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Coral & Saltwater Aquarium Articles Free Live Coral Information Advice From a former Coral Farmer! http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=34&Itemid=56 Mon, 23 Oct 2017 20:40:53 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Acclimating Your New Corals http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=47:acclimating-your-new-corals&catid=34:coralarticles&Itemid=63 http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=47:acclimating-your-new-corals&catid=34:coralarticles&Itemid=63

Acclimating Your New Corals

One of the great things about buying live captive bred corals, is they require very little acclimation when you get them. With live farm raised corals, you dont need to worry about matching pH, or alkalinity, or specific gravity, or anything else as long as your tank is healthy .

 

Remember, they have lived their entire lives in captivity. They are used to an artificial environment. And frankly they are much hardier than wildcaught corals. They are in very good health. And they haven't traveled long distances under strenous conditions, like wild corals. In almost all cases, when you order farm raised corals, they go from our tanks to you tank in less than 24 hours.

 

Wild corals may be in transit for a week or more, often under very severe conditions. And they may change hands, and tanks, 6 or more times before they get to your tank. Any living organism that changes environments in such a short period of time would be stressed out. Its no wonder so many of them die on their way to your tank.

 

Anyway how do you acclimate corals from our farm?

You only need to let the bag temperature equalize with your tank temperature. Nothing else.

 

And most likely, the temperature in the bag is very close to your tank temperature already. We use heat or ice packs, depending upon the weather and where we are shipping to.

 

Heres the only thing you need to do:

When you remove the bag of coral from the styrofoam box, float it in your tank. dont let it sit directly under your lights. To be safe, either float the bag in your sump, or turn off your lights.

 

Let it float for about 15 minutes. Then remove the bag, open it, and place your coral directly on the bottom of your tank.

 

When you first place the corals in your tank, put them down low. Its always safer to put corals in a lower light environment instead of a higher light environment than they are used to. If too much light in a short period of time, the corals can bleach.

 

So place them lower in the tank, and then over the next few days, gradually raise them up to where you are going to epoxy them in place.

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corals10@corals101.com () Saltwater Reefkeeping Coral Articles Index Mon, 24 Jan 2011 07:03:43 +0000
Additives http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48:additives&catid=34:coralarticles&Itemid=65 http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48:additives&catid=34:coralarticles&Itemid=65 What are additives, and why do we need them?

Aquarium additives are chemical compounds or elements that we add back to our reef aquariums on a regular basis to replenish something that has been lost. These compounds are primarily lost due to the live inhabitants using them (saltwater fish, live corals, bacteria, etc) , the use of carbon, or through protein skimming.

 

The challenge with additives is deciding which ones to use, which ones NOT to use, and how much of them to use.

 

As a general rule, start out by using the exact dosage recommended by the manufacturer or LESS. Never use more than recommended if you are not experienced. Then wait a period of time and see if the corals respond. You can retest the water and see how quickly the additive is being used up by the tank. With experience you will figure out how much to add. Keep a log book of how much was added, the level when the water was retested, and how the tank responded.

 

Additives are critical for maintaining corals. New salt water that is properly mixed will have at least some of all of the additives you need in your tank. But these will be used up over time, at varying rates. Depending upon the type of tank that you have, the additives may be different. If your tank is primarily a soft coral tank, then your focus will be less on maintaining alkalinity and calcium and more on maintaining iodine.

 

If your tank is primarily a hard coral tank aka SPS or Small Polyped Stony corals, then your focus will be primarily on maintaining higher alkalinity and calcium. Soft corals can also benefit from a higher alkalinity and calcium. But its not as critical as with hard corals.

 

The Best Additive is….

The best additive of all is to make regular water changes with aged Saltwater. New salt water should contain all of necessary elements and compounds present in natural saltwater and will replenish those items that have been used by the corals by the biological processes in the tank. Regular water changes are a great insurance policy to make sure that all elements and compounds are replenished on a regular basis.

