second I now respond, “Well, I clean the glass with this magnet once every four or five days.”  Recently, I began to feel slightly guilty by this answer, so now I respond, “ I only have to clean the glass every four or five days thanks to the DialySeas system.”

Once I get over my fear of sounding obsessive compulsive a more accurate answer would be,” Well, every thirty minutes, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, I spend 169 seconds testing my water, making up RO/DI water, mixing in salt to a salinity of 1.025, add calcium, add trace elements and change 0.125 gallons of water.”  I think I’ll stick to my first answer.

Thank you again  Gerry Calabrese.  The DialySeas has taken the “Have to,” out of my reef keeping regimen.  It gives me the freedom to propagate corals and breed fish at my leisure.  Salt water tanks are a hobby again, not a job.

Please feel free to contact me for any questions or concerns.  You can get my e-mail address from SeaVisions.

Richard E. DeChamplain, MD