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Reef Aquarium Launch

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How strong should the current in the aquarium be? Providing accurate data - for example, how many centimeters per second water should flow - is not easy, since it is very difficult to measure such parameters, therefore it is customary in a marine aquarist to measure the flow by the amount of pumped volumes of the aquarium in one hour. For calculation, only flow pumps are taken. Pumps pumping water from filters are not taken into account: they do not affect the flow in the “bank”. For a reef aquarium, flow is measured by at least 10 or 15 pumped volumes per hour. For 300-liter aquariums, mixing pumps must be used with a total recirculation volume of 3000-4500 liters per hour. It is best to distribute this power to two pumps placed opposite each other on opposite sides of the aquarium: this way you can simulate the flow of a natural coral reef. You can also connect the pumps to the relay: a pulsed water supply will create a “pendulum” flow, in which some invertebrates look more attractive and which in no way affects the health of animals. In addition, using the relay, you can turn on the pumps alternately and thereby avoid the appearance of "dead" zones in which water stagnates. With two pumps located on opposite sides of the aquarium, the recommended duration of each pump is 6-8 hours. 4-6 hours after the start of the first pump, the second pump is switched on. For a couple of hours, the pumps pump water together, then the first pump turns off and only the second pump works. After another 4-6 hours, the first pump turns on and the cycle starts again. However, a strong change of direction during the night should be avoided to prevent the suction of sleeping fish or moving invertebrate animals. If you have found the optimal flow regime in which invertebrates feel especially good, then it is advisable not to change it in order to avoid negative consequences for corals and polyps.

Whirlwinds in the aquarium? No problems!
Position the pump for current flow. so that the water flow produced by them hits, for example, the front wall of the aquarium. The turbulence resulting from the collision gives the aquarium a completely natural look.

If you plan to keep invertebrates, you need to find the most optimal place for them, taking into account the current. Place the coral in the planned place among the scenery and watch it for several days. If the coral is fully revealed (for example, the leathery coral opens all of its polyps), then its location is correct. If the coral did not open, then at least 5-6 days and at the latest - after 14 days - it must be transplanted. True, it must be borne in mind that the flow is not the only parameter that determines the well-being of corals. This also includes lighting, water quality and the general condition of the animal at the time of purchase. Heavily damaged coral will probably not be able to regenerate even under optimal conditions.

In order for the reader to get an idea of ​​the difference in the requirements for the flow that are presented by different aquarium animals, I tried to divide them into groups and give the most general recommendations (more detailed information can be found in the description of each specific animal):

1. For most fish species, the course does not play any special role. It is advisable for them to change the strength of the current: from very strong to moderate and weak.

2. Large-poly hard corals (eg, bubble corals, genera Trachyphyllia, Mussa and Cynarina) do not like a strong current. If the tissue of these corals is pressed by a powerful stream of water to the skeleton, then sooner or later this will lead to damage, which is very difficult to cure.

3. Small-poly hard and many leathery, soft and horned corals prefer a strong current.

4. Neoxanthode corals (for example, Tubastrea spp.) due to their method of nutrition they need a very strong current. In nature, they also live in biotopes with intense water circulation.

5. Giant shells of the family Tridacnidae both weak and strong currents are suitable.

6. It should not be allowed for the current to be directed directly at the coral bushes - it should “make” a route for itself parallel to these sedentary animals. Tender coral polyps do not open if they are in the flow path.

Equipment for the marine reef aquarium.

