One year comparison

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From October 2014 to October 2015, here's how my reef has changed for the better. 

Yesterday I made this comparison image of my reef, showing where it was Oct 2014 and where it is now. People often ask me how I'm able to grow it out like this, and the first thing I say is "I keep my hands out of the tank as much as possible."  Also, I don't frag stuff (although I will be soon).  I like to let everything grow nice and big, and only interact to move things if necessary. I definitely never overreact when I see a problem.

My system has a protein skimmer, calcium reactor and I have GAC in a reactor.  The refugium has macroalgae that I essentially ignore. Top off water replaces evaporation automatically.  Water changes are done every six weeks or so, and water tests are performed as needed (I really could improve in this area, getting back to my weekly routine).
When you set up a reef with quality equipment, it really does run itself. The Apex controller cycles the lights on and off, and regulates temperature swings. The clean up crew keeps the tank clean, although I do have to get involved about once a month to tackle pests (majanos, aiptasia, valonia).

I spend maybe one or two hours a week on the aquarium's needs.  I use a cleaning magnet to clean the viewing panes every 2-3 days. The skimmer's collection cup is cleaned every week or so, since the waste collector holds the skimmate. I dose Prodibio every 15 days, using all their vials.  The tank is fed at least three times a day, using an automatic feeder and offering thawed frozen Rod's Food at night. Nori is clipped to the glass for the tangs about four days a week. I don't feed the corals or anemone directly.

Some luck is necessary as well, but I do try to anticipate what can go wrong and avert it.  All the pumps are on battery backups, and if power is going to be out for an extended period I'll run a gasoline-powered generator. Good flow, good water, and good foods is what makes my reef beautiful.