 

Typically the common additives in a reef aquarium are things such as iodine and calcium and alkalinity. At SCI, those of the main items that we add on a regular basis. There are many other additives that you can add such as strontium and molybdenum and a number of trace elements, but actually the number one additive that we recommend for beginners, the simplest way to keep up with additives , is to just do a water change.

 

When you use freshly mixed salt water, (and I mean aged salt water, which has been mixed up and allowed to set or to aerate) what you're doing is you are adding back all of the different compounds and elements that are present in the original salt water. Some of these elements and compounds may have been used up by organisms through various biological processes and you are replenishing those. If you don't replenish those elements and compounds or even if you miss just one, you can create a situation that limits the growth of the corals. . That's what is called a limiting factor.

 

Limiting Factors

A limiting factor is the compound or element that limits the growth of the coral even if all other elements and compounds are present in sufficient quantities. For example in the oceans, iron is typically the limiting element in salt water . You might have an excess of all of the other elements and compounds except for iron and without the presence of sufficient iron, the plankton in the ocean will not continue to grow. Even with sufficient amount of all the other elements of it requires for growth, if one critical compound is missing, growth will be slowed or stopped. But don't add iron in your closed system. Typically its not the limiting nutrient in tanks.

 

You may see a decline in the coral even when a limiting factor is absent. So that is why I think the best method is to do regular water changes every single week. Of course, the percentage of water changes will vary depending upon how many corals you have in your system and how many fish you have in your system. But as a general rule, if you can do a five or 10% water change every week, I believe that would be far superior to doing a larger water change every month. It's a small price to pay for, what is basically an insurance policy.

 

Tech Iodine_200Soft Coral Additives

With regards to soft corals only, it's critical that you keep up the iodine levels in your tank. Some soft corals, for example Xenia, are prone to melting down. If iodine levels drop too much within your tank, most soft corals will not grow as well and some may die.

 

Natural sea water (NSW) level of iodine is 0.06 ppm. This is the dosage that is generally recommended to keep in your aquarium.

 

We have suggested from some sources, that you can safely maintain a level in your aquarium several times higher than NSW , although we don't recommend going over it if you are a beginner. Twice the dosage is often considered safe 0.12 by some people, but because it can adversely affect your fish, we dont recommend it . When beginning, stick with the recommended dosage and try to maintain a fairly constant level by adding and testing for it at least weekly. 



Stony (SPS) Coral Additives

With regards to SPS corals, iodine doesn't seem to play a significant role. However maintaining alkalinity and calcium levels is absolutely critical to the success of an SBS or stony coral tank. Calcium and alkalinity should always be added together, because these two complement each other. An excess of one can compete with the level of the other. In general you want to maintain calcium for stony coral tanks over 350 ppm and alkalinity level above about 9.8 dKH or 3.5 meq. . (2.8 * 3.5 = 9.8). As you can see, you can convert milliequivalents in to German degrees of hardness, by multiplying milliequivalents times the conversion factor of 2.8 to get German degrees of hardness.

 

There are many other additives that you can choose to add, such Strontium, Molybdenum, but I would leave that to advanced aquarists. I dont believe adding them separately is necessary if you are doing regular water changes and are using a calcium reactor, which we recommend highly for SPS corals.

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corals10@corals101.com () Saltwater Reefkeeping Coral Articles Index Mon, 24 Jan 2011 07:35:54 +0000
Adhesives for the aquarium http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=46:adhesives&catid=34:coralarticles&Itemid=56 http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=46:adhesives&catid=34:coralarticles&Itemid=56 Adhesives for the Aquarium

There are many different types of adhesives that you would use in aquarium. The most important consideration is that they are aquarium safe or non-toxic to the corals and fish in your tank.

Attaching a coral onto the rock in your aquarium with "Tootsie Roll" epoxy

CoralEpoxy_200

If you have purchased a coral fragment that is already mounted on a rock (like our farm does) , you can mount that rock to your live rock, already under water, in your aquarium. Probably the most commonly used adhesive is a solid two-part coral epoxy that looks like a Tootsie Roll.