  • Aquarium
  • Lighting
  • Lighting timer
  • Salt designed specifically for a saltwater aquarium
  • Soil (sand, coral chips, etc.)
  • Living stones
  • Florator or Protein Skimmer
  • Water filter
  • Surge protector, e.g. Pilot (recommended)
  • Algae Scraper
  • SAMP (sump) and / or Refujium (optional, but preferred)
  • Quarantine aquarium
  • Pump (preferably 1-2 spare pumps) for pumping water
  • Flow pump (several pieces)
  • Food (depends on what you plan to keep in your saltwater aquarium)
  • Thermometer
  • Heater
  • Test kits (chlorine, pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate, calcium, alkalinity, iodine)
  • A reverse osmosis filter for water or better yet a PO / DI filter (reverse osmosis and deionization)
  • Hydrometer or refractometer
  • A pair of clean 20L buckets (for use only for the aquarium)
  • Fish, coral and other invertebrates

Macro algae Botriocladia (Eng. Botryocladia), Hetamorfa (Eng. Chaetomorpha), Gracillaria (Eng. Gracilaria), Cowlerpa (Eng. Caulerpa), intended for use in refugium.

Running a reef aquarium.

Research and study.
This is the most important part for the safe maintenance of not only a marine reef aquarium, but also any kind of fish or animal. Aquarists have a direct impact on the life or death of their fish and invertebrates, and without proper study it is impossible to determine whether a person can properly and properly care for their fish. Please do not take this item lightly. These are living beings.

If you belong to people who do not like to read or hate to do research, then you better reconsider your decision about whether you should start a marine reef aquarium. One of the benefits of research and study (reading books and articles on the Internet) is saving money. In other words, you don’t have to spend money on fish, plants, invertebrates and corals that you won’t be able to take good care of, as well as equipment that you don’t really need.

For example, many marine aquarists try to save money, so they buy inexpensive protein skimmers. After that, they are tormented for several weeks trying to set it up, and as a result they come to the conclusion that the purchased skimmer is money thrown to the wind. Then they buy the next skimmer for the price. And again, he is not the device they were counting on - the new acquisition is only slightly better than the first skimmer. This happens until the aquarist concludes that it is easier and cheaper to find feedback on the flora in a book or on the Internet, and then decide whether to buy it or not. As a result, he buys a really good skimmer. The moral of this story is that a person could save a couple of hundred dollars by studying just a few articles before buying or watching a few videos. By the way, there are reviews about skimmers on the House of Knowledge in the section "Marine Aquarium".

Speaking about research, we are not talking about scientific research in which you have to document / retell / quote something, etc. Here, research means reading and concentrating on finding information regarding your investment in marine fish and aquarium equipment. Remember that research on your future marine reef aquarium should be fun and exciting. Learn to enjoy this process because the more you learn, the more you will want to learn.

In addition, it must be borne in mind that setting up and launching a marine reef aquarium is an expensive pleasure. For a more detailed understanding of the difference in price between different types of aquariums, read the article "Freshwater or marine?".

Decide what you will contain.
The exact definition of what you will contain is the first thing to consider when planning a marine aquarium with corals. The launch of the aquarium, as well as its size, shape and dimensions (depth) are completely dependent on its future inhabitants. For example, if you want to contain corals, you may need a small aquarium in which you can get the maximum light intensity on corals. If you wish to contain surgeons' fish, then you will most likely need a much larger and longer reservoir.

The lighting that you have to buy will depend on determining what you want to contain. Lighting a marine aquarium with corals can be quite confusing, but this will be discussed in this article a little lower. When conducting research, you may find that there is no described and documented way of caring for the animals that interest you. And by the way, before you finally decide on the choice of fish and other inhabitants for your aquarium, this can happen repeatedly, especially when it comes to marine aquarium.

For best results, experts recommend focusing on a particular biotope or a specific reef niche. Mixing animals from different parts of the reef can have unpredictable consequences during the launch and / or maintenance of the aquarium. In addition, in order to achieve longer-term success, many aquarists try to avoid mixing soft corals with hard ones. This does not mean that you cannot keep them in one aquarium, just doing it right is quite difficult, since many corals are simply incompatible and can destroy each other.

