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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


(page 2) Balancing your System

Balancing your System for SPS Corals

The focus on stony coral tanks is to keep nutrients low and maintaining the minerals in the water that allow the some corals to grow their skeletons.

For stony coral systems your focus is the opposite off soft coral tanks, regarding organic nutrients. You want your system to be as organic nutrient poor as possible. That's why we recommend skimming 24 hours a day and feeding your tank rarely if ever. We feed our SPS tanks very lightly. In our system with SPS we have many different types of tangs. I almost exclusively feed them only the green seaweed called Nori. It is that green paper that they wrap your sushi with your sushi roll is wrapped with. Nori green seaweed is easy to purchase off Internet. Fish that are plant eaters (herbivores) love it and this is very nutritional food source. It is dark green, so it contains a tremendous amount of non-polluting nutrients and is a great source of fiber. The best thing about Nori. Check out our Section on Feed Fish. By feeding your SPS system very lightly or using a food that doesn't have many organics you're going to help maintain the balance in your system.

Calcium and alkalinity

There are two primary minerals in the water that are most important. Calcium and Alkalinity. Calcium is an element that is found in limestone and in coral skeletons and also in our bones. Alkalinity derives from the carbonates that are found in the water. Both of these should be replenished continuously your system in order to allow the corals grow and thrive.

Replenish Calcium and Alkalinity with a Calcium Reactor

We found the best way for large tanks to provide these components is by using a calcium reactor for reef tanks. For smaller tanks, you can use a two-part calcium and alkalinity additive instead such as B ionic from ESV Chemicals. We recommend in your system that you maintain a calcium level around 450 parts per million and alkalinity level around 2.8 meq (also known as 9.8° of German hardness). Both of these are slightly higher than natural seawater, but this is advantageous because they can be depleted fairly rapidly.
In a live stony coral (SPS) reef tank, focus primarily on these two, and test for them regularly.

There are also many other minerals and compounds that need to be maintained in an aquarium. The best and easiest way to replenish these is through regular water changes.


Tangs Are the Best Fish for Maintaining Balance

The best fish not only to feed off of any hair algae as it starts to spring up, but also are peaceful tank mates. Good community fish include tangs. These are a good example of a great community fish that has a lot of different jobs that are all positive. Plus they look beautiful. So Tangs are useful in maintaining a well balanced aquariums.

So all ecosystems and all. Niches regards how small or large are constantly undergoing a balanced and rebalanced check them. Its really is a chain and is one machine is infected. Things up and down the chain may or may not be affected sometimes in ways you never predicted since very important to provide the right conditions initially from the beginning and not take shortcuts that later on we'll leave the costly mistakes.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we were talking about you providing the conditions for nature to take its course and to rebalance your system in the direction that you want the system to go, and not in the direction that leads to unwanted hair algae You have to pay attention to details, but this website is for you to know what to pay attention to, and to know also what may not be so important and what you can ignore or pay LESS attention to.

We are trying to show you what we think of the most important things in this website in order to maintain a healthy aquarium. we cant give you all the details about everything , but this is a good start, and that's really what the purpose of it. To provide you a good start with your aquarium and hopefully not make the same mistakes, the same EXPENSIVE mistakes, the same COSTLY mistakes that we all have already made. These mistakes cost the lives of your corals and your fish We are hoping that the mistakes we made will serve as an education for you and you can avoid wasting your time your money and most importantly, wasting the wildlife !

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 February 2011 05:07
 
 

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