If you ordered one of our beginner packages, you should have received a free epoxy tootsie roll (pictured left) with the package. It is about the size and shape of a Tootsie Roll and has an outer coating that is typically green and an inner coating a slightly different color, often white. This epoxy is only safe to use underwater in aquariums when it says so on the container or sold by a reputable coral farm. Some of these are not safe so be sure to buy one that has been tested by others. The one we use has been used thousands of times with no adverse effects reported.

The way you use this epoxy is to cut off a small piece. Typically start with the the size of a marble. U can remove the outer protective plastic coating, which keeps it from drying out and then you mix it together by hand. By mixing it, that starts the chemical reaction. You want to make sure that you mix colors thoroughly by pulling on it, and by pushing on it, and by squeezing it so that before you actually use it, there is one continuous color throughout the epoxy.

If you have an area that's not properly mixed, where the resin is not mixed with the hardener, then it will never set up and get hard and you just have to scape it back off and start again.

Common Uses

The most common use for coral epoxy is for attaching the coral frag to parts to one of the live rocks already in your tank. The way to do this is to select the coral frag, which should already be mounted on a small artificial rock and turn it over. (And it is safe to have the coral out of the water for period of time. It won't hurt it.) Hold it in your left hand and take the mixed up epoxy and push it onto the bottom of the rock.

You just want to say smash it into half of the circle and then take your finger and feather the edges out along the edge of the rock so that it increases the adhesion of the epoxy to the rock. And then you can turn it over, put it in the aquarium and hopefully you've selected a site already and you cleaned the site off of any algae and any loose debris. Push the rock with the epoxy down onto your live rock in the aquarium and push it down against rock, and then twist it slightly.

The idea is you want to get as much surface adhesion is possible. You push it all the way down to where the rocks touch each other to push it down to where the epoxy is just squeezing out. And then when you think that you have good at the connection between the two, you can take your finger around the outside and then feather this both up on the rock and down on the live rock in the aquarium.

Now in the aquarium you can have the epoxy showing and won't be terribly attractive at first, but very quickly in a healthy aquarium it will become covered with the various algae and other growths, so that in a short period of time, you'll notice that the epoxy is blended into the rocks colors. The trick on two-part epoxy is to support it while it sets up. It typically takes maybe 30 minutes to an hour to set up and you certainly don't want anything bumping it so you can cover it or support it temporarily while it hardens. And then once it is set up, you can remove whatever to protecting it

Attaching glass to glass

There are other adhesives that you use on your aquarium before it is filled with water. One of these is called the silicon caulk. Typically this is used to seal cracks in the glass. It is needs contain 100% silicon caulk, and nothing else. The thing you want to watch out for here is make sure to aquarium safe because some silicate silicon caulk has a anti-fungal agent put into it, so that when you caulk your outside door or window, mold wont grow on it. This additive is toxic, so don't use caulk that contains it. We have used a product by General Electric, called GE 012 in the past successfully, but arent going to warrant that it is safe. Try it at your own risk, but we havent had any problems with it.

Silicon caulk is very useful for either making any a glass aquarium from scratch or even repairing a glass aquarium. It is quite easy to work with, and you can trim it with a razor knife and and then once it cures, silicone caulk is inert and will not harm inhabitants in the aquarium. Don't put underwater until it's completely set up and cured. And certainly, you don't want to put any pressure on it until its's cured either, such as filling up the aquarium, because caulk only has limited ability to withstand a load stress

Adhesives for Acrylic Tanks

If you're using an acrylic tank, you can only use one of the organic solvents such as methylene chloride. rather than selecting a caulk because the organic solvents will actually fuse the two sheets of acrylic together. But this is best left for experts, as it can be very toxic to breath or even if it gets on your skin. For more information on this see a acrylic tanks.

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corals10@corals101.com () Saltwater Reefkeeping Coral Articles Index Mon, 24 Jan 2011 06:45:24 +0000
Algae Control -Taming the Hair Algae Monster! http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49:algae-control-taming-the-hair-algae-monster&catid=34:coralarticles&Itemid=66 http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49:algae-control-taming-the-hair-algae-monster&catid=34:coralarticles&Itemid=66 Algae Control - Taming the algae monster!

