Water Quality -RO/DI
The most important factor in any aquarium is water quality. Your tank lives and dies by the quality of water you provide. Doing frequent water changes (WC) will help you maintain a clean and healthy environment for your fish and/or reef. Water changes should be done weekly or bi-weekly, and should consist of 15-20% of your tanks volume, INCLUDING YOUR SUMP!
When choosing the type of water to use for your water changes make sure its RO (Reverse Osmosis) or DI(DeIonization) water. If you use water out of your tap, make sure you check for phosphates and dangerous metals such as copper as these can be harmful for your live stock. You can get RO water from your LFS (local fish store) mixed or non-mixed, many grocery stores such as Wal-mart, Safeway, etc; or you can buy your own filter and create your own RO/DI water.
Water changes can not be stressed enough. Keeping your water changes on a schedule is a key component, as water changes replenish your tanks Calcium and other trace minerals. Keep in mind! A water change is like a breath of fresh air for your live stock.
There are so many types of foods and additives that you can get to supplement your tank, but before you “buy” make sure you “need”. Often new aquarists will buy just about anything they are told to get. I can’t even count the times that my LFS has told me these words, “You Need This”, and I would buy it. Now I have so many bottles of different foods that are collecting dust.
It all depends on what species and quantity of corals you have. Often just water changes are enough to replenish what your tank needs.
This is probably one of the most debated topics in the hobby. Again, the type of lighting you need is based on the type of corals that you decide to keep in your tank. Some aquarists say you need 4-5 watts of lighting per gallon of water in your tank Soft corals need less lighting, as the more stoney corals depend on more intense lighting.
Coral placement in your tank is also very important when it comes to lighting. Coral bleaching can be caused by too much or too little lighting. Actually, not enough lighting can cause DEATH to some corals as well. Corals are photosynthetic, meaning they do need light to grow, just some need less than others.
Most soft corals such as mushrooms, kenya, leathers, and zoas are better off placed in the low to mid range of the tank. This usually provides them with enough light.
Water movement is simply something you have to have. Flow in the aquarium helps keep your tank clean as well as providing the transportation of food to your corals and fish. The water movement also helps supply the aquarium with oxygen and helps in keeping your sand bed free of algae.
By Brandon Gallagher
Brandon Gallagher is a saltwater aquarist who hosts his own site at ChehalisCoral.Com Check out his site for more reef tips and information.