Keep a journal.
A magazine (file on a computer, copybook, paper, etc.) can be very useful when starting a marine aquarium with corals. It can take the form of an ordinary notepad with records of checks of water parameters, dates and with any other notes. An ordinary computer program Microsoft Excel, as well as any other application for creating tables, can facilitate and make this work more convenient. For example, in the top row of the table, you can specify the checked (tested) parameters, such as ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, calcium, pH and others, and in the first and second column indicate the date and time. Below the picture you can download an Excel file with an example of a log for a marine aquarium. A huge advantage of using spreadsheets is the ability to draw up a chart or graph from the obtained test indicators. For example, when you have already put down the results of calcium tests for several months, then you can create a graph from them that will give you a good idea of ​​how quickly calcium is depleted in your system.

Table of water parameters in a marine aquarium with corals.

Another great idea is to take pictures of the aquarium. For example, if you have a digital camera, then you can photograph the container several times a week, and as a result get an excellent history of the development of your marine aquarium with corals. It can also help to get a better picture of how fast your corals grow.

Purchase equipment for a marine aquarium with corals.
Take a look at the largest aquarium online stores and local pet stores. Choose those that can offer you the best equipment at the lowest price. If you decide to make an order via the Internet, then do not forget that the cost of goods will also have to pay delivery. Usually, new aquarium equipment even with online delivery costs less than similar products in stationary stores. Through the online store you can even buy an aquarium, and it will most likely cost you an order of magnitude less than buying the same in the market or in a pet store. The only minus for online purchases is that you have to wait a while for the order to be delivered.

After you have exactly decided on the animals you want to keep, you will have a fairly simple question: "What is the minimum equipment necessary for your marine life?". Since we are talking about creating a marine aquarium with corals, the list of equipment presented at the beginning of the article is just a recommendation from which to start. Additional equipment, for example, can be a refrigerator for an aquarium. It may be needed to maintain a stable temperature on hot days, as well as in cases where the temperature of the water in the aquarium is constantly increasing due to, for example, powerful lighting (especially if there are metal halide lamps).

Another very cool equipment that can be seriously considered from the very beginning of the creation of the aquarium is a biopellet reactor. This device shows very good water treatment results in any saltwater aquarium, including reef ones. Bio-balls help remove nitrates and phosphates from the aquarium, and this in turn helps limit the growth of harmful algae.

Set up an aquarium and equipment.
First, choose a place in the house for your future coral marine aquarium. It can not be placed near windows, near heating appliances, in a draft, or in a kitchen or in a room with increased noise. Then, in the selected place, install a cabinet with a very flat countertop, check its level (should stand strictly horizontally) and lay a thin substrate on it. For example, foam placed between the tank and the stand can help reduce minor leveling problems. After that, install an aquarium on the cabinet with a substrate and to determine if there are leaks, pour fresh water into it. Believe me, it’s better to check it for flow at this stage than when there will be soil, living stones, salt water, etc.

Depending on what is in the tank, a marine reef aquarium has a weight of:

1 liter of volume - 1.2-1.7 kg of weight

As a rule, as an approximate guideline it is customary to take an average of 1.5 kg per 1 liter. This means that a filled 100 liter aquarium can have a weight of about 170 kg. This also means that before you install a marine aquarium with corals on the top floor, you must be 100% sure of the ceiling strength on which it will stand.

Preparing sea water for an aquarium with corals. Pickling.
If your aquarium has successfully passed the leak test and level test, then fill it with dechlorinated tap water or even better water after reverse osmosis. Non-filtered tap water may contain dissolved substances, which usually contribute to the development of algae, but should be fine after reverse osmosis. When the aquarium is about 2/3 full, add a pre-measured amount of salt (use the amount intended for the full volume of water), designed specifically for salting saltwater aquariums. When adding salt, the more exact name of which is the salt mixture, follow the instructions on the package. If you do not have packaging, then the necessary information can be found on the salt manufacturer's website.