Getting hair algae under control !

We've all been there. A saltwater reef aquarium full of hair algae. Covering all the rock and blocking the live corals or other invertebrates. The fish ignore it, or just can't keep up.

hair algaeWhere did we go wrong?

To control the algae monster, we first have to understand it what caused it.

Hair algae is caused by an excess of nutrients in your system. Too much Phosphate, or Nitrates, or other dissolved organic matter.

Hair algae cannot survive in a system where the available nutrient levels are low, OR where other things in a high nutrient system out compete it for those nutrients. Or where predators eat the hair algae quicker than it can grow.

The easiest way is to starve the algae. Remove the food source. Because if there are too many nutrients in the water, that aren't being removed by skimming or grazing by urchins or fish, then the algae monster is going to win every time.

You need to rebalance your system in favor of the good things. And away from an environment that encourages the growth of hair algae.

Balancing your system means providing just enough food to you tank to feed the fish, (and possibly corals), but not enough food to feed the algae. You can have some nutrients in the water as long as the livestock in your tank is eating it up. But too much and algae will take over.

So how to make sure the nutrient level in the water is low?

There are two categories to consider:

1-The nutrients you ADD to the tank

2-The nutrients you REMOVE from the tank.

OK, lets do ADDING to the tank first.

The first thing is obvious. Dont over feed the tank. Your goal should be for every piece of food you put in the tank to be eaten by a fish. None falling to the bottom.

Secondly make sure the water you are adding to the tank isnt also adding nutrients in the form of minerals. You can never just use tap water to mix up your new saltwater. Tap water is full of minerals and other compounds that will make hair algae go crazy. Its full of fertilizer. If you go to Home Depot and buy grass fertilizer, it contains 3 compounds. Nitrogen, phosphate, potassium. These are FERTILIZERS. This is the last thing you need to add to your tank. But tap water contains all of these, plus Chlorine, which is actually toxic to living things. So even if you remove the chlorine (using a dechlorinator)

And liquid foods are horrible contributors to hair algae. Only a tiny portion is actually used by the corals. The rest is just food for your hair algae. And the corals DONT need it to survive. We feed most of our corals NOTHING at all! Thats right. Most corals can exist on light alone. (for more on this, see Zooxathellae.

Now lets do REMOVING food from the tank

The first line of defense here is the protein skimmer. This is by far the most efficient way to remove dissolved food (organics)

Battling hair algae is probably the number one reason why most hobbyists, especially new hobbyists, leave the hobby altogether. It can be very frustating to deal with algae, since it can overgrow and kill almost everything in your tank that doesn't move. Solving the problem starts with understanding what it causing it in the first place.

Initially, it seems like it's impossible to control and primarily the reason why you're not able to control it as you don't understand the source. It is critical to understand the source of what's causing their hair out she and your system in order to understand what the cure is.

It starts with managing unwanted nutrients in your system.

There should be two focuses in your tank. One is the amount of nutrients that are going into your system and the other is the amount of nutrients that are leaving your system. Ideally you have more nutrients leaving your system than going in. But most beginners have more going in. Its this excess buildup of nutrients that causes the problem.

 


 

3 ways of Importing (Going into the tank) Nutrients into your System

(page 2) Algae Control - Taming the algae monster! Getting hair algae under control !

3 ways of Importing (Going into the tank) Nutrients into your System

The first way that some nutrients can go into the system are of course by feeding the fish, whether its by flake food or live food or frozen food or other different types of fish foods.

The second way that nutrients are imported into the tank is by feeding your corals supplementally with a liquid invertebrate food. We do not recommend these at all for beginners because they just end up as pollution. Probably far less than 1% of all the invertebrate liquid invertebrate food that you put into your tank action goes to the filter feeders. Most other corals cannot utilize filter foods. Its only the filter feeders such as feather dusters, and fan worms and things like that can. But this is a tremendous cause a pollution, and in your tank very little of the liquid food will be eaten by a coral. Most of the liquid food you squirt into the aquarium will go to feed bacteria or hair algae. We have huge colonies of feather dusters [insert picture of sump S2T2] and we NEVER feed any type of liquid food. We do however, mix up a coral mixture using a version of Bornemans coral food made from shellfish and marine fish.

