Starting your first saltwater reef aquarium with live rock or live sand will help to shorten the time needed for your tank to re-cycle properly. This is because the life rocks and live sand will create a perfect environment for the nitrifying bacteria to grow and thrive. Life rocks are basically calcium carbonate remains of dead corals and other calcareous sea creatures. Before choosing your live rocks, it is important that you have already decided on your saltwater reef aquarium theme first. This is because live rock from different oceans will have a different kind of coralline algae that grows on it and each coralline algae will have their own unique color. For more information about live rock and live sand, click on the link.
Whether or not to put substrate or sand bed in your saltwater reef aquarium will depend on your preference. However, having a substrate or sand bed in an aquarium will have the following benefit:
1. It will make you tank landscaping to look more beautiful and attractive as a combination of sandy substrate with live rocks will create a more natural look or environment for your tank.
2. Having a sand bed will improve your tank biological filter de-nitrification process compare to having only live rocks. However, to achieve this, your substrate thickness or depth should at least be about three to four inch.
For more information about the benefit of substrate or sand bed in a saltwater reef aquarium, click on the link.
Protein skimmer is an equipment that every saltwater reef aquarium should have. Its purpose is to reduce the load of the ammonia-neutralizing bacteria in your tank. Protein skimmer can be considered as the first line of defense against the harmful effects of ammonia and nitrite in the saltwater reef aquarium. By having a protein skimmer, you will be able to keep a higher number of inhabitants in a smaller tank as it will help to reduce the load of the tank biological filter by removing the organic waste from the water before it decay and turn into ammonia and harm your fishes and corals. Visit this page to know more about the benefit of protein skimmer in the saltwater reef aquarium.
Having a good water flow or movement in your saltwater reef aquarium is an important requirement if you want your fishes, corals and anemones to stay healthy and strong. Good water movement or flow is especially needed by the corals and anemones as they depend on the water flow to bring them oxygen, food and to remove waste by-product. Fishes will also benefit by having a good water flow in the saltwater reef aquarium as this will give them some physical activity when swimming against the flow. For more information and guide on how to create the perfect water movement or water flow in the saltwater reef aquarium using your power heads or submersible water pumps, click on the link.
If you live in an area with seasonal heat spells that causes your aquarium water temperature to vary a lot during the day time and night, then you need to have a chiller or cooling system for your saltwater reef aquarium The use of chiller or cooling system in the tank will bring down the water temperature to the desirable range. The use of chiller or cooling system will also ensure that the water temperature will not vary too much so that the fishes and invertebrates will not be stressed. Generally it is best to maintain your water temperature to be between 72°F – 78°F (22°C-25°C). Chiller is expensive and complicated equipment and if your tank needs it to maintain the ideal temperature, then it is best that you plan it into your overall system and layout during the set-up stage. Visit this page for more information and guide about saltwater reef aquarium cooling system or chilling system.
Keeping your saltwater reef aquarium temperature at a stable range is important to the well being of your fishes and invertebrates. Depending on the type of creatures that you keep, it is generally desirable to maintain the tank temperature to be between 72F – 78F (22-25C). Higher temperature is normally not recommended for the saltwater reef tank as the amount of dissolved oxygen in the warmer water is less then in the cooler water. The temperature should also be control so that the fluctuation is as little as possible to prevent from stressing the fishes or corals which can cause infections or illness to them. It is generally easier and cheaper to heat up an aquarium than to cool it down and also using two smaller power rating heater instead of one bigger rating heater is better as this will give you a more balance water temperature circulation. click on the link for more information and guide about Heater and Heating System for Saltwater Aquarium, .
Choosing a good and quality lighting system is important in a saltwater reef aquarium as most corals and anemones need the correct amount of light to grow and stay healthy. When exposed to too little light, they will have a stunted growth and will die. Too much light will also cause harm and stress to these organisms. As such, lighting should be just at the right amount in term of intensity and spectrum. This is due to the fact that the corals and anemones have the symbiotic algae called zooxanthellae in their tissue and each algae have their own light requirement. For beginners, it is recommended that you start with a lighting system that is within the 6,500 k – 10,000 K range as this is the condition found during noon time around the tropical oceans. However, depending on the type of corals and anemones that you keep, you might need to adjust the lighting later to suit the specific requirement of your saltwater reef tank inhabitants. Visit the following page for more information and guide about choosing saltwater reef aquarium lighting system and requirement,
The Berlin Filtration system is one of the most effective and popular filtration method used today by hobbyist as it is easy to set-up and also maintained. This is a biological filtration system and all that is needed to set it up is live sand or live rocks. This is to create condition conducive for the anaerobic bacteria that convert the ammonia from the decaying organics matter into less harmful compounds to grow and multiply. One drawback of the Berlin Filtration system is that it is not a very efficient filtration system and in order to support more fishes, you will need to have a lot of live sands and live rocks (about 1.5 pounds per gallon). You can improve the effectiveness of the filtration system without using more live sands or rock, by using a protein skimmer as part of the filtration system. A protein skimmer helps to separate the organic matters from the water before they turn into ammonia, thus reducing the biological filter load. This will enable you to put more fishes and invertebrates in the tank. For more information about The Berlin Filtration Method or System, click on the link.
Seawater or saltwater is the most critical component of the aquarium as it is the medium where your fishes and invertebrates live in. Although choosing to use natural sea water from the ocean or sea is the best choice, this is often not convenient for most hobbyists. As such, most hobbyists today use a commercial dry salt mix added with clean fresh water to the required salinity. Careful selection of the salt mix is important as not all salt mix is of the same quality and mineral content. The best salt mix is the one which gives you the best approximation of the natural sea water mineral content. Whatever salt mix that you choose, please do not uses the ordinary kitchen salt as these have normally been added with additional chemical which makes them unsuitable for use in your saltwater reef aquarium and will harm your saltwater creatures. Visit this page for more information and guide on how to choose and prepare saltwater for your tank.
After you have decided on your tank type, size and shape, you need to know where to put it in your house. This is another important thing which is often over-look by beginners who think that they can easily re-located the tank if the original place chosen is not suitable. If you have this thinking, then just remember that a full aquarium is very heavy, difficult and dangerous to move. You will most probably end up with a broken tank unless you emptied the tank first. However, this will lead to other problem especially if your tank has already been stocked with fishes and invertebrates.
A suitable location for the saltwater reef tank is a place where there is enough space for your tank without cramming the room. It should also be away from direct sunlight to prevent algae growth. There should also be minimum fluctuation in the room temperature so that the tank temperature can be maintained at the optimum range without the help of too many types of equipment. Follow this link for some basic guide and to know more about the importance of choosing the correct location for your saltwater reef aquarium.