Stir the water until the salt mixture has dissolved. Fill the aquarium with dechlorinated fresh water or water after reverse osmosis, and then put 1-2 regular pumps in it (you can use aquarium flow pumps) so that the water moves constantly.After a few hours, check the specific gravity of the water (salinity) using a hydrometer. It should be in the range of 1.023 to 1.025. A little higher or lower is also okay. In extreme cases, you can use a range from 1.021 to 1.026. If the density is too high, then it can be reduced by removing a small amount of water from the tank and replacing it with clean fresh water. If the density of the water is too low, you can add more salt to it and mix again. Do not worry if you have trouble mixing sea water. After several water changes you will become a true salt water mixing professional.

Adding live stones.
After salting the aquarium water, it is time to add real marine living stones to the tank. In an aquarium, living stones serve not only as very beautiful ornaments, but also as a biological filter. High-quality living stones are very porous, therefore they have a huge surface area on which entire colonies of beneficial bacteria settle, processing biological waste from fish, corals and other aquarium inhabitants.

It is necessary to install living stones not only on the basis of an aesthetic appearance, but also so that subsequently they do not interfere with cleaning the aquarium and do not injure its inhabitants. So that living stones do not interfere with cleaning the aquarium, they are recommended to be placed so that the distance between them and vertical glasses is at least 7-10 cm. This will allow more comfortable to clean glass from algae. In addition, they can only be installed directly on the glass bottom of the aquarium. If you decide to put them on top of the sand, then after a while they can simply move and / or tip over, breaking the aquarium or injuring the fish.

It is dangerous to place living stones on top of one another without any fixing them, as they may collapse sooner or later. Therefore, many aquarists to give the aquarium an unusual design create different shapes from living stones (grottoes, towers, etc.), connecting them together using plastic screeds and sealant (glue) designed specifically for this purpose. In addition, small holes can be drilled into them, helping to create unusual rocky shapes. Then the stones are connected with plastic ties or put on plastic or titanium pins. You need to make holes quickly so that the bacteria do not die in the air, and also very carefully and use a dust mask. The possibilities are endless, and you can be limited only by your budget and imagination. With the help of living stones, sealant, screeds and pins, you can make really interesting caves, bridges, and canopies that emphasize the beauty of the system.

If you will create a beautiful aquarium design with the help of "cured" live stones (immediately after purchase at a local pet store), then you can immediately proceed to the next step. If you buy "not cured" live stones, then first you will need to cure them. This usually takes from a few days to several weeks. The duration of treatment depends on the shape of the stones and the degree of necrosis. The degree of recovery of living stones is determined using aquarium test kits. If they are healthy, then there should not be any signs of ammonia or nitrites in the water.

Sand for a saltwater aquarium.
There are many different types of sand available for aquarium enthusiasts. Some of them are better suited for marine coral aquariums, others are worse. With a shallow layer of sand, grains of sand having a diameter of 1 mm to 2 mm are considered optimal. Too small grains of sand can delay the free flow of gases, while too large grains facilitate the penetration of detritus into the soil (small remains of dead organisms and their release) and lead to the accumulation of organic matter. Yes, similar problems can occur with sand having a diameter of sand grains of 1-2 mm, but in it this happens much less often.

You can also sometimes find something that is sold under the name "live sand", which often costs a lot more than "dry sand". It makes no sense to dispute manufacturers' claims that live healthy bacteria are included in a package of live sand, but to be honest, sometimes it's very hard to believe. For example, how can these bacteria stay alive for such a long time (sometimes for many months) when they are in hermetically sealed packaging and often exposed to extreme temperatures during transport? The only sand that can rightfully be called living is that which is taken directly from an operating aquarium or from the ocean or sea. Sometimes aquarists exchange a small amount of sand in the hope of increasing the population of living organisms in their sand formations. This is perhaps the best and cheapest way to revive the "dry sand".