The third way that nutrients get into your system is through the fresh water you use. Your initial salt water is mixed for a certain specific gravity. Your subsequent makeup water in the form of RO freshwater is used to replenish the evaporative loss for this saltwater.

Water is constantly evaporating from your aquarium. Because of evaporation the amount of water pure water (H2O) goes down, but the amount of salt and everything else dissolved stays the same. That's what causes a increase in the salinity of your tank. So in order to avoid increasing the salinity (because corals require a fairly narrow range for salinity) then what we do is we add freshwater back on a daily basis.

Reverse Osmosis and Deionization can pollute!
It is a common to get nutrients through reverse osmosis or deionization systems that are not working properly. This can be enormous source of pollution for your tank in a very short period of time. And so even if you controlling nutrients and not overfeeding your fish, you can have a nutrient problem. This one item is actually our number one mistake hobbyists make. You can read about it in our section on Top Ten Mistakes We Have Made.

You might think your reverse osmosis is working properly and you can still have hair algae. Then there's a very good possibility need to look at your reverse osmosis filter and make sure it is functioning properly. Of course the obvious way is by using a conductivity meter. And you need to make sure that your carbon prefilter your mechanical prefilter and your reverse osmosis membrane are functioning properly. A conductivity meter will tell you exactly how clean your filtered water is. So let's say that you got your conductivity meter set up and are getting a great reading and know your reverse osmosis water is good. Most major brand salt mixes in the hobby today that are available are very low in phosphates and very very low in nitrates so its safe to assume that they arent a source of pollution usually.

Exporting (removing) Nutrients from your System

We talked about how are the ways that nutrients get INTO your system. And now we want to talk about the way that nutrients get OUT of your system. Ideally you want to remove nutrients in an amount equal to or greater than the amount of nutrients going into your system. The number one way to export nutrients from a system is call a protein skimmer (aka foam fractionator)

Skimmers

Skimmers are a very, very efficient way to remove dissolved nutrients in your water. See the section on skimmers to see how they work.

Live Rock

Another way to remove nutrients is through the live rock in your tank. Live rock is great for removing items, particularly such as ammonia, and nitrates, and nitrates. The live rock provides the "house" where the bacteria live, that change (reduce) the toxic nutrients into non-toxic nutrients.

Live Sand

There are some draw backs to live sand as it gets older. Organic matter can build up in the sand over time, and feed nutrients back into the water. So even if you arent overfeeding, and your water quality is good, nutrients can come from the sand beds. Is you are using one of the macro algae mud filters,

Mud Filters

These can be a great way to export nutrients, and we do use them on some systems. Macro algaes grow in mud and can use up a lot of unwanted nutrients. Check out the section on mud filters.


Siphoning detritus

Detritus is usually packed with unwanted nutrients. Suctioning it out of your system regularly is helpful. But don't disturb your older sand bed too much or you may release nutrients or even toxins from the deep sand bed which can kill your livestock.

Some excellent articles have been written on this topic if you want to go into more detail. Or click the blue links on this page to take you to more detailed sections that relate to this topic.


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corals10@corals101.com () Saltwater Reefkeeping Coral Articles Index Tue, 25 Jan 2011 08:37:34 +0000
Alkalinity - essential to maintaining a high pH http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=61:alkalinity-essential-to-maintaining-a-high-ph&catid=34:coralarticles&Itemid=56 http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=61:alkalinity-essential-to-maintaining-a-high-ph&catid=34:coralarticles&Itemid=56 Alkalinity

Alkalinity is important, more so for SPS corals, because it indicates the buffering capacity of the water. The greater the buffering capacity, the more stable the pH.

