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Future advances in reef keeping?

Higher Thinking

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I was doing some reading earlier on Stuber's Stag. If you're not familiar with it it was the first documented Acropora actually kept alive in captivity. It happened sometime in the mid 80's. I guess the guy got it on a piece of live rock and it just sprouted up and kept growing.


Anyway, that got me thinking. What do you think are going to be the huge developments in the next decade or two? Maybe something about not doing water changes or maybe doing more water changes? New developments in salt mixes? What do you think we will be able to do that we cannot do now? It's pretty crazy how far this for hobby has come in only a couple of decades and it's even crazier to think about where it can be in a couple decades in the future. What are your thoughts?

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It's crazy how far it has come.  I was stoked on getting an ATO unit in 02' and now I just bought a controller that will email me in Mexcio if my return pump goes off so I can enable my back up return pump... from Mexico! I had the latest and greatest lights when I started, Power Compacts. I even had one of the first all in ones for salt water, it was an Eclipse, and we took out the filter pad, placed in rubble rock and called it a refugium. People were running these Foam Faction filters... My return pump used to take 300w and sounded like a small boat motor, now it is 9w, silent and pushes more water then the boat motor. The changes already have been amazing and hard to keep up with as a hobbyist. You used to have to be part inventor just to be in the hobby, not so much now. 


Given how far we have come gives me hope that my ludicrous ideas of what is next is actually obtainable. 


1. Dosers for all elements we choose run off of probes that auto dose to maintain levels based on where you set them. You want you Ca to be at 450, you program it in, when your Ca drops to 449, it dumps a little Ca in your system, self regulated by a probe. Same for Alk, or Strontium, even for some Ammino's if you choose. I think someone will rig it, then someone else will patent it and sell it as a box that just goes in your sump with refillable tubes, like the chemicals were hand soap.

2. Auto feeders for frozen foods that don't require drilling your college fridge. 

3. Advances in lighting. Just watching what Bomber is doing I can't wait to see the next steps. LED's have changed so much even in the last 5 years. The technology is still growing and I can't wait to see it evolve. Plasma lights? Are we going to see those come into play?

4. DSR method of reefing will grow IMO. It's getting to easy not to do water changes with the ease of carbon dosing for nutrient removal

5. Cycling a tank is going to become as common as peeing in one to cycle it is now. Bottle bacteria's that do instant cycles are available now and I think will become the common way to cycle a tank, same day. 

6. Probiotics added to all fish foods. It's starting now, I think it will continue

7. In 20 years I think a wild collected coral will sell for more then a captive raised frag. They will be more rare. 

8. I think Clean up crews will have less snails in them (unless stomellas, which people will pay for), and rely more on shrimps. 

9. Aquascapes made of man made rock, sold as one piece, per tank size. 

10. Designer corals will be made by transferring zooxanthellae from like species for certain looks. (In 20 years I might be able to spell zooxanthellae as well, but that might be to much to ask for)

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I think the biggest advance is IF the Mindstream monitor ever comes out and works properly. The shear fact that it monitors so many parameters will revolutionize testing and dosing.


In general I believe the next decade is going to be the "testing" age. With Triton, many quality home tests, and the general knowledge sharing of accuraies and necessary levels I'm sure a push for ease and quantity of testing is coming.


Of course, lighting tech will always be changing with next gen LEDs using less power for higher output. Hopefully that comes with more spectral refinement and quality as well.


Exciting times to be a reef keeper! Look forward to it!

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I'm sure we all would pay big money for an all in one testing/monitoring system. I know I would. Something like the Thrive analysis just affordable and in home, even if every LFS had one that would be cool, another excuse to go in and buy stuff.

The designer aquascape would be cool also.

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There will be further advancement in technology and reefkeeping, of course. There will be, and also needs to be, more captive breeding of fish and invertebrates.  As wild populations are endangered by natural and man-made disasters, and collecting is increasingly prohibited, eventually only captive raised may be available. I hate to think that someday, some things may only exist in home aquariums and no longer in the wild.

Sorry about the partly gloomy forcast, but this does need to be considered.

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a robot or cyborg servant who does all my maintenance.


Just better stuff overall...Newer stronger materials all around.


New challenges that may gain in popularity are deepwater tanks, jellyfish tanks, NPS Tanks, coldwater tanks, or possibly an underwater volcano tank with organisms that can survive underwater hydrothermal vents that get up to 160C more then 1000m under the sea.

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