Sand cleaning for a saltwater aquarium.
To clean the sand, you can use a 20l bucket. To do this, the bucket is filled with sand about half. Then tap water is poured into it and slowly mix (in a circle). This procedure helps to release dry powdery dirt (it rises). After this, dirty water is drained. Repeat this process several times. At the end of cleaning, clean sand is slowly poured into the aquarium. Do not worry about the water becoming cloudy. This is normal and dust will soon disappear.

Recently, experts recommend using either a shallow sandy bottom, or vice versa - a deep sandy bottom, not an intermediate one. But what is a "shallow sandy bottom" and a "deep sandy bottom"?

Shallow sandy bottom - this is the depth of sand up to 5cm. If at the same time most of the sand remains ventilated, then most likely you will not have oxygen-free zones.

Deep sandy bottom - This is a sand depth of more than 10cm. In this case, oxygen-free (with a low oxygen content) and anaerobic conditions will begin to occur, which will contribute to denitrification at a depth of 10-12 cm.

Anything between 5cm and 10cm can (theoretically) lead to the rapid flowering of algae on top of the sand. And all because in the lower layers of sand you will get oxygen-free conditions, and in the upper layers detritus (dead organics) will begin to accumulate. Thus, a sandy bottom with a depth of 5 cm to 10 cm is considered the worst option.

Many aquarists choose a shallow sandy bottom, as it looks more natural and beautiful than deep sand. The need for deep sand disappears if you use a sufficient amount of living stones in your saltwater aquarium to facilitate adequate denitrification (conversion of nitrates into nitrites, and then into molecular nitrogen and gaseous oxides).

After adding purified dry sand to the aquarium, add any “live” sand taken from the existing aquarium to it and mix. As a result, you will get a layer of sand, which will immediately contain many new species of living organisms and bacteria.

After adding sand to the aquarium, leave it for a couple of days or longer so that the dust settles, and bacteria and microorganisms begin to multiply.

The movement of water in a marine aquarium with corals.
Remember the video of shooting real coral reefs. There is a constant movement of water and constant shock waves. In addition, there is no constant unidirectional flow of water in the ocean, as ordinary single flow pumps do. But to reproduce such conditions in an aquarium (on a much smaller scale) is possible. To do this, use the so-called wave generator (which can be quite expensive) or connect several pumps at once. Thus, the flow pumps generate the violent currents needed by the corals. They must be fixed on the glass of the aquarium so that the streams they reproduce intersect and create water turbulence. Do not direct the pump outlets directly onto the coral, as this can damage the coral tissue after some time. In addition, it must be remembered that each added flow pump can increase the temperature of the water in the aquarium. If you install too many pumps that will not cope with the load, then you may have a serious problem with the temperature of the water. Therefore, it is better to have fewer large pumps than many small ones.

Strong water flows are important for several reasons. They contribute to the fact that detritus and not eaten feed do not fall to the ground, but are sent to mechanical filters, protein skimmers, etc. It follows that the flow pumps help to remove contaminants from the water before they decompose and affect the quality of the water. In addition, streams can wash away the mucus that corals sometimes form, protecting themselves from predators or other corals. Also, water currents carry particles of food that corals capture and eat.

If you want to buy one of the best examples of equipment for water movement, then take a look at the flow pumps from the Ecotech Vortech company. These pumps are very expensive, but as you know, for a marine aquarium with corals it is better to buy a more expensive, but quality thing, than a cheap one, but with which many problems can arise. A detailed review of one of the models can be found in the article "EcotechVortech Flow Pump". With them comes the so-called driver, with which you can create a variety of water flows, including in the export mode of nutrients and wave mode. In an aquarium, corals (especially SPS) are very fond of pulsating waves, about 2-3 cm high. They can be created by installing Ecotech Vortech pumps at opposite ends of the marine reef aquarium.