And with a greater buffering capacity, you should also have more of the minerals available to build the stony skeletons and that SPS and LPS make. Compounds such as Magnesium carbonate should be present in relatively high concentrations so that the growth of stoney corals is not limited.

Carbonates help to provide the buffering capabilities of water, by binding with major ions like Magnesium, Strontium, and Calcium. These compounds form the basis for coral skeleton growth.

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corals10@corals101.com () Saltwater Reefkeeping Coral Articles Index Wed, 26 Jan 2011 00:24:52 +0000
Aquarium Lighting http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=112:aquarium-lighting&catid=34:coralarticles&Itemid=76 http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=112:aquarium-lighting&catid=34:coralarticles&Itemid=76  


Probably no other topic in reef keeping is as controversial or more hotly debated than aquarium lighting. Many articles are written about it and there is much confusion about it in the industry.

metal halide bulb

You could write an entire book on lighting alone. But we are going to tell you what works for us. It may not be the best solution and, but it's really works for us, and hopefully it will give you a starting point. And then later on, you can make any adjustments that you think are important.

The aquarium industry has developed special light bulbs that have led to the success of keeping corals in captivity. It is important to use these bulbs. You can use standard ballasts, as long as they match your bulb, but its important to use metal halide or VHO or T5 fluorescent light bulbs specifically made for the reef aquarium.

When you're looking at the type of lighting that you want to use you should first consider what type of live corals are going to keep. The soft corals don't require as much light intensity in general, and SPS corals require the most light. So if you're a beginner and starting off on soft corals and you can actually choose a wide variety of lighting, starting with some of the lower lights.

We've been surprised by how very low light levels can be used to keep our hardy beginner corals alive. We've even had corals such as mushrooms surviving and growing under 40 W fluorescent balls, although we don't recommend them. They do well in the compact fluorescent holds and metal halides. You have to be careful with soft corals that you don't give them TOO much light because they can reach a saturation point. This is the point where the coral gets too much light and starts to shut down because of oxygen poisoning.

 

 

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corals10@corals101.com () Saltwater Reefkeeping Coral Articles Index Wed, 26 Jan 2011 07:28:37 +0000
Aquarium Stands http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=52:aquarium-stands&catid=34:coralarticles&Itemid=56 http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=52:aquarium-stands&catid=34:coralarticles&Itemid=56 The most important consideration when choosing an aquarium stand is to get one that will hold the weight of your aquarium when it's filled with water and live rock and corals.

Many people underestimate the weight of their aquarium when its filled up. Water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon. But live rock and live sand obviously has a higher density and thus weighs much more than that. It's very important that you get a stand at either equals or exceeds the capacity of the new aquarium when its filled.

So try to buy one that is already matched by the manufacture to your aquarium, or build one but be sure to over engineer it and make one larger than you think you need. Otherwise you might find yourself with an aquarium laying on the floor and fish flopping around on your carpet, and a wife (or husband) with their hands on their hips looking at you as if you are the BIGGEST KNUCKLEHEAD in the universe!

A second consideration might be to get one that has room underneath to put a sump and other equipment. It will make for a neater appearance overall.

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corals10@corals101.com () Saltwater Reefkeeping Coral Articles Index Tue, 25 Jan 2011 08:42:40 +0000
Aquariums - Acrylic http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=51:aquariums-acrylic&catid=34:coralarticles&Itemid=56 http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=51:aquariums-acrylic&catid=34:coralarticles&Itemid=56 Aquariums-Acrylic

There are several advantages and disadvantages to choosing acrylic aquariums over glass aquariums.

Disadvantages of Acrylic Aquariums

The main disadvantage of acrylic aquariums is that they are much more easily scratched than glass aquariums.

If you do scratch them, there is a buffing system available to help polish out the scratch. But, it is fairly difficult and time-consuming to use, and you're supposed to drain the tank when you do it. So if you've already got the tank stocked, and you scratch it, then you need to take everything out, drain it, and repair the scratch.

