Maintaining a Reef
When it comes to caring for corals there are several things you should know before making decisions. 1st and foremost you should do your research regarding your corals and your plan. Then develop a care plan from set up to sustainability. Decide what type of coral you wish to have your tank and the type of equipment you need to maintain them. Lastly, remember to always be patient, impetuousness will simply get you into trouble in the aquarium hobby.
Setup and Cycling
After you have picked out your tank you need
to decide on your rock arrangement. A good rule of thumb is for every gallon of
water in your system you should have one pound of rock. This is important since
your rock will be the medium in which you grow beneficial bacteria to filter
out ammonia and nitrite. Next, you will need lights. VHO T5 bulbs and ballasts
are good for beginners while high powered LEDs are perfect for more advanced
hobbyists. Specific coral lights are important because corals are
photosynthetic and need specific wavelengths to survive.
There are many different types of filtration and each level of high Tech gear can take you through the hobby however the bare minimum would be a hang on the back filter with carbon. Finally with everything set up you will need to run your tank for between 1 and 4 months in order to grow the bacteria and get it set up for fish and corals. The cycle has finished once you have an ammonia level of 0 and you have nitrate level in your water.
When it comes to fish your tank can only take so much of a bio load before it is head-over-heels with pollutants, however, with corals, there really isn’t much to consider other than your calcium and alkalinity since all forms of coral need those 2 components to grow. Soft corals are the easiest to maintain and require the lowest levels and highest range of differentiation. These consist of leather polyps mushrooms along with other various branching varieties. These are the type of corals best found in your friend’s aquarium with coral for sale.
They are easy to find and grow fast, but will still be expensive in the store. It’s best to throw a buddy a five and take a piece of his coral to start with. Next, are large polyp stony corals. These are more difficult to maintain and have higher requirements for lighting. They also are less tolerant of changes in your water parameters. Also, these corals are generally more aggressive and placement is definitely more difficult when considering its neighbors. Most of these corals have feeder tentacles that can be dangerous to their neighboring corals and can extend far with respect to their colonies’ total size. Lastly, are the small polyp stony corals.
These are expert level corals that require very high lighting and very high flow within the tank as well as very little change in the tanks water parameters. These are generally also the most expensive corals to purchase which is why I once again suggest you try finding a friend with an aquarium with coral for sale. In general, when a colleague or friend has this aquarium coral for sale they have a large enough colony that they don’t want it in their tank anymore and you can get a better deal.
The aquarium hobby is expensive and time-consuming. It is also unforgiving. It is easy to make a mistake that can kill off your entire tank. Remember to do your research, but still have fun!