Buying lighting for a coral marine aquarium.
Finding the right lighting for your coral aquarium can be tricky for beginners, but it is one of the most important components of a successful marine reef aquarium. Each aquarist is interested in preserving all of his corals, most of which use zooxanthellae (unicellular symbiotic algae), which in turn use photosynthesis to supply food for corals. Some corals are also filtrators (they filter water to get food from it), but at the same time they can get almost everything they need from the photosynthesis of zooxanthellae in their tissues.

Here you will find out the main points to consider when choosing a lighting system for a marine aquarium with corals. But keep in mind that these are only general requirements, so be sure to study every coral and every animal that you want to keep before buying any kind of lighting.

General lighting requirements:

    Before you buy a lamp, be sure to explore corals and invertebrates. This will help you understand if it is suitable for your future aquarium.

The deeper the aquarium, the lower the light intensity reaches its bottom. That is why for smaller aquariums, luminaires can cost significantly less than for deep tanks. From this we can also conclude that corals that will be located at the bottom of the tank will receive significantly less light than those that will be located on living stones and other jewelry, that is, closer to the surface of the water.

Soft corals they should feel comfortable in standard aquariums (up to 60 cm high) with Power Compacts fluorescent lamps.

For large polyps of hard corals suitable fluorescent lamps HO (powerful lamps "High Output") or VHO (very powerful lamps "Very High Output"). You can also put more poor lighting, but in this case, hard corals will have to be placed at the top of the aquarium.

  • Small polyps of hard corals they can also feel normal with T5 fluorescent lamps or metal halide lamps. But still, with T5 lamps, you may still have to place corals at the top of the aquarium. Metal halide lamps in this case are perhaps the most optimal, but they can be quite expensive and at the same time significantly raise the temperature of the water in the aquarium. T5 High Output lamps are now very popular, as they are more durable, cheaper and produce less heat than metal halides.
  • Despite its high cost, recently, LED lighting has become more and more popular, since such lamps can be fully adapted to the needs of the aquarium and its inhabitants. Such lamps consist of dozens or even hundreds of individual LEDs, each of which has its own spectrum - different types of white, green, blue, red LEDs, as well as infrared and ultraviolet. You can control all these diodes at the same time using a special mini computer - a controller that can not only turn on and off the light in the aquarium, but also make slow sunsets and sunrises, night illumination (moon), clouds, thunder, etc. In addition, aquarists can control the most modern controllers not only when they are nearby, but also via the Internet or telephone. All that is needed is to connect the mini-computer to the Internet and install software on the phone, tablet or computer. And finally, another advantage of such LED lighting is that these lamps emit much less heat than, for example, metal halide or fluorescent.

    In any case, setting up lighting for a marine aquarium with corals is one of the biggest money investments (can be very expensive), and lighting itself is one of the areas that you need to spend a lot of time studying, especially if you want your corals lived happily ever after.

    Fortunately, now there is a huge selection of aquarium lighting systems on sale, as well as hundreds or even thousands of reviews about their work. Therefore, before you buy lighting, read (for example, on various forums on the Internet) what other aquarists write about it. To do this, simply enter in the search engine, for example, Google, the request “feedback on aquarium LED lighting” or “review of metal halide aquarium lighting”.

    Light timer
    In addition to the lighting itself, you will also need to buy a timer (if there is no controller), allowing you to program the on / off lamps. At first glance, such timers may seem like a waste of money, but in fact they are worth it, providing the aquarist peace of mind. They provide the aquarium and its inhabitants with a stable daylight, which is very important for the health and growth of any coral.

    SAMP for a saltwater aquarium.
    SAMP, which is also called a sedimentation tank or mud sump, is a separate reservoir, which is usually fed to water by gravity through the overflow inside the aquarium. Water flows through the overflow edge into the pipe, and then flows into the SAMP. The return of clean water from the SAMP to the aquarium takes place with the help of a pump located in the sump. Setting up a SAMP can be quite complicated. You must make sure that it can contain all the water that can leak into it from the main aquarium in the event of a power outage and stopping the return pump.