So it's best if you can avoid scratching acrylic aquarium's altogether. However in practice, I've found that it's nearly impossible to avoid some scratching. Even if you don't accidently scratch it moving around live rock or corals, the inside of the tank will eventually get coated with calcareous algae. This is abrasive, and removing it will often scratch the acrylic.

Advantages of Acrylic Aquariums

One of the main reasons that a lot of people choose acrylic over glass aquariums, is that it seems to be clearer and have less distortion. Aesthetically, many people including myself, think that acrylic is more attractive.

Another great advantage is its it's much easier to drill a hole in an acrylic aquarium than a glass one. On several occasions I had to drill acrylic tanks, with standard wood hole saws, and was able to do so without breaking the tank.

If you do happen to break the acrylic tank, it is also fairly easy to attach another piece is acrylic to it using a common organic solvents such as methylene chloride. The two pieces actually melt together and form an excellent seal, much more permanent than using Silicon on glass. Although it may not look pretty, it will be functional. But I still prefer glass aquariums because they are cheaper and more scratch resistant. There are other advantages to glass aquariums which can read about in that section.

Best choice for Beginners

As a beginner, it will probably be easier to go with glass rather than acrylic, but check them both out together in your local fish store and see which one you prefer.

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corals10@corals101.com () Saltwater Reefkeeping Coral Articles Index Tue, 25 Jan 2011 08:41:50 +0000
Aquariums - Glass http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50:aquariums-glass&catid=34:coralarticles&Itemid=56 http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50:aquariums-glass&catid=34:coralarticles&Itemid=56 Aquariums - Glass

Glass aquariums are probably the most common type of aquarium used in the hobby today. Today there are very distinct advantages and disadvantages to glass aquariums.

Advantages of Glass Aquariums

One of the main advantages to glass aquariums is that glass does not scratch as easily as a Acrylic aquariums do . It's almost impossible not to accidentally scrape the inside of your aquarium
at some point when you're working on it. If you're moving corals around oftentimes you will scratch the front of the aquarium. If it's glass, most likely they won't scratch easily. The scratch will be more noticeable with acrylic as it is softer and scratches more easily and deeper. Not only is it more noticeable, but algae tends to grow in the scratch and if you want to try and correct it. You'll need to buff it out typically to get rid of it. In the acrylic aquarium you need to drain the aquarium in order to use a buffing kit.

Disadvantages of Glass Aquariums

Drilling a Glass Tank

Diamond-Hole-SawsA disadvantage to glass aquariums is drilling a hole in them is much more difficult than drilling an acrylic aquarium . Glass aquariums require special diamond bit saw blades which are somewhat expensive, and typically should be done by an expert. It is possible to break your aquarium while drilling it. But I must say that I recently started drilling my own tanks, and it is much easier than I thought. Its very important to go slow and be very patient. You will need a drill press and a diamond hole saw. Measure the size of your hole very carefully as you only get one chance. When you're drilling, you will need a push down very gently on the on the drill saw, not really applying pressure. Allow the blade to do the work for you, and run water over the bit and cut constantly to keep it cool. If the glass heats up too quickly it can crack.

Acrylic aquariums can be drilled more easily and dont require a diamond hole saw. You can drill them with a standard drill bit that you buy from a home improvement store a long as it is sharp. If you want more information on drilling aquariums, see our section on drilling aquariums.

I still prefer to use glass instead of acrylic, mainly because of the difficulty of keeping acrylic scratch free and clean. When you have the beautiful calcareous algae on the inside of a tank's, its very abrasive, almost like sand. By trying to clean off calcareous algae you're almost certainly going to scratch if.

Cleaning Glass Aquariums [ insert picture of hand using razor blade]

To clean the glass on your tank, it's really quite easy. Use a new clean sharp razor blade. You should get very little scratching if any, by using this method, and it's quite easy to clean the glass with a new razor blade. Every week or so should do it , and you will have a spotless aquarium. Acrylic tanks on the other hand, are more difficult to clean and we don't recommend you clean them with a brand-new razor blade. Use special aquarium magnets. But keep in mind it is harder to keep them completely clean.

