Ok, I am in the middle of a self-imposed pledge…..I am not buying any corals for three months! Why am I doing this? Because it will force me to minimize the amount of time I fuss with my tank and reduce the time I have my hands in the tank, which can introduce oils from the skin and stress out both corals and fish.

Drawbacks of Constant Tinkering

One key to keeping a successful reef tank is to let Mother Nature do her thing. Constant handling will stress out corals and potentially impact growth rates and colors. I know, a lot of us reef keepers have a tendency to move stuff around to achieve a better look. We must resist this temptation!


The way I typically roll when I buy a new frag is to relocate an underperforming frag to less desirable real estate and replace it with the new frag. But here is the rub….sometimes those lame looking frags turn into gems.


As an example, the frag below was doing nothing for months, tempting me numerous times to enter it into my frag relocation program. Eventually, I saw its potential and left it alone, watching it develop red branches with an interesting green base.


SPS Unknown


Meanwhile, the mini-colony below began as a nearly bleached out frag I received for free. I moved it around several times because, you know, it was the ugly duckling. Eventually, I let it be and it blossomed into a really neat piece. Yeah, it is a plain old Purple Valida but I dig it even tough it doesn’t have a fancy name.


Purple Valida

Avoid Overcrowding

Another thing I tend to do when buying new frags is to cram them into spots too close to other frags or corals. I guess I am a coral hoarder, not a good thing since corals need room to grow. Placing corals too close to one another also restricts flow, making it tougher for them to receive food and nutrients.


So does some of the above describe you? If so, you may want to join me in my three month frag “fast”. Now, we don’t want coral vendors to feel the pinch from this boycott so perhaps we can take turns. In all seriousness, patience is an important trait to have as a reef keeper and those who have it tend to be successful.



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If you are looking for additional insights and information, please explore my many other reef tank and SPS related articles as well as my book, A ReefBum’s Guide To Keeping an SPS Reef Tank: A Blueprint For Success. Additionally, you can see all of my reef tank videos online now as well as my Live HD Webcam.


Happy reef keeping!