    SAMP has several rather serious advantages:

      inside the sump you can hide all ugly equipment, such as, for example, filters, heaters, etc.

    increases the total amount (volume) of water in the system.

    making water changes through the SAMP can be easier than through an aquarium, since the sump is usually located in a cabinet closer to the ground.

    it is easier to add evaporated water to the SAMP than to the aquarium.

    It’s easier to add additives to the SAMP, since they first dissolve in it well, and only then get into the aquarium itself.

  • one of the SAMP compartments can be used as a refujium.
  • Refujim and its setting.
    Refujium is an aquarium (additional to the main one), which is a refuge for beneficial microorganisms. Using pipes, it is connected to the rest of the system. In refujium, aquarists usually make a deep sandy layer (bottom), and then place macro-algae (e.g. Khetamorfu) and / or live stones in it. Recently, such containers have become very popular. Now even refugium models have appeared that can be hung on the rear or side glass of the aquarium.

    What is important refujium? Well, macroalgae do a great job of removing nitrates, phosphates, carbon dioxide and other nutrients from the water. You can then remove these nutrients by harvesting macro algae. Essentially this involves pruning growing macro-algae. In addition, many life forms useful for the aquarium, such as amphipods and copepods, can live in macroalgae. Once the populations of these smallest organisms reach significant sizes, they can be used to feed fry of fish and corals. For refujium, most likely, you will need to install a separate light source.

    Do I need a mechanical filter in a marine aquarium?
    In a marine coral aquarium, a mechanical filter (e.g. pump-action or canister) is optional. Many aquarists install such filters only if it becomes necessary to use activated carbon or if it is necessary to use any substances to remove phosphates (if algae growths appear in the aquarium).

    The main idea of ​​filtering seawater is that most organic substances will be removed by the flora, and until it breaks, you do not need to run a canister or pump-action filter. In fact, these same filters can aggravate the problems of nitrates if the filter material is not cleaned and / or replaced on time (for example, every two days or more often).

    Installing a protein skimmer.
    Protein skimmer (flora) - this is perhaps one of the devices without which it is quite difficult to keep a marine aquarium with corals clean. Florators are mounted (suspended on the glass outside or inside the aquarium) or those that are installed inside the SAMP. Some aquarists recommend not including the skimmer at the start of the aquarium, but not everyone does. For example, if you will be treating live stones, the flotator will help you cope with unpleasant secretions. During this period, you simply need to often clean the container (bowl) into which all the dirt will collect.

    It should also be noted that a skimmer is not absolutely necessary to run a marine aquarium with corals. Some aquarists even believe that floaters do more harm than good by removing good substances along with the waste. They assure that instead of a skimmer, frequent partial water changes can be used (if the aquarium is not overpopulated). However, most experts recommend not to refuse to use a skimmer if you do not have much experience in maintaining reef aquariums. In addition, in the long run, using a flora will be much cheaper than frequent partial water changes (salt mixtures are not cheap).

    Here are some skimmer reviews:

    • Octopus 800s are very good.
    • Octopus 200 NW - very good.
    • AquaC Remora is a good hinged florist.
    • Tunze Nano is a good one.
    • Hydor Slim Skim is a great skimmer.
    • The Octopus 200 NW is good, but it needs to be tuned often.
    • Fission Nano - not worth the money spent.
    • Visi-Jet-PS - not recommended.

    Let everything work.
    So, you added sand and live stones, installed SAMP, refujium, skimmer, and, possibly, a mechanical filter. Now you need to let the system work for several days (up to one week), while controlling the quality of the water. If after starting the aquarium for several days you do not find any ammonia or nitrites (while you can detect minor amounts of nitrates), you can slowly start populating the aquarium.