Glass aquariums tend to weigh a little bit more than acrylic aquariums so you need to plan your stand accordingly, make sure your aquarium stand can handle the additional weight. But in truth on smaller tanks, say less than 75 gallons the weight is not that significant and most aquarium stands are built to withstand the weight of either type of material.

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corals10@corals101.com () Saltwater Reefkeeping Coral Articles Index Tue, 25 Jan 2011 08:40:08 +0000
Balancing your System http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=53:balancing-your-system&catid=34:coralarticles&Itemid=67 http://corals101.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=53:balancing-your-system&catid=34:coralarticles&Itemid=67 Balancing your System

Why is balancing your system important? Most people think of a balanced system as one that doesn't have hair algae. And when their tank gets out of balance, it does have hair algae. Or so they think. …

Your System is Always in Balance

But the truth is that your system is always in balance. Really ! The natural processes in your tank are always responding to the changes that are occuring in the system, whether to adding more food on or removing nutrients. It is constantly RE Balancing your tank. The system is always in balance, but the question is, is it balanced in the direction YOU want to go?

Obviously if it's full of hair algae, then that's not the direction you want to go, because corals to the typically cannot compete with hair algae and survive. So it's important you rebalance your system to allow your tank inhabitants to survive and thrive. A lot of what we talk about on this webpage is how to rebalance your system in FAVOR of your corals and fish, and AWAY from all of the nasty things such as hair algae and parasites and other non-desirable items within your aquarium. Your goal is to have a healthy system. You can provide the healthiest system possible for your corals, and your fish, and your other invertebrates by paying attention to balancing and shifting it in your favor.

Balancing Soft Coral Systems is Different from SPS Systems

The balancing that you do on a soft coral system is going to be quite different than the balancing you do on a SPS coral system. Even though it's possible to keep both in the same system, neither one will truly thrive in a system that is set up for both. We recommend that you focus either on stony corals or on soft corals and certainly as a beginner you should start out with soft corals. They're much easier to keep their hardier, and it's much easier to balance a Soft Coral system. We strongly recommend that you start out with soft corals and then in the future if you want to switch your system to stony corals, you can do this fairly easily. Or if you want, you can set up an additional reef tank for stony corals.

The differences in the stony coral system for in versus the software system are primarily in water quality. The dissolved nutrient load is important. And in both systems the dissolved minerals content is important but is vastly more important in SPS tanks.

Balancing your System for Soft Corals

For Soft Coral systems, its actually better to have a higher nutrient load on the system as long as hair algae isnt a problem. What that means is you can do more feeding. Of course the key is who don't feed them so much that you're having a hair algae monster problem.

With live soft corals, they definitely require the dissolved nutrients in the water in order to do well. It is very possible to have TOO clean water when you are keeping softs. This can starve them. The number one way to provide his nutrients for soft saltwater corals, and easiest way for you, is for you to feed your fish. Make sure they eat all the food that you feed them. You don't want the food going down to the bottom of the aquarium uneaten. The food that is eaten by the fish will be excreted into the water. Excreted means they will urinate their waste product into the water and a fishes waste products, like ours, is primarily nitrogen , in the form of ammonia.

Nitrogen is a fertilizer and the fish basically become continuous fertilizer dosing machines (dosimeters) as you feed them and as the food is processed in their digestive system. During the day they are periodically excreting it into the water and fertilizing the corals. Because the corals have the algae (zooxanthellae) living in their cells and the algae is a plant of course. And plants need fertilizer plants require fertilizer in order to grow. So the idea is to feed the fish, and the fish feed the corals. Some corals can also be fed directly

How much to feed? It just depends on your system. I would increase the feeding gradually because you don't want to reach a tipping point your system where you overload it with nutrients and upset the balance. If you inject too many nutrients into by feeding, the system in a short period of time will read balance in favor of hair algae . So in a balanced system, you should have no hair algae corals growing quite rapidly and fat and healthy fish.

It's also important to get the right kind of fish. Be sure to check out our section on community fish that are best for your reef tank. .

Balancing your System for SPS Corals

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