No, we’re not talking about equipment. It’s right though, equipment does need to be efficient. For example, the skimmer, heater(s) and the like should be correctly sized and operating properly.
We’re talking more personally, about the aquarium and the aquarist. Efficiency seems a strange word to use when the aquarium should bring peace and interest, but that is the word to use in this instance. Maintenance is the baseline here.
When the aquarium is new everything is usually done on time. The aquarist is careful to complete each task carefully and completely. As time passes it becomes normal to complete checks and maintenance. It’s at this point that a threat could occur, ‘Do I need to do this now?’ Maintenance schedules can become tedious even though the aquarist is keen enough. Your wife needs to go out, the garden needs attention, that do-it-yourself job needs doing. Or maybe the aquarist just doesn’t feel like it. In some instances maintenance can be left a little while when obvious problems are interfering, such as illness, the high priority request of a loved one and the like. Short delays, or sometimes longer ones are clearly acceptable in some circumstances.
Many aquarists have schedules, such as generally maintenance is done on a particular day of the week because on this day usually sufficient time is available. This is good of course.
Unfortunately, the temptation can arise to leave maintenance until later. This could be for no reason other than it’s a nice day to sit outside or whatever. The danger is it could become habitual: shall I do it today or leave it for a bit? Leaving routine maintenance for a bit could be dodgy for the livestock, particularly if it happens regularly. Seawater could deteriorate, pumps could block or slow down etc. Aquariums do bring peace but there is a small cost. The cost is maintenance and a little time. A seawater change of the correct amount when scheduled, debris clearance, algae clearance, a general check of electrical items etc. The cost is zero except in a little time, the rewards are great, the aquarium continues to be beautiful and facinating.
Some maintenance can be done daily. Feeding the fish is maintenance and it is a pleasure, remembering not to overfeed as this can bring problems eventually, such as unwanted algae. Checking the corals generally, are they overgrowing, any problems? This sort of maintenance is a pleasure. After some time to allow viewing normality to build, even looking at the aquarium can be ‘maintenance’, if there is a change what is it and why has that occurred?
The other maintenance, cleaning the glass of algae, cleaning and tidying sand, cleaning filters, checking electrical items are functioning properly, seawater changing and the like, after years could become wearisome, though many aquarists never suffer this. If maintenance skipping becomes too regular then livestock could be at risk, posing a definitely unwanted threat.
The aquarium brings colour and peace to the aquarist in return for a small demand for maintenance. The livestock are nearly completely dependent on the aquarist, their lives included. The cost in time with maintenance is nearly zero with the returns of fascinating life and beauty.