    Slowly add quarantined fish and corals.
    Now it's time to add fish, corals and other invertebrates to your marine reef aquarium. Do this slowly and always only through the quarantine aquarium. Believe me, the time spent on this will pay off, since marine fish and corals are very expensive, and nobody wants to lose them. Installing and starting a quarantine aquarium will not cost you much, but this is another important step in the process of acclimatizing fish to the aquarium. Only after strict quarantine will your aquarium be truly successful and healthy. Keep your fish and corals quarantined for several weeks. This will allow you to monitor them for signs of infection and parasites. Especially carefully monitor the presence in marine fish of diseases called Sea Oodinia (Amyloodinum) and Sea Ichthyophthyroidism (Cryptocaryon). At the first sign, proceed with treatment.

    The quarantine aquarium also allows the fish to recover after delivery without being harassed by their neighbors.

    Corals can also be carriers of diseases, which is why many aquarists use the so-called immersion procedure to disinfect them, where corals are immersed in a Lugol solution (concentrated iodine) for 10-15 minutes, and only then placed in a quarantine tank. This is considered a therapeutic treatment. There are also pests on corals, so they must be examined.

    Caring for a marine aquarium with corals.
    A few weeks after the launch of the marine reef aquarium, you will begin to notice an increase in the amount of algae on the walls of the tank and, possibly, on stones and sand. You can get rid of the blooming of unwanted diatoms on glasses with a scraper. Magnetic scrapers are especially popular now. To remove algae from sand, use an aquarium vacuum "vacuum cleaner", but do it very carefully, removing only the algae located on top (you do not need to go deep into the sand with a vacuum cleaner).

    Daily care of a marine aquarium with corals:

      Check the water temperature.

    Look at the behavior of fish, corals and invertebrates.

    Feed fish and corals (if necessary).

    To clear aquarium glass from any diatoms - they are easier to remove daily than to allow the aquarium to overgrow.

    Empty and wash the skimmer cup. A dirty cup can adversely affect skimmer performance.

  • Replace the evaporated water with clean (after reverse osmosis) fresh or at least filtered tap water.
  • Weekly care for a marine aquarium with corals:

      Check water for nitrates, pH, alkalinity and calcium levels, and possibly phosphates and silicates.

    As they grow, corals will start to consume more and more calcium from the water, so you will need to replenish calcium levels and maintain alkalinity. Dosing of lime water is an easy way to keep these indicators at the required levels. You can reduce the dose of lime water when the light in the aquarium is turned off. This will compensate for any increase in pH. You can also use a calcium reactor to maintain the level of calcium in the water (this is perhaps the best way to maintain these levels), but a calcium reactor is a very expensive pleasure.

    Perform partial water changes (10 percent).

    Wipe the power cords and also remove any salt around or in the aquarium.

  • Clean the air intakes of pumps, coolers (if any) and / or a skimmer.
  • Testing water parameters.
    Testing the water parameters in a marine aquarium is important not only for the well-being of the fish, but also for the health and growth of corals. Keep your water weight, pH, calcium, and alkalinity at an optimal level. This is very important if you want to see coral growth.

    Buy a good test kit, and you will always have on hand tests for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, phosphates, pH (it is very convenient to use an automatic pH meter), iodine (if you plan to dose iodine), calcium, alkalinity and, naturally, hydrometer.

    Here are the optimal water parameters for a marine aquarium with corals:

      Specific Gravity: 1,023-1,025

    Temperature: 23-27 0 C (75-80 0 F)

    Alkalinity: 2.1 to 2.5 meq / L

    Ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and phosphates: 0 meq / L

    Do not forget to check as often as possible and be sure to record the results to monitor the progress of your aquarium.

    Enjoy your aquarium and keep learning all the time.
    The launch phase of the marine reef aquarium is already behind, but there is much more to come. Believe me, there is still much that can be learned about corals, fish and invertebrates, and this can be very interesting. Watch your creation. Love your home reef, and it will certainly repay you with beauty and a good mood presented.

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