The art of "tweaking."

"I'm doing a little tweaking on this tank to get it right..."

Ever said that, or heard another aquarist say that? I'll bet you have.

And what, exactly does it mean to "tweak" your system?

Well, to many hobbyists, "tweaking" is a minor adjustment in something, like a noisy overflow, extending the photoperiod, moving that one rock or plant that doesn't look just right, or getting that pH or hardness just right.

"Tweaking" is a time-honored tradition in aquarium-keeping. A testimony to our observation, skill, and desire to make things just right. A tribute to the very best of what the art (and science) of "aquaristics" is all about: Evaluating where your aquarium is at against where you want it to be, and making the appropriate adjustments to get it there.

Very rarely, as hobbyists, do we find ourselves in "cruise control" mode, just letting the aquarium sort of "run" and not doing too much. Oh, sure, you will undoubtedly reach a point where the system is humming along, operating smoothly, and reaching a sort of "stability" with minimal intervention required on your part. 

Notice, of course, that I said "minimal" intervention, because we always find ourselves needing to do "something" to keep things running smoothly, right? Whether it's some minor equipment adjustment, or a modification to an environmental parameter, there is almost always something to do to keep things humming along, part from the usual "maintenance" duties like feeding, top-off, and water changes..

The funny thing about the whole "tweaking" thing: Most hobbyists don't really see this as "work" or "extra labor". or anything of the kind.

Rather, we see it as a fun, interesting, sometimes challenging- yet essential-part of the aquarium hobby. If we look at the tweaks as just another part of the journey, and treat them as opportunities to learn, engage, and enhance our skill set, "tweaks" are just "what we do" as a part of owning aquariums.

If we look at such "tweaks" as a challenging, even onerous task, then the enjoyment is substantially diminished, and our expectations are dampened.

So, next time you find you need to adjust that filter output, cut down the photoperiod, move that Amazon Sword, or hide that dangling electrical cord, look at it as just another fun part of what we do, rather than a burdensome challenge.

Perspective is important in aquarium keeping, isn't it.

Something to think about.

Stay engaged. Stay happy. 

Stay Wet.

Scott Fellman

Tannin Aquatics

Scott Fellman
Scott Fellman


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